Braising

Vineyard Chicken with Sherry Cream Sauce

09 November


This has to be one of my favorite way's to prepare chicken.. with fresh fruits and aromatics straight from the garden, plucked, cleaned and thrown into the pot! 
It's harvest season here in the vineyards of Temecula, the fields look beautiful with rows of grapes hanging from the vines and rose blooms perched at the end of each row. It looks spectacular! There are so many grape varieties, from pinot to champaign.. they all lend themselves not only to a remarkable glass of wine but enhance many a country meal on my table. 

This recipe has been in my collection for over 30 years from a handed down French cookbook that has now become tattered and well worn with how often I flip through its pages, and this delicious meal seams so appropriate for the season and the location I call home, here in the beautiful agricultural community of the Temecula Valley.


This dish is made with simple ingredients of chicken, dark red grapes, walnuts, shallots and fresh rosemary, with the addition of a sherry cream sauce made by de-glazing the pan at the end of the cooking process. The aroma is beautiful, just like a freshly opened bottle of a wine tickling your nose with it's bouquet of spice and citrus with woodsy undertones.. you'll be tantalized with the fragrance of grapes stewing in sherry wine and rosemary. 
For an adaptation to veganizing this recipe, there are some beautiful large squashes that I have used in place of the meat. You can also use coconut butter and coconut cream to replace the dairy. :)
I hope you too enjoy!! 

I hope you enjoy my vineyard country style chicken!  



Ingredients
3-4 lb. Roasting chicken cut in halve, or Pheasant
Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Red Pepper flakes
Olive oil 
1 cup chicken stalk
5-6 Sprigs of fresh Rosemary
2 large Shallot thinly sliced
*1-1/4 cups seedless dark red or black grapes
1/4 cup walnuts halves
4 tbsp. butter 
White wine or Sherry
Whole cream 

Preparations
Prepare your bird by cutting it in half so it lays flat. Season chicken or pheasant all over with salt and pepper. In large dutch oven or skillet, brown chicken on both sides in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Pour chicken stock on bottom of pot. Add ½ cup sherry, *1 cup grapes, 4 sprigs of rosemary, shallots and walnuts. Dab with a few teaspoons of butter. Let cook on medium low heat for approximately 30-45 minutes, till chicken is cooked through. (cooking time depends on size of bird)
Remove chicken to a serving platter. Pour remaining liquid through a fine mesh sieve and set aside. There will be approximately 1-½ cups liquid. In pot used to cook chicken, add 2 Tbs. of butter gently removing trimmings from bottom of pot. Add reserved liquid that you previously strained. Add ¼ cup of cream and the reserved 1/4 cup of grapes. Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt if needed. Let simmer for 7 more minutes till grapes soften up a bit. Taste, if needed add a bit more sherry. Pour sauce over chicken. Dress with remaining rosemary.
Enjoy!

Allergy Friendly Recipes

Breakfast Polenta with Dates and Maple Syrup

09 November


They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.. I believe it!
Without something hearty in my tummy, I soon get weakened when trying to run my morning, fueled only by coffee! 

Gluten free, dairy free and allergy friendly breakfasts don't have to be a daunting task to prepare. This breakfast polenta is "quick to fix".. and can be served with a myriad of breakfast sides! Bacon or pancetta, fried potatoes, mushrooms and veggies, gluten free, dairy free toast, and a source full of fresh or dried fruits! 

The dates and maple syrup are a marriage made in heaven.. so definitely try this combo too!

Breakfast Polenta with Dates and Maple Syrup

Ingredients:
6 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups gluten free corn meal
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter or dairy free margarine  
2 tablespoons coconut or rice milk
Maple Syrup
Fresh Dates

Preparation:
For polenta;  Bring the 6 cups of water and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a large saucepan. When it reaches a boil, slowly whisk in the corn meal.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes, add 1/4 cup of maple syrup. Continue to stir frequently. Remove from heat, whisk in the butter, or margarine and coconut milk.

Plate the polenta in a bowl, drizzle maple syrup on top, add sliced dates.. and enjoy!


