You may recognize Ellie Krieger from her popular Food Network show, Healthy Appetite. She's back with her fifth cookbook, Weeknight Wonders, and she's ready to further prove that quick and healthy aren't necessarily mutually exclusive terms in the world of food. A registered dietitian with an impressive Ivy-League education in nutrition, Krieger's collection includes 150 recipes that focus on "fresh, minimally processed, additive-free [and] low-fat" ingredients, and each can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. If you love the combination of sweet and savory as much as I do, then this chicken is a must-try.
Peach Chicken with Crispy Bread Crumbs
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
This dish has the savory, crispy-coated appeal of breaded chicken cutlets, minus the messy, unhealthy frying and with the added bonus of a sweet peach topping. The chicken is dipped in a homemade Italian dressing, then coated in freshly toasted seasoned bread crumbs, topped with the peaches and baked until delightfully browned and crisp but still lusciously moist from the fruit. Toss some asparagus with a little olive oil and salt and pop it in the oven for a few minutes before you put the chicken in for a roasted asparagus side, or try it with Asparagus “Pasta” (page 246) or Pan-Steamed Broccoli with Lemon, Garlic, and Parsley Gremolata (page 253).
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
If using fresh peaches, pit them and slice each one into 8 slices. Otherwise, thaw frozen peaches in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove.
Place the bread in the bowl of a food processor and process until fine crumbs form. Place them in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until they are crisp and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes.
Combine the bread crumbs, sesame seeds, ½ teaspoon of the paprika, and ¼ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Mince the garlic and place it in a small bowl along with the oil, vinegar, oregano, sugar, onion powder, and remaining ¼ teaspoon each paprika, salt, and pepper. Whisk well to combine.
Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Dip the chicken in the vinaigrette, then press it into the bread crumb mixture and place it in the baking dish. Sprinkle any remaining bread crumbs into the pan, on and around the chicken, then drizzle the remaining vinaigrette on top to moisten the crumbs.
Distribute the peaches evenly across the top of the chicken and drizzle with any accumulated peach juices. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and begins to brown, 12 to 13 minutes.
SERVING SIZE: 1 chicken breast, ½ cup peaches, and ¼ cup additional crumb mixture
CALORIES: 480; Total Fat 20g (Sat Fat 3g, Mono Fat 12.2g, Poly Fat 3.0g); Protein 42g; Carb 32g; Fiber 5g; Cholesterol 110mg; Sodium 620mg
EXCELLENT SOURCE OF: Fiber, Magnesium, Manganese, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Protein, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K
GOOD SOURCE OF: Copper, Iron, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Zinc
This week's recipe is from our January Top Pick in cookbooks, Bold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors by Susanna Hoffman and Victoria Wise. Their "Napa Valley Pot Roast with Leeks and Chardonnay" is just the kind of hearty, simple dish that can be added to your weekly repertoire. But be warned: this recipe may lead to some California dreamin' at the dinner table.
Napa Valley Post Roast with Leeks and Chardonnay
Serves 4 or 5
A journey through California's Napa Valley is a trek both sensory and surprising. A unique combination of earth movements, volcanoes and erosion led to a hill-surrounded vale that is alternately rain-catching and sun-hot, ideal for gardens, orchards and, most of all, grapes. Everywhere there are vineyards. As you wend up the roads, your eyes take in rows of staked vines stretching to the hilltops, reaching into gullies, lining river plains. More than 250 wineries and their tracts of vines divide the valley floor into a patchwork quilt of geographic beauty. At each tasting room stop, your palate meets wine from the valley’s two ruling grape varietals: red cabernet sauvignon, the queen of hearts and white chardonnay, the queen of diamonds. Customarily, the queen of hearts would assert her command over a beef pot roast, but the cuisine of Napa Valley is as strikingly distinct as its landscape. A Napa Valley pot roast simmered in chardonnay gives the diamond queen her due as she lends a crisp and sultry dash to the simmering sauce that sparkles around the meat and vegetables.
