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by Danica Waters (image courtesy of www.organicsoul.com)
If you are a stranger to cooking with Tarragon, here’s a fantastically foolproof way to get acquainted. (Trust me: you’ll be ever so happy you did.)
Called the “King of Herbs” in France, Tarragon is the primary flavoring of many of the sauces that form the foundation of fantastic French cuisine, such as béarnaise, rigavote and tartare. It contains highly aromatic volatile oils which are unfortunately lost when the herb is dried; therefore, it is best to use Tarragon immediately after cutting from the stem, and after the cooking process to ensure the purity of its flavor. While some heat will help to release its essence, be sure it is only exposed to heat for a brief period of time.
Because it’s best used fresh, Tarragon makes a spectacular addition to any kitchen herb garden; however, it does not perform well when started from seed. Cultivated by cuttings and root divisions, it makes a spectacular living heirloom gift for family and friends. Got a Harry Potter fanatic on your gift list? Here’s a tip: Tarragon used to be referred to as little Dragon Mugwort. Legend has it that, because of its dragon-like root structure, Tarragon was supposed to cure bites and stings of venomous beasts. As a matter of fact, in France, Tarragon is called Herbe au Dragon. Just think: with a small pot, a Tarragon plant, and a fancy label, you’ll be giving a gift that will excite the imagination as well as the palate! Score! Be sure to give your Tarragon full sun and well-drained soil and it will happily enhance your finest potions… uh…recipes for years to come.
F.Y.I, of the two most common varieties (Russian and French), French Tarragon is the most widely used in culinary endeavors, primarily because it is a bit richer in flavor than its cousin, whose inferior flavor tends to the bitter side. French Tarragon, on the other hand, has a sweet, oh-so-slightly tangy flavor with licorice (anise) overtones; it pairs beautifully with chicken, fish, vegetables, and eggs. Happily, it happens to be the star of this incredibly easy to make, elegant, and over-the-top delicious recipe.
Chicken With Tarragon Cream Sauce
5 Chicken breast fillets, cut into ½ inch slices and lightly seasoned with white pepper
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh chopped fresh French tarragon
1 C cream or half-and-half
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare chicken breast fillets and lightly season with white pepper. Heat a large, shallow frying pan over high heat, add the oil, and stir to coat the pan. Add the chicken, in batches, and cook each batch over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until chicken slices are golden brown.
When all the chicken is cooked, return all of it to the pan and stir in the chopped tarragon.
Add the cream and bring to the boil; boil for three minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with buttered egg noodles and a crisp salad.
Posted October 19th, 2011. Add a comment
by Danica Waters
“Necessity is the mother of invention”. Amen.
And where there is a whole lot of necessity, there you shall find a whole lot of inventing goin’ on. Let’s just say I happen to be on a roll these days; indeed, I am one inventin’ so-and-so. Happily, much like the FML day I concocted the Queen’s Rings, it seems to be working in my favor. Happy for all the wonderful folks who follow my blog, I like to share.
You know THOSE nights when you realize too late that the grill is out of gas, everyone is starrrrrrrrrvinnnng, and dinner just needs to be UBER-delicious because even the dog appears to be out-of-sorts? Yep. It was one of those. (We are all down with nasty colds this morning, so that explains it.)
For some odd reason, when the mood is afoul, I seem to reach for turmeric and curry every single time. (Probably because it works every single time.) This time was no exception. These crispy chicken tenderloins are not only visually stunning, with a rich golden color from the turmeric, they are just plain addictive with their crispy texture, the round, deep flavor of curry graced with the tang of freshly squeezed lemon and a hint of cilantro.
I am happy to report that the evening finished out with rave reviews of dinner, fresh blackberries over ice cream, and a healthy session of “laugh-’til-you-almost-pee-your-pants”. All’s well that ends well. Thank you, Necessity. You rock.
Crisp Chicken Tenderloins With Curry and Lemon
8 chicken tenderloins, thawed
½ C flour
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp cayenne, or to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh lemon slices
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Combine flour, turmeric, curry powder, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Rinse chicken tenderloins and immediately dredge in flour mixture; set on separate plate to rest.
Bring large (12”) frying pan to temperature over medium high heat. When ready, add enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan and heat until oil is hot but not smoking.