Frozen Desserts

Strawberry Ice Cream and Fresh Berry Tart | Gluten Free

10 July


This is the most simple of desserts and my favorite 'go to' recipe for a gluten free pastry shell as well! 
Add regular or dairy free strawberry ice cream and fresh berries with a frosty dash of powdered sugar, and you have an elegant dessert that will wow even your most discriminating gluten based dessert lovers! This crust is an almond shortbread crust recipe that I have used many times and absolutely LOVE!  It makes for a great afternoon tea cookie too. :)

Gluten Free Tart with Strawberry Ice Cream and Fresh Berries

Ingredients
Gluten Free Almond Shortbread Crust
1.5 Quarts Coconut Milk Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert
 or regular Strawberry Ice Cream 
2 Pints 2 varieties of Fresh Berries (cleaned and dried)
Powdered Sugar for dusting top
Tart Pan

Gluten Free Almond Shortbread Crust
1/2 cup cold butter, room temperature
1/8 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup fine almond flour (meal)
1/3 cup “gluten free” *all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt


For Shortbread Crust

Pre-Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Pulse almond flour with sugar in a food processor, add cornstarch, gluten free flour and salt. Pulse till well combined. Add butter and vanilla, mix just enough for the dough to start gathering together. Lightly butter the bottom of a tart pan or a cheesecake pan and up the sides a quarter of an inch. Press the shortbread mixture on the bottom. Pierce with a fork. Bake the crust in the pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. (till golden)

Directions
Have ice cream ready at a soft stage but not melted. When tart shell is cool, fill with ice cream, blending with swirls. Put back in freezer for 20 minutes. When ice cream is firm, take out of freezer and top with fresh fruit and dust with powdered sugar. It's ready and yummy to enjoy at this point! 



Enjoy!
xoxo

Braising

Poached Apples

12 October





I recently poached these apples for a gluten and grain free Apple Flognarde dessert, but in my opinion, poached apples alone are worthy enough of their own write up.. so versatile, Wether eaten alone, or sliced up for a galette, poached apples are so easy, and really make for an elegant accompaniment to dessert recipes!


Poached Apples Ingredients
8-10 "mini" apples
1 cup Marsala or Brandy
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup sugar
5-6 crushed allspice
5-6 cardamom pods crushed

Poached Apple Directions
1. Prepare apples by peeling them, but leaving the stem intact. Core the inside of the apple carefully from the bottom.

2. Add wine, water, sugar and spices to pot. Let liquid come to a boil, turn heat down to medium, cook till sugar is dissolved. Lower heat, carefully add apples, cook on low till apples are fork tender. *Keep an eye on the pot, as the liquid evaporates quickly if heat is too high. When apples are done, remove from liquid and set aside.

Dessert

Apple Flognarde | Clafoutis

09 September


I love the ease of a French Clafoutis! 

Making a batter in a blender is my idea of quick and easy. So much like a Dutch Pancake, but a bit thicker with a bread pudding like consistency. Being gluten, and mostly grain free, I haven't attempted to make this dessert in some time. I was excited to find this recipe, using almond flour, on the Gourmand in the Kitchen web site, and am so pleased with how it turned out. I did make some changes.. whereas she uses pears, I used spicy marsala poached baby green apples, also.. I used regular milk and sugar. I guess not as healthy as it could've been, but it was sooo good! 

Interesting history on the Clafoutis dessert.. it is ONLY a clafoutis if baked with fresh Cherries. 
Also from different readings, traditional french chefs would NOT pit the cherry, saying there is more of a flavor infusion with the seed in. 

Seeing that I used seeded apples, my dessert is called a Flagnaurd.. but it is, as lovely just the same!  

Apple Flognarde (Clafoutis)

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons butter, for cast iron skillet
8-10 mini apples (*poached) 
1 cup milk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon Fortified wine of choice.. I used spiced rum which I had on hand
1/4 cup brown or sugar 
1/2 cup almond flour 
¼ tsp of fine sea salt
¼ cup sliced almonds

Poached Apples Ingredients
8-10 "mini" apples
1 cup Marsala or Brandy
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup sugar
5-6 crushed allspice
5-6 cardamom pods crushed


Poached Apple Directions
1. Prepare apples by peeling them, but leaving the stem intact. Core the inside of the apple carefully from the bottom.

2. Add wine, water, sugar and spices to pot. Let liquid come to a boil, turn heat down to medium, cook till sugar is dissolved. Lower heat, carefully add apples, cook on low till apples are fork tender. *Keep an eye on the pot, as the liquid evaporates quickly if heat is too high. When apples are done, remove from liquid and set aside.

Flognarde Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Put a Tbsp. of butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, set aside. 
2. Prepare poached apples ahead.
3. Blend milk, eggs, vanilla, rum, sugar, almond flour, and salt in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. The mixture will be thin, like crêpe batter.
4. Heat up butter in pre-heated oven in iron skillet till butter is melted and frothy. Around 7 minutes.
5. Put prepared apples in the buttered cast iron skillet. Pour batter over apples. Sprinkle sliced almonds over batter.
6. Bake in pre-heated oven until golden and set, about 35-40 minutes.
7. Let stand 10-15 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.
8. Enjoy with a scoop of ice cream on top!!