1. Generously salt and pepper the meat on both sides. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or stew pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown lightly on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes altogether. Add the wine to the pot, then the onion, chopped carrot and tomatoes, along with the thyme, parsley and celery leaves, and stir to mix. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover the pot and cook until the meat is fork-tender, about 2 ½ hours.
2. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside in a warm place. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the solids. Let the liquid rest for a few minutes for the fat to rise to the top.
3. Skim and discard the fat from the liquid, return the liquid to the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the celery ribs, leeks, sliced carrots and mustard seeds and cook until the vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes.
4.To serve, carve the meat into ¼ to ½-inch-thick slices and arrange them on a serving platter. Pour the juices from the meat plate into the pot with the vegetables and stir gently to mix. Spoon the vegetables and liquid around the meat and serve right away.
Tip: Flat-Iron Pot Roast, A Cut Above. Flat-iron roast used to be readily available in American markets. Every Yankee grandmother and every Jewish mother knew how to get one, namely, from the local butcher. The flat-iron cut, aka blade chuck, top blade, and top chuck, is taken from the top blade (bone) side of a thickly cut beef chuck shoulder roast. It’s prized for pot roasting because when simmered in a casserole it cooks up as tender as a tenderloin steak. There are still butchers who can cut a flat-iron for that special pot-roast occasion if you call ahead. Without such a possibility, substitute a cross rib roast (English roll).
Take advantage of the hearty vegetables available all winter with this week's recipe from Sarah Copeland's Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite. Don't fret, meat-eaters, Copeland assures us that "this book is here to exalt vegetarianism in pursuit of the delicious, not the dogmatic," and her flavor combinations are top-notch, making these veggie-centric meals you can truly look forward to.
This is one of my absolute favorite salads in this book. Warm root vegetables, nutty farro, creamy yogurt, and toasty nuts flatter each other in this filling winter meal. Farro cooked like rice tastes almost buttery; toss with warm vegetables and it will satisfy to the very last grain.
Serves 2 to 4.
8 red or yellow baby beets, scrubbed and trimmed
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp/90 ml extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 young heirloom carrots or baby turnips, scrubbed, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 tbsp honey
1 sprig fresh thyme
8 oz/225 g farro
¼ cup/60 ml full-fat plain yogurt
Juice of ½ lime, plus more as needed
2 tbsp finely chopped assorted fresh herbs
1 tbsp hazelnut oil
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 heaping handfuls arugula or baby leaf lettuce
Small handful toasted hazelnuts
Flaked sea salt such as Maldon
3 oz/85 g aged Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/gas 6. Drizzle the beets with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap them tightly in aluminum foil and roast until they can easily be pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the foil.
Combine the carrots, honey, thyme and 1 cup/240 ml water in a medium skillet over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are fork-tender and the broth has reduced to a glaze, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
Meanwhile, put the farro in a medium pot and add enough water to cover by about 2 in/5 cm. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to low heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel the skins with a paring knife and quarter. Slice the radishes as thinly as possible with a mandoline or a very sharp knife.
To make the dressing: Whisk together the yogurt, lime juice, herbs, hazelnut oil, olive oil, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper in a medium bowl. Taste with a leaf of arugula; adjust the salt, pepper or lime juice as needed.
Divide the farro among shallow bowls. Drain the carrots. Combine the beets, carrots and arugula in a large bowl; toss together; and arrange over the farro. Top with the radishes, drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with hazelnuts and flaky salt. Generously grate or shave Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top with a vegetable peeler. Serve warm.
The holidays may be over, but the cold weather is sticking around, so calories still aren't counting, right? In Wintersweet, Tammy Donroe Inman offers a collection of sweet treats focused on seasonal ingredients and rich flavors. Perfect for those "not into fussy holiday baking and elaborate concoctions," this book relies on simplicity, and the recipes are neatly arranged by ingredients so you can easily whip up something after a quick peek into your cabinets.
Inman's recipe for rice pudding adds some bright, fruity notes to a simple, yet always satisfying classic and can be tweaked to fit your mood.
