Search The Cookery

Monday, October 22, 2012

Confetti Chicken

I used to only eat chicken. For about three years this was my go to book: Hurry Up Chicken Recipes I find it a bit on the funny side that you can now purchase this book for $0.01.

It served me well through my late teenage years and early twenties. In fact, I remember thinking that Chicken Alla Vineyard (no, not a typo, actual recipe name) was sew fancy. Look at me, I bought the SKINLESS chicken.

I've moved on from that, but in a panic for chicken thigh inspiration yesterday I turned once again through the pages and came across a recipe that was a massive hit. Easy, tasty and fairly quick. This isn't it though, I didn't take photos. I'll make it again soon and I promise I'll post it.

Today while staring slack-jawed at a package of b/l s/l chicken breast, I decided to see what inspiration awaited me in Hurry Up Chicken. A cleverly inserted comma would make a great joke. Anyhow, one thing that I love in a cookbook is a well organized index, and this book in particular has an index that not only identifies each recipe by name but ALSO by chicken type (boneless, pieces, whole, etc.). Unfortunately that failed to yield inspiration, so I resorted to flipping through the pages, looking for a picture that would pique my interest.

And here is when we finally come to confetti chicken:

Mine did not look like that: FYI. It looked even BETTER! iphone does a lot, but it doesn't do this dish justice. I tweaked the recipe based on what I had onhand, so while it's substantially the same, if you are opening your Hurry Up Chicken cookbook right now, you will see some differences.

Here's how I made it:



1 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup water
1 can cream mushroom
1 cup plain 3.5% yogurt
3 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper

1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp chopped green pepper (this is what makes the "confetti" so chop it finely
1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

(Casserole) Heat your heavy bottomed frying pan and cook your chicken breast. I used Epicure's Hot Artichoke Dip seasoning for my chicken. I left my chicken slightly underdone because I figured it would finish cooking later in the recipe.

While your chicken is cooking, chop your onions, carrots and mushrooms. Once cooked, set your chicken aside. Now, see all the delicious brown flavour goodness stuck to the bottom of your pan? Add your water and then scrape it all up with a wooden spoon. Add your onions and carrots, then cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

In a 3 quart casserole, I used this one from Le Creuset, mix your soup, yogurt, chicken, mushrooms, Worcestershire and salt and pepper. Add your simmered vegetables and mix well.

Make ahead tip: I did everything up to this step in advance then refrigerated until I was ready to bake it. This would be good for a weekday supper. Prep it the night before, then when you get home from work make the dumplings and bake.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and one cup of the cheese and make a well. Mix together eggs, milk and green pepper then pour into well. Mix until just combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the casserole and bake in a 350F oven for 40-45 minutes until golden. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese then return to oven until melted.

Okay, don't laugh, I'm telling you iphone sucks at photos and I'm still saving for a proper camera:

Of course, it would have been wiser to snap a photo prior to the kids and I demolishing half of it. But it was so goood! Crisp on the outside, doughy on the inside, creamy chicken casserole on the bottom.

This would be a great day after turkey dish since the meat needs to be cooked prior to adding it anyway!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lazy pie

I've never really been a fan of pie. Not even of eating it. Cooked fruit seemed weird to me and I avoided it. Chocolate pie? Yes. Apple pie? No, thank you so much, but I'm stuffed.

This attitude slowly started to change when I began making my own pastry with my mother-in-law's failsafe recipe. Now I didn't have to remember to buy pie crust if I wanted a last minute dessert which was nice. Then this year, I had bags and bags of apples from my in-laws' apple tree and I took the plunge. I made pie after pie after pie after turnover after pie. And it turned out that I do like pie. It's still not chocolate cake, but it's a respectable dessert.

But of course, this isn't about apple pie because I didn't take any photos of that. This is instead about lazy pie. If there's one thing better than pie, it's lazy pie.

I happened to have extra pastry that I had frozen after my last pie making extravaganza, but of course, you can just use a regular pie shell as well.

This recipe is mine, but the idea is from this amazing book that has quite literally changed my life since I found it in London Drugs in Calgary many years ago. I bought it on a whim thinking it would be a beautiful coffee table book, and I've actually made so many of the recipes. Home Baking by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid; I've used it so much I didn't even have to look up their names. They call it Free Form Fruit Galette, which is a really fancy way of saying lazy pie.

Flexible ingredients but here they are anyway, with the instructions.

