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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tangy Chicken Sandwich ( Asiago, Avocado and Citrus pan sauce)

Tired of the typical chicken sandwich with lettuce , tomato and mayo? Here's a twist on a classic.
This tender chicken sandwich packs a huge punch of flavors and textures where simple ingredients meet bold taste.
Sitting down for dinner with a knife and fork is not always possible and besides, sometimes I just want to have a sandwich and a cold drink . This makes a great meal and can also be cut down to smaller bites for a great cocktail sandwich .
A simple pan seared chicken breast is transformed with a simple pan sauce and can truly be the life of the party.

Ingredients:                                Pan Sauce:
                                  
6 chicken breasts                       1/2 cup orange juice     
1 Avocado                                1 Tbsp. diced onion
Asiago cheese                           1 Tbsp. brown sugar  
Fresh lettuce                             1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper                         1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 baguette or ciabatta bun
Mayonnaise

     Take chicken breasts and pound flat with a mallet. Add salt and pepper to both sides and sear in a very hot pan with a little oil for 4 minutes each side. Once breasts are cooked set aside and keep warm.              








Pan Sauce:
In the same pan on medium/ high heat add chopped onion and rosemary- saute for 2 minutes.
Add orange juice, brown sugar stir well, scraping brown bits from pan then reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is reduced by half. Add butter to pan and stir until melted.










Slice bread then spread a little mayonnaise on both sides. Add fresh lettuce, chicken breast, sliced avocado, asiago cheese then slather with citrus pan sauce and enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Roasted pork chops with apple and cannellini bean ragout

Making a delicious dinner doesn't have to be expensive. A little creativity and pairing of ingredients can make an inexpensive cut of meat taste great. Pork chops may not be everybody's favorite but switching up a recipe can really spice it up.
Apples and pork are a great flavor combination. Sweet apples can transform an otherwise bland pork chop into something wonderful.
This recipe produces a rich, caramelized and hearty ragout that tops wonderfully tender and succulent pork.

Ingredients:

6-8 pork chops
1/2 cup all purpose flour for dredging
1 apple chopped into cubes
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion diced
1/2 cup apple juice
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 jar italian cannellini beans
1 tbsp dry rosemary
salt and pepper
olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400*F
On stove top, heat olive oil in a large oven proof pan and saute chopped onion and garlic for 5 mins.
Lightly dredge pork chops in flour and add to pan, brown on both sides approx. 5 mins.
Add chopped apple, cannellini beans, rosemary, salt and pepper then add apple juice and stock -  place uncovered  in oven.
Allow to roast for about 1 hour basting occasionally.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time 1hr 10 mins.
Serves 6-8 people

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chicken Pizzetta

Quick and easy weeknight dinners can often be boring and repetitive. Making a meal in 30 minutes can be challenging to say the least. Many people will often go for something frozen or processed because they feel like they don't have the time or skill to make a healthy, tasty, quick meal that everyone can enjoy.
Children, can be especially hard to satisfy in these situations.
This recipe can adapt to several different ingredients to satisfy the tastes of even the pickiest of eaters in your family. Simply omit what they don't like and add their favorites to this recipe.
It's also a great recipe for game night and can be enjoyed with a cold beer or nice glass of white wine.
Mediterranean flavors meet TexMex style.

Ingredients:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 long or round pitas
2 peppers (red ,yellow, green or orange)
1 onion
1/2 cup shitake or oyster mushrooms
3 tbsp. basil pesto
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
4 tbsp. goat cheese
Kalamata or black olives
1 tsp .garlic powder
1 tsp.paprika
1 tsp.oregano
salt and pepper

Pre heat oven to 400*

Dice peppers, onion and mushrooms and saute in a hot pan with olive oil for 10 minutes then add pesto.
Mix well and set aside in a bowl.
Rub chicken with garlic powder, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper.
In a very hot pan , sear breast for 1 minute on each side then reduce heat and cook for 8 minutes turning once,  remove from pan and set aside.
Place some grated mozzarella on each pita bread and top with some of the vegetable mixture. Cut chicken into cubes and place evenly over pitas. Top with fresh goat cheese and sprinkle with diced olives and bake in oven for 5-7 minutes. Enjoy!

