weeknight gourmet

Posts Tagged ‘Food & Wine’

Kid Friendly Dish: Mustard-Baked Chicken with a Pretzel Crust

I have been cooking, but it has been tough to blog with a 4-month-old baby and a full-time job so I have a bit of a backlog of recipes to write up.

Here is a delicious chicken recipe that both you and the kids will love.  I first had the dish at City Bakery, a favorite lunch spot of mine and home of the world’s most delicious hot chocolate.  I then saw the recipe written up on Food & Wine’s website.

The chicken is moist and delicious — great flavor from the mustards and a yummy breading from the pretzels.  For an easy side dish, roast some cauliflower or green beans to accompany the chicken.  Since the chicken needs to cook at 400 degrees, you can cook the chicken and vegetables at the same time.

Now I just need to find the recipe for City Bakery’s Tuscan Kale with Pecorino and Hazelnuts!

Mustard Baked Chicken with a Pretzel Crust
Ilene Rosen from City Bakery as published in Food & Wine

  • 1/2 pound hard pretzels, coarsely crushed (4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels until coarsely ground; you should have coarse chunks and fine crumbs. Transfer to a large, shallow bowl.

Wipe out the food processor. Add the oil, whole-grain and Dijon mustards, water and vinegar and process until smooth. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.

Pour half of the dressing into a large shallow bowl, add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. Dredge the chicken in the pretzel crumbs and transfer to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Slice the chicken and serve warm or at room temperature with the remaining mustard dressing.

Cinco de Mayo: Chipotle Shrimp Tostadas

I thought something with a little heat might encourage Baby O to enter the world.  Since it is Cinco de Mayo, I turned to Mexico for inspiration.

These chipotle shrimp tostadas looked very tasty and relatively easy to throw together.

I made a few additions to the slaw.  I used a bit more lime juice than the recipe called for.  I also added a second tomato, some chopped avocado, and crumbled feta.

The chipotle chile powder gives the shrimp a great smokey heat.

Enjoy the crunch of the tortilla and slaw with the spicy shrimp.  YUM!

Chipotle Shrimp Tostadas
Food & Wine

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • Kosher salt
  • 24 large shelled and deveined shrimp (about 1 pound)
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Hass avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges, for serving

In a medium, deep skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until hot. Fry one tortilla at a time over moderately high heat until lightly golden on both sides, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
Preheat a grill pan. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with the 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and the chipotle chile powder. Season the shrimp with salt. Grill the shrimp over moderately high heat, turning once, until they are browned in spots and cooked through, about 4 minutes.
In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage with the tomato, scallions, sour cream and lime juice and season with salt. Set the tortillas on plates and top with the cabbage slaw, chipotle shrimp, avocado, radishes and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
Serves 4.

Easter Dessert: Lemon Upside-Down Cake

This is the perfect spring dessert!  The cake is so fluffy and moist — thanks to the milk and whipped egg whites.  And, it is filled with wonderful sweetness from the brown sugar and some tartness from the lemon.

Not many suggestions to improve this recipe!  I did have to cook the cake for a full 10 minutes longer than the recipe called for but I made no other changes.  And, I used regular lemons because the store didn’t have Meyer lemons.  Meyer lemons would be a bit sweeter.

When you are whipping the egg whites, make sure to use a clean stainless steel bowl.  Any grease in the bowl can impact forming the stiff peaks.  Also, use room temperature egg whites.  Cream of tartar, as called for in the recipe, provides some acidity and ensures that the egg whites bind together.

You can use the cake recipe as a base and substitute your favorite fruit.  Next time I might try pineapple!  Judging from how many slices Tim had, I think he’d be excited to try another flavor!

Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Food & Wine

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 thin-skinned lemons, sliced paper-thin crosswise, seeds discarded
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°. Set a 9-inch nonstick cake pan over moderate heat. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter and when it is melted, stir in the brown sugar until dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Arrange the lemon slices in the melted brown sugar.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter with the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and the egg yolks, one at a time. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk.

In a stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar at high speed until firm peaks form. Fold one-third of the beaten whites into the batter, then fold in the rest. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert it onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

Weeknight Veggies: Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower with Garlic and Chile

I love roasted vegetables!  Here is a very easy roasted broccoli and cauliflower recipe perfect for a weeknight meal.  The garlic and red pepper flakes give the veggies a little something extra.

Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower with Garlic and Chile
Adapted from Everyday Food, March 2010

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves (skin on)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together broccoli, cauliflower olive oil, garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

Roast until browned and tender, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Toss with the fresh lemon juice.

Meatless Monday: Artichoke Heart, Spinach, and Mozzarella Bread Pudding

I made this recipe the other week and thought it would be a good recipe for the week after Thanksgiving  since everyone has probably eaten too much turkey and might want a meat-free meal.  The bread pudding was very easy to make and was tasty.  I had not defrosted the spinach and artichokes in advance but followed the tip at the end of the recipe.   I soaked the veggies in a bowl of hot water and they were defrosted within 5 minutes!