Using cooking tongs, add coated chicken tenderloins to hot oil. Fry until golden brown; turn and repeat on other side. After turning, sprinkle remaining flour mixture over the tenderloins and turn once more to brown.
Remove tenderloins to serving platter; sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro and serve with lemon wedges.
Note: These are fantastic served with Flash-Cooked Green Beans and Garlic Mashed Potatoes (recipes forthcoming), or chop them up and serve them in a pita with lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki.
Posted September 29th, 2011. Add a comment
by Danica Waters / image courtesy of greenacreshobbyfarm.blogspot.com
As the “Back to School” season descends and the evening air brings with it the first few whispers of fall, there’s one critical weekend I spend doing nothing but cooking “emergency meals” to freeze ahead. This intense little ritual has saved me again and again; there is nothing nicer than being able to come home from a stressful day and not have to worry about doing anything but setting a table and preheating an oven.
Chicken Pot Pie is one of our favorites; it fills the house with delicious smells and takes the chill out of autumn evenings.
Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie
Pie crust for top and bottom of pot pie
2-1/2 C cooked cubed 1” chicken, seasoned
2 C fresh or frozen peas
¼ C finely chopped onion
1 leek, washed and sliced into 1/8” slices
3 med. Carrots, sliced
2 med. Potatoes, cubed 1”
6 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 C milk, or for richer flavor, substitute half and half, or a combination of both.
1 C chicken broth
¼ C sherry, or to taste
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Herbs to taste (fresh marjoram or thyme work very well)
Soften potatoes by boiling just until crisp-tender, preferably in chicken stock. Drain, reserving stock for sauce. Place softened potatoes, frozen peas, and carrots to large bowl. Add cooked cubed chicken.
In a small pan, sauté leeks and onion until tender and fragrant. Add to rest of vegetable and chicken mixture.
Make sauce: melt butter; add fresh herbs of choice and briefly wilt; stir in flour and stir over medium high heat until hot and bubbly (3-4 minutes). Whisk in milk, chicken broth, sherry, and salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens (3 – 5 min.) Stir hot sauce into prepared filling.
Line deep dish pie plate with pie crust;; add filling. Top with second pie crust, trim and flute edges.to seal. Make 3 small slits in top crust to vent, and brush lightly with milk. (Note: a more decorative option for your top crust might be to use cookie-cutter shapes to create an artistic look to your pie…)
Pie can be frozen at this point – simply remove from freezer and thaw overnight in refrigerator, bake as follows:
375 degree F oven – 50 – 60 minutes or until golden brown.
by Danica Waters
For all you pasta salad lovers out there, hold on tight, because this just might be the best pasta salad you’ve ever eaten. My eldest daughter, who is a pasta salad fanatic, claims this as her very favorite. She loves it so much she’s requested it for every single birthday dinner she’s had over the last ten years. Today is no exception. And in honor of her birthday, I am sharing this with all of you.
Southwestern Chicken and Pasta Salad
(from Better Homes & Gardens Hot & Spicy Cooking)
In stockpot, cook per package directions:
4 oz rainbow rotini
Drain; rinse with cold water to stop cooking process and drain again. Place cooked noodles into large bowl; set aside.
¼ C salad oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp dry mustard
Several drops Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
Mix well and pour over pasta in bowl. Add:
3 fresh or canned jalapeno or Serrano peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced finely.
To pasta & pepper mixture, add the following:
1 C chopped cooked chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 ear fresh corn or 1 8-3/4 oz canned whole kernel corn, drained (fresh preferred!)
½ medium avocado, seeded, peeled, and cut into bite sized chunks
2 oz Pepper Jack cheese, cubed
¼ C sliced pitted ripe black olives
2 Tbsp sliced green onion
1 – 2-oz jar diced pimiento, drained
Toss all ingredients together well. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight.
by Danica Waters
The midsummer harvest is a beautiful thing; the seasonal bounty from the local Farmer’s Market provides a never-ending and always changing source of inspiration. This week the red bell peppers beckoned voluptuously from the produce stands, at an unheard-of low seasonal price! I remembered a recipe I had tucked away in the archives and really needed to revisit. Originally posted in the food section of the Rocky Mountain News, it comes from Kevin Taylor’s globally-inspired Palettes Restaurant, which is located in the Denver Art Museum.
