Sunday, February 20, 2011

Braised Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers and Onions

I usually buy a whole chicken when we want chicken. I buy organic meat as much as possible and it's often much cheaper to buy whole and butcher it yourself, which I must admit, I highly enjoy for some strange reason. Also, you get the added benefits of having the carcass for stock, the chicken livers for a nice appetizer and the bits off the boiled carcass (after making stock) for chicken salad! It's the gift that keeps on giving. This recipe is my favorite go-to recipe for the chicken breasts and legs. It's an adapted version of a recipe which I saw Mario Batali make on his road-trip through Spain. So easy and really tasty! I especially love it over buttery couscous.

Braised Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers and Onions


2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
6 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Onion, Halved then thinly sliced
2 large Roasted Red Peppers, Sliced
2 Dried Chiles
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Paprika
Salt and Pepper, for Seasoning Chicken
2 Chicken Legs and Thighs
2 Chicken Wings
1 Cup of White Wine (Do not use a wine that you wouldn't drink, because it will not be tasty in your food either)
1 Cup of Chicken Broth


In a large Dutch Oven, pour in your olive oil, and toss in your onions, chilis and garlic. Saute until these are translucent and starting to brown slightly. Meanwhile, season your chicken pieces on both sides with the cumin, paprika and salt and pepper. Once the onions have a slight bit of color on them, add in your chicken pieces, making sure that the chicken is touching the bottom of the pan. Your trying to brown them a bit, so you can sort of slide the onions aside. When the chicken is golden brown on both sides, add in your roasted red peppers. Next pour in your liquids. Turn the heat down to med-low and cover. Cook for 40 minutes and you will have unbelievably moist tasty chicken with a sauce that is fantastic over any starch you care to use as a side!

Dark Chocolate Torte with Chambord Cream

I have recently noticed more and more people with gluten allergies. This is a really delicious dessert which is gluten free, but will also appeal to gluten lovers. It's very dark and rich, which makes the light and fluffy Chambord cream a perfect compliment. It's also very easy to make!

Dark Chocolate Torte


16 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate, Chopped or Chips

1 Cup of Unsalted Butter

2 Tablespoons of Chambord

9 Eggs, Separated

1 Cup of Sugar


9" Spring Form Pan

1 Round of Parchment Paper, Cut to fit the inner bottom of the pan


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a double boiler, or if you don't have one, I use a pyrex bowl on top of a saucepan of boiling water, pour in your chocolate bits, butter and Chambord. Melt slowly while stirring. Turn off heat once completely melted and allow to cool. Rub butter across the interior of a spring form pan very uniformly.Place your parchment paper inside the pan and smooth across the bottom. In a mixer, whip your egg whites into soft peaks. Remove from mixing bowl and set aside. Add to the mixing bowl your egg yolks and sugar, mix until a creamy, soft lemon color. Add 1/3 of your yolk mixture into your chocolate and combine. Repeat with remaining thirds until the mixture is incorporated. Remove 1/3 of this mixture and reserve for icing. To the remaining yolk/chocolate mixture, fold in 1/3 of your egg whites very gently. Once it is just incorporated, add another 1/3, and repeat until all the egg whites have been incorporated. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into your pan and bake for approximately 45 min, until the sides start to pull away just slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Unlatch spring form sides, and gently lift away. Place a cake plate upside down on the cake top and pick up the whole assembly and flip gently. Remove spring form bottom and parchment paper. Ice the top of the cake with the reserved batter from earlier.

Chambord Cream


1 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Tablespoon of Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Chambord


In a mixer, whip all of the ingredients on high speed until cream forms peaks. Cut your cake and serve with a huge dollop of Chambord Cream on top!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

When You Don't Have the Energy to Cook

I work a full-time job during the day, and sometimes that means I get home around 8pm or later. On those days, it's really nice if you have something in the fridge that can be quickly warmed up. My go-to dish recently has been this Spicy Carrot and Tomato soup. It's dead simple and you can make a huge batch to store for the week. In the winter, I use canned tomatoes, but in the summer you could use fresh.

Spicy Carrot and Tomato Soup


2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

1/2 Onion, Diced

4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
2 Dried Chilis, Crushed
1 Bunch of Carrots, Chopped into 1/2"-3/4" pieces

1 28 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes

1 Teaspoon of Herbes de Provence

4 Cups of Broth, Your Choice
1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream (You can substitute milk for a lighter version.)

Salt and Pepper and Your Favorite Hot Sauce to Taste (I use a Habenero version because I like it hot!)

In a large Dutch oven, toss in your olive oil, onions, chilis and garlic. Sweat the onions on medium heat until they are translucent, then add the carrots and Herbes de Provence. Cook the carrots until they have a glossy, bright orange color, just a few more minutes. Add in the tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the carrots are fork tender, meaning you can easily slide a fork into one, usually about 30-40min. Remove the soup from the stove top. Let cool slightly. Use a stick blender or your regular blender and puree until smooth. Add the cream and seasonings. You can serve right away, or put it in the freezer or fridge.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Local Chocolate for Valentine's? Hit up Cacao

While I fully comprehend that Valentine's Day was created to sell cards and things covered in hearts, alongside frightfully overpriced red roses, sometimes it's really wonderful to receive a little gift from someone you love, right as the winter doldrums start taking their toll. Since this item is on my Valentine's wish list, I wanted to share the goodness.
Cacao Laboratoire opened in 2009 as the storefront of Chef Kristen Hard's chocolate company K Chocolat. Chef Hard had sold her artisan truffles wholesale for 5 years before opening the delightful Inman Park boutique, sharing those truffles with the general public. The chef spent years researching chocolate, mainly from the Caribbean, and is now hailed as the first southern bean-to-bar producer.
So, as I'm sure you've realized at this point, this is not a quantity-over-quality-Whitmans-box-o'-chocolates type of place. Each piece of chocolate is carefully conceived and handcrafted. They are precious, but the outstanding flavors are worth it. They are special treats to be savoured with a cup of tea, or a mug of coffee, or after a delicious meal.
Favorites so far have been the: Lemon Curd, not the first chocolate-citrus combination that comes to mind, but is wonderfully bright tasting; the Fig Preserve and Balsamic, the fig comes through first with a delicate sweetness, and then you get the faint tang of the balsamic; and also, the Blueberry Beet, which is very subtle, sweet with the slight spice of the beet coming through at the end.
If you're thinking chocolate, I recommend giving Cacao a look. It's really wonderful to have something locally produced and that is so lovingly created.