Classics, Comfort food, Dessert, Food, Pastry

Impromptu Apple Crostata

IMG_20191116_122003

I used store bought pie dough from the frozen aisle in the grocery and after covering 4 pies, I had enough scraps leftover to roll out a 7-8 inch round crust.  I made this recipe because I had extra pie crust dough leftover from making Chicken Pot Pie. I used store bought pie dough from the frozen aisle in the grocery and after covering 4 pies, I had enough scraps leftover to roll out a 7-8 inch round crust.   So here goes:

Ingerdients:

1, 7-8 inch pie crust

2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced ( I used honeycrisp)

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar, plus a 1tsp for sprinkling

1 Tbsp cold butter, diced.

Method:

Roll out the crust and place it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Keep it cold in the fridge while you prep the apples.

IMG_20191116_113059

Peel, core and slice two apples.  Toss them in sugar and cinnamon.

Arrange the apple slices on the cold pie crust, leaving a 1-inch border

Fold over the pie dough to create a rustic crust.

IMG_20191116_113441

Dot with butter and sprinkle sugar over the crust.

Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes till the apples are bubbly and the crust is pale golden and flaky.

Enjoy!!!

IMG_20191116_122316_445

 

 

Classics, Comfort food, Food, Poultry

Chicken Pot Pie

IMG_20191101_170324

Chicken Pot Pie is a hearty meal that will fill you up on any cold night.  I first made this for my father–he loves chicken pot pie!!  When I was reading recipes for chicken pot pie, I was shocked at the amount of butter that the recipes were calling for–and that was just for the filling!  I was not doing that, so I went and got some store bought shortcuts–and it came out really well.  Since then,  I have been following this recipe and it has never failed me.  The additional benefit is that you make the entire meal in a couple of hours and freeze it OR spend another 20 mins to bake it off and you have dinner!  I love making it on a weekend and freezing it down in serving size portions—dinner is then ready in jiff on a weeknight.

Ingredients:

Pre-cooked, store bought chunks of white meat chicken.  I usually get two, 12oz packages.

One, 14.5 oz container of Mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery–all pre-diced!!!!)

IMG_20190921_135505

1 package of store bought pie crust

2 tbsp of butter

3 tbsp of flour

2 tsp of Herbs de provence

1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicier)

1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper

1 quart chicken stock

Salt to taste (this will vary depending on how salty your chicken stock is)

Method:

In a large stock pot, melt butter on medium heat.

Once butter is melted, add mirepoix and saute till soft and pale golden

 

Add chicken chunks, spices, and flour and stir well till everything is well mixed.

 

Add chicken stock and cook on medium low heat for 20-30 minutes.  You want the filling to thicken.

Once the filling is made, divide into individual bowls.  I have pot pie bowls, and this recipe makes about 4 servings.

IMG_20190921_145240_882

Let the filling cool completely in the bowls.

Cover with store bought pie crust, crimp and seal the edges.  At this point you can wrap the pies with freezer friendly  plastic wrap and freeze down for later.

Cooking instruction:

If cooking immediately:

Preheat oven to 375F.  Brush the top of the crust with some egg wash ( 1 egg beaten with a little bit of water), and cut a slit to allow for the steam to escape.  Bake for 15 mins till crust is golden.

If cooking a frozen pot pie:

Thaw pot pie in refrigerator for 1-2 days.  Once the pie is thawed, follow the above instructions to cook.  You may need to increase the baking to 20-25 mins to ensure the filling is piping hot.

ENJOY!!!

IMG_20191101_165604

 

 

 

Classics, Comfort food, Food, Meat

“Winter is Coming” Meat Pie

IMG_20190414_184756

I recently jumped on to the “Game of Thrones” bandwagon. Yes, I know I am about 8 years late, but I am here now, completely obsessed and can’t wait to see how the story wraps up.  This past week has been everything “thrones” especially with the HBO marathon going on.  In Season 4, there is an extensive description of a particular “Steak and Kidney Pie” made by the character “Hot Pie” at the “Inn at the Crossroads”.  As Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne hungrily tucked away large bites of the pie, I couldn’t stop thinking about how delicious it must be.  Decision made.  I am was to make a classic English Meat Pie to celebrate the premiere of Season 8.  Yes, the weather is warming up, but I hope you choose to make this recipe soon, we only have Game of Thrones on till the middle of May !!!

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds stew meat, cut into small bite-sized pieces

Chopped button mushrooms, carrots and onions – cut them small enough so that they are the same size as the meat.  You can change up the ratio, but I went meat heavy since that is the way my husband likes it.  I would reckon about 1/4-1/3 cup for each veggie would be sufficient.  