This recipe is an absolute treasure; it’s upscale but unpretentious and just spicy enough to make your tongue tingle a bit. Fire-roasting the vegetables takes a little while, but is hands-down worth it in the end, so give yourself some room.
In my opinion, this is the perfect thing to serve when you’re surrounded by friends, the room is filled with intelligent conversation, great music, and lots of candlelight. Accompany with a simple salad, a baguette with Roasted Garlic Spread, and a delectable hearty red wine, and you’ve got a weekend dinner everyone will remember for a long, long time to come.
Palettes’ Roasted Chile Sauce With Chicken and Penne Pasta
(Recipe from Kevin Taylor’s Palettes Restaurant in the Denver Art Museum)
Grilled chicken breasts
Penne pasta, cooked and drained
Roasted Chile Sauce:
4 Roma tomatoes, roasted
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1 jalapeno pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
1 Tbsp roasted garlic puree (1 large head)
2 C chicken stock
Corn kernels cut from 2 ears of fresh corn
Garnish: scallions, sour cream
To roast the garlic:
Pull off the papery outside and place the whole head in a pan with a little water on the bottom. Drizzle with olive oil. Cook at 350 degrees F for about an hour and 15 minutes. Let cool and squeeze out the garlic puree.
To roast tomatoes and peppers:
Cut tomatoes and place cut side down on a roasting pan. Cut into quarters lengthwise and remove ribs and seeds from red bell peppers and jalapeno peppers; place on same roasting pan. Brush all with olive oil. Place under broiler. Broil five minutes; turn tomatoes and peppers and broil five more minutes. Remove pan from oven and carefully remove tomatoes (if jalapeno is also blackened, remove from pan). Place pan back under broiler. Continue to char the peppers, turning to blacken all sides. When peppers are charred, remove from oven and place jalapeno and bell peppers in a plastic bag. Allow to cool to loosen the skins. Rub off skins.
Saute the shallot, garlic puree, and the herbs until the shallot is translucent. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for 20 minutes.
Place in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with sliced grilled chicken and fresh corn, tossed with penne pasta. Garnish with scallions and sour cream.
by Danica Waters
Some recipes are so deliciously decadent you should only bring them out once in a great, great while:
1) when the moon is blue;
2) when you have a special celebration-related request from someone you like a whole heck of a lot; or
3) when you happen to be in one of those feisty moods where you don’t give a bat’s butter-bean about your calorie intake for the day.
In all of those instances, this recipe is perfect. So perfect, in fact, that when paired with The Queen’s Rings and an ice-cold beer (I recommend Newcastle for this one), you’ll find any future cravings satisfied for a long, long time to come…
…or at least until the next blue moon.
The Turkey Reuben
(Oct. 09 issue of Food Network Magazine)
2-1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 scallions, white parts and 2 inches of green, chopped finely and divided
1- 8 oz can sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
1 small apple, peeled and grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ C mayonnaise
2 – 3 Tbsp chili sauce (careful with that last spoonful – it gets spicy!)
2 tsp capers, chopped, plus 1 tsp liquid
8 slices dill pickle, plus 1 tsp pickling liquid
8 slices seeded rye bread
1/2 lb deli-sliced turkey
½ lb deli-sliced turkey pastrami
1-1/2 to 2 C grated Swiss cheese (approx. 6 oz)
Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the scallion whites and cook until light brown, about 3 minutes. Add the sauerkraut and apple and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the sauerkraut is lightly browned and dry, about 10 minutes. Add half of the scallion greens and gook for 1 minute.
Preheat the broiler. Mix the mayo, chili sauce, remaining scallion greens, capers and their liquid, and the dill pickling liquid.
Spread about ½ tsp butter on one side of each bread slice. Place 4 slices, buttered-side down, on a foil – lined baking sheet. Spread each with some of the mayo mixture, then layer the turkey, dill pickle slices and sauerkraut mixture on top. Sprinkle with the cheese and broil until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.
