Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mushrooms a la Grecque

Most people wouldn't think of cold mushrooms as something that would be appetizing.  I know that they kind of gave me a queezy feeling at first, but when done right, in a nice flavorful broth, they can be quite amazing.

Serve them by themselves, part of a vegetable platter, or even dare to heat them up and serve them with steak if you can't bare trying them cold.  Either way, they are tasty enough in whatever atmosphere you put them in.


1 lb. portobello mushrooms (or any mushrooms for that matter)


2-3 cups water
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
mushroom stems, optional
fresh green herbs, for garnish

You're basically going to create a really flavorful mushroom broth and pretty much simmer the mushrooms in that broth.  It's totally full of tons of umami and the stock can be strained and used for the base of soups, sauces, or whatever else you want - don't let it go to waste!

In a large saucepan, combine the water, lemon juice, green onions, celery, fennel, thyme, peppercorns, coriander, tomatoes, and mushrooms stems.  Heat under medium heat and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Slice up your mushrooms to bite size pieces (I made 1/2 inch slices on the portobellos and then cut those in half vertically - depending on the mushrooms you use, you can choose to slice them or not... just use your best judgement)

Add the mushrooms to the broth and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 10-15 minutes for the portobellos.  Again, depending on your type of mushroom you use, the cook time will vary.

Strain the broth and remove the mushrooms, reserving the liquid for future use.  I know picking them out is kind of a pain, but you could always put the solid ingredients in a cheesecloth to make it easier.

Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Serve the mushrooms on a platter, or as a side dish for your proteins of choice.  Garnish with fresh herbs.

And voila, a tasty mushroom and a flavorful broth all in one.  Didn't think you'd get a two for one today, did ya?! 

Have a great rest of the week guys!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Joojeh Chicken w/ Grilled Vegetables & Rice

Middle Eastern cuisine and I don't really have a great relationship.  Not because I don't like or prefer it, but I just never am exposed to enough of it.  Sure, I've been to a couple Persian places around town, but I mean, I live in Kentucky.  There's not a huge Persian presence, and the restaurants that do offer this type of food, in my opinion, don't do it very well.  (Or in any special way to make me want to come back again and again).

Anyway, I stumbled upon a basic recipe for Joojeh Chicken - which is usually served in kabab form, but decided to forgo the sticks with this one and just use the marinade. 

The marinade seems simple, just a few staple ingredients (except the saffron, but it's worth the expense) - but they meld together to produce a complex and delicious flavor!


2 large chicken breasts
Assorted Vegetables for grilling - we used tomatoes, green bell peppers, onions, and zucchini
Cooked rice


1/2 cup olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
1 onion, small diced
small pinch of saffron
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon red chili flakes

In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, onion, saffron, chili powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, and chili flakes. 

Add chicken breasts and marinate for at least 3-4 hours.

Remove chicken from marinade and remove excess oil to prevent flare-ups.

Heat a grill to medium high heat.  Oil the grill grates or spray with pan-spray to prevent sticking and to get good marks.

Add chicken to grill and cook until white throughout.  You can also grill your desired vegetables at the same time.

Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes and slice.  Serve with grilled vegetables and rice.

Easy peasy, eh?! 

Well, I'm off to my volleyball tournament (last time playing with the team I've been playing with for the past 6 years!  Sad to say I'm leaving this team, but the new team I'll be playing on is just as fun!)  Wish us luck - trying for best of the worst (we're in the losers bracket, hehe!)  Have a great rest of the week, guys!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Roasted Chicken w/ Fettuccine

For those of you in the U.S., tomorrow is July 4th.  A day off from the monotonous work week and a day of remembering our Independence.  Cookouts will be in full force all over the country.  And of course, we cannot forget the fireworks! 

Andy and I don't really have concrete plans, we'll probably fly by the seat of our pants and do whatever comes our way.  Free concert and fireworks by the Waterfront?  Maybe.  Grill out at home?  Maybe.  Hang out with a bunch of friends?  Maybe.  Who knows... maybe none of those things will happen, but I'll be sure to give a report of what does the next time I post!

Roasted chicken is one of my guilty pleasures.  It takes at least an hour... more than that if you're willing to put your chicken through a brine - which is oh, so necessary, in my opinion.  The crisp, succulent skin, and the juicy meat is all it takes to put me in a blissful food mood. 

I had some heirloom tomatoes and mushrooms, so I just threw together a quick pasta to serve with the chicken.  It was quite tasty, and definitely hit the spot!


Chicken Brine:
I always use this trusty quick brine from Michael Ruhlman

1 whole chicken (about 3-4 lbs.)
salt and pepper, to taste
4 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2 oz. pieces


1/2 lb. fettuccine noodles
1 large heirloom tomato, cut into 8ths
1 cup mushrooms (I had creminis), sliced
1 small onion, julienned
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup Madeira
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
butter, to finish
shredded parmesan, for garnish

If you don't want to brine your chicken, you can definitely skip that step, but I promise you it'll be so much more flavorful if you take the time to do it!

Preheat oven to 425 F.

After the chicken has been brined, pat it dry and carefully place butter underneath skin of chicken.  Season the skin with salt and pepper. 

Truss the chicken and place on a roasting rack, breast side up.  Place in oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until skin starts to become golden brown.  Turn oven temperature down to 375 F and carefully flip bird so that it is breast-side down.

Continue to cook until the chicken reaches 155-160 F.  Let rest for about 5-10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 and juices run clear.

Prepare the fettuccine according to package directions.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil under medium high heat in a large saute pan.  Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until both start to soften.  Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook until fragrant.

Deglaze the pan with the Madeira and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until liquid is reduced by half.  Mount the sauce with a couple tablespoons of butter and season to taste. 

Toss the sauce in with the fettuccine and serve with roasted chicken.

Hope you guys have a great 4th of July!