Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Black Bean Soup

4 cans black beans, rinsed, drained (15 ounces each)
6 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf

Half the beans and broth

Saute in 2 tablespoons olive oil:
1 cup white onion, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Pinch each of sugar and salt

Deglaze with; Add:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes in juice (15 ounces)

Serve with:
pico de gallo

Simmer beans and broth in a large pot over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf and half of the broth mixture.

Puree remaining bean mixture in the pot with a hand-held stick blender or in a food processor until smooth. Return reserved beans to the pot; keep warm over low heat.

Saute onion, garlic, and seasonings in oil in a non-stick skillet until soft, about 5 minutes.

Deglaze pan with vinegar, then add tomatoes and their juice. Simmer to reduce slightly, then mash tomatoes lightly. Add to soup and cook another 5 minutes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cream Cheese & Chives Chicken Packets

2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
3 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 tbls fresh chives, chopped
2 tbls milk
Salt, to taste
Seasoned croutons, crushed
2 packages crescent rolls
2 tbls melted butter

Cook and shred 2 chicken breasts to make 2 cups. Mix chicken, cream cheese, chives, milk, and salt in medium sized bowl. Unroll crescent rolls and split into 4 rectangular pieces per can, pushing triangular seams together. Scoop approximately 1/4 cup of chicken mixture onto dough on one end leaving room along the edges for sealing. Fold over other side of dough and press to close. Brush each packet with melted butter and sprinkle with crushed croutons to coat as desired. Bake, at 350, for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or cold. Makes 8 packets.

To freeze: Prepare according to directions through sealing of chicken packets. Wrap in saran wrap and flash freeze. When frozen place packets in gallon baggie and seal. Place crushed croutons in quart size baggie and package with packets.

Serving Day: Thaw for 24 hours in fridge. Preheat oven to 350. Unwrap chicken packets and brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with crouton crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Manicotti (as inspired by Maggiano’s)

The manicotti can be prepared until baking point, wrapped in aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.) Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 1-1/4 hours.

2 tablespoons butter
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 pound spinach, stemmed, washed, blanched and roughly chopped
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (poached and shredded by hand or with forks)
3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Italian blend)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound no-boil lasagna noodles (Barilla preferred)
1 recipe, garlic Parmesan-Asiago sauce (see below)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often until the mushrooms are browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook until all liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add poached chicken, spices, and mix well. Combine ricotta, Parmesan, 1½ cups mozzarella, and eggs in medium bowl. Fold into mushroom, chicken, and spinach mixture, adjusting seasonings to taste. Prepare noodles by pouring 1 inch boiling water into baking dish or deep cookie sheet; add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, separating noodles with tip of sharp knife to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on clean kitchen towels; discard water in baking dish and dry. Spread dish evenly with enough sauce to coat the bottom of the pan. Using a measuring cup, spread a generous 1/4 cup of the filling evenly onto the bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. (Add more filling to the ends, if necessary.) Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta edges are completely covered. Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Remove baking dish, adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element), and heat broiler. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining ½ cup mozzarella. Broil until cheese is spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Cool slightly, then serve.

Garlic Parmesan-Asiago Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups ½ and ½
½ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan (I used ½ cup Parmesan and ½ cup Sorrento “Italian cheese blend”)

Heat the butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant but not brown. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the cream and ½ and ½ and whisk until mixture begins to thicken and bubble. (It may separate, but keep stirring to combine.) Remove from heat and add the chives, cayenne, and cheese, whisking to melt/combine. Use as indicated with manicotti.

Recipe submitted by Jill

Beef Braciole

Beef Braciole from the Oak Steakhouse in Charleston, SC

1 flank steak (about 1 ½ lbs.), butterflied in half lengthwise and flattened/pounded slightly
4 T. olive oil, divided
1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 T. chopped fresh oregano
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 T. chopped fresh sage
¼ pound thinly sliced pancetta
1-2 Italian sausage links
1 1/2 c. beef broth
1/2 bottle dry red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 26 oz. jar of marinara sauce (about 1 1/2 c.)
salt and pepper

Open flank steak on work surface. Sprinkle steak generously with salt and pepper, then rub with 1 T olive oil, and sprinkle with parsley, oregano, thyme, and sage. Arrange pancetta slices evenly atop herbs. Arrange sausages crosswise about 2 inches from one of the short ends of the steak. Beginning at short end near sausages, roll up the steak into a log. Tie string around steak at 2 inch intervals. (Can do this 1 day ahead.) Cover and chill. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat remaining 3 T. olive oil in large ovenproof pan. Add steak and cook until browned all over, about 7 minutes. Add beef broth and wine, then marinara sauce. Bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to oven. Roast until steak is tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Transfer meat to platter and tent to keep warm. Reduce sauce to about 4 cups, about 15 minutes (it is a light sauce; it doesn’t thicken a great deal). Slice braciole into 1 inch slices and serve sauce on top. Serve with pasta or polenta.

Recipe submitted by Jill

Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Cream Scones

Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Cream Scones

Jill Rockwell (these are a Miller family favorite!)

Ingredients (Makes 10 small or 8 large scones)
3 cups bread flour
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons coarse sugar for topping


Cut two 10-inch circles of parchment or waxed paper. Use one to line a 10-inch round cake pan. Reserve the second piece. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the cream to the flour mixture and stir by hand just until the batter is evenly moistened. Place the dough into the lined cake pan and press into an even layer. Cover the dough with the second parchment paper circle. Freeze the dough until very firm, at least 12 hours. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it lightly with cooking spray or lining with parchment paper. Thaw the dough for 5 minutes at room temperature; turn it out of the cake pan onto a cutting board. Cut the dough into 10 equal wedges and place them on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Brush the scones with milk and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake the scones until golden brown, 30–40 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to cooling racks. Serve the scones warm or at room temperature.

Dried Cherry Scones
Omit the coarse sugar. Add one cup of dried cherries to the dry ingredients just before blending in the cream. Follow the remaining method as stated above. Mix the milk and confectioners' sugar together to make a glaze and spoon over the scones while they are still warm.

Ham, Cheddar, and Scallion Scones
Omit the coarse sugar topping, substituting coarse salt and Parmesan cheese. (Note that sugar is still included in dry ingredients). Add one cup of medium-dice ham, one-half cup of medium dice Cheddar cheese, one-half cup of sliced scallions, and 1 teaspoon cayenne to the dry ingredients just before blending in the cream. Follow the remaining method as stated above. Have also substituted mini chocolate chips, toffee chips, blueberries, and cranberries/orange peel.

Corn Bisque

Corn Bisque – serves 8

Jill Rockwell (as adapted from Magnolia Grill’s “Not Afraid of Flavor” and the Junior League of Durham and Orange County’s “Carolina Thyme”)

4 oz thick cut bacon, sliced into ½ inch pieces
¾ cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 roasted yellow peppers (grilled, peeled, cored, seeded, and diced)
4 ears of corn (husked, grilled, and cut off cobs) or 4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
1 Serrano chile (seeded and minced)
1 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
pinch of nutmeg
salt and fresh pepper to taste


Sauté bacon over medium high heat in heavy stock pot until fully cooked. Remove bacon and reserve for garnish. Remove and discard all but 3 tablespoons of rendered fat. Add onions, carrot, celery, and garlic and sauté 5 minutes, or until tender. Add corn and yellow and Serrano peppers, and sauté 3 minutes. Add wine and sauté 5 minutes more, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender and liquid is slightly reduced, about 30 minutes. With handheld immersion blender, puree soup until texture is smooth and thick. (Or, working in batches, purée soup in blender. Return soup to pot.) Mix in half and half, thyme, marjoram, and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls and garnish with reserved bacon.


Jambalaya (serves 4 to 6)

(Note that because I didn’t want to freeze the rice, I eliminated that step, and instead of resting the cooking chicken on the rice as the recipe indicates, it was still possible to gently rest it on the other ingredients in the pot; I froze the rest without the rice, and then cooked the rice separately when ready to serve. Several reviewers suggested that freezing the rice in the sauce would have left it gummy.)

1 medium onion, quartered lengthwise
1 medium rib celery, cut crosswise into quarters
1 medium red bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
5 medium cloves garlic
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (I used ½ thighs, ½ breasts)
8 ounces andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼ -inch pieces (see note below)
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice (10 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (see note below)
1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2-ounce), drained, 1/4 cup juice reserved
1 cup clam juice (bottled)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 bay leaves
1 pound medium shrimp (31 to 35 shrimp per pound), or large shrimp, shelled
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. In food processor, pulse onion, celery, red pepper, and garlic until chopped fine, about six 1-second pulses, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice. Do not overprocess; vegetables should not be pureed.

2. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, skin-side down, and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and cook until golden brown on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to plate and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add andouille; cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to paper towel–lined plate and set aside.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low, add vegetables, and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until vegetables have softened, about 4 minutes. Add rice, salt, thyme, and cayenne; cook, stirring frequently, until rice is coated with fat, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, clam juice, chicken broth, bay leaves, and browned sausage to pot; stir to combine. Remove and discard skin from chicken; place chicken, skinned-side down, on rice. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir once, keeping chicken on top, skinned-side down. Replace cover and continue to simmer until chicken is no longer pink when cut into with paring knife, about 10 minutes more; transfer chicken to clean plate and set aside. Scatter shrimp over rice, cover, and continue to cook until rice is fully tender and shrimp are opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

4. While shrimp are cooking, shred chicken. When shrimp are cooked, discard bay leaves; off heat, stir in parsley and shredded chicken, and serve immediately. *If you can't find andouille, try tasso, chorizo, or linguiça (I used the latter); if using chorizo or linguiça, consider doubling the amount of cayenne to attain the appropriate level of spiciness.

