Jul 23, 2011

A recipe for 'Break ups' that don't hurt.

Break ups are fun? 
Always, when they are salted and buttered and has a French touch.
I suppose the only the French know how to break up without, hurting.  And here is a recipe for  that :) This recipe for these buttered French styled break ups is inspired from Around my French Table (Dorie Greenspan). A must buy.

1 and 3/4th cup of all purpose flour
2/3 rd cup of sugar
9 tbsf unsalted cold butter, cut into 18-20 pieces
3-5 tbsf cold water
3/4 tsp of salt
1 egg yolk (only the yolk), for the glaze
  •   Put the flour, sugar in the food processor and pulse to combine.
  • Add the butter cubes and keep pulsing till the mixture looks like a coarse meal
  • With the machine running, add water, one tbsf at a time, till the mixture resembles a dough. A very malleable dough
  •  Alternatively, if you do not have a food processor, you can mix them using your in a big bowl. Keep in mind that the bowl should be big enough to ultimately hold all the ingredients.

  • Wrap the dough in a plastic and refrigerate it for an hour (or up to about two months!)
  • When you are ready to break up, take out the dough and divide into little golf size balls. Roll each into a 1/4th inch squarish shape and place on a baking tray
  • Alternatively, for a more professional touch, using a rolling pin (or for less professionalism, I have used my hands) make a rectangle out of the dough (the recipe says 1/4th inch think, 5 x 11 inches, but I have managed to get a 1/4th inch crude rectangle) 
  • Beat the egg yolk and brush  surface of each square (or the big square if you are going that way) with the egg.
  • With your fork, decorate each (or the entire surface of the big rectangle), in cross hatched pattern
  • Preheat the oven at 350 for 10 mins. Bake the cookie for 35-40 mins or until they are golden. They will be firm to touch and will have some spring in the center
The perfect ones will be firm outside and tender within. The somewhat homey ones (like mine) may even have  burnt edges. Either way the break ups will melt your heart, and won't hurt a bit :)

 Happy eating and healthy living!

Jul 9, 2011

Less is more: Tomato braised Cornish (or not) hens

Small is good.

But what is better?

Wait, you don't have to answer that! There are a million answers and all of those will be just as good as the one I give :

Lesser the better. Recipes that go minimal are often the best. 

But before we get into recipes that are more or less, a few words about cornish hens
I have heard about cornish hens for quite some time now. Never really felt the need to give these tiny tots a try. But of course, last weekend,  I and R did. I have to tell ya, I was not very impressed (Trust me, I was all set to). But somehow other than marginal ease of cutting the hen up, I could not find much to justify the price which is about five times higher than the ones I get--- organic free range whole chicken. Taste wise they are the same. Almost. And the bigger chicken feeds more and lasts a whole longer :)

One thing to note: Cornish hens cook quicker and look cuter on the dinner table :) Not a tiny fact, in my opinion

But the highlight of the recipe is the recipe of course, which I designed such that it did not over power the flavor of the chicken (that I was expecting to blow my mind). The only ingredient you will need are Tomatoes. Sweet, flavorful, grown in local gardens and should be picked up at the farmer's market. I do not use the word should lightly. But, when I do, it is not meant to be taken lightly either :)
I would not mind the slight extra payment for these gorgeous tomatoes. In fact, with these tomatoes of course, any good chicken will taste just as good and total cost of the recipe will be much much lower.

Bottom line: Invest in tomatoes. The hens (even the small Cornish ones) can be of lower price.
The end result was a delicious colorful and fragrant recipe:-- thyme infused tomatoes that I used to braise my grilled/broiled cornish hens. 

Ingredients for this dish needs to be of good quality, since we are going very minimal over here.

Tomatoes: really good quality sweet tomatoes. I very strongly recommend spending 4$/lb for 3 of these guys from your local farmers market. Do not use regular tomatoes from the grocery. The result will not be good
2-3 springs of thyme. You can use whole stems
A pinch of chili flakes
3 tbsf vegetable oil for broiling the chicken
2 tbsf garlic salt. You can use 1 tbsf freshly grated garlic too
1 tbsf salt
1 tsp of pepper
1 tbsf of good quality extra virgin olive oil. I like Spanish ones
Chicken/hen:-You can use 1 cornish hen. Cut it into breasts, things, legs. Or you can use a bone in skin on cut of any chicken. I would say about 1-1.5 lbs is good
1/3rd cup of hot water
A wedge of lime for garnish

Now to the process which is STRAIGHTFORWARD
Rub salt, pepper, about 2 tbsf vegetable oil and all that garlic (if you are using raw, try placing within the skin to protect it from burning under the broiler. Burnt' garlic tastes nasty). And broil it in the oven at high (450-500F) for 20 mins. Once done, take it out and let rest while you deal with the tomatoes.
In a skillet deep enough to hold all the chicken/hen, heat the remaining tbsf vegetable oil. Add the chili flakes and cubed tomatoes and thyme springs. Once a little soft (2 mins) add the broiled chicken and hot water (slowly release all the gorgeous tomato stuck at the bottom). Cook on low heat for another 10-15 mins. Salt and pepper carefully, you have already salted the chicken.
Fish out the thyme (I like to leave it in there for the country feel) and garnish with lemon. A dish for the summer, you bet

 Happy eating an healthy living!