Poached chicken/salmon with a buttery goodness

Happy last Sunday of August! This week, we learned to poach a protein. Poaching involves simmering something in liquid. I poached not one, but two proteins. Whoop whoop! I loved this technique. It was so simple and clean. Before poaching, I made a court bouillon to poach the chicken and salmon in. It was a very acidic broth. Wowsers!

The court bouillon includes the following ingredients:

  • water
  • white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • yellow onion (coarsely chopped)
  • celery (coarsely chopped)
  • leeks (coarsely chopped)
  • bay leaves
  • crushed peppercorn
  • dried thyme
  • parsley stems
  • whole cloves
  • salt

The liquid with all its ingredients are brought to a boil and then simmered for 20 minutes. The contents are then strained and discarded. The clean broth is ready for use.

Before submerging the protein in the bouillon, the temperature of the liquid needs to be brought to 160ºF (for the chicken) and 140ºF (for the salmon). The protein is then submerged in the low-heat liquid until it reaches its well-done temperatures (165ºF for chicken and 145ºF for salmon).

Both proteins were paired with a beurre blanc (aka white buttery) sauce. Here are the ingredients used to make this glorious sauce:

  • dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • white wine vinegar
  • shallots (chopped brunoise style (1/8 x 1/8 x 1/8 cut)
  • cold unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
  • salt

This sauce requires a lot of attention and focus to maintain its consistency. My chef instructors spoke about this sauce “breaking” if left unattended or overheated. The sauce will lose its thick texture and become runny, similar to melted butter. That would be a mess.

First, the wine, vinegar, and shallots are reduced to about an ounce or two tablespoons in the saucepan. Next, add one or two cubes of butter at a time, while whisking vigorously. This creates an emulsion, which is a mixture of two or more liquids that are typically immiscible, like oil and water. Continue slowly adding the butter and whisk. Lift the pot on-and-off the heat (“pot dancing”) while adding the butter and whisking persistently to control the temperature. Once the emulsion takes hold, more amounts of butter can be added a time, while still continuing to whisk. Shallots can be taken out or left in the pan. Season before serving.

This sauce is kept in a warm place or thermos until it’s ready to be served. Once this sauce is made, it cannot be reheated, as the sauce will break. I was so nervous about breaking the sauce, but thankfully, I didn’t. I was intently focused on making sure I kept the consistency of the thickness of the sauce. I was so attentive that I forgot to take required pictures of the steps leading to the final production of this sauce for my class assignment. Therefore, I had to remake it. It was great practice to make it again. I’m glad I had the opportunity. Because I knew what to expect, I felt more confident making the sauce the second time around. I was so amazed that whisking butter in an ounce of liquid could create a rich, acidic, and thick buttery sauce. The color reminded me of cream of chicken. It was so delightful and paired so well with the chicken and salmon. Yum!

Have a lovely week as we head into September. There’s a lot happening in the world. The pandemic. The situation in Afghanistan…. People in Louisiana, you’re in my thoughts and prayers as y’all encounter Hurricane Ida. Let’s not let the negative events of the world consume our mind. Take time to reflect on the positive and always exercise gratitude. That’s what I was reminded of this past week. Being thankful for what I have and keeping that close to my heart.

Take care,

FS x

Spring chicken soup before spring is over!

I saw this awesome spring chicken soup recipe while browsing my Facebook and I HAD to make it!

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a19992009/spring-chicken-soup-recipe/

Ingredients: (of course, as y’all know, I modified the recipe.)
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 c. low-sodium organic chicken broth
1 whole chicken, shredded
2 sprigs thyme
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 cans of Southwest corn
Lemon slices, for garnish
My ingredients for this awesome soup!
Directions:
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion, carrots, celery, and asparagus, and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add oregano, salt, and pepper.
  2. Pour in chicken broth and thyme. Bring to a boil then add chicken and lower heat. Let simmer until chicken is cooked through, 10 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken from pot and shred with two forks. Add chicken, lemon juice, and corn to pot. Cook until warmed through, 5 minutes. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley to serve.

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This soup was amazing! It lasted my family and I for three days!

I made pesto grilled cheese sandwiches to go along with the hearty soup.

The homemade pesto recipe is super simple:

  • Basil (Thai basil is also fine to use)
  • Pine nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves

Blend ingredients in a food processor or blender. It is so good! The best pesto I’ve ever eaten!

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I wanted to try Muenster cheese. It reminds me of Swiss. It was very yummy!

Hard core balsamic vinegar!

Boy, oh boy! Balsamic vinegar is where it’s at! It’s potent, but oh-so-good, and healthy for ya. Did you know it’s made from grapes?! I had no idea! Where was I? Haha! Makes me think of wine.

I was inspired by our Easter luncheon to make a dish with balsamic vinegar. I also learned how healthy it is for you. Time to use this ingredient much more often.

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I made a honey-balsamic chicken dish, courtesy of AllRecipes.

It was a very simple dish. I, of course, added onions and garlic to my dish. My must-haves!

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I baked the chicken for an hour and 10 minutes at 375 degrees. It was really good! Best to marinate the night before- not required, though.

I also made a spinach, quinoa, and strawberry salad with homemade oil and vinegar dressing. Oh, to-die-for!