*** Also great with a splash of  spicy hot sauce***

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Creamy Leek, Potato and Bacon Soup

When it's cold outside there are not many foods that can make you feel warm inside like a good soup.
Every spoonful you eat makes you warmer and comforts you like a big, fuzzy blanket. Most people revert to the old favorite CHICKEN SOUP but I like to switch it up once in a while.
This soup is different. Its thick and rich yet still mild tasting with a nice flavor packed finish from the crisp smokey bacon.
Think outside the box next time you plan to make soup.
Its thick enough to satisfy hunger, mild enough to get the fussiest to eat it and tasty enough to get them coming back for seconds!

I grow leeks in my garden almost specifically for this soup.   It truly is one of my favorites and perfect for a cold and cloudy day.

Ingredients:

2 leeks finely chopped
3 potatoes diced
1 celery stalk finely diced
1 onion finely chopped
1 carrot finely diced
6 crispy bacon strips, chopped and set aside
1 cup 35% cream
10 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Chives finely chopped for garnish

Saute all veggies ( including potato) in a large pot for 8-10 minutes until slightly soft
Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil then simmer for 1/2 hour
Remove all veggies from pot ad pass through food mill to puree.
** a food mill is much better than a food processor or blender because it removes tough fibers from celery and carrots**
Add pureed veggies back to pot then add cream.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Plate soup, add crumbled bacon
and fresh chopped chives.
Serve immediately.
I like to serve this soup with a nice crusty garlic bread....enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eggless Potato Frittata

I am a big fan of frittatas. Some days eating all that egg doesn't really appeal to me. Instead, I make this eggless frittata with potatoes. It has a crispy skin and a light and fluffy center to which any number of ingredients can be added. It may take more time to make than an egg frittata but this can be made ahead and eaten at any time of the day. This can be eaten on its own or it makes a great side dish which by the way can be eaten hot or cold.

Ingredients:

3 boiled and peeled potatoes (soft)
1 cup uncooked baby spinach leaves
4 bocconcini or 1 cup fresh mozarella
10 cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
1/2 of 1 onion, diced
Olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper

Pass potatoes through a ricer or food mill into a large bowl.
In a hot pan, add butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil  then saute onion and spinach for 5-7 minutes until soft  .
Add spinach and onion to bowl as well as tomatoes and chopped bocconcini.
Mix well.
Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a pan then ad mixture to pan, lightly pressing down entire surface and cook for 5 minutes.
Cover pan with a large flat plate, pressing down carefully- flip pan over to transfer frittata.
Now carefully slide frittata back into pan and cook additional 5 minutes.
Once done, slide from pan to a plate and serve or let cool down.
Crispy exterior with soft, fluffy and gooey center has a nice earthy flavour from the spinach with the bright pop of the cherry tomatoes.
Feel free to change it up and add other ingredients.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

When you think of  Italian food often one of the first things that comes to mind is meatballs. Wether mom or nonna made them it was always a treat to eat "BASKETTI and MEATBALLS". Soft, succulent meat rolled in a ball flavoured with the unforgetable taste of  tomato sauce topping a nice hot plate of pasta. Who could resist this? Not ME! As many regions, cities and towns in Italy you will find diverse recipes for meat balls but the the result will always be the same....satisfying!

Here is my take on the classic dish.  
                                                                                                                                      




















1 med size pot of your favorite tomato sauce
1/2 pound each of ground beef ,veal and pork( available packaged together at your market)
1/2 onion diced
1 garlic clove diced
1 pureed apple
2 eggs
1 white bread slice pulsed in a food processor ( to make bread crumbs)
1/3 cup grated parmigiano cheese
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil for frying

Combine ground meats, onion, garlic, eggs ,apple puree, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and parmigiano in a large bowl.
Using your hands combine these ingredients well
In the palm of your hands roll a small amount and begin to form balls about the size of a golf ball
Place in a heated frying pan with about 1/3 cup veg. oil and fry until golen brown (turning to brown all sides about 8 mins)
Heat your tomato sauce and place the fried meatballs in sauce and cook on medium heat for about 1/2 hour....enjoy!