Next time I might add some garlic or garlic powder to the dish for a little extra flavor.  I served the bread pudding with a simple green salad.

Artichoke Heart, Spinach, Mozzarella Bread Pudding
Food & Wine

  • 2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, drained, and squeezed dry
  • 1 9-ounce package defrosted frozen artichoke hearts, diced and drained on paper towels
  • 3 scallions including green tops, chopped
  • 1 quart 1/2-inch cubes of good-quality white bread
  • 1/2 pound grated mozzarella (about 2 cups)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 350°. Butter an 8-by-12-inch baking dish or a 1 1/2-quart gratin dish. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, artichoke hearts, scallions, bread cubes, and half the mozzarella. Spread this mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining mozzarella.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and bread and press the bread into the liquid, making sure that it”s well moistened.

Bake the bread pudding for 20 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 400° and bake until the pudding is puffed and browned, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Defrost frozen vegetables quickly by removing them from the package and putting them into a bowl of hot water. You may need to squeeze or blot the vegetables dry on paper towels before using them, but the defrosting will take only minutes.

Parmigiano-Crusted Rigatoni with Cauliflower and Prosciutto

The fall chill in the air has me on a bit of a comfort food kick.  Tonight I was thinking mac ‘n’ cheese but homemade macaroni and cheese on a weeknight is just too much work. While this recipe lacks the creaminess and cheesiness of traditional mac n’ cheese, it satisfied my craving.


The dish has great flavor from the garlic, proscuitto, and parmesan.  The garlic cream just coats the pasta and does not make the dish overly creamy.  We loved the crunch the broiler imparted on the dish.

If you don’t like cauliflower you could easily substitute broccoli.  Might be a good way to sneak some veggies for the kids.

Overall this is a keeper!
Parmigiano-Crusted Rigatoni with Cauliflower and Prosciutto
Food & Wine

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound rigatoni
  • One 1 3/4-pound head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 ounces sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch-thick ribbons

Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the rigatoni until al dente; about 6 minutes before the rigatoni is done, add the cauliflower florets to the pot. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the panko with the Parmigiano cheese and the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Return the rigatoni and cauliflower to the pot. Add the garlic cream, the prosciutto and the reserved pasta water and toss until the pasta is coated. Scrape the pasta into a large shallow baking dish and sprinkle the panko mixture evenly over the top. Broil for about 2 minutes, rotating constantly, until the topping is evenly browned. Serve hot.

Fall Desserts: Dutch Apple Pie

It’s apple season!  And, that means apple pie!

The Little Pie Company in our neighborhood has the most delicious Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie so I searched online for a similar recipe.  I didn’t find one with sour cream in the recipe but I found this absolutely delicious Dutch Apple Pie recipe in Food & Wine.

We picked up a peck of fresh Honey Crisps and Macouns at Windy Hill in Great Barrington, MA on Saturday so I used a combo of the two for the pie.  No changes to the recipe other than using a Pillsbury refrigerator crust as a time saver.


Everyone loved the pie!!  The apple filling was delicious and the brown sugar topping was amazing with a little crunch from the walnuts.  This recipe is a keeper!

Dutch Apple Pie
Food & Wine

  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed, plus 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 6 large apples—peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks or thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a food processor, pulse 1 1/4 cups of the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Add 1 stick of the butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. Drizzle on the ice water and pulse until evenly moistened crumbs form; turn out onto a surface and form into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Set a baking sheet on the bottom rack. In a bowl, toss the apples, lemon juice, sugar, 1/4 cup of the flour and the cinnamon.
On a floured surface, roll a disk of the dough to a 13-inch round; fit it into a deep 10-inch glass pie plate and brush the overhang with water. Crimp the overhang. Spoon in the apples.
In a bowl, whisk the remaining 1 cup of flour, the light brown sugar, the baking soda and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the 6 tablespoons of softened butter and rub the mixture until sandy. Add the walnuts. Press the mixture into clumps and sprinkle over the pie.
Bake the pie in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the crust is golden. Cover the edge of the pie if it begins to darken. Let the pie cool for at least 4 hours before serving.

Thai Tuesday: Chicken Pad Thai

I found this recipe on Food & Wine’s website today.  I was surprised how little time was required to make this Thai classic.

The key to the dish is Asian fish sauce.  For those of you who have not smelled Asian fish sauce, it does NOT smell good — it’s made from fermented fish.  But chances are you’ve had a dish made with fish sauce, since it is a key ingredient in Thai, Vietnamese, and Cambodian cuisine.  Fish sauce may not be available in your regular supermarket, but most specialty stores and Whole Foods will carry it.

The only addition to the recipe was that I added some scallions to the dish when I was cooking the garlic.

The dish was super tasty!  Tim and I both loved it.  Beware, there is a little heat from the cayenne!

