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Posts Tagged ‘Essex Massachusetts’

20160127_195207.jpgI usually work night and have been traveling quite a bit lately for work and cooking adventures so I was very excited about a night at home and time too cook a meal for my family!  Here’s the perfect recipe even for the pickiest of eaters.  Hands on time is quick, cooking time is fairly fast and you don’t have to do much to have a wonderful dinner that the leftovers are as good as the meal, easy to reheat and simple to make for a small crowd.

I adore chicken thighs.  They are inexpensive (12 pc for 7.20 at Market Basket), delicious, meaty, moist and tender and usually I use my good friend Doug Keiles’ line of rubs (http://www.ribswithin.com/products/) on the meat and put them on the grill or in the oven on a sheet pan and all is right with the world.

Tonight however, I decided that I wanted to make something to go with pasta with Meyer Lemon Oil, parsley and spicy roasted broccoli, which are two favorites in my family and I had the pleasure of not only my immediate family for dinner but Famous Chicka (my niece, Sarah) and my daughter’s best friend Ashley who is a culinary student at Lily’s school for expert assistance.  It’s remarkable how fast you can get things done with extra hands chopping, slicing and stirring!

Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemons and Olives

2 tablespoon olive oil

10-12 bone in skin on chicken thighs

2 tablespoons dried Italian Seasoning

2 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed

1 cup dry white wine

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup pitted brined olives (use whatever you have on hand)

2 Meyer Lemons (or regular if you don’t have Meyer), one thinly sliced and seeds removed and one zested and juiced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

With a knife or kitchen shears, remove any excess skin from chicken.  Season chicken liberally with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, Italian seasoning and crushed rosemary.

In a large, heavy Dutch Oven (I use the Le Creuset 9.5 quart French Oven) over medium high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering and nearly smoking.  Place chicken thighs, six at a time, skin side down in hot pan and brown for 5-6 minutes until skin is browned.  Remove from pan to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken.

Drain all but 3 tablespoons fat from pan, reduce heat to medium and add wine to the pan, scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pan while stirring.  Add shallots and cook until shallots are softened, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.  Add olives and Meyer lemon slices, zest, juice and chicken broth to the pan.  Add chicken back to the pan, skin side up in a single layer.  Cover pan with lid or aluminum foil and place in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through and reaches 165 degrees F.

Remove from oven and set aside, uncovered, for 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

I served mine with spicy broccoli (toss bite sized broccoli pieces in olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, place on a baking sheet and roast at 450 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until slightly charred and softened) and pasta (I used the high protein) tossed with Meyer lemon oil, fresh parsley, freshly cracked pepper and topped with parmesan cheese.

Another veggie that I thing is under appreciated is escarole.  If you sautee it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and some garlic, its initial bitterness and then sweetness on the palate is the perfect accompaniment to the meal and I often toss it with the pasta.

 

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Here it is, friends!

A new episode of Inspired Cooking airs on Cape Ann TV tonight at 8:30 and the show features one of my favorite guests the talented Clark Dexter!  Clark is a legend in the restaurant industry around here and is food can’t be beat.  Clark makes food that brings me back to my childhood–great memories of eating at The Hearthside in Essex for special occasions and enjoying every second of it!

Although this recipe is not exactly like the stuffed clams that Clark served at the restaurant he said it is pretty darned close.  So go and get some clams and treat yourself and your family to some excellent baked stuffed clams!

BAKED STUFFED CLAMS recipe by Clark Dexter

6 Cherrystone Clams
12 oz. Water
(2) 6 ½ oz. Canned Chopped Clams drained, reserve liquid
1 Med. Shallot – Chopped fine
6 Tbls. Butter
6 Tbls. Flour
2 Tbls. Fresh Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbls. Bread Crumbs
1 Tbls. Sherry Wine
1 Dash Tabasco Sauce
½ tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 tsp. White Pepper

Wash Cherrystone clams and put them in 12 oz. of water.

Bring this to a boil and cook until clams open. Remove clams and retain the water and the shells that the clams were cooked in.


Remove clams from shells and grind or coarsely chop.