1/4tsp of dried rosemary, thyme, and sage

3tbsp of flour

2tbsp of good red wine, you know what to do with the rest of the bottle

1tsp of Worcestershire sauce

1tsp of paprika

1 can of chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil for frying

Store bought pie crust

Method:

In a heavy bottom pan (I like my dutch oven), heat olive oil and brown beef in batches, seasoning it salt and pepper.  Once browned, set aside.

 

 

In the same pan, add a little bit more oil and add all the veggies and saute till pale brown.  Once browned, added dried herbs, salt and pepper and saute for 5 more minutes.

 

Add the beef back in with all the veggies.

Add flour, and saute till all the meat and veggies are coated with the flour and browned (5-7mins)

 

Add 1 can of chicken stock, paprika, wine and Worcestershire sauce.  Cover and simmer on medium low heat till the gravy thickens, the carrots are soft and the meat is fork tender.  This is a pie filling, so it has to be nice and thick.

IMG_20190414_122813

Divide the filling into individual “pot pie” dishes (OR one big pie pan) and cool the filling completely.  In the past, I have made a meat and potato version of this in muffin tins, with a double crust.  You can find that recipe here

IMG_20190414_131428_030

Cover the filling with thawed pie crust.  Crimp the edges to seal in the filling, add a slit on the top for steam to escape.

 

 

Brush the top with egg wash–this will ensure a deep golden crust.

 

 

Bake in a 375F oven for 40-45 mins till the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling underneath.

IMG_20190414_184804

Serve Hot !!!

IMG_20190414_184944

Classics, Experience

Short Notice Tea Party

IMG_20190324_190902

In true “Bengali” fashion, my aunt and uncle informed me that they would be visiting for tea.  They had not seen me in a very long time, and now that the snow has melted, that felt a more comfortable in making the drive.  Don’t get me wrong, I love having guests and I was extremely happy to see them.  I only wish I got a little bit more notice so that I could whip up some home made treats.  So, with about 24 hrs to spare and lots of weekend errands to run, I turned to store bought treats.  On the menu was Darjeeling tea from India, Biscoff and Shortbread cookies, cucumber and ham finger sandwiches, chicken salad canapes, and, last but not the least, vegetable samosas—a Bengali tea without samosas is simply incomplete !!  This was also a great opportunity to break out my Fortnum & Mason tea service.  All in all, it turned out to be lovely afternoon !

Classics, Comfort food, Dinner, Poultry

Roasted Split Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon

 

IMG_20181001_183729Roast chicken is a classic, but it takes time–more suited for a Sunday night.  It has its benefits too.  Plenty of leftovers for sandwiches and chicken noodle soup.  However, when it is fall and you want a hearty, comforting meal on a weeknight,  turn to this recipe.  The trick is to remember to marinade the night before and take the time to brown the chicken (preferably in a cast iron skillet).  Try it soon !

INGREDIENTS

½ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

2 large split chicken breasts

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Whisk together all ingredients except chicken.

Put split chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag and add marinade.

Seal bags, removing as much air as possible and massage marinade around chicken to coat evenly. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. convectional or 425 degrees F. conventional.

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Heat a large heavy bottom skillet (I use my cast iron skillet) over medium heat. Once heated, put chicken skin side down in the skillet and cook until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer skillet into the oven.

Roast until chicken is browned, meat is cooked through and juices run clear (an instant reading thermometer when inserted in the meat should read 165 degrees F.) about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow sitting 15 minutes to “rest” (this allows the juices to settle in the meat so they don’t run out when chicken is cut).

IMG_20181001_182823

Classics, Dinner, Fish & Seafood, Lent

Cracker Crusted Cod

IMG_2219

I was recently chatting with my best friend and fellow-food blogger (An Artsy Appetite) about baking, food, school and just life in general—when I realized that I have had no time to post a single recipe on my own blog!  Well, a lot of things have been happening.  Primarily, both my husband and I are trying to finish up grad school.  As a result, it has been a lot of slow-cooker soups and stews.  I decided to cook a proper meal (not heat up leftovers from the freezer) and have a nice fish dinner (fish Fridays during Lent).  This recipe is from Epicurious and is a classic New England favorite much like my New England Baked Scallops  and Parker House Scrod.  I hope it makes it to your dinner table too!

INGREDIENTS

    • 4 tablespoons (divided) butter
    • 1/2 package – 1/2 sleeve buttery round crackers (e. g. Ritz), crushed
    • 1 pound thick-cut cod loin
    • 1/4 cup dry white wine
    • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
    • 1/2 lemon, juiced
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

PREPARATION

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    • Place 2 tablespoons butter in a microwave-safe bowl; melt in microwave on high, about 30 seconds. Stir buttery round crackers into melted butter.
    • Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a 9×9-inch baking dish. Melt in the preheated oven, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove dish from oven.
    • Coat both sides of cod in melted butter in the baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
    • Bake cod in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
    • Remove from oven; top with lemon juice, wine, and cracker mixture. Place back in oven and bake until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 10 more minutes.

