A Cheep Chicken Cacciatore

A little chicken on sale, with a can of tomatoes on sale, and a good price on peppers… well, something needs to be done about this. Now, stop… don’t tell me they are selling boxes of pasta for sixty seven cents… I think I have an idea here…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • A small bunch of coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Simmer this down to reduced it by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve with a nice side of pasta (my preferred pasta for this is the rotelli because it holds the sauce nicely).

Curried Crab Salad

I was working in the lab late one night when my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my monster from his slab began to rise and suddenly to my surprise…

the curried crab salad wasn’t half bad. I did the mash… I did the curry mash… oh well.

I’ve been going through some ideas to get ready for ‘picnic’ month.. another name for May. I swapped out the chicken for crab in a curried salad that I enjoyed last year and I really enjoyed it… I’ll bring a curried crab salad to the next picnic and see what the friends say…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  •  1/2 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/3 c. plain yogurt
  • 1 c. chopped crabmeat
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. coarsely chopped salted cashew nuts
  • 1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped scallions

Heat oil in a small pan, add curry powder and cook for about 30 seconds. That makes the curry powder taste less raw.

Mix curry powder and oil with yogurt, then combine with remaining ingredients, reserving 2 tablespoons of the scallions to garnish the top of the salad.

Cheap Crab Salad… really cheap!

King Kullen has Louis Kemp imitation crab meat 8oz. package on sale for about a buck fifty. That’s a nice sale. Now, I know its imitation but Louis Kemp does a really good job of making Alaskan Pollock taste just like Snow Crab… maybe its because Snow Crab is one of the ingredients. I don’t mind using this when fresh crab meat is unavailable, or when it’s this freakin low in price. A sale is a sale… lets make some salad!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8oz. Louis Kemp imitation crab, chopped and shredded
  • 1/2 cup finely-chopped sweet onion, Vidalia if available
  • 1/4 cup finely-chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely-chopped dill pickle
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped chives

Toss imitation crab, sweet onion, celery, dill pickle, sweet pickle relish, dill weed, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, mustard, and chives until combined. Now, this salad can also be served in endive leaf just like the summer shrimp salad. I find that these endive leaf servers are very eco-friendly.

 

Shrimp Salad for Summer

Here’s a nice appetizer that you can make for the hotter days of summer with all that shrimp we stocked up on at the Stop and Shop sale… right… Well, I enjoy this roast shrimp salad served on endive. It’s a simple presentation for an appetizer that’s a little more complicated.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Roasted Shrimp with Lime

  • 1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Shrimp Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper then bake in the oven for 4-6 minutes (depending on shrimp size) or until light pink and the edges are slightly curled.

Remove the shrimp from the oven and immediately toss with lime juice, set aside to cool.

Now, let’s make the dressing. In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime zest, lime juice, tarragon, mint, parsley, and sea salt… and blend well.

Chop the roasted shrimp into small pieces then toss with the dressing. Slice the end of each endive and separate the leaves. Fill each leaf with a spoonful of shrimp salad and present on a serving platter.

Simple Shrimp Sauce and Pasta

Shrimp and pasta… did I mention that Stop and Shop has a sale on shrimp. Well, here’s a nice quick shrimp and pasta dish that works best when the shrimp are of a medium size rather than those super-jumbo ‘revenge of the shrimp’ size crustaceans they are farming these days.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 lb peeled and deveined medium shrimp
• 4 large garlic cloves, left unpeeled and forced through a garlic press
• 1/2 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
• 1/2 cup Duck Walk white wine
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3/4 lb linguini
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• Romano and / or Parmesan cheese for garnish

Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of water to a boil with a shake or two of sea salt.

Now, heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté shrimp, about 2 minutes, and transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, wine, salt, and pepper to oil remaining in skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, about a minute or so. Then, add the butter to skillet, stirring until melted; this is the sauce to which we will add the shrimp. So, stir in shrimp, combine thoroughly and remove skillet from heat.

While making the shrimp sauce, cook pasta in boiling water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander. Toss pasta well with shrimp mixture and parsley in large bowl, adding some of reserved cooking water if necessary to keep moist. Plate it up and garnish with shaved Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Serve this with the rest of that Duck Walk wine, and enjoy a sunny dinner out on the porch.

Simple Creole Shrimp and Rice

Well, the local stop and shop has a big sale on shrimp… so it must be shrimp season somewhere, and lately, I have been hankering for some Creole style shrimp and rice. I find that this dish is very welcoming to changes and adapting to clearing out some of those spices in the cabinet.

