Friday, September 10, 2010

Smoked Chicken Salad with Dried Cherries & Basil

This is a fabulous salad!  You can change it to suit your tastes.  I've already adapted it from the original recipe which I found on The Food Reference Website.

2 cups diced smoked chicken (more or less is OK)
3/4 cups diced celery, diced 1/4 inch (I used 2 stalks)
1 small-medium diced sweet onion, diced 1/4 inch (original recipe called for over 1 cup which I thought was excessive)
1 cup chopped dried tart cherries (I didn't bother to chop them)
3/4 cups toasted pecan pieces (I didn't have time to toast them--they were fine without)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil--this is essential
1 cup mayonnaise (can be light)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh orange peel
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground

Combine chicken, celery, onion, cherries, and pecans.  Make the dressing separately and add to the chicken mixture--basil, mayonnaise, orange juice, orange peel, and pepper; stir gently until combined.  If it isn't quite tart enough add a little white wine vinegar or lemon juice.

This would also be good on sandwiches with lettuce.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cilantro Pesto

We got a large bunch of cilantro from our CSA farm.  Cilantro stays fresh for only a very short time.  I decided to try making cilantro pesto which I hadn't done before.  Its GOOD stuff!  If you like cilantro you'll want to make a patch of this pesto.

1 cup cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 scallions
2 tbsp almonds
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup canola oil
1 hot pepper
1 tbsp soy sauce
juice from 1/2 lime

Puree all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor or in my case I used my super blender.  I served my cilantro pesto on top of grilled pork chops.  What was left, I put on salmon patties.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Poached Eggs in Tomato Stew with Chorizo & Garlic Croutons

I made this dish last weekend for brunch.  I know you're saying stew for brunch! It does have poached eggs on top and I decided that this made it a brunch dish.  It also helped that I had all the ingredients on hand.  This is a very flavorful, satisfying dish which would also be good for supper.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound chorizo sausage (try to buy locally made sausage from one of the farmers--it will be much leaner even if not as authentic)
3 cloves garlic
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
6 medium size red potatoes, halved and thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes (recommended: Muir Glen)--I used fresh tomatoes that I peeled and chopped because this is the season for tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
4 thick slices crusty farm house, country style bread
1/2 cup flat- leaf parsley leaves, a few large handfuls, picked
2 eggs per serving
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Preheat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat and add the chorizo and cook, stirring frequently, 3 minutes. Remove the sausage, add the olive oil and add the 2 cloves chopped garlic, onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper, cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth and bring up to a bubble, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.  I needed to cover the pan at this point so that the potatoes got tender.  It took another 15-20 minutes.


Fill a medium skillet with warm water. Bring water to a gentle simmer over medium low heat. Once the water is at a bubble for poaching the eggs, pour the vinegar into the simmering water. Crack an egg into a small bowl. Gently pour the egg into the simmering water. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Cook eggs for about 2 minutes for runny yolks, or about 4 for solid yolks. Do not allow the water to boil. Carefully remove the eggs with a slotted spoon to a towel-lined plate to drain.
Toast the bread in the broiler or in a toaster oven. Once the bread is toasted, drizzle with olive oil or spread with butter, then rub with a garlic clove or cheat and sprinkle with garlic powder or salt.  Cut the bread into larges cubes for the croutons. 

To serve, pull thyme stems from chorizo-tomato stew, then arrange the garlic croutons in the bottom of shallow soup bowls, ladle some of the stew on top of the garlic croutons, set eggs in place and sprinkle dish with parsley and serve.

If you have stew leftover, just reheat stew and poach more eggs to serve on top.

Adapted from the foodnetwork.com