Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nom Nom Nom

I don't have much for you today. Even though I had three days "off" I'm exhausted from "not working" because I've had to catch up on all the stuff that gets ignored when I am working. You know, laundry, groceries, putting up the tree, watching the Netflix video that's been sitting on top of the TV for two weeks…that kind of stuff.

So, since last year I wrote The Twelve Days Of Carriagemas for you, and also showed you The Object Of My Addiction when we decorated the tree, this year I will share with you a recipe my friend gave me years ago, like in the '70s years ago. (Ahem, 1970's not 1870's…) And a recipe given to me very recently.

My culinary career started rather late in life but I have managed a restaurant, waitressed, been a lunch lady at a high school, and finally I achieved the level of assistant to the Sous Chef. Now, as impressive as this may sound, really a Sous Chef is the assistant chef, so I was the assistant to the assistant. And there were only three of us in the kitchen, Executive Chef, Sous Chef, and former lunch lady, moi. (See? If I use the French word for "Me" it adds an air of distinction to the whole affair, non? Cest bon, oui?)

Okay, enough. Anyway, because I lack anything substantial to write about today like always I am giving you two recipes, one for cookies, and one for a delightful chicken thing, which, if you are a vegetarian you can turn into a delightful tofu thing, if that's your gig. Me, I'd rather substitute dryer lint than tofu, but I am carnivorous and that's how we roll.

So, recipe number one:

Potato Chip Cookies
1 C. butter
½ C. white granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ C. white flour
½ C. crushed potato chips
½ C. chopped pecans
Powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar together, add egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour— mix until moist, fold in potato chips and pecans.

Chill dough 20 minutes. While chilling, pre-heat oven to 350.

When dough is chilled, roll into balls approx. 1 inch in diameter. Place on greased cookie sheet (or use my favorite— parchment paper) and press 2 ways with fork.

Bake for 12—15 minutes. Cool on a paper towel, sprinkle with powdered sugar when cool.

Okay, now we have dessert, so we need something to go with it, because much as I'd like to (and have been known to) eat nothing but cookies, sometimes it's necessary to balance that sugar rush out with a little protein.

Chicken Pesto Artichoke Phyllo Triangles

(Okay, it may not be very elegant, but it's accurate. And I don't know the "real" name, so there you have it.)

The next recipe is from my RWA compadre Imani. You can really hear her voice in her writing, so I've made no edits to keep that voice intact.

1 box phyllo dough
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked
1 jar artichoke hearts
1 jar pesto


I poach my chicken breast in broth, white wine and spices. I'd probably use a little garlic and onion powder, some basil, maybe rosemary or thyme, maybe sage if I'm in the mood. Kind of go with your favorite seasoning for chicken.

I use artichoke hearts in a small jar with olive oil and dump the whole thing in the food processor. I have also used canned artichoke hearts, but I drain these and add some of the chicken poaching liquid if needed.

When assembling the triangles, I use an olive oil cooking spray. Much easier than brushing the phyllo with oil.

Coarsely chop the chicken and artichoke hearts together. The mixture should have fingertip sized chunks and not be pasty. I use my food processor and pulse it, but you could chop by hand if you want. Remove the mixture from the food processor into a bowl and add the pesto. You want to add enough pesto to coat the entire mixture, but not make it too wet. You can also add the liquid from the chicken if the mixture is too dry. It should not be wet, but should hold together.

Arrange two or three sheets of phyllo on your workspace, spraying each sheet with the olive oil. (I just follow the directions on the package for working with the phyllo.) Place a golfball sized portion of the mixture at one end and fold it into the phyllo, making a neat triangle package that completely covers the chicken mixture. Bake according to the package directions on the phyllo.

Okay, so that's what I've got for you today. I hope you enjoy and have a great weekend. I'm sure I'll have a collection of things to bitch about next week so until then, take care.


Sagebrusheq said...

Thanks, SD, I'll try the cookies- sounds odd, but interesting- but I don't think I'll be cooking with pesto anytime soon (I'll keep it on file for when my sister comes to visit).

Not that I'm a food trog; thanks to my parents injunction that we eat whatever was put in front of us my siblings and I have broad palates and will at least try anything. Tripe, liver, sweetmeats, buttermilk- I've learned to like them all. Only once that I can remember have I ever been unable to clean my plate. That was at a Jewish deli in Brookline Mass- and I love Jewish food. It was a dish of cartilage bits in a sort of garlic aspic gelatin, served cold, which the waitress assured me I wouldn't like. Only old European Jews asked for it. So of course I ordered it. Despite the impending embarrassment I could only get half way through it. "You must not have been very hungry" my father would have said. And of course he would have been right. I sure felt hungry though- just not depression era hungry.
Anyway back to chicken pesto, sounds good, but too fussy. When I cook for myself I lean towards Yankee pot roast, corn beef and cabbage, flesh and potatoes, bacon and eggs. You know the type.

Sagebrusheq said...

One good recipe deserves another though so here are two of my favorites, one odd and easy and another that leans towards fussy- both good.

First the odd one- I got this from an old girlfriend (she was young at the time):

Hot toast with peanut butter, cold, ripe, sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper. Just try it. (thanks Libby)

The other one comes from my Swiss -German boss' mother. Most of the recipes in the restaurant where I worked-about the same era as you- came from her. I never knew her first name. Everyone called her Mama. On the menu it was called Swiss apple pie, but in hushed tones, as though it were a dangerous confidence, Mama always insisted that it was really apple cake. Actually I think it is neither- more of an apple custard something- but in keeping with her designation here is Mama Kultzer's Swiss Apple 'Cake':

pie dough- if you don't know how to make a good pie crust I can't help you. Nor will any recipe: It's sort of like giving a child brushes and paint and expecting to get a masterpiece out of it. It just takes lots of practice, and a little art.

apples, pared, cored and sliced- say, eighths or so (not too thin)

currants- raisins will do but currants are better

juice of one lemon or so- they are yellow and roundish and can be found in the produce section; that is, not in a green bottle.

a few largish dollops of sour cream

half and half- to thin out the sour cream

eggs or egg- it depends on how firm you want it




Place apples in your raw pie shell- not heaped as you would for American apple pie but more like three quarters full. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and nutmeg (you know how much), a few currants and squeeze a little lemon juice over all. Bake at 350 or so for 20 minutes and remove, add the custard mixture to full pie depth and sprinkle a few more currants and spice on top for looks, return to oven and bake for another 30 minutes or so- till the custard sets and before the crust burns.

Custard mix: whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and 1/2 &1/2, add sugar and lemon juice, to taste- very close to how you would like the sweet/ tart balance in a blintz. The resulting mixture is thick but still pour-able, close to pancake batter.

Sorry if this is somewhat vague.* Mama was always a little vague, except when she was finicky to the nth degree. She always told you when you were wrong. "Nein, No, no, no, not like that, like this... Ja, Ja."

orangehands said...

I am definitely looking forward to talking someone into making these for me*. (Can I cook? Yes, somewhat. Do I know people who like to cook? Yep, so I go to them first.)

I'd share a dessert recipe but every one I use is found on the back of a bag of Nestles chocolate chips (or another company).

I have a rule that I'll try anything once. I may not like it, but I'll try it. And I've liked some weird stuff.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, that one day a week is rough for me too when I have to catch up on cleaning the house, homework, and all the rest of that stuff that got put off all week. I'm off but not really.