Category Archives: wine

Wine Tasting Party

My friends Josh and Jamie are having a cool wine tasting party tonight. I missed their last party because I was sick. I gave them a giant bottle of wine, after the fact, which they still have. So I’ve been forbidden from bringing another bottle of wine. With that said, I can’t show up to a party empty handed. So I decided to make a great dish that will pair well with the wine. In addition I had some left over bread in my freezer, and cream and eggs that I had to use up. So it was an easy and cheap solution.

Savory Mushroom and Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

1 tablespoon butter
2 slices bacon, chopped
¼ large onion, chopped
1 10 oz package of sliced baby Portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cognac
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 cups of cubed brioche or other egg bread (1/2 loaf)
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the butter and bacon in a skillet on medium heat. Stir occasionally until the bacon is crisp and brown. Add the onions. Keep cooking and occasionally stirring till the onions brown and caramelize. Add the mushrooms, thyme and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium high. Keep cooking until the mushroom brown and the water is evaporated. Add the parsley and salt. Cook for another few minutes to wilt the parsley. Turn the heat back down to medium. Add the cognac. Keep stirring until the cognac is evaporated and turn the heat off. Spread the mushrooms in an even layer in the pan and let it sit aside while you make the rest of the dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degreases.

Beat the eggs in a large metal bowl with a balloon whisk. Add the cream and keep beating. Add the spices and sugar and beat to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cubed bread. Make sure that all bits of bread are saturate with the egg mixture but there is not a pool of egg at the bottom of the bowl. The pudding some come together in a very dense ball in the bowl. You can add a tiny bit more cream, milk or even water if the mixture seems too dry. Fold in the goat cheese and mushrooms, scrapping all the flavor out of the pan.

Spoon the mixture into mini muffin tins lined with mini muffin cups. You will have enough for 3 tins. Sprinkle a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese over the top of each muffin and bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and fluffy. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Eating Whole Lemons

I was watching the food network and saw Tyler Florence make a similar chicken cacciatore. I was intrigued by his use of lemons in the sauce. They are an amazing addition. After reducing the sauce you don’t see the lemons anymore, however they surprise your mouth and create a fresh burst of flavor in every bight. Serve this with fresh Parmesan shavings over mashed potatoes or polenta.

Chicken Cacciatore

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
salt and pepper
garlic powder
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
16 oz crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
3 anchovies
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon sugar

Cut the chicken into thin cutlets. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Lightly dust the chicken with the flour so that it is all just coated. Knock off the excess. In a large non-stick pot, heat a layer of oil on medium high heat. Fry the chicken in batches so that it is brown on both sides. Remove the chicken to a plate and wet aside.

Sautee the onion and garlic in the same pan and oil. Once the onions are browned and soft add in rest of the ingredients and stir. Simmer the sauce for at least one hour till it is reduced. When the sauce is a thick consistency and has a rich flavor, add back in the chicken and cook thoroughly.