**** You can add this to your favorite pasta or eat them on their own using sauce for dipping crusty bread!

Panzerotti

Pizza, panzerotto, what's in a name?  They share the same ingredients but why are they so different?  Virtually a pizza folded over,  the difference is the panzerotto is sealed like a beautiful package.    The other difference is that they are traditionally fried in oil and we all know most things that are fried ( although not healthy) taste good.
Obviously, carrying a pizza while you walk around sounds ridiculous and one slice just isn't enough to satisfy you,  this portable snack was created for pizza lovers who were on the go.  In the past, men would take their "sealed pizza" to work and not have to worry about fussing with toppings falling off or sticking to what ever it was wrapped in.
This does not mean you can't sit down and enjoy this wonderful treat as a meal, especially when it is plated and smothered in more tomato sauce.
They are wonderfully crispy and golden brown on the outside while remaining saucy and cheesy on the inside.
As with pizza, panzerotti are also extremely versatile in terms of fillings and ingredients. The possibilities are infinite.
 Although I like mine fairly plain (cheese and sauce) add whatever you like,  just don't over stuff because they can leak when you cook them.  Overstuffed panzerotti can also be a pain to eat because the filling will ooze out every time you take a bite. 


Today people are looking for a healthier alternative to fried foods so I find that if you brush the panzerotti with olive oil, they can be baked and will taste the same as fried ( if not better). 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Potato Stir fry Pizza

World's favorite food?  Who doesn't love pizza? Adults and kids alike enjoy possibly the most versatile food ever. With endless toppings and combinations there is not many things you can't put on a pizza. Thick or thin crust, sauce or white pizza,  you can experiment and be as creative as you like. In doing so, I came up with this stir fry pizza mainly because I liked the texture of the pre cooked potato .  This pizza is crispy and rich with fresh flavors and it also looks beautiful...in many ways, a work of art. Whether you make your own dough or use store bought, you will get great results and realize that pizza can be a whole lot more than sauce and cheese. Have fun with it!
Potato Stir fry Pizza

This Rustic Pizza is sure to please everyone!

Ingredients:

1 Pizza dough rolled out fairly thin
1 large potato, peeled and diced into small cubes ( about 1cm)
1 each of red, orange and yellow peppers cut into small cubes.
1 small, red onion cut into cubes
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves
2 heaping Tbsp of basil pesto
Grated or fresh mozzarella
Grated parmigiano cheese
Soft goat cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Allow dough to rise then roll out and place on a greased pizza tray.
Cover dough with olive oil and sprinkle with parmigiano and mozzarella
In a frying pan, heat olive oil and saute all veggies (except baby spinach) for 10 - 12 minutes
Place veggies in a large bowl and add baby spinach and toss until well mixed. Spinach will wilt and become soft.
Add 2 heaping Tbsp of basil pesto and some salt and pepper to bowl and mix well.
Now distribute stirfry evenly over pizza dough and crumble goat cheese over entire pizza.
Place in a pre heated 400*f oven and bake for approx 25-30 mins. or until botton of pizza is golden brown.

***add your favourite veggies to this stir fry ( mushrooms, zucchini, etc. )****

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bolognese Sauce

Comfort food. That food that warms your soul. It leaves you totally satisfied yet craving more. It reminds you of your childhood or perhaps mom's or grandma's cooking, like you just came in from the cold and sat by the fireplace.This recipe is one of my comfort foods. It just makes me feel good....period.
I will from time to time write about comfort food because for me it equates to memories, good ones.
Memorable food can help you go back in time to specific day or event where the food was so good that without it perhaps that day or event would just fade away to the back of your mind never to be spoken of again. Anyhow, enough rambling on.....It took me a while to get what I felt was the right mix of ingredients for this dish and now its just the way I like it, comforting and memorable.