Sauté shallots in butter until soft about 3 minutes.
Add flour to make your roux and cook about 3 minutes.


Add the rest of the ingredients to the liquid the clams were cooked in.

Next add the roux, cook until thick, then add the clams.
If the mixture seems too thick, add a little of the clam juice from reserved canned clam juice.

Let this mixture cool for a few minutes.

TOPPING FOR CLAMS  

2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
1 cup of milk crackers
¼ lb. Butter
1 clove of finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/8 tsp. celery seed
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. Italian seasoning which consists of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil.
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add onions, garlic and celery to pan and sauté until soft ( about three minutes). Add seasonings and parmesan cheese. Cook about one minute.
Turn off heat, add bread and cracker crumbs.

With a tablespoon, put clam mixture into clam shells, not over-flowing the shell.

Now top with crumbs.


Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes on a baking sheet until the clams are golden brown. Serve with fresh lemon wedges.

*You can make the clams up ahead of time and refrigerate for up to three days.  They also freeze very well and can be kept frozen for up to three months.    If frozen, it’s best to thaw before cooking.*

This is my plate of clams…..I dug in the minute I could!

Thank you again Clark for sharing your recipes with us and I look forward to shooting another episode soon!

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It’s All About Ice Cream-Episode #5–Down River Ice Cream

I hope you will make these recipes for ultra dark chocolatey cookies for the “greenhead” ice cream sandwiches and the fantastic toasted pecan cinnamon blondies with they spiced apple compote to make a wonderful sundae with vanilla ice cream!  Thank you again to my friends at Down River Ice Cream on rt 133 in Essex.  Go visit them soon and experience their wonderful homemade ice cream, gelato and sorbets.  Joe & Amy are doing their part and operating as a ‘green business’ to keep our environment happy and healthy!

Inspired Cooking airs on Cape Ann TV ch 12 Tuesdays at 8:30, Fridays at 4:30 and Sunday morning at 11:30.  I hope you will tune in!

Double Darks

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup natural cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon espresso powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

16 oz. semisweet chocolate (8 oz chopped)

1 cup salted butter

3 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 4 large baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt and set aside.

In a microwave safe dish, melt butter and chopped chocolate in the microwave, about 1 ½ -3 minutes (individual microwave power will vary).  Stir until smooth and allow to cool slightly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended and lighter in color.  Gradually mix in flour mixture and then chocolate mixture and finally chopped chocolate.

Using a #40 ice cream scoop (about 1 ½”) scoop onto prepared baking sheets, 9 to a sheet.  Bake 15-17 minutes in preheated oven until cookies are flat and surfaces are cracked.

To assemble, press a large scoop of mint chocolate chip (or another favorite ice cream) between two cookies

Enjoy!

*these cookies keep well in an airtight container for up to a week.  You can also make the ice cream sandwiches well in advance, wrap them individually and freeze them until ready to serve.

Cinnamon Pecan Blondies Sundaes with Warm Apple Sauce

2/3 cup salted butter, melted

1 pound light brown sugar (yes, one pound, about 2 1/2 cups)

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ¾ cup all purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup cinnamon baking chips

½ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together butter and brown sugar and extract until smooth.  Add eggs and stir until combined.  Gradually stir in dry ingredients until incorporated.  Mix in cinnamon chips and pecans and pour dough into prepared pan.  Wet fingers with water and press batter into pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes until center is just set and edges are lightly browned.  Allow too cool about ½ hour before slicing.  Serve with vanilla ice cream and warm apple sauce.  Enjoy!

Warm Apple Sauce (this sauce is great on french toast too!)

4 tablespoon salted butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 cups cooking apples (empire, gala) peeled, cored & sliced or cubed

Pinch salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

In a large saucepan, melt together butter and brown sugar.  Add remaining ingredients and cook for 15-20 minutes or until apples are soft and cooked through.  Serve with cinnamon pecan blondies and vanilla ice cream.

To assemble, cut blondies into desired size and place in a serving dish.  Top with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and several spoonfuls of warm apple sauce.  Sprinkle with additional toasted pecans if desired.  Enjoy!

Blondies keep well tightly wrapped or in an airtight container

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