Chicken Marsala

This evening I made a version of Chicken Marsala that made everyone happy. Including me because it is pretty easy.

You start out with chicken breasts…

chicken marsala  which get pounded down to an even thickness…

chicken marsala …and then salted and peppered heavily on both sides

chicken marsala …then are seared in butter or ghee very briefly (3-4 minutes) and removed from the pan.

chicken marsala  In the same pan mushrooms and shallots are sautéed in butter for several minutes…

chicken marsala …then chicken broth and Marsala wine are added, along with a rosemary sprig. After a few more minutes you add the chicken breasts back in, cover and let them cook for 8-10 minutes.  I took them out and sliced them up before topping them with the sauce – but that’s just because the boys like the smaller pieces. You should feel free to do what you like – they would be impressive served whole, too.

chicken marsala In keeping with our grain-free menu, I paired it with the with the spaghetti squash from last night and a big green salad. Delightful paleo feast. The boys ate it up (except for the mushrooms which they won’t eat because they are black. Silly kids, more for us!)

And yes, that’s a puzzle underneath the dishes. We are in the middle of one right now that takes up the whole table, so we just cover it up when it’s time to eat.  No, we’ll probably never finish it.

Still to go this week…chocolate chili, cauli-rice and the best broccoli salad ever. Such yumminess ahead!

Great Hosts

Do you ever visit a friend and feel so at home that you just wish you could stay? Maybe move in? I think there is a little bit of art to being a great host. And lots of practice helps, too.

I felt this way when I went to visit our friends near Ft. Worth. They have recently moved there from San Diego and I was excited to see their new house and welcome them to Texas! It was close to my birthday, so Christy went above and beyond for the weekend…it was a perfect getaway. There were gifts and spa appointments and fantastic food and lots of lounging in the pool and playing with the new puppy. I did NOT want to drive home on Sunday afternoon.

Since one of the meals included a recipe from The Pioneer Woman – and if you know me, you know what a fan I am of PW – I thought I would share some of the yummy meals I was served while I was there.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Mushrooms. Garlic. Brie. Butter. Oh my. I could probably live on these. Here’s some step-by-step instructions on how to make them. And with a recipe this simple you could change the cheese or change the herbs for all kinds of variations on flavor. Seriously delicious.

We were happy to have those little gems to snack on…Christy and I got a little carried away doing nothing in the pool and by the time we started on dinner we realized it probably wouldn’t be ready until nearly 10 o’clock! Not that anyone was going to mind that, by the way. Braised short ribs that could bubble away for hours and hours.

Apologies for the picture quality – or lack thereof. I was taking photos with my phone so I could taunt my husband about all the yumminess he was missing out on. I know: not nice.

And the first night I was there…grilled swordfish under a fabulous relish/sauce next to mashed potatoes. Totally scrumptious.

A really organized food blogger would have gotten copies of these last recipes ahead of time and posted them along with much nicer photos of the dishes. But I’m not that blogger…so we’ll have to just wait for Christy to read this and post links for us. OK? And that relish on top of the fish – seriously – you want to make that and use it on anything. Everything. It’s so yummy.

Here’s to great hosts!

Back with The Daring Kitchen…

I’ve been away from The Daring Kitchen for a little while…there was the oven issue, sick kids, me feeling lazy…but I’m back! So let’s get to it:

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pâté with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pâté recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

I think pâté is kind of like cilantro…people seem to either love it or hate it. I don’t know many who are on the fence. We fall in the love category. Well, with the pâté anyway. I also love cilantro. Everyone else in my house makes a face over it.

Pâté was a regular feature at the wine tasting evenings of our past. But I’ve never made it. Never even thought about trying to make it. My dear friend Erica, hostess of the best wine tastings, was so excited to hear I was going to give it a try and immediately made a request for a mushroom pâté she’s been wanting to have with Thanksgiving dinner. Another great reason to get back to The Daring Kitchen challenges.

The recipe for the mushroom pâté called for three different kinds of mushrooms. I used two different kinds and one of them had to be purchased dried and reconstituted.

You can hydrate dried mushrooms in hot water for about 30 minutes or boiling water for just 2 or 3 minutes. You don’t want to leave them in water too long or they get unspeakably soggy. (One ounce of dried mushrooms will turn into about 3-4 ounces of re-hydrated mushrooms. Remember that when you see the price on those packages of dried mushrooms!)

I also used some fresh cremini mushrooms.

Cremini are baby portabellas. And one of my favorites.

The sautéed mushrooms get mixed in a food processor with cream cheese and goat cheese and spices…

…and then into the refrigerator so the cheeses can set back up and create a stiffer pâté.

I’m aware that pâté can look like cat food. I get it. I do. But really, if you love mushrooms, this recipe is worth a try. And it is so flexible you can change the flavors as you like.

The other part of the challenge was to make homemade bread to go with the pâté. “No problemo,” I thought. And it went very well…until the last rise. Which it kind of didn’t. The flavor was right, but it wasn’t as fluffy as it should have been. Also, there is the possibility that I put the bread in the oven before it was fully preheated. I had a fever. I wasn’t really paying attention.

Starter dough…which rests at room temperature for at least 14 hours.

Finished dough in thirds, resting. These ovals were supposed to be rolled into three baguette loaves, but my pans weren’t long enough so I cut them in half.

Ready for the final rise.

Oh, and there was a whole other pâté, too. Liver and pork, three ways.

Whew!

Here are the recipes:

Mushroom pâté from Emeril

Pâtés and baguettes on The Daring Kitchen site.

Enjoy!

Oh, and Happy Father’s Day.

UPDATE: The liver pâté was overwhelming. And not in a good way. I had to substitute beef liver for pork liver (which I could not find anywhere) and it was just too strong. The texture didn’t really work either. So I don’t recommend the substitution but, our dog Hannah love, love, loved it. And the not-so-fluffy bread wound up in freezer bags in tiny cubes labeled “For The Ducks.” So, it was a good week for the animals.

Greens!

It’s hard to escape a farmers’ market without a big bunch of leafy greens.

Turnip Greens (apologies for photos - it's dark so early now - I haven't adjusted yet!)

These greens weren’t actually mine.  My mother bought them.  She got swept up in the chef demonstration recipe which included turnips and bison and some other things I can’t remember.  Anyway, she didn’t expect to use all of them, and so here they are in my kitchen.

It was a night I didn’t really feel like cooking…in fact, my husband almost ran out to grab something…but with the greens on my counter and a couple of staples on-hand (bacon and rice and broth,) I mustered just enough energy to throw together a quick dinner.  No masterpiece here, but we enjoyed a nice Southern staple on the patio and I got to put some green things on my son’s plate.  No, of course he didn’t eat them, but that never stops me from putting them in front of him!

Turnip greens with mushrooms and bacon

The key with greens is that you need a lot of them.  And you have to clean them and then clean them again.  Then they simmer in broth with onions and your choice of pork.  I usually serve them with some vinegar (but I forgot that the other night!)  Also, in spite of washing them twice, there was still some occasional grit…so I really mean it when I say you wash and wash and wash them.  The bacon goes first, then add the onions and mushrooms.  Once everything is nice and happy in the bacon grease you add the washed, chopped greens in batches as they wilt.  Add broth as needed so they can simmer for 40-45 minutes.  Finish with a splash of vinegar before serving.  Oh, and you’ll want to have some cornbread handy to sop up some of that “pot likker” as they call it.

Steam some rice and quick sauté some shrimp…and dinner is served.