Persimmon, Pistachio and Coconut Rice Pudding Parfaits
Back in culinary school, I had to submit an original dish to be critiqued by my instructors on originality, flavor and presentation. Here’s what I came up with: coconut rice pudding served in a papaya “boat” fitted with a triangular “sail” made from pistachio-coconut meringue. It tasted great—but it looked like something a preschooler might have made. In this new-and-improved version, I use raw persimmons instead of papayas, and no silly sails. Parfait glasses or jelly jars allow you to see the pretty layers. The result is whimsical and comforting. This rice pudding recipe makes double what you’ll need for the parfaits, but then you’ll have plenty left over.
Makes 6 Parfaits
5 cups (1.25 L) whole milk
13½ ounces (400 ml) coconut milk
1 cup (185 g) long-grain white rice (like basmati or jasmine)
1 cinnamon stick
2⁄3 cup (135 g) granulated sugar
6 ripe Fuyu persimmons or 3 very ripe Hachiyas or wild persimmons (about 1½ pounds, 680 g)
¼ cup (30 g) chopped, shelled, salted pistachios
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, coconut milk, rice and cinnamon stick over medium-high heat, stirring every few minutes to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 20 minutes more, or until the pudding is thickened but still creamy and pourable (think risotto). Remove the cinnamon stick. Let the pudding cool to room temperature.
When ready to serve, slice the Fuyu persimmons in half along their equators. With a paring knife, score the flesh on the cut-side all the way down to the skin in parallel lines about 1/2-inch (1-cm) apart. Do the same in the other direction, so you get perpendicular lines. Now you have little cubes you can spoon out of the skins when assembling the parfaits. (If using Hachiyas or wild persimmons, you can simply scoop out the soft, jelly-like flesh, removing any seeds.)
In small parfait glasses or jelly jars, alternate layers of rice pudding and persimmon, ending with a layer of rice pudding. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios on top. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Any leftover rice pudding can be eaten plain straight from the fridge.
Variation: Try this with pomegranate seeds or cubed kiwi, papaya or mango substituted for the persimmons.
"Southern hometown food is extraordinary,” says Kelly Alexander, writer of the Southern Living No Taste Like Home cookbook; and the BookPage staff here in Nashville definitely know how right she is. Well-written instructions combined with recipes and local lore from six different Southern regions make this collection a winner, regardless of what state you call home. During these winter months, comfort food is key, and Birmingham chef Shannon Gober's Not Yo' Mama's Mac 'N' Cheese recipe has a decadent, grown-up twist. Not Yo’ Mama’s Mac ’N’ Cheese
Makes 8 to 10 servings. Hands-On Time 1 hour. Total Time 1 hour, 20 min.
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Bake breadcrumbs in a single layer on a baking sheet 5 to 7 minutes or until golden, stirring once after 21?2 minutes.
2. Cook prosciutto, in batches, in a lightly greased large skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until crisp. Drain on paper towels; crumble.
3. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add shallot, and sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add wine, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven, and cook 1 minute.
5. Gradually whisk in flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and next 4 ingredients; cook, whisking constantly, 12 to 14 minutes or until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Remove and discard bay leaf.
6. Place 4 cups (16 oz.) Cheddar cheese in a large heatproof bowl; reserve remaining Cheddar cheese for another use. Add Gouda and Parmesan cheeses to bowl.
7. Gradually pour white sauce over cheeses, whisking until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth.
8. Stir in pasta and prosciutto until blended. Pour into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with breadcrumbs. 9. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Serve immediately.
Note: Don’t use preshredded cheese; it doesn’t melt as smoothly. You can shred the cheese and crisp the prosciutto up to 1 day ahead and chill. You can also toast the breadcrumbs ahead and store them in a zip-top plastic bag.
For No-Bake Mac ’N’ Cheese: Omit breadcrumbs. Prepare recipe as directed in Steps 2 through 6. Stir pasta, prosciutto, and cheeses into white sauce. Serve immediately. — Executive Chef Shannon Gober, John’s City Diner, Birmingham, Alabama.
