Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chicken in Mushroom, Onion, Wine, and Sour Cream Sauce

Have you missed me? I have missed me!

Working full-time since January has certainly changed my schedule and life. And how I cook and what I eat.

Be that as it may ...  Regardless of my age ... I will post this recipe I have made several times. Yes, it is rich. Even decadent. Great for a special occasion. Or a day when you are ticked off at the entire world and want revenge! Or, when you are just really tired and want something comforting. Saucy. Buttery. Bad.

Do serve over white rice, wild rice, mashed or silky wide noodles. The "gravy" is uplifting. Yes, we all need to be uplifted ... Is not that what food is all about?

I used a natural, whole chicken that I cut into two leg quarters and then two whole breasts. I saved the wings and the back for the stock pot. Use bone-in, skin-on chicken. Yes, that is what super heroes consume ... not flabby, rubbery fillets ...

  • 2.5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, washed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour mixed with one teaspoon seasoned salt and one teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 ounces chopped celery
  • 4 ounces chopped red onion
  • 1-2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 8-12 ounces sliced mushrooms (white, Bella, mixed)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-minced thyme or one teaspoon dried thyme flakes 
  • 2-3 tablespoons dried onion soup mix
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional but really do not skip)
  • Cayenne pepper, pinch or two (optional)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • Using same can, 3/4 can dry white wine or dry sherry (I prefer sherry) and 3/4 can chicken stock
  • 1/2 - 1-cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Dredge chicken pieces in seasoned flour mixture. Set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1/4 inch of oil. Do not be stingy. Add chicken. Brown on both sides ... about 8-10 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Lower heat. Add onion and celery to the drippings. Saute until soft and tender. Add garlic. Stir until fragrant. Add a bit of pepper.

Now add the mushroom soup, wine or sherry and chicken stock. Stir until smooth. Add dried onion soup mix.

Nestle the browned chicken pieces into the sauce. Top with mushrooms. Cover. Simmer on LOW for one - two hours. DO NOT BOIL!

Last ten minutes or so, add sour cream.  A bit of butter. Stir until creamy and smooth.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Most Popular Recipe for 2015


My most popular recipe for 2015 was not a "recipe" at all; not, at least, in the usual sense of ingredients.

But, it was certainly about food.

And feeding; for, food is Love.

It was the video of the feral kittens I have been tending since last September.
Number two was the poem I wrote for my cat, Chalk, whom I had to put to sleep in July. (Yes, I still cry.)

Number three was the recipe for ham sliders. Links below.

The kittens are now pretty much grown. Yearlings. I am "sorry" to say we have lost "Biscuit," the orange-and-white spotted cat, brother to the black-and-white cat, "Boo." Their mother, "Cali" has also disappeared. Oh, she was so incredibly beautiful! She would never eat until her two kittens had their fill. Looking back, I think she had been declawed. Disarmed. I just can't go there ...

Biscuit wanted a home. And I have no doubt he finally found one. He often disappeared for several days and then showed up for breakfast when I showed up. 

Oh, how he debated: "Go? Stay?"

In the end, on the final day I held and kissed him, his amber eyes said it all. I will never forget that last gaze. Took me awhile to figure out what he was trying to tell me.

All the cats are chipped; so, it is my hope that, one day, we will get a call from a vet saying he has a cat named Biscuit.

I don't care if he is a zillion miles away, I will bring Boo to unite with his sibling, Biscuit.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Smoked Salmon Appetizers

The "sign-up list" at my place of employment was for Christmas "finger food." It was strategically and psychologically situated at the time clock.

The day before the "feast," I worked the late shift, so that precluded nothing complicated that involved turning on an oven.

So I whipped up this non-cooked recipe. It was a snap to put together just before I left for work. It had a festive "catered" look. More importantly, it was gobbled up.

I was able to purchase the smoked salmon (lox) at a sale price. One has an option for the cheese. I used President brand "rondele." One could, of course, use a Boursin cheese or herb-flavored cream cheese. It basically depends on one's budget.

  • 3, 3-ounce packages smoked salmon
  • 2, 8-ounce containers garlic and herb spreadable cheese, room temperature
  • 20 Party Jewish Rye squares
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced into 20 thin slices
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Dill for garnish
  • Smoked paprika (optional) 

Lay out the rye squares on a foil-lined sheet pan. Pipe (or spoon) softened cheese on each square. Be generous. Angle a cucumber slice onto one side of the cheese so it "sticks." Layer slices and bits of salmon onto the cheese. Tuck in pieces of thin-sliced red onion under the salmon. Sprinkle very lightly with smoked paprika, if using. Garnish with fronds of dill. Chill before serving to firm everything up. Remove to a serving platter or leave on foil-lined pan.

Serve and watch them disappear.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Black Walnuts, Candied Cherries, with Irish Whiskey

Black walnuts have always been a favored part of my heart. My maternal grandparents had huge trees that surrounded their Indiana home. My grandpa would throw the green-encased nuts on the driveway and run over them with his blue GMC truck to crack them open. Yum.

Growing up, I also remember a wonderful black walnut ice cream under the name of Sealtest.

Anyway ... Time passes on.

It's Christmas.

For some reason, I have had black walnuts on my mind. Candied red cherries. Irish whiskey. And Soda Bread.

I thought I would put them all together for a kind of Christmas Bread.


Once I marinated the black walnuts and candied cherries in the whiskey ... I could not stop eating the nutty, sweet-sopping result ...

What to do?

I do not know.

This essence needs to be a side on its own ... for rich, dark chocolate cake and whipped cream ... or ice cream... Better yet, serve a rich brownie with a scoop of ice cream and then topped with the mixture!

  • 2 ounces chopped black walnuts
  • 4 ounces whole candied cherries, snipped with kitchen shears or cut into pieces
  • 50 ml Jameson Irish Whiskey (one of those tiny bottles)

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and cover for several hours or until most of the whiskey has been absorbed. Stir every-so-often.