So grab your leftover pastry (or your pie shell) and let it thaw to room temperature.

Roll it out (carefully now, for those with a pie shell) until it's about an extra inch beyond your pie plate.

Prick the pastry with a fork, then sprinkle on a teaspoon or so of sugar.

Add about 2 cups of fruit. Your choice. I used 4 wilty strawberries, 3/4 cup frozen blueberries, a handful of dates (chopped) and an overripe bartlett pear.

Fold the pastry back over your fruit, leaving a generous hole in the middle. Spinkle another teaspoon or so of sugar on top of the pastry. Bake in a 350F oven until bubbly and golden, about 35-40 minutes.

Let cool slightly, then serve with ice cream or greek yogurt.

Seriously, laaaaazzzzy pie. So easy.

This photo is of the last piece (since gone) of yesterday's lazy pie.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baked Yams with Broccoli Cheese Sauce

I was browsing through cookbooks the other day, as I'm wont to do on rainy dreary days and I came across baked potato sides. And I thought, it's been years since I've had a baked potato.

The only thing better than a baked potato is a baked yam because it becomes all gooey sticky caramel sweetness and also because roasted yams are perfect baby food and I don't have to make anything extra for the little one. Two birds, baby, one stone.

While baked potatoes are delicious with just butter and salt, they get a whole lot better when you add a cream based product. So I decided to make a white sauce with some cheese and broccoli and carrots thrown in. I only had mozzarella & parmesan, so that's what I used, though I think old cheddar would have added an extra kick.

To roast your yams:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Violently spear your yams with a fork several times. Look, cooking = anger management class, don't you feel better? Wrap them in aluminum foil and place them on a baking sheet.

Bake them for about 50 minutes to an hour. Mine were really teeny single portion taters, and they took about 50 minutes, so do not attempt these times with behemoth yams. The baking sheet is important, don't skip it, or you'll have caramel sticky sweetness all over your oven.

The sauce will take about 10 minutes, so figure this into the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time of your potatoes.

Broccoli-Cheese Sauce

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup parmesan cheese
1 bunch of broccoli crowns, cut in small florets
handful of baby carrots, chopped
salt & pepper

Start by blanching your broccoli and carrots. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter until just foamy. BE READY with your whisk, I used this one
because it scrapes flat against the bottom of the pan and incorporates the flour evenly. Dump in the flour and whisk it, whisk it good until the flour is well incorporated and starts to change colour. I let it cook just until it was a creamy yellow, though you may wish to cook it more or less than that, depending on how flavourful you'd like your final sauce to be.

Add your milk and WHISK for the love of all that's holy. Once you have a nice thick sauce, add your blanched veggies and some salt and pepper. Then add the cheese and stir it slowly as it all melts and becomes a delicious velvety smooth sauce.

Take out your potatoes, and do what I like to call the Wendy's split. One straight mid-deep cut lengthwise, then pinch and push up. The more surface area you have for sauce, the happier your ass will be. Ladle some sauce onto your Wendy-fied potato. Whip out your iphone and take a photo, then revel in creamy sauce and fluffy potato.

Et, voilĂ !

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Banana Scones

I posted this on Facebook the other day and had a couple people ask for the recipe, so here you go.

They're crispy and delicious with a chewy inside, but as the Pioneer Woman says: They are NOT non caloric.

You've been warned.

Here's the original recipe: Pumpkin Scones at Epicurious

But I made a few changes based on the reviews, so here's my version:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup large grain cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of cloves
2/3 unsalted butter, cut up or grated (I used a mix of butter and margarine)
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup banana mush/canned pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
splash of apple cider vinegar


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Puree your bananas and pumpkin in a food processor and add the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Allow it to sit while you combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. With clean hands, work the butter into the dry mixture until it is thoroughly incorporated and has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.

4. Mix the puree, the sweetened condensed milk and the vanilla until smooth. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the pumpkin-banana mixture into the well. Still using your hands, combine the ingredients until all the dry mixture is wet, but do not knead!

5. Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and gather the dough together. Gently pat the dough to make a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a sharp floured knife, cut 12 triangle scones and lay them on a nonstick baking sheet.

6. Bake the scones for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let the scones cool slightly on the baking sheet (about 20 minutes) before glazing them.

7. When cooled, brush with sweetened condensed milk for an easy glaze.

My kitchen during production:

The final product: