Sunday, March 3, 2019

Pasta with Mushrooms, Garlic and Sage

There can be too much of a good thing.  Almost every week I had been making Mushroom Risotto. Ed and I would have some for dinner with a salad, skip a night and have the same menu again, skip a night and have the rest of the risotto with Brussels sprouts and roasted winter squash, more veggies than risotto.  One night I had only enough mushrooms to make half a recipe of risotto and was ready for a change so I used most of the same ingredients but pasta instead of rice. The key ingredient here in addition to the mushrooms is olive oil and garlic, the garlic cooked until it is crunchy golden brown.

Start water for pasta and then cook pasta, according to manufacturer's instructions so pasta and sauce are ready at approximately the same time.  Alternatively for more flexibility sauce can be made and then just rewarmed a bit before serving.

Heat 2 T olive oil (or a mix of olive and truffle oil)


4-6 cloves garlic

When garlic is golden brown, add and mix well

6-8 oz shiitake mushrooms
1 T sun dried tomatoes, broken in small pieces (optional)

Saute until soft then add

Several leaves sage, chopped (optional)

I often  serve on a bed of

Arugula or baby spinach

Top with

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional, and I usually don't)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Fig, Arugula and Prosciutto

The Goat Cheese, Fig, Arugula, and Prosciutto Tapas made me think of  three of my favorite recipes: Pollo RellanoChicken Stuffed with Spinach, Goat Cheese and Mushrooms, and  Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast with Red Chili Mole, and the possibility of a fourth favorite in this category.  Tried this stuffed chicken breast variation and was not disappointed. The first two favorites are panko/breadcrumb covered and baked while the third is pan fried.  The first few times I made this recipe I dipped the chicken in egg then bread crumbs and baked. Excellent. Now one of "four favorites".

Then I was looking for a recipe for a "hearty lunch". First recipe that came to mind was Seafood Gumbo, but I'd already served this to the intended guests. Why not pan fry (we use cast iron skillet on grille), slice and serve on a large platter on a bed of arugula along with crusty bread - sort of a chicken sandwich on steroids. Very well received. Recipe is for 2 - 3 (if larger breast and sliced), scale accordingly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut a pocket the whole length of 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (~6 to 8 oz each)

Fold open the chicken and place in order, using the prosciutto to cover any holes in the chicken and then fold prosciutto before closing the breasts to help keep the cheese in place:

1 oz goat cheese
1 T fig jam (I like Trader Joe's Fig Butter)
1 piece prosciutto 
Several leaves of arugula 

Fold the top of each breast over the filling and secure closure with toothpick if necessary.

Whisk in a small bowl: 1 egg  (I have on occasion used 1/4 c or less "egg product"  - 1 egg will actually do 4-6 pieces -  but I think in this case using the real egg is better.)

Dip each piece of chicken in the egg then coat by dipping in

Bread crumbs or panko

Place on oiled baking sheet and lightly spray with olive oil.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes (for a medium sized breast) until the chicken is cooked through and opaque (~160 degrees F) and the bread crumbs are browned.  Serve whole, or, particularly if larger breasts are used, slice crosswise into 3/4 - 1 inch wide pieces.


Omit the egg/breadcrumb process and

In a skillet large enough to accommodate both/all the chicken breasts heat: 

2 T olive oil

When oil is hot,  place the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook approximately 6 minutes on a side (longer if breast pieces are more than 6 oz each) until both sides are browned and chicken is cooked through (and temperature is ~160 degrees F). 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Goat Cheese, Fig, Arugula, and Prosciutto Tapas

This hors d-oeuvre comes from a late night sandwich that Alex and Dan had in Tarragona, Spain in 2014. They along with Henry (then 3 months old) after several tries,finally found a hotel. It was late so Dan went out for sandwiches and came back with one they particularly liked.  Based on the ingredients they subsequently made tapas for a party. What follows is the recipe they kindly shared with me.  Trader Joe's is a one stop source for all the ingredients (though bread availability may vary) and their fig butter is excellent.

Slice a ficelle or very thin baquette into small rounds. Spread each one in this order with:

Goat cheese

Fig butter

Top with a few sprigs of:

Arugula, the smaller the leaves the better

A small piece of prosciutto (omit for vegetarians)


Return to the source and use same ingredients to make a sandwich.