Friday, April 25, 2014

Ricotta and spinach stuffed chicken breast

Every time I make any form of Ravioli it's always a struggle to find a reason to use the leftover ricotta cheese. I know I can make pancakes or stuffed shells or plenty of other things, but it's still difficult before the ricotta cheese goes bad. I ended up making this stuffed chicken breast the last time I made ravioli and it did not disappoint. It was deliciously cheesy, easy and cooked through quickly. It was perfect with some pasta for an easy weeknight dinner.

I apologize that I do not have a recipe. I just kind of throw shit together on dishes like this. It's like magic

Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast

  • 2 handfulls of baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • a few tablespoons shredded parmesean cheese
  • 4 basil leaves, chiffonade
  • oregano
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • flour
  • egg
  • breadcrumbs
  • 2 chicken breasts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Sautee a little garlic in olive oil, then wilt the spinach until just cooked. Let cool and squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible.
  3. Roast the red bell pepper over a grill or burner to char the skin until black. Let cool and peel off blackened skin. Remove seeds and ribs and dice small.
  4. Mix spinach and red pepper with cheeses, herbs, spices, salt and pepper. Adjust to taste, adding more cheese as necessary.
  5. Butterfly chicken breasts by cutting a slit down the side and opening up a pocket. Fill the pocket with cheese mixture  and pin closed as best as possible with toothpicks of cocktail skewers. 
  6. Bread the chicken in flour, egg and breadcrumbs.
  7. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat with olive oil. Sear chicken for 2 or 3 minutes on each side until golden crust forms
  8. Finish chicken in the oven for 10 more minutes or until cooked through. Let cool a couple minutes before serving.
Note: if you have extra filling, you can make more chicken, save it for pasta or use it as a warm dip/topping for french bread. Don't really worry about making too much.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Cran-Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again! It's only my second month of participation but it has already become on of my favorite parts of keeping this blog. I look forward to the surprise of seeing what other people will create, and I find so many new blogs that I never would have known existed otherwise. So far I'm 2 for 2 in finding recipes to add to my regular rotation as well.

This month's recipe comes from  Authentic Suburban Gourmet, a blog run by Bay Area native Lisa. By day she's an executive, but by night (and weekend) she's a self taught home cook and overall foodie. Her blog is filled with plenty of great recipes and wonderful restaurant reviews that made me more than a little homesick for Berkeley/San Francisco. 

I had a hard time deciding between recipes this month. The Caramelized Apple Skillet Cake and the Cranberry Orange Bars all looked delicious. But I ended up choosing her Cranberry Streusel coffee cake. Like her, I buy a few bags of cranberries and put them in the freezer to have all year. I knew I wanted to use some of those cranberries on this recipe. 

I changed a few things in this recipe to fit the ingredients he had in our house on that lazy Sunday morning. I substituted Greek yogurt for sour cream, which made it a little more dense but still quite good. I also used used half apples and half cranberries because we have 10 pounds of apples in the fridge from our CSA box that really need to get used. I also used a different streusel recipe because I was running out of butter, but it's all essentially the same. Thanks for the awesome recipe Lisa!

Cran-Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries
  • 1 apple, peeled and cored (I used a pink lady)
Ingredients for topping
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup AP flour
  • 4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Cream together butter and sugar for the cake. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the yogurt, vanilla and almond extract
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add that to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  3. Fold in cranberries and apples and spoon into a prepared 9 inch pan.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together all ingredients for topping until a crumbly mixture forms. Sprinkle over the top of the coffee cake
  5. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour until cooked through. Let cool completely before serving. 

Secret Recipe Club

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Happy Easter everyone. This month, the wonderful folks at Sourdough Surprises have challenged participants to make sourdough hot cross buns. I had never made hot cross buns before, but I knew they were related to Easter, and it's always great to try out something new.

I took the inspiration for this recipe from Nourishing Joy and thought it was excellent. It was just sweet enough to make you want another bite, but not overly so. I did find the batter very soft and difficult to work with (next time I might retard it overnight like I do with brioche and see if that works better). But then again, my scale was seriously broken so I had to use their dry ingredient measures as opposed to the weight measurements. Maybe that's why

The texture of the bread was good and it was a very easy, very quick (in terms of sourdough) recipe. I will make sure to make this again.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

  • 1 cup sourdough starter (active)
  • 3 1/2 cups AP flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • pinch of cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dried fruit (used raisins and cranberries)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • flour, water and oil for crosses
  • honey and lemon juice for glazing

  1. 2 days before you intend to bake, refresh your sourdough starter to make sure it's active
  2. On baking day, mix starter, flour, zest, sugar, spices, egg, honey, milk and water in a stand mixer. Mix until combined and sticky dough form
  3. Meanwhile, soak dried fruit in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain water from fruit and mix with the salt.
  4. Mix fruit and salt into the bread and knead for 10 minutes
  5. Add butter and knead until fully incorporated. Finished dough will be very soft, shiny and a little sticky.
  6. Let dough rise 1 hour in an oiled bowl. Stretch and fold dough on itself a number of times and let rise another hour. 
  7. Divide dough into 12 pieces and place into 9x13 baking sheet not quite touching. Let rise 2 hours or until doubled
  8. To make the crosses, mix together flour, water and oil until a thick paste forms that you can still pipe. Pipe crosses across your buns.
  9. Bake buns at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
  10. When you remove buns from the oven, glaze immediately with honey and lemon juice or orange juice. Let cool completely before serving. 

This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tomato Focaccia

This recipe provides a much more interesting focaccia recipe than normal.  The bread itself is a great pink color because of the tomato paste and the toppings give it so much great flavor. The bread is light and soft without having a lot of air pockets. It's perfect for an interesting sandwich, and it fulfills a pizza craving as a snack or lunch with a salad.

This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting

Tomato Focaccia


  • 1 oz active dry yeast
  • 2/3 oz sugar
  • 1 oz salt
  • 2 lb bread flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • water (about 2 cups)
  • tomatoes, basil, olives, Parmesan and feta cheese for garnish
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix yeast, sugar, salt, flour, eggs, tomato paste and rosemary. Begin mixing and slowly add water as needed until a soft dough forms. It should still be heavy, but uniform and not wet. Knead until dough comes together
  2. Let dough rise in an oiled bowl for 1 hour or until doubled in size
  3. Remove dough and roll out to the size of a half sheet pan. Line pan with parchment paper. The dough should be about half an inch thick when rolled out.
  4. Oil the top of the dough and top it with tomatoes, Parmesan, basil, olives and feta cheese as desired. Let rise another hour
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until everything on the top is golden.
  6. Cool completely before serving.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lemon Meringue Pie

I love lemon meringue pie. This year I decided to make lemon meringue pie for pi day (a little late on this post, I know) and it was a big hit with my fiance. It's super easy and you really can't go wrong with something adapted from a 1970s Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. They do certain things well, and pie is definitely one of them. 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 T flour
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ c water
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 T butter
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 9 inch pie crust
  • 6 T white sugar

  1. Pre-bake pie crust for 10 minutes at 400 degrees
  2. Mix sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt together. Add lemon juice, zest and water.
  3. Bring to boil and temper beaten egg yolks with the . Add eggs and butter to the juice mixture and stir until thickened.
  4. Pour curd into pie crust.
  5. Beat egg whites until foamy. Add 6 Tbsp white sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Pour meringue over the top, making sure to seal the edges and prevent weeping.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 until lightly browned.
  8. Cool completely before serving.
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