Archive | August, 2016

Tahini Grilled Chicken

30 Aug

Tahini chicken

I like to keep tahini, the Middle Eastern sesame paste, on hand, but it’s not something I use often. My last jar sat in the fridge for years before I used it up (and no, it didn’t spoil!). Now I have a new jar, so I’m on the lookout for interesting new recipes. This one was very tasty. We ate it fresh off the grill one night and then enjoyed the leftovers sliced on top of a green salad a few days later. The taste is intriguing and I liked it a lot even though my husband said it reminded him of Marmite, the awful English “yeast extract.” If you can find tahini, give this a try!

(This recipe is adapted from one I clipped from the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia.)

Ingredients:

¼ cup tahini
¼ cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
2 Tbs. honey
2 lb. boneless chicken breasts
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients except the chicken and place in a sealable Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and move it around a bit so all the chicken is coated. Place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

An hour before cooking, remove from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.

Heat a grill to high and sear the chicken for one to two minutes per side. Turn off the heat on one area of the grill and move the chicken to the unheated side. If you are using charcoal, push the chicken to the edges of the grill where there is the least amount of heat.

(We have an electric grill, and so I heated it up almost as high as it would go, cooked the chicken for a short time on each side, then turned the heat down to medium.)

Cover and allow the chicken to “roast” on the grill, about six minutes per side, until done.  Total cooking time should be about 15 minutes.

Remove to a platter, cover with foil and allow to sit for five minutes before serving, garnished with chopped fresh parsley if you like.

Serves 4 to 6

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Polish Mushroom Soup

16 Aug

Polish mushroom soupHere’s another winning recipe from my friend Greta Zalman. She said she got it from a website called Polska Foods. The last time I cooked this I used one pound of mushrooms, 1 large-ish onion, 2 small celery stalks, and reduced the other ingredients proportionately, and it made four generous servings. Also feel free to use regular white mushrooms instead of the brown ones.

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs.  extra-virgin olive oil
1½  lb. brown mushrooms, sliced
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
2 large celery stalks, diced
3 or 4 garlic cloves
1 leek (optional)
2-3 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
4 Tbs. dry sherry
5 Tbs. all-purpose flour
5 – 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Dash of Tabasco
2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
1 tsp.  freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream (or 3/4 cup sour cream, or 3/4 cup plain yogurt)
Garnish: 1 tablespoon fresh dill or parsley, minced

Directions:

Clean and slice mushrooms.  Heat butter and olive oil till butter is melted.  Add the onion, celery, garlic, and leek and stir until slightly softened; do not brown.

Raise the heat to medium high and add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Cook 8 minutes until they are golden brown, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat and add thyme, bay leaf, dry sherry, and flour, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan for 5-8 minutes.  (It may not take this long; be careful not to burn the flour.) Add the stock slowly, stirring to keep it smooth, and the rest of the ingredients, except the cream (or yogurt).

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until slightly thickened for 30 minutes or until mushrooms and vegetables are tender.

Optional:  With a hand blender, blend ingredients to puree the soup. (I don’t do this, I like the mushrooms in slices.)

Remove the pot from heat and serve.  Or, keep on low heat and add heavy cream (or sour cream / yogurt) to make a creamy mushroom soup.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a few drops of lemon juice if desired.  Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes.

Ladle into warm bowls and garnish with fresh dill or parsley.

Serves 6

Almond and Mushroom Chicken

5 Aug

almond chickenHere’s a recipe that’s been in my collection forever — the newspaper clipping is yellowed — but I never made it until last week. It originally came from the Detroit Free Press as part of their Heart Smart collection in conjunction with Henry Ford Health System. Another way I know it’s old is it says it was “tested in the Free Press Tower Kitchen,” and the Freep has been gone from their tower office building for many years. The dish low-cal, low-fat and low-sodium. I modified the original just a bit, because cooking it as long as the recipe suggested resulted in slightly dry chicken.

It’s easier if you buy dry toasted slivered almonds, which are available at Trader Joe and other stores. If you have raw slivered almonds, toast them in a 325-degree oven for about 10 minutes; after five minutes, shake the pan every minute or so and check to make sure the nuts aren’t getting too brown. They should be slightly brown and fragrant.

This is good served with rice, which helps sop up the extra juices.

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Black pepper to taste
Paprika to taste
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/4 cup sherry
Parsley for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken breasts in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and sprinkle with black pepper and paprika.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onion and mushrooms for 3 minutes.

Add the lemon juice, sherry and almonds and stir well.Spoon the mixture over the chicken pieces.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts.

Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired, and serve.

Serves 6