Thursday, December 8, 2016

Chicken Cordon Bleu

So this summer I went to a Culinary camp in Wahpeton, at the North Dakota State College of Science. I was recommended to do it by a doctor of mine who knew I was looking into a career in the Culinary Arts. The camp was only 5 days long, and I got the experience living in a dorm for a few days for the first time;) I had a very nice roommate, her name was Tana (Tana if you're reading this- Heeeeyyyyyyyy!!!). We got along well and I think that's what I was most nervous about.

But basically how the camp went was in the morning we ate breakfast on our own in the morning, we went into the class room with Chef Kyle and we had an hour and half to two hour lesson on what we were going to be doing in the kitchen. I learned so many things, things on safety, I learned about new equipment, correct knife skills, and I even learned the correct way to sauté! After classroom time we got the opportunity to spend a few hours working hands on in the professional kitchen. We made new things everyday from stir fry, to homemade pasta, chicken cordon bleu, and homemade pizza crust! Everything that we made we then ate for lunch.

The second half of the day we spent about an hour in the classroom with Chef Mary learning about the importance of measuring correctly when baking, gluten, and how breads and other pastries rise. Then again we were in the kitchen doing the things we just learned. We made things like Bananas Foster, Crème Brulee, Crepe Suzette, many different breads, soufflés, croissants, and scones. We would have dinner and then go to a night activity, like bowling or going to a movie, then we got to come back and eat our wonderful desserts!

So one of the things that was my favorite to make was Chicken Cordon Bleu (and it is of course my families' favorite too) and that's what this post is all about! Keep reading to find out how to make this classic favorite (and you get to feel super fancy too when the finished product comes out). ;)

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
4 thin slices of prosciutto di Parma (or if you're like me and don't want to try to search and spend that amount of money, use predicted ham)
1/2 pound of Gruyere, grated (or again if you're like me, 6 cheese blend, pre-grated)
1/4 cup of flour
salt and pepper
1 cup of panko crumbs
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only (or a tablespoon of dried thyme)
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
A whole, large bottle of vegetable oil

I doubled this recipe, since I was cooking for lots of friends and family.

Get your ingredients together and ready, this is referred to as 'Mise en Place' (I learned that at camp). Put the flour in a container, and season with salt and pepper, beat the eggs in another container, and in the last container add the panko, garlic, thyme, and melted butter, and mix until all the crumbs are coated. I would suggest putting the ham and cheese in bowls also so you're not cross contaminating.

Cover a chicken breast with plastic wrap and beat down with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until the chicken breast is about a 1/4 inch thick.

Add as much cheese and ham as you can until you can still wrap it up. The more cheese, the better.

Start rolling the chicken, tucking the ends into itself, until it looks something like this.

Coat the 'chicken roll' with flour, then batter it with the eggs, and lastly coat it fully, packing it down, with the panko. Let the chicken rest in the fridge for about a half an hour so that the panko doesn't fall off when you put it in the oil.

Heat the oil to medium high heat. Test heat by dropping a panko crumb into the oil and if it sizzles, but not too much, the oil is hot enough. Put the chicken in and let it cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until the whole breast is dark golden brown. Transfer breasts to a baking sheet.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes. Check the chicken with a meat thermometer by inserting the thermometer into the middle, the chicken must be at least 165 degrees for it to be a safe temperature.

I served this with a butter and herb pasta and green beans (because they're my sister's favorite)!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Chicken Piccata

Sorry I haven't been posting lately, school and work have got me extremely busy! But today sounded like a great day to relax and finally make this post that I've had planned for a while!

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 large lemons
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded until 1/4 inch thick
a pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons capers, drained
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh parsley minced
angel hair pasta, about a pound

Cut one lemon in half. Take one half, trim ends off, and cut length wise. Juice the remaining half and the other whole lemon.

Generously season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place in a shallow dish with flour and coat both sides.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, keep on medium high heat. Cook half the batch for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side, or until it is golden brown. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and cook the second batch then transfer to a large plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the shallot to the same pan you cooked the chicken in and sauté until the shallots are translucent.

Add the lemons and chicken broth and cook until lemons are softened.

 Swirl in butter until melted and then add in the parsley.
Serve over a bed of pasta by adding a chicken breast then pouring some of the sauce over it!



Monday, September 28, 2015

One-Pot Cajun Pasta

This is a fun recipe that I picked up off of Facebook! It's delicious with many different flavors, and a tad bit of spice! Bring on the heat!!

