Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas and a Real Dinner: Lemon Chicken

Ryan, my boyfriend of over 2.5 years and I have an unspoken truce. Even if he wants to watch the football game and I really want to watch the new episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, we can always agree on one thing that we both enjoy, Food Network or Cooking Channel.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to cook, let alone eat solid food for the last week due to getting my wisdom teeth out. However, that hasn't stopped me from dreaming, literally. Damn dreams about savory floating steaks. But also inspiration for a new post to come- mini souffles!

Ryan's been a great support (and pillow) and spent hours next to me on the couch watching Barefoot Contessa marathon's, about 5 Martha Stewart's Christmas Specials, as well as our absolute favorite, Iron Chef. Not the new Iron Chef America. The REAL Iron Chef- from the 90s, with the CRAZY american voice-overs. We absolutely love it, even though I wouldn't make or eat any of it.

I'm finally feeling a hell of a lot better- so I decided it's time to post one of my new favorite and once again very simple recipes- Lemon Chicken.

This recipe called for mushrooms- but unfortunately with none in the fridge and no car- I had to do without, and glad I did. It's a dry and tangy sauce but it really gets marinated into the chicken. I also made some pasta and put the sauce on it with the chicken. Perfection.

I used a dry chardonnay (white wine) as the main base for the sauce. The lemon adds the zest to it.

Note: When you pour the wine in- your sauce will go crazy- snap crackle and pop to the extreme. If you are afraid- like I was- I just turned the heat down for a little and then gradually increased again.
(lemon chicken simmering in delicious sauce)

Sit down and make some time for dinner in the midst of this holiday hustle and bustle!

Lemon Chicken
  • Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 8 paper-thin slices lemon
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Chopped fresh parsley

Directions
  1. Melt butter with olive oil in heavy medium skillet over high heat.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and sauté until brown, about 2 minutes per side.
  3. Using tongs, transfer chicken to plate. Add mushrooms and garlic to skillet. Sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 4 minutes. (I SKIPPED)
  4. Return chicken to skillet. Overlap 4 lemon slices on each piece of chicken.
  5. Pour white wine and lemon juice around chicken. Reduce heat to low.
  6. Cover skillet and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon sauce around chicken. Garnish with parsley and serve


Bon Appetite!
Chef Maggie


Monday, December 13, 2010

All I Want for Christmas is Some Sugar Cookies

Every year around Christmas time, the women in the Fisher family always keep a sacred tradition; making enough cookies in ONE day through the holiday hibernation.

Recently, my Grandma Sue decided it was time to pass down the tradition and teach me how to make her amazing sugar cookies- and a many of her other cookies. But- the traditional sugar cookie is really the main essential to any Christmas dessert platter and remember to leave them for Santa as a last minute bribe can't hurt.

The key is you can’t roll them too thin, because they will burn easily/good luck getting them on the pan without ripping a limb off Santa. You also can’t make them too thick- or they will puff out and not cook in the middle (unless you want Rudolf to look like he’s gained some holiday weight).

Jen, Gwen and I were feeling some Christmas spirit, plus we needed some cookies for an upcoming holiday shindig, class bribes and of course extras to indulge in during the finals crunch.

So Michael sat and played Golden Eye on N64 and ate our broken cookies, and for the first time- I made my grandma’s sugar cookie dough without her looking over my shoulder. A couple of my cookies came out a little too pudgy, poor Rudolf; but I would say not too bad of a job for my first solo attempt.

If anything, I learned that I definitely needed to work on my frosting skills. Here are some pictures from our adventure and my grandma's recipe!

PS- I will do a more detailed post on the Fisher Cookie (+Aunt Kathy’s fudge) Day Spectacular.

(Ryan gave me the awesome moose cookie cutters)


(Jen holding her holly, and Gwen and I proud of our moose- (or as we kept calling them our meese)


(Some of the cookies broke because they were too big- RIP moose)

(The final scrumptious product)


Grandma Sue's Sugar Cookies
Ingredients
Sift Together:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Add:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

Directions
1. Mix until well blended.
2. Refrigerate dough until well-chilled.
3. Roll and cut out cookies. Make sure that dough remains well chilled.
4. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Grandma's Special Notes:
Dough can be frozen

Before baking brush top of unbaked cookies with a little bit of water or milk, and sprinkle with decorating sugar.

May also decorate after baking- mix water with a little egg white powder, and sprinkle with decorating sugar.

After baking- cooled cookies may also be frosted.

Bon Appetite!

Chef Maggie

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lucky Stew


Finals are coming up next week, it is freezing cold and mix that with a bit of the Irish blood- I decided that it wouldn't be such a horrible idea to attempt my first stew.

This past summer- Amanda and I got a little taste of Ireland when we spent a weekend in Dublin. We both decided that we had to take the opportunity to find our roots, as well as find some really good food. London isn't known for having the best food- so as you can imagine I felt completely at home when I found my meat and potatoes in EVERY restaurant :)

(Amanda and I at Malahide Castle)

This Irish stew is very basic- perfect for an upgrade meal. Additionally- also great if you are cramming for a final and don't have the time to watch constantly. It slowly cooks for 45 minutes- I checked every 15-20 or so, and it was never even close to bubbling over the pot.

My mom usually cooks her stew in a crock pock for an entire day (guess what's on my Christmas list Santa). The meat wasn't as tender as hers- but once again this is a quick fix.

Perfect meal if you are feeling cold after walking in the snow. Also great for left overs! Make sure to get your meat and potatoes during finals.

Protein = good grades! or so I hope!

Irish Stew
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.
  4. Add beef stock, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine.
  5. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Meanwhile, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Add vegetables to beef stew.
  7. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
  8. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.)
  9. Transfer stew to serving bowl.
  10. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Irish-Beef-Stew-104817


Good luck on finals and bon appetite!
Chef Maggie