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Ingredients for the dressing. I measured 1/3 c oil and vinegar and 2 tsp. sugar. The garlic powder and pepper are bonuses! Hehe!

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Beautiful salad; beautiful colors. You can cook the quinoa in a rice cooker or on the stove. I cooked it in the rice cooker- one cup of quinoa and measured two cups of water, as instructed, but the quinoa came out a bit mushy. Next time, I’ll put 1.5 cups of water instead. Can’t always trust the instructions. That’s why I always cook by taste, rather than following a recipe to-the-tee. I use recipes as a guide.

Happy Friday and upcoming weekend! Relax and unwind…

 

Mmm, slow cookers are one of the best inventions ever!

Mama mia! Why haven’t I taken advantage of slow cookers more often in the past? I absolutely love it! My dad would occasionally make dinners in the Crock Pot and it would be soo delicious!

So, one weekend, I decided to make one of my dad’s Crock Pot dishes- chicken with Cream of Mushroom soup sauce. I added frozen mixed veggies, carrots, potatoes, and onions. Yum! I wanted to test out the slow cooker. Before I started my busy afternoon of errands, I put all of the ingredients in the Crock Pot and set the cooker to low for eight hours.  I started with the vegetables first. Chopped them up and put them in the pot. Then added chicken thighs and breasts, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with thyme, pepper, garlic and pepper seasoning, and Hawaiian salt. Finally, I added the Cream of Mushroom soup and diluted it with a little bit of water, so it wouldn’t be so thick. Stirred it to get the sauce evenly in the pot, covered it, set the timer, and left for the long day ahead.

When I returned home in the evening- violà! The chicken came out so tender and the dish amazing! This was served with egg noodles. Yummy! It was such a simple and easy dish. Just typing this and reminiscing at these pictures are making me hungry. I gotta go! Haha!

Have a great week!

~FS

A day of Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, All! I wish you and your loved ones a blessed day to celebrate amongst yourselves, with food, joy, and laughter!

Just a preview of tonight’s menu… I was busy in the kitchen last night, cookin’ up some creamy mashed potatoes, blueberry/cranberry sauce, and prepping ingredients for the stuffing (which I will make tonight). My dad’s cooking the rest of the entrées: the big bird, ham, and yam. Mmm! This is the usual Thanksgiving dinner for my family and I. Not to mention the sides: dinner rolls, poke (raw fish), edamame (soy beans)…

I was inspired by The Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond, to attempt making a different style of mashed potatoes this year. I added these three ingredients to make it extra rich, creamy, and special: half-and-half, whipping cream, and cream cheese. I don’t think I’m ever going back to making mashed potatoes like I used to. These three ingredients changed the texture of the dish! So good!

Here is the recipe! It’s so simple, and you can add more of these ingredients if you please! I never follow recipes to-the-tee!

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Boiled a bunch of potatoes. I bought a 20lb bag from Costco last weekend. I’m down to a few potatoes left- haha!

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The ingredients to add to the mashed potatoes!

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And of course, you need to have seasoning!!

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Bam! There ya go! Creamy and rich! You can’t even taste the cream cheese (for those who don’t care for it).

Next, I made my blueberry/cranberry sauce. When I was growing up, I was always curious to know how fresh, homemade cranberry sauce is made. In the past, we had family friends make a container for us, or we would buy the canned sauce. NEVER AGAIN with the canned sauce- haha! It’s got to be fresh! A couple years ago, I finally decided to start the tradition in making my own sauce for the season. My family loved it; even those who didn’t like cranberry sauce.

I was inspired by two different recipes, but I stuck with this one: as simple as can be! All you need is cranberries, blueberries, sugar, and good ol’ OJ!

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There ya go! So simple, yet so good!

Maybe next year, I’ll try spiking it??? Hehe! We’ll see. I should make two batches, in case the experimental one doesn’t turn out, haha!

Another post to come after the complete meal is prepared, which will include my stuffing.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! Eat lots of turkey!!!!

Shanks, shanks, baby!

The other weekend, I was at the grocery store and saw some lamb shanks on sale. I love lamb, especially shanks. I hadn’t had it in a long time and decided to cook them for dinner. There’s so much meat and it’s so tender. This was a meal to savor!!!!

The shanks were very easy to cook. I drizzled them with extra virgin olive oil and lemon olive oil, and seasoned it with: lemon juice, Chardonnay white wine, Italian seasoning, thyme, Hawaiian salt, garlic salt, and pepper. I sliced some garlic cloves and threw them into the dish as well. Baked it in a casserole dish, covered with foil, at 400º for about an 80 minutes or so. The baking time varies, due to how rare you want the meat to be. I turned down the temperature and let the dish sit in the oven until it was ready to grindz!

I made a pasta dish to go alongside this delicious entrée. Got to have pasta! My all-time comfort food.

 

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I used a mix of collard greens and spinach. I’ve never cooked with collard greens before and have been curious to finally try it. It’s very similar to spinach. It shrinks when cooked. Haha! Best to add it in last, as it cooks quickly.

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I boiled egg noodles (love them to death!). The sauce included: Chardonnay white wine, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. A very simple, and healthy sauce. Sprinkled with chili flakes and shaven Parmesan cheese. Yummy!

Oooh whee, I am getting hungry for lamb again! Is it time to eat?

~FS

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