Chicken Pad Thai
Food & Wine

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 pound firm tofu, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rice-wine vinegar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 pound linguine
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped fine
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves

In a small bowl, combine the chicken and 1/2 teaspoon of the fish sauce. In another bowl, combine the tofu with another 1/2 teaspoon of the fish sauce. In a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the remaining 5 tablespoons fish sauce with the water, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the lime juice, the vinegar, sugar, salt, and cayenne.

In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine until done, about 12 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until just done, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove. Put another tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add the tofu and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove. Put the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the pan, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Add the pasta and the fish-sauce mixture. Cook, stirring, until nearly all the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken, tofu, and 1/3 cup peanuts. Remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining 1/2 tablespoon lime juice, the bean sprouts, and half the cilantro. Top with the remaining peanuts and cilantro.


This recipe takes some time but it is definitely worth it.  If you are looking for a quicker version, take a look at my Mediterranean Fish Stew.  But the broths don’t compare — there is a wonderful richness from the slow cooking of the broth in the Tuscan Seafood Stew.

There are many steps to cooking the broth in this recipe– cooking the vegetables and squid in olive oil and some spices, adding 2 cups of wine and cooking until the wine is evaporated, then adding the tomato puree and cooking for another 40 minutes until very thick.  Finally you add the clam broth and water as well as the shellfish.  Only in the last two minutes do you add the fish.

Feel free to make this stew your own by increasing the seafood you love and omitting anything you don’t like.  We were a bit light on squid because the store was nearly out.

I toasted a garlic ciabatta for dipping.  Bread is A MUST!!  The broth was so flavorful and all of the seafood was perfectly cooked.  This was a great meal for a stormy Saturday night!


Tuscan Seafood Stew
Food & Wine

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Sicilian)
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 1/2 pounds cleaned squid—bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings, tentacles halved
2 cups dry white wine
One 28-ounce can tomato puree
2 lemons—zest of one peeled in strips with a vegetable peeler, zest of the other finely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups water
1 cup bottled clam broth
12 ounces mussels, scrubbed
12 ounces littleneck clams, scrubbed
12 ounces shelled and deveined large shrimp
12 ounces skinless striped bass fillet, cut into 2-by-1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a very large, enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, heat the 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add the fennel, celery, onion, oregano and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 15 minutes. Add the squid and cook over moderately low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the wine and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Cook until evaporated, about 20 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and strips of lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 40 minutes.
Add the water and clam broth and bring to a boil. Remove and discard the lemon zest. Season the broth with salt and pepper. Add the mussels, clams and shrimp, cover and cook until most of the shells have opened, about 5 minutes. Add the striped bass and cook until opaque, about 2 minutes longer.
In a small bowl, combine the parsley with the grated lemon zest. Spoon the stew into deep bowls and sprinkle with the gremolata. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Make Ahead
The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat before proceeding.

Serve With
Garlic-rubbed toasts.

Friday Night Fiesta! Chicken Chilaquiles


It was a stormy afternoon and evening in the Berkshires so I thought some Mexican food would bring a little brightness to the day!  Last time we were in Mexico, the hotel we stayed at had delicious chilaquiles that they served for breakfast (apparently that is when they are traditionally served).  Since Tim and I both loved them, I figured I’d try making them myself!

A bit about chilaquiles from Wikipedia:

Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican dish.  Typically, corn tortilla cut in quarters and fried are the basis of the dish. Green or red salsa or mole, is poured over the crispy tortilla triangles, called “totopos.” The mixture is simmered until the tortilla starts softening. Eggs (scrambled or fried) and pulled chicken are sometimes added to the mix. The dish is topped with cheese (typically queso fresco) and/or sour cream (crema), and it is served with refried beans.

I didn’t change anything in the recipe and it turned out really well.

The sauce starts off with a roux to which you added garlic, lots of spices, and chicken broth.  I was surprised there was not tomato paste or crushed tomatoes added because the chilaquiles we had in Mexico definitely had tomato in them.  If you want to cut the heat a bit, try adding some tomato puree or paste.

Rather than frying corn tortillas, this recipe calls for tortilla chips.  I used Restaurant Style Tostitos because that’s what my local Price Chopper had.

I just cooked the chicken breasts in a frying pan and sliced/shredded them once they cooled a bit.

As the recipe calls for, I served the chilaquiles with feta, red onion, cilantro, and sour cream.  I also added some green Tabasco to my plate.

We both definitely needed some cold drinks after eating this dish but we both loved it!

Chicken Chilaquiles
Food & Wine

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 in all)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound tortilla chips
  • 1/4 pound feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves

In a small bowl, combine the paprika, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic; cook for 30 seconds. Add the paprika and chili powder mixture and then add the broth slowly, whisking, until smooth. Bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until thick enough to coat a spoon, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over moderate heat. Season the chicken with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper and cook until browned and just done, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes. Cut crosswise into slices.

Add the tortilla chips to the chile sauce and cook, stirring, until the chips are soft but not falling apart, about 2 minutes. Put the sauce on plates and top with the feta, sour cream, onion, cilantro, and chicken.

Serves 4.