Spread more of the mayo mixture on the unbuttered sides of the other 4 bread slices; place buttered-side up on the sandwiches. Return to the broiler until golden, turning once, about 2 minutes.
NOTE: Given that the Food Network Magazine disclosed the calorie count on these little whoppers, I would feel terribly guilty not to pass the information on.
Each serving packs a whopping 625 calories! 33 G of fat! 102 mg of cholesterol! 2,381 mg of sodium! 46 g of carbohydrate! Only 6 g of fiber. 39 g of protein.
The good news is that I could only manage to eat half… They are so perfect, rich, and filling, I saved the other half for the next day’s lunch… And believe it or not, they were great cold! (Nothing went soft or soggy).
by Danica Waters
In considering what to bring to a picnic, invariably the indispensable sandwich comes to mind. But let’s face it: unless you’re around the age of, like, five, the good ol’ PBJ just doesn’t pack a wollup on the culinary thrill-o-meter. Here’s some much more exciting options to consider the next time you decide to “go stuff yourself” with a scintillating sandwich. And since any great sandwich starts with the bread, the bread is where we’ll start!
Soft Italian Breadsticks:
Breadsticks are an unusual and visually attractive departure from classic sandwich breads. Slice breadsticks vertically through the center about 2/3 of the way through, being careful not to cut all the way (you want to leave a “hinge”). If you’re pairing this with a “salad-style” filling (think tuna, chicken, or egg salad), hollow out each side of the breadstick a bit. Though it requires a bit more work, toasting the breadsticks prior to filling them adds a fantastic texture and adds a bit of depth and dimension to the overall flavor.
Here’s a show-stopping recipe to try:
Italian Breadsticks with Fried Scallions and Peppers
12 large, soft Italian breadsticks
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 Italian Sausages (or, for vegetarians, long sections of grilled and seasoned Portobello mushrooms)
1 red pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into ¼” strips
12 scallions, washed and trimmed
Fresh basil leaves, washed and cut into julienne strips
Prepare breadsticks as detailed above, hollowing out each side a bit. Place on large baking tray and “open” the breadstick so that both sides are exposed. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese; bake at 350 degrees F until toasted but not over-browned (about 5 minutes or to taste) Remove from oven and place on baking rack to cool; set aside.
Grill some Italian Sausages (I prefer a Chicken Parmesan Italian Sausage, spicy or mild) and slice in quarters lengthwise. (You’ll only use half a sausage for each breadstick, so gauge amounts accordingly.) Set aside and keep warm.
Wash and trim tops and very end bits from several scallions. Split in half lengthwise, and then in half again on the bias. Sauté in extra virgin olive oil until the green bits are a bit brown and crispy. (Trust me. I could just eat these and be completely happy…) Remove from heat and set aside.
In same unwashed pan, add a little more olive oil and sauté the peppers until soft and fragrant but not mushy. Remove from heat and set aside.
To assemble: Place prepared breadsticks back on baking sheet. Sprinkle fresh julienned basil leaves onto the prepared breadsticks; top with two quarters of the sausage. Divide scallion sections and red pepper slices between the sandwiches; top with grated Parmesan cheese. Broil on low heat just until cheese is browned and sandwiches are warm and toasty.
These transport well in a covered cake pan; allow them to cool to room temperature prior to covering so that they don’t get soggy.
Lavash (A Large Middle-Eastern Flatbread)
This is one of the most clever – and easy – ways to wow a crowd. Simply warm the lavash in the oven to soften. Then spread with your choice of fillings, roll up lengthwise and secure with several toothpicks. Cut into rounds on the bias, and enjoy!
While Lavash works well with traditional fillings like thinly sliced turkey or ham, here’s some fun alternative fillings to try:
Mediterranean Roll: Spread Lavash with Hummus (your choice of flavor), sprinkle with Crumbled Feta Cheese, top with sliced black olives, alfalfa sprouts, baby spinach leaves and paper-thin slices of cucumber and red onion. Lightly sprinkle all with good-quality balsamic vinegar and freshly ground black pepper. Roll up, secure with toothpicks and slice into rounds; devour!
Pesto Chicken Roll: Spread Lavash with fresh pesto. Top with chopped seasoned grilled chicken tenderloins, thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes, a thin layer of coarsely shredded mozzarella and some arugula. Season with freshly ground black pepper; roll up and cut on the bias.
