Monthly Archives: January 2011

Herb & Gruyère Biscuits

I made these Herb and Gruyere Biscuits a while back to accompany a big turkey dinner, but then forgot to blog about them.  These biscuits definitely deserve a post because they are delicious and are also very easy to make.  I like to use fresh thyme and sage because they pair well with the Gruyere cheese, but you can use whatever cheese or herbs you like.  These biscuits are best eaten warm, right out of the oven.  Serve them with a hot soup like pasta e fagioli, beans and greens, cabbage and white bean soup with sausage, lentil soup or pumpkin soup.  They are also delicious with turkey and gravy!  I use a circle-shaped cookie cutter to make these biscuits but if you do not have one, you can use the bottom of a glass instead. Definitely give these biscuits a try for your next meal!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp chopped sage leaves
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (10 tbsp) cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled, 2 tablespoons melted
  • 1 cup milk, chilled

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the chilled butter and use a pastry blender or 2 knives to cut the butter into the flour until it is the size of peas.
  3. Add the thyme, sage, and Gruyère cheese and stir in the milk until the dough is moistened.
  4. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until it comes together. Pat the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick disk.
  5. Using a floured 2 1/4-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out biscuit rounds as closely together as possible. Gather the scraps and knead them together 2 or 3 times, then flatten the dough and stamp out more biscuit rounds. Pat the remaining scraps together and gently press them into a biscuit.
  6. Transfer the biscuits to a large baking sheet and brush the tops with the melted butter. Chill the biscuits until firm, about 10 minutes.
  7. Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes, or until golden.

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Filed under Bread

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

I love to make homemade soup especially when it’s cold and dreary outside.  This pasta e fagioli literally means “pasta and beans” in Italian and is the perfect balanced soup to make because it has vegetables proteins, and healthy carbohydrates.  This recipe is adapted from Giada De Laurentis, and I love it because it’s both hearty and satisfying.  Serve it with some warm crusty bread and you have the perfect weeknight meal!

I don’t know if I told you, but one of the gifts that my husband gave me for Christmas to go along with my new camera is this mini tripod.  It’s awesome!  My camera screws down on top of the tripod and allows me to tilt my camera any way I want.  The legs of the tripod are also pliable, so I can bend them in any direction.  I used this for the first time last night, and it was definitely much easier than what I’d been doing before!  The next thing I have to work on is my backdrop.  I have two pieces of white cardboard that I place on my table and behind my table, so I have a completely white backdrop.  My aunt was telling me about this really cool box that pops up and is all white, so you can place whatever you want to photograph inside it.  I’ve been trying to find this photograph box, but am not having any luck.

Photography is something I’m fairly new at and don’t know much about.  I’m also really regretting passing up photography class in high school for band (I played the flute and piccolo — don’t laugh!).

Do you have any food photography tips that you’d like to share?  Do you use a tripod?  What do you use for your backdrop?

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 slabs of bacon, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion, bacon, and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, beans, and herbs. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Puree 1 cup of the bean mixture in a blender until smooth.
  4. Before putting the puree back into the soup, add the macaroni and boil with the lid on until it is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.
  5. Return the puree to the remaining soup and stir well.
  6. Season the soup with ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with some Parmesan.

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Filed under Soup & Salad

Chicken Riggies

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s — I can’t believe it’s 2011!  How was your 2010?  Does 2011 look to be better than last year?  I had a great 2010, but 2011 may look to be even better!!  One of the dishes I had over the weekend was Chicken Riggies aka Chicken Rigatoni.  By searching for “chicken riggies” on Google, there’s an entry for it on Wikepedia (haha): “Chicken Riggies or Utica Riggies is an Italian-American pasta dish native to the Utica-Rome area of New York State. It is a pasta-based dish usually consisting of chicken, rigatoni and hot or sweet peppers in a spicy cream and tomato sauce, although many variations exist”.  With that being said, it makes sense that you can find Chicken Riggies at various Italian restaurants in Syracuse.  In fact, I can’t take any credit for this recipe since my mother is the one who made it and whose recipe is from one of the local Italian restaurants.  You’ll notice that it calls for 5 pounds of chicken and 3 pounds of rigatoni.  Don’t fret!  One of the joys of cooking (rather than baking) is that you can easily change recipes to your liking and/or serving size without ruining the dish (what, you don’t want to cook this dish for 15 people?).  Happy New Year… enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs.. of chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • flour & melted butter, enough to coat chicken cubes (about 1/2 cup of each)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 white onions chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp chicken stock base
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 2 quarts marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 3 lbs. cooked rigatoni
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Toss cubed chicken with flour and melted butter to coat lightly.  Place chicken on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
  3. In a pan, saute onions, garlic, and cherry peppers in oil.
  4. Deglaze pan with sweet vermouth and add hot sauce, chicken base, and black pepper.
  5. In a separate pot, melt butter and add marinara sauce and grated cheese.  Add chicken and heavy cream.
  6. Add the onion and sweet vermouth mix to the chicken mix.
  7. Blend chicken mixture with rigatoni and serve warm.

14 Comments

Filed under Main Course, Pasta