Celebrity chef Scott Conant, creator of the critically acclaimed New York restaurant Scarpetta, has released The Scarpetta Cookbook. His dishes range from simple to quite complex, and many require some planning, but each one is worth the work for the end result. Conant calls the following recipe "a quintessential Scarpetta dish that has not lost its popularity over the years."
This is a quintessential Scarpetta dish that has not lost its popularity over the years. At the restaurant, waiters bring these mushrooms to the table in tiny saucepans. The lid to the pan is ceremoniously lifted, and you first experience the dish with what I call “the breathe,” that initial aromatic hit that puts the dish right in your head. The mushrooms and their cooking juices are then spooned over a waiting bowl of our creamy polenta.
Which wine? This rich dish needs a wine with intensity and weight to match the richness of the polenta and the woody nature of the mushrooms. A red from Umbria, like Caprai Montefalco Riserva or Sagrantino from Fattoria Scacciadiavoli, would fit the bill.
In a medium saucepan, heat the 6 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring, until the shallots just begin to color, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 2 minutes. Add the Chicken Reduction, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half and has a saucy consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the preserved truffles. If the mixture thickens too much—you want the mushrooms to be swimming in the sauce but there should be a mushroom in every bite—add 2 tablespoons of the Chicken Reduction to thin it out a bit. Stir in the chives and crushed red pepper.
Divide the Creamy Polenta among serving bowls. Top with the mushrooms and their cooking liquid and serve immediately.
Serves 8 to 10
In a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the cream and milk until warm, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the salt and keep whisking until the liquid is very frothy (like a cappuccino) and hot. While still whisking, slowly rain the polenta into the pot. Continue to whisk until the granules swell, about 8 minutes. At this point, switch to a wooden spoon to stir the polenta. (It will get too thick for the whisk.) Keep stirring until the polenta has begun to thicken, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and cook until it evenly begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until cooked through and the liquid has reduced, about 1½ hours. The polenta might look “done” sooner, but it does continue to soften, so be patient. During this time, a skin might form on the bottom of the pan, which is fine.
Just before serving, raise the heat to medium-high, stir in the butter and the cheese, and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted, then take the pot off the heat. If the polenta looks thin, don’t worry, as it will thicken as it cools.
Makes about 4 cups
Heat a convection oven to 425°F or a conventional oven to 450°F.
Rinse the chicken bones and pat them dry. Spread them out on two rimmed baking sheets in a single layer with a little room between the bones. Roast until golden brown, about 1 hour, flipping and turning the bones every 15 minutes or so.
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the rosemary and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the celery, onion, and carrot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook, stirring, until some of the juices evaporate, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until almost all of it has evaporated. Add the chicken bones (with juices and drippings) to the stockpot, then add enough water to cover everything by about 2 inches (about 6 quarts). Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium to cook at a gentle simmer, stirring often to break up the bones and emulsify the fat, until the chicken is falling off the bones and the stock has a full flavor, 2 to 2½ hours.
Remove the chicken bones and strain the broth several times through a chinois or other fine-mesh strainer. If you want to make and use the reduction right away, spoon off any visible fat floating on top of the stock. Otherwise, chill the stock until the fat solidifies on top, and then scrape off and discard most of it.
Pour the defatted stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly so the stock is not boiling so furiously. As the stock simmers, some of it will remain on the sides of the saucepan; use a spoon or ladle to pour some of the stock over this to deglaze it. (This will further increase the intensity of the flavor.) Continue simmering until the stock has darkened, thickened, and reduced to about 4 cups, about 30 minutes. The reduction can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
Note: If you don’t want to make, or don’t have the time to make, this chicken reduction but want to prepare one of the dishes calling for it, experiment with some of the commercial chicken reductions out there. One that I have tried with success is called Glace de Poulet Gold, by More Than Gourmet brand. A classic reduced chicken stock, it can be reconstituted to get a flavorful chicken reduction that, while not exactly what I make, is exceedingly convenient. You can find it at most supermarkets as well as at specialty food markets.
