Thursday, March 19, 2009

23 hours until Spring 2009...

I am ready for winter to be over! We've had some interesting weather, of course, but the overall temperature seems to be on an upswing. It's almost time for the spring thunderstorms and rain which I love, but that also means potential tornado warnings and hailstones, which I could definitely do without. The good with the bad I guess is how it goes.

Looking out my kitchen window yesterday I noticed that the little tree to the north of our house has started blooming. I like taking pictures of flora since it doesn't try to move away or tell me to stop snapping pictures.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chicken and Mushrooms with Red Wine Sauce

Being 30 weeks pregnant, I have been really tired most nights and not cooking much. Brent and I decided to cook our Sunday dinner together so it would be more fun for me. We started with a recipe for one of Brent's favorite recipes, Chicken Marsala. However, we wanted to put our own spin on it, and since we didn't even use Marsala wine, we definitely had to come up with a different name, but 'Chicken and Mushrooms with Cheap Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce' doesn't have quite the same sound.
I tried a new preparation technique and was pretty disappointed with the outcome. Instead of putting the pan fried chicken onto a plate and covering with tin foil, I put it on a dish in a 200 degree oven to stay warm until the sauce was finished. When the chicken came out it was incredibly dry and tough. Ugh, all that hard work :( From now on, I'll stick with the plate and tin foil trick, and add the chicken back into the finished sauce to warm it back up before serving.

B&H's Chicken and Mushrooms with Red Wine Sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
6 oz bacon, cut into 1 inch squares (I wanted to use pancetta, but the $2 per ounce that Target wants for it is highway robbery)
8 oz baby portobellos
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups red table wine
1 cup chicken stock
lemon juice to taste
3 tbsp butter
Between two pieces of plastic wrap, pound the chicken breasts until thin. Season with salt and pepper and coat with the flour, tapping off the excess. Watch as Brent demonstrates the rolling pin thrashing technique:

Next, in a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Place the chicken in the skillet, cooking on each side until golden brown and cooked though, about 3-5 minutes per side.Once cooked, transfer chicken to a clean plate and cover with tin foil.
Lower the heat a big and add the bacon, cooking until brown and crispy. Transfer to a plate with paper towels to drain.

At this point, I decided to drain some of the grease/oil from my skillet.

Return the heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until brown, about ten minutes.

Add the minced garlic clove, tomato paste and bacon and cook for a few minutes. Add the wine and stock to deglaze the yummy brown bits from the pan and reduce the sauce down to a cup and a half or so. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and any accumulated juices from the chicken. Whisk in the butter until incorporated, add the parsley and season the sauce to taste.

Serve the sauce over the chicken and serve.

I served it with pasta (which we didn't care for), but only because I didn't think about making mashed potatoes until it was too late. Brent would have preferred oven roasted potatoes, but we were already making garlic bread (see earlier post) and I was using the ill-fated 200 degree oven technique, so with only one oven, three different temperature settings would have stretched my meal-planning capabilities and nothing would have been finished at the same time. I took the easy way out, even though it wasn't as good.

Preparing for the Tater Tot

The baby furniture has arrived! Yesterday morning it was all delivered, and awesomely enough, both the bookshelf and the dresser were pre-assembled. Brent and I put the crib together last night and today we put arranged all the baby paraphanalia we had already bought or been given around the room.
Since we don't yet have the bedding or a mattress, we decorated the crib with the beautiful quilt my mom gave us for Christmas, along with stuffed animals I've collected over the years.

Garlic Herb Bread

To go along with my and Brent's joint-effort modified chicken marsala, we decided to try an Ina Garten recipe that I first saw on a Barefoot Contessa episode from the DVR, garlic herb bread. I mainly wanted to try it because I wanted to use my food processor! I love how that thing is dishwasher safe, I can use it whenever I want without having to stress out about washing all the pieces by hand.

Since I don't want to copy her recipe, above is the direct link to the Food Network site. I will tell you a few adaptations I will make to the recipe the next time I make it, so we can have it how WE like garlic bread the best. Mainly, we both thought it needed more salt. Also, even though this would completely transform the recipe, we will probably mix in some mozzarella cheese with the herbs and garlic to make it garlic herb and cheese bread. In our house, everything is better with cheese.
It was fun cooking with Brent tonight, I even shared my food processor with him since he peeled all the garlic cloves.