The Flour Tortilla:
When you’re in a pinch, the old flour tortilla works outstandingly well for a wrap style sandwich. Try this for a super-yummy experience:
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Turkey Wrap
Spread roasted red pepper hummus (or other flavor) generously on a flour tortilla. Top with thinly sliced (deli-style) turkey breast, shredded Pepper Jack cheese, thin slices of red onion, coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, a bit of shredded carrot, alfalfa sprouts and fresh baby spinach. Sprinkle with rice vinegar, season with freshly ground black pepper. Roll up burrito-style (fold up ends and roll sideways) and wrap in foil for transport. Deeee-lish!
One must never forget the wonderful pita pocket bread. You can truly stuff it with anything your little heart desires. Here’s some fun things to try:
Cream Cheese, Black Olives and Alfalfa Sprouts
This is a surprisingly tasty combination that travels really, really well during long hikes. Just split your pita in half, and open carefully to make a pocket. Generously smear softened cream cheese (or its lighter cousin, Neufchatel) on the inside of the pocket and stuff with alfalfa sprouts and sliced black olives. Scrumptious!
Does one need to say more? Falafel is fantastic, and served with lots of fresh shredded lettuce, chopped cucumber, tomato and red onion, you’ve got yourself a culinary work of art. If you’re transporting your sandwiches, leave any vegetables and dressing (like salsas or sesame tahini) in a separate container and add them just before serving so that your sandwiches don’t get soggy.
Basic Finger Sandwiches:
Finger sandwiches are great for picnics – especially if you’re attending a potluck-style picnic where there’s a ton of people and a ton of food. The finger sandwich allows folks to sample smaller portions and keep it light.
Trim crusts from your choice of bread. Apply condiments and layer with desired fillings; top with second slice of bread. Slice into equal smaller portions, secure each with a toothpick, and serve!
King’s Hawaiian Rolls or Other Dinner Rolls:
Instead of making a million individual baby-sized sandwiches, remove the King’s Hawaiian or other rolls from their package – do not break apart. Carefully slice roll sections in half to create a “top” and “bottom”; spread desired condiments over the entire surface of each side and layer with filling ingredients (veggies, meats, cheeses, etc.). Top off with the remaining roll halves; slice into individual portions. Place back in the original “tray”, and slide the whole lot back into the original bag. The sandwiches will keep their form, transport, and allow you to serve them without a lot of muss and fuss! (Hint: This is a GREAT way to make lunches for the week for the kids! They’re the perfect size for little tummies, and the kids LOVE them!)
It’s picnic time! Enjoy!
by Danica Waters
I love strong Southwestern flavors – especially when it’s hot outside. And boy, let me tell you, it’s been hot for the last few days. Rummaging through my recipe collection for ANYTHING that wouldn’t require me to turn on the oven, I re-discovered this yummy summer salad I clipped from a Martha Stewart magazine years ago. It has a Southwestern flare to it that makes it unbeatable for hot evenings; accompanied by Southwestern Corn Cakes, it’s the perfect summer meal. While the tequila in the marinade/dressing is optional, I highly recommend including it because it adds terrific dimension and depth to the overall flavor.
Mixed Greens with Grilled Chicken and Citrus Salsa
¼ c plus 1Tbsp fresh lime juice
¼ C plus 1 Tbsp olive oil
2 jalapeno peppers,1 thinly sliced, 1 diced
4 boneless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and skin.
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 dashes tequila (optional)
1 navel orange, peeled, sectioned, and cut into ¼ inch pieces.
1 small pink grapefruit, peeled, sectioned, and cut into ¼ -inch pieces
4 scallions, thinly sliced
10 yellow and red cherry tomatoes, seeded and diced
Grated zests of ½ orange an ½ lime
¼ C fresh cilantro, chopped
4 tomatillos, diced
4 handfuls of mesclun or other mixed greens
In a shallow bowl, combine the jalapeno slices with the ¼ c each of the lime juice and olive oil. Rub chicken with salt and pepper, add to marinade. Add a dash of tequila, if using. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the citrus fruit, scallions, tomatoes, remaining lime juice and olive oil, zests, salt and pepper, diced jalapeno, cilantro, tomatillos, and remaining tequila. Set aside.