Pork Lo Mein II

Cooks Illustrated - serves 4 (I doubled the recipe)

Use a cast-iron skillet for this recipe if you have one—it will help create the best sear on the pork. When shopping for Chinese rice wine, look for one that is amber in color; if not available, sherry wine may be used as a substitute. If no hoisin sauce is available, substitute 1 tablespoon of sugar. If boneless pork ribs are unavailable, substitute 1 1/2 pounds of bone-in country-style ribs, followed by the next best option, pork tenderloin. Liquid smoke provides a flavor reminiscent of the Chinese barbecued pork traditional to this dish. It is important that the noodles are cooked at the last minute to avoid clumping.

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 pound boneless country-style pork ribs, trimmed of surface fat and excess gristle and sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons Chinese rice cooking wine (Shao-Xing) or dry sherry
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms , stems trimmed, caps cut in halves or thirds (about 3 cups)
2 bunches scallions , whites thinly sliced and greens cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 small head Napa or Chinese cabbage , halved, cored, and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (about 4 cups)
12 ounces Chinese egg noodles or 8 ounces dried linguine
1 tablespoon Asian chile garlic sauce


1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat.

2. Whisk soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and five-spice powder together in medium bowl. Place 3 tablespoons soy sauce mixture in large zipper-lock bag; add pork and liquid smoke, if using. Press out as much air as possible and seal bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with marinade. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour. Whisk broth and cornstarch into remaining soy sauce mixture in medium bowl. In separate small bowl, mix garlic and ginger with 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil; set aside.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of pork in single layer, breaking up clumps with wooden spoon. Cook, without stirring, 1 minute. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons wine to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is reduced and pork is well coated, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer pork to medium bowl and repeat with remaining pork, 1 teaspoon oil, and remaining 2 tablespoons wine. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.

4. Return skillet to high heat, add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, and heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add scallions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes longer; transfer vegetables to bowl with pork.

5. Add remaining teaspoon vegetable oil and cabbage to now-empty skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Clear center of skillet; add garlic-ginger mixture and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir garlic mixture into cabbage; return pork-vegetable mixture and chicken broth-soy mixture to skillet; simmer until thickened and ingredients are well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

6. While cabbage is cooking, stir noodles into boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, 3 to 4 minutes for fresh Chinese noodles or 10 minutes for dried linguine. Drain noodles and transfer back to Dutch oven; add cooked stir-fry mixture and garlic-chili sauce, tossing noodles constantly, until sauce coats noodles. Serve immediately.

Recipe submitted by Jill

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sally Mincer's Deviled Chicken

1 cup melted butter
1 cup light mayo
4 TBS dijon mustard
Pepperidge Farm Stuffing
salt and pepper

6 chicken breasts

Mix together the above ingredients in a bowl. Roll the chicken breasts in the mixture( I patted it around the chicken as it didn't roll so evenly).

Place it on foil on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees

Freezer: I wrapped in foil and then froze. To cook I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and then baked one hour, with the foil partially opened. (chicken was frozen) After an hour I I opened the foil fully and allowed to bake an extra 20-30 minutes.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

2 pounds red peppers
1 large onion, cut into hunks
1/4 pound carrots cut into hunks, well washed but not peeled
3-4 celery stalks, cut into hunks
2 TBS olive oil
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp rosemary
1 TBS basil
salt and pepper
Sour cream for garnish

Roast the red peppers in the oven or on the grill (preferable), until the skins just turn brown. They should sweeten considerably. Allow them to steam in a brown paper bag for ten minutes. Then run under cold water and peel, core and deseed. A little charred flesh is okay it adds a nice smokey flavor.

In a large stockpot, put the onions, celery, and carrots with a little olive oil. Saute over low heat until the onions begin to caramelize. Add the peppers, basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and then add stock to cover the peppers plus 1". Simmer over low heat for roughly 30 minutes. Let stand to cool.

Get a fine strainer (sieve), another pot and a blender. Place the cooled peppers and stock into the blender and puree them. After all the solids have been liquified, pour through the fine sieve into the second pot. The sieve strains out any fibers from the celery, onions etc. (You absolutely want to do this I tried it once and it was not good.) You should use the bottom of a spoon to press the liquid out of the pulp in the sieve. Discard the pulp. It may take a few batches to get all the soup through.

Check the seasonings and adjust if necessary. Sometimes an extra bouillon cube is better than adding salt and pepper. The soup should be reheated to a simmer and held there for roughly 20 minutes, but NOT ALLOWED TO BOIL. The soup can be cooled and frozen or served.

To serve place in a low, wide brim bowl. Take a dollop of warm sour cream and place in the middle of the bowl. Then using a knife, "slice" through the sour cream and soup. this will give you a marbled pattern. Float a couple of croutons on top and finish with a small sprig of rosemary or a sprinkle of fresh basil which has been "chiffonaded" (rolled up leaves and then sliced.)