Here’s what you’ll need:
• 1 pound of frozen medium shrimp
• 1 medium onion, chopped about 1/2 cup
• 1/2 cup chopped celery
• 1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 small can diced tomatoes, undrained
• 1/2 teaspoon paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper depending on your heat tolerance
• Pinch of chili powder
• 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
• 2cups hot cooked rice

Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, removing tails. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

In a large skillet cook onion, celery, sweet pepper, and garlic in butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in undrained tomatoes, paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 8 minutes or until thickened.

Stir shrimp and parsley into tomato mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 4 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque. Season to taste. Serve over rice. Along side of a nice bottle of blue point’s best to cool your pallet

Blue Point Oyster Stuffing

Oyster stuffing makes a wonderfully flavorful side dish. Oyster stuffing, or in this case, dressing (I don’t cook this in a turkey), has had a long and storied existence here on Long Island. From per-colonial times right through the near recent past it had enjoyed a regional popularity. However, with declined in the shellfish population of the late 1900’s, and declination of domestic culinary skills (personal observation), store-bought off the shelf stuffing surpassed to historic side-dish. But, with sustainable farming of oysters, especially our local blue point variety, its well time to rediscover this culinary accompaniment.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 40 medium oysters, such as bluepoints,  shucked (about 1 lb.), with 1 cup of the liquor reserved
  • 11 cups 1⁄2″ cubed white French bread (about 14 oz.)
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1⁄4″ strips
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for
  • greasing the pan
  • 6 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1⁄4 cup Duck Walk red wine
  • 1⁄3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp. chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp. chopped sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

First we need to dry out the bread; heat the oven to 250˚. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake, stirring occasionally, until dried but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Now, lets build the stuffing; put the bacon into a 12″ skillet; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until crisp and its fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Add 4 tbsp. of the butter and heat. Add shallots and celery, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add oyster liquor, stock, wine, parsley, thyme, sage, oregano, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the bread cubes and oysters. Set aside to allow the flavors to come together for 10 minutes.

Now bake the final product; raise the oven temperature to 400˚. Put the  mixture into a lightly buttered 2-qt. oval baking dish and cover with foil. I use the oval to avoid the ‘hot spots’ that build up in the corners of rectangular dishes. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, drizzle with remaining butter, and continue baking until golden brown and crusty, about 20 minutes more. Serve immediately, with the rest of the Duck Walk wine…

and remember to enjoy sustainable oysters often –Oyster Sustainability – Monterey Aquarium

Anchovy Stuffed Sustainable Sardines

I know, this recipe is so much like yesterday’s it’s amazing. But this tie we’ll be getting twice the sustainable fish, and healthy omega three oils in one tasty main dish. So, without much ado…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • ⅓ heaping cup golden raisins, plumped in hot water to cover for 10 minutes and drained
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 6 anchovy fillets, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 butterflied fresh sardines

Heat oven to 350º. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add ¾ cup breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 3 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in raisins, pine nuts, anchovy and parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Lay 6 sardines on prepared pan, flesh-side up; spoon breadcrumb mixture over the top. Lay remaining 6 sardines, flesh-side down, over breadcrumb mixture; sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup breadcrumbs and lightly drizzle with oil. Bake until sardines are cooked through and hot, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Enjoy this whis a Blue Point Toasted Lager!

Vegitable Stuffed Sustainable Sardines

Time to get back to basics and back on message, today we will be stuffing sustainable sardines. Sardines are a plentiful fish with good stockpiles here on Long Island. Although there are people who hear ‘sardines’ and start thinking ‘canned’, these are probably the same people who hear ‘Taco Bell’ and start thinking ‘fine Mexican dining’. Sardines are a ‘real fish’ they come whole in the fish market with no can in sight. So head down to your fishmonger and pick up a half dozen 8 inch or so sardines and invite some friends over for an uncanned experience.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6 fresh sardines
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • ⅓ heaping cup grated zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350º. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add ¾ cup breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 3 minutes; remove from heat. Add zucchini, oregano and parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Clean and dress the sardines. Lay them on prepared pan, flesh-side up; spoon breadcrumb mixture into the cavity. Bake until sardines are cooked through and hot, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

While they are cooking, you could whip up a little couscous and a side salad and, to flagrantly steal some other cook’s catch-phrase … ‘BAM”… dinner for friends is done!