Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Simon & Garfunkel Rub Turkey

By Paul Briand

This is a simple way to add color and taste your Christmas turkey.

I call it the Simon & Garfunkel rub because the ingredients used here are parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

Yes, from the S & G 1966 album "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" and from the song, "Scarborough Fair/Canticle":

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Remember me to one who lives there,
She once was a true love of mine.

At any rate, just take a couple of teaspoons of each (with a sprinkle of garlic powder and some salt and pepper) mix it all together in a bowl then rub the entire chicken -- inside and out -- with the mixture. Get some of the rub under the skin too.

As a spokeswoman for the McCormick spice company said to the Associated Press, in a story about seasoning turkey, "Your big three are sage, thyme and rosemary. They work well together so you get a nice balanced flavor."

With the rub inside the turkey, the herbs will drip into your stuffing, if you are an in-the-bird-stuffing kind of person, which I am.

The bird will have nice coloring and great taste.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

By Paul Briand

I picked up this recipe from the Associated Press feed on my Blackberry. The idea here is to create a cheese-stuffed chicken dish that may sound like a diet buster, according to the AP article, but isn't.

In fact the nutrition information for this recipe puts a serving at only 296 calories -- hard to believe since it contains three different kinds of cheeses, primarily cheddar and Gorgonzola. The calorie offset comes from the fact that the high impact Gorgonzola is countered with a reduced-fat cheddar with a little Parmesan cheese thrown in for good measure.

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of excess water
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 ounce shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 ounce crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1/3 cup seasoned Italian-style breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large white egg whites

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees;
2. In medium skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil followed by the onion and garlic. Saute until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes;
3. Add the spinach and Italian seasoning, then cook until all the liquid has evaporated;
4. Mix in both cheeses, set aside;
5. One at a time, lay each chicken breast flat on a cutting board. Use a paring knife to make a horizontal slit along one side to create a pocket (do not cut all the way through);
6. Place a quarter of the cheese mixture into the pocket, then press the meat over it. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken;
7. In shallow dish or pie plate, mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. In other bowl, light beat the egg whites with a fork;
8. Holding the stuffed breast together, dip in egg whites then roll in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with remaining breasts and set aside;
9. In large ovenproof skillet over high heat, add remaining oil and add the chicken. Cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes;
10. Turn breasts over and place the skillet in the oven. Bake until chicken is no longer pink at the center, about 20 minutes.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010


By Paul Briand

I happened to catch a recent airing of "The Phantom Gourmet" -- a regional television program that reviews restaurants and talks about good food in New England.

The program did a piece on pizza joints with a sidebar about Stromboli. I got inspired then and there to make a Stromboli for my dinner table.

A Stromboli is a type of Italian turnover filled with various cheeses, Italian meats such as salami, capicola, and pepperoni, with some vegetables and marinara sauce. The dough is usually Italian bread dough.

I made mine with the ready-made pizza dough you can find at the grocery store, and I filled mine with capicola, pepperoni, cheeses and sauce.

My caveat: I needed more practice spreading the pizza dough. I needed to make it much thinner than it was because once it was all baked it was a little too thick around all that gooey goodness inside.

Store-bought pizza dough
12 slices of capicola (an Italian pork cold cut)
Slices of pepperoni
16 ounces store-bought marinara sauce
Bag of shredded Italian cheese blend
Bag of shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 egg beaten

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees;
2. On a dry, floured work surface, spread the pizza dough using a rolling pin and your hands to as thin as you can without tearing it;
3. Layer the following down the center of the dough: Some marina, several slices of capicola, several slices of pepperoni, a handful of the Italian cheese blend, handful of Mozzarella;
4. Add another layer, then another;
5. Fold the dough over the layers lengthwise, then fold in the ends to create what looks like a long loaf;
6. Use care in turning the loaf over;
7. Use a pastry brush to spread the egg wash over the loaf;
8. Sprinkle with more Mozzarella;
9. Bake until brown and the insides are gooey, about 20 to 25 minutes;
10. Cut in 2-inch slices and serve, using more marinara as a topping.

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