'Tis the season to be fancypants. Our Top Pick in Cookbooks for December, Sweet by Valerie Gordon, is the ideal guide to the most gorgeous and delicious sweet treats of the season. Writes Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt, "Sophisticated, grown-up winners, all; you can’t go wrong."
Gelée sounds so much more sophisticated and elegant than the word “gelatin.” We all grew up with the packaged variety in those electric colors with flavors like orange and lime. Dispel that notion of gelatin; this version is far more delicious and impressive. Use your favorite Champagne or sparkling wine.
2. Combine the remaining 3/4 cup water and the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
3. Add the gelatin to the sugar syrup, stirring until it has dissolved. Pour into a large pitcher. Pour the Champagne into the pitcher and stir with a long spoon.
4. Pour the gelée into glasses or small glass bowls and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, until set.
The gelée can be refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.
Adding strawberries, sliced if large, and raspberries, is a delicious way to vary this recipe. Add the berries to the glasses before refrigerating the gelée. If you add berries, it is best to serve the gelées the day they are made, as the berries can darken and break down, and the effect will not be as pretty.
Happy Thanksgiving! You probably don't need any new recipes today, so enjoy your enormous meal, and in three days when you're ready to eat again, try this one from One Good Dish, David Tanis' minimalist cookbook.
A traditional bread-and-butter pudding made with milk, egg, sugar, and spice is for some the ultimate use of an old loaf. Like French toast, it is a frugal way to make a delicious dessert. I usually prefer a savory version with ham and cheese. It’s sort of like a quiche, but easier. Adding briefly cooked spinach or chard makes a lovely green version, or sprinkle in a handful of freshly chopped herbs along with the scallions.
1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a shallow 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Spread the remaining butter thinly on the slices of baguette. Line the baking dish with half the baguette slices, butter side down.
3. Beat together the eggs and half-and-half, adding ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Grate in a little nutmeg, add the scallions, and whisk again. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, pushing down to submerge the bread if necessary.
4. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the custard is set but still a bit wiggly and the top is nicely browned.
The season of gift books is upon us, and if you've got a foodie on your list, Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt recommends Daniel Boulud's Daniel: My French Cuisine above all other cookbooks this year. Now to find someone with enough culinary talents to take on recipes like this one . . .
Barley-Mustard Crust (makes extra)
For the Barley-Mustard Crust
Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt wasn't kidding when she said Suzanne Goin's gorgeous The A.O.C. Cookbook "is serious, challenging cooking, not dumbed-down, not simplified." But for the courageous cook, these recipes are worth it.
Combine the cream, milk, and fig leaves in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes, allowing the fig leaves to steep in the hot liquid. Strain the leaves from cream mixture, discard them, and return the liquid to the saucepan. Heat this cream mixture over medium heat to a scald, add the sugar, and stir until it dissolves. Slowly whisk the cream mixture into the bloomed gelatin until completely incorporated. Chill the cream mixture over an ice bath, stirring occasionally, until it’s at room temperature or slightly cool.
Prepare six 3-inch ring molds (or individual ramekins) by lightly brushing vegetable oil on the inside surfaces. Pour a small amount of the cream mixture into a bowl, and whisk in the crème fraîche or yogurt. Then whisk that thickened cream–crème-fraîche mixture back into the cream. (Tempering the cream this way creates a very smooth and silky panna cotta.) Pour the panna- cotta cream into the prepared molds, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours, until set. When ready to serve, cut the remaining three fig leaves in half and place them on each of six dessert plates. Cut six 3-inch circles of walnut pain de Gênes and place one in the middle of each fig leaf. Center one walnut lace cookie atop each cake. Carefully unmold the panna cottas on top of each cake- cookie stack. (To unmold, gently press your finger down on the panna cotta close to the edge, pulling lightly inward, to the center, and then moving your finger along the perimeter of the panna cotta. When f ipped upside down, it should pop right out.) Trim the stems of the figs, and cut each one in half. Place one fig half on top and one fig half on either side of each panna cotta. Thinly shave the melon with a vegetable peeler; weave the slices around the plates, and place scoops of melon sorbet nestled among the fruit.