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 diced chicken breasts
Cajun seasoning; equal parts of cayenne pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic salt, pepper, salt
8 oz Andoullie sausage
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 sliced onion
3 sliced small yellow peppers
2 cups fresh mushrooms
1 lb pasta
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup parmesan, plus more for garnish
chives for garnish

Start by adding the oil and chicken to a large pot.

Add the Cajun seasoning and start cooking over medium high heat.

Slice the sausage and add to the pot.

Start cutting up your vegetables! Here's a cool tool a worker at Cooks of Crocus Hill in Stillwater, MN suggested to me! It's a garlic peeler. You put in a few cloves of garlic and roll with the palm of your hand against a flat hard surface. Tip it over and your peeled garlic comes right out! Very handy, and I would highly recommend it!

Put all the vegetables in the pot and cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Add all of the pasta, break it in half before putting it in the pot.

Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil and cover. Then lower to a simmer for 10 minutes and stir every two minutes.

Add heavy cream and stir.

Stir in parmesan.

Garnish with parmesan and chives!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Spring Lunch: final product

This meal, to make for the first time, took about two hours! With practice and knowing the order I should make it in, I could probably make it in about an hour. I would start by making the syrup for the lemonade and letting it set while I'm making everything else. Then I would make the pesto and the sauce for the pasta. Then I would put the sandwiches together and cook them while the pasta is cooking. Once the pasta is done you'll place the sandwiches and mix in the sauce to the pasta and place that. Quick add the water to the syrup for the lemonade and you're ready to impress your family and friends with a beautiful lunch!

Spring Lunch: part 3

This is the last post for this meal! We're going to top everything off with a twist on an original recipe. This vanilla-thyme lemonade is so refreshing and can certainly satisfy your sweet tooth, and I think the best part is that you can decide how strong you want it. And carbonated or not!

SERVES 3-4

Ingredients
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 cup water
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 tablespoons honey
-1 small bunch thyme, plus some for garnish (optional)
-1 cup fresh lemon juice
-1 cup sparkling or still water, divided

In a medium pot, over medium high heat, cook sugar, water, vanilla, honey, and thyme until honey and sugar are dissolved.

Start juicing! To hand squeeze these lemons it took 6-7 lemons, and quite a long time! I couldn't find my old fashioned juicer, but if you zap the half lemon in the microwave for 5-10 seconds it will help a lot!

Once the syrup is done cooking, strain to remove the thyme and add to the lemon juice. Set in the fridge until cooled.

Fill glasses with ice first.

Pour in the syrup half-ish way up the glass. Then add you sparkling or still water for the rest of the way. Stick in a straw and you're ready to go!

Spring Lunch: part 2

This time we're making the pasta! This is a really fast/light recipe that can satisfy almost anyone!

FEEDS 4

Ingredients
-1 bunch of fresh basil
-3 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan
-6 tablespoons of whole milk
-1/4 cup sliced almonds
-1 pinch salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-3 tablespoons of fresh ricotta cheese
-2 tablespoons butter, melted
-1 pound of fresh or dried pasta
-2 cloves garlic


Start by boiling water and salting it, add your pasta and cook till al dente.

In a food processor, or bullet blender, add the rest of the ingredients except for the ricotta and butter. Pulse until smooth.

In a separate container, mix the melted butter and ricotta.

Mix together the basil mixture and ricotta and butter.

Strain pasta once cooked, and put back into its pan to add the sauce. Fully mix until sauce is evenly distributed.

Spring Lunch: part 1

So this is going to be a three post recipe/meal. I will be showing you how to make Grilled Brie Sandwiches with Honey, Almond, and Kale pesto, paired with Pasta with creamy basil-almond-ricotta sauce, and to drink, Vanilla-Thyme lemonade! Let's get started!

We'll start with the sandwiches.

MAKES 4 SANDWICHES

Ingredients

for the pesto
-1 cup torn and packed kale
-1/4 cup honey
-1/3 cup roasted almonds
-1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
-3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-2 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil

for the sandwich
-pesto
-8 slices of high quality bread
-4 ounces brie
-about 4 tablespoons butter
Put all of the ingredients for your pesto in a food processor, or if you don't have one like me, use something like a bullet blender or a nutribullet.
Pulse until ingredients are thoroughly mixed and the mixture is smooth.

Place in a separate container and let sit in the fridge until it's time to use it.

Get two pieces of your bread, or if you have a longer bread like I did, cut in half and you might not have to use as much.

On one side put about 2 tablespoons of the pesto, and on the other cover with brie.

In a small pan melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.

Once the butter is melted, lay the sandwich in and cover. Let cook for 3-4 minutes.

Flip and cook on the other side for the same amount of time. Remove from pan and enjoy! (or start preparing your pasta)