I served it with oven roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed green beans.

 

Classics, Comfort food, Dinner, Gluten-free, Poultry

Chicken Cacciatore

IMG_2121

For those who know me and also read my recipes, you might have noticed that I cook with whatever is lying around.  I rarely “follow” recipes, most of it is by smell, look and taste.  Nevertheless, I love collecting cookbooks and my inner scientist can respect the importance of a well written “protocol”/”recipe”.  So I dusted off a cookbook that I got for Christmas and cooked this recipe–with a few changes

IMG_2114

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 pounds of chicken breast, cut into cubes

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp of rosemary

1 small can of chopped tomatoes

salt and pepper

(original recipe called for fresh rosemary, chicken thighs and tomato paste)

Method:

Heat oil in a skillet, season chicken with salt and pepper and saute till browned.  Set aside.

IMG_2117

Add onions, garlic, mushrooms and rosemary to skillet.  Season with salt and saute till softened.

Add chopped tomatoes and 1/4 cups water.  Return chicken to pan.

Cook on low heat till sauce reduces.

Serve with crusty bread.

IMG_2124

Classics, Dinner, Meat, Quick Dinner

Rosemary Pork Chops with Shallots and Mushrooms

IMG_2107

The inspiration for this dish comse from the classic Yeager Schnitzel.  Our favorite German Restaurant servers it with a rich mushroom sauce.  This is my light version which can be easily whipped up for weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:

Boneless Pork chops

1 Tbsp of dry rosemary

1 shallots, slices

8 oz baby bella mushrooms, slices

2 tsp of flour

1/2 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 Tbsp of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a caste iron skillet.

Season porch chop with rosemary, salt and pepper.

IMG_2097

Sear the pork chops in a medium high skillet, on both sides, till golden brown.

IMG_2099

Remove seared chops and add shallots and mushrooms to the same skillet.

Saute till golden and add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and flour.  Cook for another 2-3 mins.  The mixture will look very dry and will stick together.

Stirring continuously, add the chicken stock and the pork chops.

Simmer on medium low till pork 160 F at the center.  Remove chops and continue to thicken the sauce to your liking.

IMG_2105

Serve the chops with a generous smothering of the mushroom sauce.  Sauteed green beans are a wonderful side with this dish !

IMG_2106

 

Classics, Fish & Seafood, Lent

New England Baked Scallops

IMG_2075

A classic New England dish that an turn any weeknight dinner to date night !

Ingredients

24oz of Bay scallops

1 cup crushed Ritz (or similar) crackers

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Garnish: Lemon slice, chopped fresh chives or parsley

 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325º, and set a rack to the second-to-top position.

Wash the scallops and pat dry.

IMG_2067

Arrange scallops in a 8- by 8-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, garlic salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the scallops evenly with the breadcrumb mixture. Pour the butter over all, then sprinkle evenly with the lemon juice. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

 

Turn the heat up to “broil” and, with the oven door ajar, brown the top for an additional 2 or 3 minutes (keep a constant eye on the dish to avoid burning). Serve hot!

 

Classics, Cupcakes, Italian

Chocolate Cannoli Cupcakes

IMG_2037

This summer, I have been on a Cannoli kick.  I guess it started with the Cannolis we had for our rehearsal dinner.

DSC_1193

Then we were out in Boston getting some more at Cafe Vitorria.  As a result, whenever I wanted make something, the “Cannoli” flavor kept coming up.  So here is a super easy recipe for Cannoli cupcakes.  I also used the ingredients to build a my Chocolate Orange Charlotte.

Ingredients:

Store bought chocolate cake mix

1 15oz container of Ricotta Cheese ( I used part-skim, feel free to use full fat)

4 tbsp of vanilla frosting (I used this, because it was lying around in the pantry)  OR 4tbsp  powdered sugar.  Sweeten to your liking.

1 tsp of almond extract

2tsps of ground cinnamon

mini chocolate chips and pistachios (unsalted-shelled) for garnish

Method:

Make batter and bake cupcakes as per package directions.  I baked 6 cupcakes and used the rest of the batter to make 2 9″ round cakes for my Chocolate Orange Charlotte.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely

In the meantime, mix the entire container of ricotta cheese with 4tbsp of frosting (or 4tbsp of powdered sugar) with almond extract and cinnamon

Fill into a piping bag attached to a star-tip (this is what I did; frost as you like) and pipe onto your cupcakes. You will not use the entire frosting for 6 cupcakes, I saved it for my cake recipe.  You will probably use the whole thing if you are making 12 cupcakes.  This frosting will make a great Cannoli Dip with graham crackers or you could use it for my other favorite recipe “Cannoli Cups

Sprinkle with mini-chocolate chips and pistachios (other toppings could be orange peels, almonds or nothing at all)

Serve and watch your friends devour !