Saturday, May 31, 2008

Balsamic Chicken with Shallots & Sun-dried Tomatoes

So tonight was another one of those nights...nothing in the fridge, not a lot of time to cook or plan a meal etc. Luckily, I bought some chicken at the grocery store while I was out getting my morning coffee. I had no plans for the chicken but ended up with a delicious new recipe! The following is my new creation...I call it 'balsamic chicken with shallots & sun-dried tomatoes'. My husband thought I should give it a proper name, but I am sticking with tradition and naming it after what's in it!

I served this tonight with some store-bought gnocchi in alfredo sauce and we ate in front of the TV while watching the Lost finale (thank God for DVR).

Ingredients & Preparation:
Serves 4 or 2 with leftovers.

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • handful of sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), julienne
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 5-6 basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup of balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • dash of lemon juice (I added this but I doubt it is really required)
  • few grinds of fresh pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F. In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients (I do not add any salt as the sun-dried tomatoes are salty enough). Place chicken in a shallow baking dish and pour marinade over top. You can let this sit, covered, for an hour or so in the fridge if you have time.

Sprinkle the shallots, sun-dried tomatoes and basil over the chicken. Arrange the peppers around the edges of the chicken and over top if you have enough to cover. Sprinkle the cheese on top of everything. Place the covered dish in the centre of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Take the cover off and broil for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese on top.

Serve with your choice of side and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Prosciutto wrapped Cod


My husband and I love to eat seafood. I hadn't made cod in a very long time and wanted to make something quick and easy but yummy. I can't remember where I found the idea to wrap the cod in prosciutto but I have found a recipe that outlines the exact steps I made so it should keep you on the right track.

I served this with the Classic Risotto Milanese (below) and fresh asparagus from our local farmer's market (picture below before steaming). I had the leftovers (uncooked portions which I cooked and did not reheat!) the next day which I served on a bed of linguine with pesto and a green salad. It was just as delicious.

Ingredients & Preparation: (this recipe is from Healthy Appetite with Elie Krieger)
Serves as many as you want! Just buy enough fillets. This is for 4 people.

  • 4 (5-ounce) cod fish fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I did not add any extra salt as the prosciutto is very salty already)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • Cooking spray
Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Wrap 1 wide or 2 thin slices of prosciutto around each piece of cod. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and preheat it over a medium-high heat. Add the fish fillets and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until the prosciutto is crisp and the fish is cooked through. Serve while hot!


Monday, May 26, 2008

White Chocolate Tarts with Berries & Pistachio

These little tarts are inspired by one of my favorite Italian restaurants in the city. Grano has a crostata tri-colore ( and I absolutely adore it. I had a craving one day and couldn't get to the restaurant so I made my own version. It has been a staple in our house ever since.

The three colours are red, white & green. Raspberry, white chocolate and pistachio. I added some blackberries to the batch I made today. I cheat and use pre-made mini shells.

This dessert is so simple to make and so, so good.

Ingredients & Preparation:
  • 18 Mini pie shells
  • Approx. 12 squares of white bakers chocolate (I didn't count!)
  • 10% cream, until chocolate is smooth
  • pistachios, shelled and chopped into pieces
  • raspberries, cut into 1/4's
  • blackberries, cut into 1/4's
Pre-bake your mini shells according to directions. Melt your chocolate however you can - I use a pot of boiling water with a small sauce pan on top so the heat from the steam melts the chocolate. Add the cream and keep stirring until the chocolate is smooth, thinned out and creamy. I do this by feel so I have no idea how much cream I use. Maybe about 1/2-3/4 cup?

Place some chopped pistachios in the bottom of all your shells. Fill just below the top with white chocolate and place raspberries or blackberries into the centre with some more pistachios. Let cool in the fridge for a couple hours.

Insalata Caprese

I went to our local farmer's market this Saturday since it was such a gorgeous day. I was looking for some tomatoes to make this salad since the ones from the grocery store are never quite right. I found some beautiful beef steak and yellow tomatoes. Typically, this salad is made with plum tomatoes but I wanted to use local produce and these were to good-looking not to buy!

Again, no recipe for this salad but it's very simple to make.

Ingredients & Preparation:
This made enough for 4 people and we had the leftovers at another meal.
  • 1 large beef steak tomato, sliced
  • 3 small yellow tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh mozzarella (Buffalo mozzarella if you can get it), sliced
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • radicchio, chopped for decoration
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • fruity olive oil, drizzle

Cut up your tomatoes into slices. The larger tomato slices may need to be cut in half. Cut mozzarella into slices. Arrange the tomatoes and cheese in rows on a nice platter. Sprinkle with basil, salt & pepper. Place radicchio around the edges for decoration (optional and not the traditional way to serve). Drizzle the salad all over with olive oil when ready to eat. I prefer this salad to be prepared and put in the fridge for an hour or so so it can be served cold.

If you are looking for another way to present this salad, a fancier way to serve individual portions is to make a "stacked" version. Stack your tomatoes, mozzarella and basil (full leaves) and drizzle with olive oil. You can also drizzle some balsamic for added je ne sais quoi.

Buon appetito!

Mussels in White Wine, Herb & Garlic Sauce

When my husband and I were in Belgium a few years ago we ate a lot of Moules et Frites at the beautiful cafes in Brugge. This weekend I had a craving and decided to try and make them at home. I had no recipe (and I didn't measure anything - sorry!) so I decided to go by memory. Unfortunately the grocery store didn't have any fennel or chervil which is what I wanted to use so I improvised with some other herbs. The result was delicious!

Ingredients & Preparation:
Serves 2-4 people as an appetizer
  • 1 bag of mussels from the fish counter (they should be cleaned & ready to use)
  • 1 handful of coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
  • 1 handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 4 sprigs of tarragon, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1/2 cup of 10% cream
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • few grinds of fresh black pepper

Heat olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic. Sauté until shallots and garlic are tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, salt, pepper, the herbs and celery. Let that cook down for about 1 minute. Add mussels. Cover and cook until mussels open, about 5 minutes. At the last minute, add the cream to the broth. Take the mussels out and put them into a big serving bowl (discard any mussels that do not open). Ladle broth over and serve with warm crusty bread for dipping.