Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chicken Braised with Caramelized Red Onions in Red Wine Reduction and Chicken Leeks Clear Soup

Multitasking Chicken Thighs

It has been raining a lot in this part of the world and the air has been cold and damp so I was planning to make a big pot of hot chicken soup with the package of 4 chicken thighs that I had in the fridge. But then I thought it would be such a waste to only cook soup with those meaty chicken thighs; surely you can make a hearty meal out of those chicken thighs in addition to the soup (as it turned out, they made four hearty meals for two people in two dinners). So with those four chicken thighs I managed to not only make a big pot of Chicken Leeks Clear Soup, but also a chicken dish that I’d like to call Chicken Thighs Braised with Caramelized Red Onions in Red Wine Reduction.

Chicken Leeks Clear Soup


1) 2 leeks – chopped
2) 4 chicken thighs

3) 2 cloves garlic – smashed

4) Thumb sized ginger – smashed

5) Salt, black and white pepper, Mrs. Dash

6) ½ tsp turmeric


Put all ingredients except turmeric in a pot with water and boil on high heat. Once boiled for the first time (10-15 minutes), take chicken thighs out and set aside. Add ½ tsp turmeric and 1/4 cup of water and bring to another boil. Let simmer for another 10 minutes on medium low heat and then on low heat until serving time.

Chicken Thighs Braised with Caramelized Red Onions in Red Wine Reduction


1) 1 clove garlic – chopped
2) 1 shallot – sliced

3) 1 red onion – thinly sliced
4) Sea salt, black pepper, Mrs. Dash, paprika

5) ½ cup red wine

6) Canola or Olive oil

7) 4 chicken thighs from the soup


Heat canola oil in a pan on medium high heat. Add sliced shallot and chopped garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add a dash of sea salt, black pepper, Mrs. Dash and paprika. Add red onion and sauté for one minute. Add ¼ cup of red wine and turn heat to medium low and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Add another ¼ cup of red wine and let simmer again for another 5-10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Put the chicken thighs from the leeks soup on top of the semi caramelized onions with the wine reduction and cover and let simmer on medium low heat for another 5 minutes. Add a pinch of sea salt, black pepper, Mrs. Dash and paprika on top of the chicken, turn chicken over once and then once more so the skin side is up. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and put the pan in the oven and let bake for 15-20 minutes (or until the meat is cooked and no longer red inside). Remove the aluminum foil and broil for 3 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and let sit for a minute and serve with pasta.

Whole Wheat Pasta soaked in Olive Oil

Drain pasta once boiled. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash to taste and garnish with thyme. Serve with the Chicken Thighs Braised with Caramelized Red Onions in Red Wine Reduction.

The chicken is tender and juicy and the red onion with red wine reduction sauce adds a rich and delectable flavor to the whole dish.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Génoise in Strawberry Champagne Sauce

Strawberry spectacular!

Génoise in Strawberry Champagne Sauce, page 242 in the “Spectacular Desserts” section of the “Better Homes and Gardens - New Baking Book”. The exact title is: Olive Oil Génoise in Strawberry Champagne Sauce.

I generally don’t make any dessert that contains the word “spectacular”, or any fancy foreign word (especially in French – which to me is like the couture of all cuisines) in its description. “Spectacular” sounds a little too intimidating to me - if a dessert is “spectacular”, it must be hard to make - and “génoise”?? Well, that just sounds too sophisticated and I didn’t even know what the word meant. And so for the past two years since I purchased this “Better Homes and Gardens - New Baking Book”, never once did I try any of the recipes in the “Spectacular Desserts” section, that is, until last week.

Olive Oil Génoise in Strawberry Champagne Sauce is the first of the “Spectacular Desserts” recipes that I have ever tried. I chose this recipe because after reading the step-by-step instruction carefully, I realized how simple it actually was (especially if you own a KitchenAid Stand Mixer). In addition, I also liked the fact that it only contains 275 calories per serving, which is a fraction of what those other fancy desserts usually contain. How can I not love this “Better Homes and Gardens - New Baking Book”? Not only can I pick and choose any of the 600 plus recipes based on how easy the recipe is and how nice the picture looks in the book, but I can also pick and choose the recipe based on its nutritional value.

The recipe for the génoise calls for 6 eggs, ¾ cup sugar, 1/3 cup extra-light olive oil (not extra-virgin olive oil), and 1¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour, and the mixture is to be baked in a 9-inch springform pan. However, since I didn’t want to use so many eggs, I only used 2/3 of each of the ingredients, starting with 4 eggs, etc. (hence, I’d like to speculate that I only consumed 2/3 of the given calories and fat per serving,) and I used a 6½-inch springform pan. To my relief, the génoise turned out well and those high school math classes really paid off. The génoise was nice and fluffy and the strawberry champagne sauce gave a complementary fruity-syrupy flavor to it. It was spectacular indeed!

P.s. After googling “génoise”, I now know what the word means.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sandwich Pizza with Prosciutto, Capicolla, Soppressata & Mozzarella

The Italian dish that never was...

I’m sure the Italians don’t serve them like these (pictured above), but when you’ve got prosciutto, capicolla, soppressata and a chunk of fresh mozzarella in the fridge and nothing else but an empty stomach, you do what you gotta do. In my case, I just quickly layered the prosciutto, capicolla, soppressata together with some mozzarella and sliced Swiss cheese (a slight deviation here), sliced tomatoes, diced green olives and slices of red onions on top of slices of cornbread (that’s been sitting on the kitchen counter for a few days), baked them for about 10 minutes in the oven and pronto! I just built myself a number of makeshift but delicious mini pizzas good enough to quiet down my growling stomach. The authentic Italian panini can be made some other day, when I am not starving.

Melted cheese is simply the best!