Easy Lemon Chicken

So its January, and its absolutely freezing outside.
There is snow coming down and your drive home from work just took an hour longer than usual.
You pick up the kids and return home tired and aching and realize....!@#$ I still need to make dinner!
This is one of my go to recipes for just such a night. Quick and easy, super tasty and in our house is loved by young and old. Its so quick and easy in fact, once you make it you probably won't need the recipe ever again.
Simple, fast, delicious.
One of the great things I like about this is that it can accomodate an endless aray of side dishes. A fresh salad, peas, corn or whatever you like that is also quick and easy to make on a cold wintery week night.

Easy Lemon Chicken

Ingredients:

Boneless , skinless chicken breast
1 cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
2 sage leaves
salt and pepper
flour
olive oil



Dredge chicken breast lightly in flour and dust off excess.
Place in a hot pan with olive oil and fry until golden brown Approx 3-4 minutes. per side.
Add salt and pepper
Add wine and lemon juice
Place 2 sage leaves in pan and cover, reducing heat to low
Simmer for approx 25 minutes.

*** the wine can be substituted with chicken stock****

At this point chicken should be fork tender and ready to serve. The excess sauce can also be used to flavour rice as a side dish.......Enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome! - Mini Porchetta

 Well folks, it all starts here. I have been running In Danny's Kitchen on Facebook for over 2 years and have finally made the transition to a blog.  Why so long?   Well, fear of the unknown perhaps but here we go!
 I am not a professional chef but  my passion for cooking and feeding people far surpasses that of any hobby I have.  Food brings people together in any event.  The tasting, the sharing or even the sheer enjoyment of trying something you like for the very first time.  But what it really creates is memories. Have you ever realized that you can remember a fantastic meal from an event you attended long ago?
So here In Danny's Kitchen,  I am creating food but I would also like to create memories.

One of my fondest memories was a Father's day  event my family had .
In honor of our fathers we celebrated with close family ,  friends and of course a lot of food.
My contribution to this party was what I like to call Mini Porchetta. A succulent roasted pork belly stuffed with seasoned pork shoulder.  Beautifully tender meat surrounded by crispy pork skin crackle. Truly a taste to remember.

Mini Porchetta

Well this first recipe is actually pretty simple.  It requires a few key ingredients , little prep time and several hours of cooking time. Be patient for this will produce the tastiest porchetta... a real crowd pleaser!

1 pork belly approx 10-15 lbs. available at your local butcher
1 pork (capicollo/roast or pork shoulder) a few lbs will do
garlic, lots of it! I used 3 whole bulbs
2 tbsp. rosemary
2 tbsp. oregano
2 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. corriander seeds
1 tbsp. fresh ground black pepper
1tbsp. red chili flakes
3 tbsp. coarse sea salt
good quality extra virgin olive oil

Place pork belly skin side down on a flat surface. Cut roast or shoulder into large cubes and place in a large bowl. Chop all other ingredients (garlic ,herbs etc.) finely and add to bowl . Add  1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to bowl and mix well. Now place contents to center of the pork belly , carefully fold both ends of belly until a large cylinder shape is created.  Tie entire belly together carefully spiraling along entire outer surface and ends leaving only 1 inch of space between each loop.  Cover entire belly with olive oil and coarse sea salt and place in a large tray preferably on a baking rack.  Place in a preheated 400*f oven and cook for several hours until skin is crispy and golden brown and interior temp of roast has reached 170c(use an oven probe or meat thermometer)
Use the drippings from porchetta to baste skin occasionally.
The size and weight of roast will determine actual cooking time.
once done , remove from oven and let stand for 1/2 hour before cutting.
This can also be cooked on a bbq using indirect heat as long as your temperature is consistent and remember try not to open oven or bbq too often unless it is to baste occasionally. Enjoy!

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