Sunday, October 27, 2013

Labor Intensive

Back in the day, I could have Sunday dinners when I did really gourmet cooking.  Today, our numbers can fluctuate anywhere from 8 to 20 on a normal Sunday.  If we had out-of-state kids, our total number could now be up to 31.  That means I can't pan fry anything and costs always have to be taken into account.

Well, last week we had a weird Sunday and it was just my husband and me.  Time to try something a little gourmet and a little labor intensive.  All of these taste much better than they look since I don't have the camera talents that my daughters do, but here you go.


1/3 c. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh mushrooms (recipe called for sliced, the picture showed whole)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons white wine (cooking)
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the garlic in olive oil for 1 to 2 minutes.  Do not brown the garlic.  Add mushrooms and cook 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in balsamic vinegar and wine, cook another 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook's notes:  These were a good solid side dish.
Source: Submitted by Christy J


3/4 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
4 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon orange zest strips
kosher salt to taste
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Place green beans in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water and cover.  Cook until the beans are tender but still firm, 2 to 4 minutes.  Drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile, stir together olive oil and 1 tablespoon orange zest strips in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Cook and stir until the olive oil has been infused with the flavor of the orange zest, about 2 minutes.  Discard zest strips.

Toss drained green beans with flavored olive oil and kosher salt over medium heat until the beans are hot and coated with oil.  Place onto a serving dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon grated orange zest to garnish.

Cook's Notes:  These were really, really good.  I don't know if it was the oil or the zest that really infused them, but orange & green beans went surprisingly well together.

Source:  submitted by Shakl


3 large whole russet potatoes
2 tablespoons high-heat-resistant vegetable oil, such as grapeseed oil
salt and ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
4 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup chicken broth, or more as needed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut off ends of russet potatoes, stand potatoes on end, and peel potatoes from top to bottom with a sharp knife to make each potato into a uniform cylinder.  Cut each cylinder in half crosswise to make 6 potato cylinder in half crosswise to make 6 potato cylinders about 2 inches long.

Place potatoes into a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes to remove starch from outsides; pat dry with paper towels.

Place a heavy oven-proof skillet (such as a cast iron skillet) over high heat.  Pour in vegetable oil; heat oil until it shimmers slightly.

Place potato cylinders with best looking ends into the hot oil, lower heat to medium high, and pan fry potatoes until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes.  Season with salt and black pepper.

Flip the potatoes onto the opposite ends.  As they cook, use a paper towel held with tongs to carefully blot out the oil from the skillet.  Add butter and thyme sprigs to skillet.

Pick up a thyme sprig with tongs and use it to paint butter over the top of the potatoes.  Cook until butter foams and foam turns from white to a pale tan color.  Season with more salt and pepper.  Pour chicken stock into skillet.

Transfer skillet to preheated oven and cook until potatoes are tender and creamy inside, about 30 minutes.  If potatoes aren't tender, add 1/4 cup more stock and let cook 10 more minutes.

Place potatoes on a serving platter and spoon thyme-scented butter remaining in skillet over potatoes. Garnish with thyme sprigs.  Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes:  I used rosemary instead of thyme.  These were really good and interesting.  Niel thought they were bland and I probably should have painted them better.  But they were a most interesting texture...different than steamed and different than baked.

Source: Submitted by Chef John


4 boneless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

Season chicken breasts with lemon pepper, salt, dill weed, and garlic powder.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Place breasts in skillet and increase heat to medium-high. Turn chicken frequently, until brown, about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, until breasts are cooked through.  Remove chicken to a warm serving platter, and cover with foil.

Return skillet to stove, and increase heat to high.  Whisk in whipping cream, whisking continuously until reduced to sauce consistency, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in capers.  Pour sauce over chicken, and serve.

Cook's notes:  The picture just didn't turn out, but this was really good.  I love capers!

Source: submitted by Mommy To2Boys

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