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Cooking in a Winter Wonderland

I was a serious cookin’ machine today!  Beautiful snow falling (but not really sticking) put me in the mood to bake.

In-between baking projects, though, I did cook dinner,as well.  Victor saw a recipe in Parade Magazine of all places that looked intriguing.  Chicken and Peppers in a balsamic vinegar sauce.  We’ve done a lot of balsamic reductions, but this one sounded just different enough to give it a try.  This one comes from Bobby Flay.

Chicken and Peppers in Vinegar Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp clover honey
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven over high heat until it shimmers. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. Place chicken in the pan, in batches, top-side-down. Cook until golden brown, 4 minutes. Turn over, continue cooking 3 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.

2. Add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and cook until reduced by half. Add honey and broth, season with salt and pepper, cook for 5 minutes. Return the chicken and accumulated juices to the pot. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook until the chicken is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken to a platter. Cook sauce until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and pour sauce over the chicken.

I served it with a whole grain mahogany rice blend.  I made it with chunks of chicken breast because I didn’t have any thighs in the freezer.  It came out pretty good.  I think I like Lidia’s Pork Chops and Apples, better, though…

One thing I was definitely going to make today was an apple pie.  And yes, I make my own pie crusts.  They’re just not that difficult to make and I can’t find a decent pre-made crust that will fit a standard 10″ deep-dish pie plate.

Food Processor Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter, cubed (I freeze it)
  • pinch salt
  • pinch sugar (if for sweet pie)
  • 1/4 cup ice-cold water

Put flour, salt and sugar (if using) in food processor bowl.  Pulse a second to blend.

Add cold or frozen butter pieces and pulse until well mixed.

Add water while mahine is running and pulse a few times to mix.

Dough will look very crumbly.  Pinch together a small amount to see if it holds together.  if it doies, you’re set.

Form into two disks – one larger than the other – and let rest about 10 minutes.

Roll out on well-floured board.

It really is easy to do!

Apple Pie filling

  • 5 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup apricot brandy

Place all filling ingredients in large bowl and mix well.

Place filling into pastry-lined pie plate.  Top with crust and crimp edges.

Bake at 400° about an hour.

It came out really good.  It didn’t even need ice cream!

The other thing I was obsessing about a bit today was Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread.  I almost bought a loaf and then decided I could make one just as easy.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

  • 3 cups flour, more or less, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Beating at low speed, add the water and butter. Continue beating at high speed for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup flour and beat 4 minutes longer. Stir in 1 1/2 cups flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic, adding a little more flour as necessary.

Place dough in a large buttered bowl, turning to butter top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for about 1 hour in a warm place, free of drafts.

Punch dough down; knead until smooth. Roll into a 12×9-inch rectangle.

Brsh with melted butter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and then spread raisins evenly.

Starting with the narrow edge, roll up, turning ends under to make loaves to fit pans. Place rolls seam side down in greased loaf pans, 9x5x3-inches.

Cover pans with clean towel and let rise in warm place until double, about 45 minutes.

Bake loaves at 400° for 25 to 30 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when tapped with fingers. Remove from pans to racks; brush with butter.

This was supposed to be for breakfast tomorrow.  Needless to say, we didn’t wait.

I could eat this every day.

As for the snow storm that was supposed to droip another 18″ of snow?  It hasn’t quite hit yet.

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Show 2 Comments

2 Comments

  • avatar image

    yum all i can say is yum........and i hope the winds don't knock out my power...and boy, your house must really smell good. I think your dog is living in heaven with those smells!!!!

  • avatar image
    Jeanne Leins
    February 26, 2010

    YUMMMM. Looks like a good GG dinner.

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