Remove chicken from marinade. Cook on hot grill for about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove from the grill and let stand for 5 minutes.
Divide the greens among four plates. Slice the chicken, and arrange it on top of greens. Spoon salsa over each salad, and serve immediately.
by Danica Waters
While the word “dirigible” usually refers to a blimp, in this case it refers to a giant stuffed baked potato. The stuffed baked potato just so happens to be one of the heartiest – and easiest – make-ahead camping meals ever. Besides being incredibly tasty, this recipe also happily meets my Number One Priority: No Dishes At The Campsite.
Produced from within my tattered book of wonders: Favorite Restaurant Recipes – 500 Unforgettable Dishes From The RSVP Column of Bon Appetit, this particular recipe is from Clawson’s in the charming town of Beaufort, North Carolina. While I’m publishing the original recipe in entirety, vegetarians need simply to omit the meat.
I should also note that anything that works well for camping will work beautifully on a buffet/ appetizer table. Just use smaller potatoes (and smaller dice when preparing the ingredients) for easier handling. These are also GREAT to make ahead for lunchboxes – they freeze beautifully, and all you have to do is pop them in the oven in the morning. They’ll still be warm when you (or your kids) are ready to eat them. Enjoy!
The Original Dirigible
Clawson’s, Beaufort, NC
8 – 14-16 oz baking potatoes
1/2 lb. cooked turkey, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 lb. ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (or turkey ham)
1/2 lb. medium-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 lb. provolone cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped (I substitute red pepper)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 C butter, melted
Sour cream and chives (garnish)
Chopped crisply cooked bacon (garnish)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Scrub potatoes under cold running water. Place wet on baking sheet and bake until potatoes test done, about 75 minutes. Let potatoes cool until warm.
Combine turkey, ham, cheeses, peppers, and onion in a bowl and toss to mix. Cut potatoes lengthwise not quite in 1/2-inch. Loosen pulp and remove 1/4. Divide butter among potatoes and mix well. Mound with meat/cheese mixture. (At this point, potatoes can be wrapped and refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen before serving.)
Bake in 375 degree F oven until heated through and cheese is melted, or microwave on high about 5 minutes. Serve topped with heaping scoop of sour cream and chives and a generous sprinkling of bacon.
Be sure to wrap the “dirigibles” in foil ONLY – you want to be able to place them directly on the fire grate or even nestle them in the coals without any muss and fuss. When transporting, remember that potatoes “squish”, so it’s best to keep the foil-wrapped potatoes in a hard-shell container so they maintain their shape. In order to reduce the amount of “stuff” you have to carry, pre-add any garnish ingredients you care to include.
by Danica Waters
There are several books in my cookbook collection that show heavier signs of wear and tear than the rest. One book my mother-in-law gave me is absolutely destroyed: Favorite Restaurant Recipes – 500 Unforgettable Dishes from the RSVP Column of Bon Appetit. These flautas are delicious; the filling is so incredible- and so easy to make- I’ve made it my universal go-to for all my basic Mexican fare – tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, etc. My daughter requested these for her graduation dinner; I happily made them with the intent of saving a few to photograph this morning, but alas! There was nothing left. All gone. Kapoot! Zilch! Needless to say, the photo will have to wait for another day. Here’s the recipe:
Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant / Portland, OR
2 C chicken stock or broth
3 chicken breast halves
1 Tbsp oil
1 C finely chopped peeled tomatoes
1/2 C finely chopped onion
2-1/2 Tbsp cumin (ground or whole)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper
Oil for deep frying
1-2 C guacamole
In a medium saucepan, bring stock to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, add chicken breasts, cover and cook. Reduce heat to low, add chicken breasts, cover and cook 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 C stock (don’t throw the rest away – you can use it in other recipes later!). Cool chicken slightly, then chop finely.
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in medium skillet. Add tomatoes and onion and saute over medium heat 5 minutes. Add chicken, stock, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat 25 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Heat oil to 375 degrees F for deep fat frying. Dip tortillas into hot oil one at a time to soften, about 10 seconds. Remove and drain on paper towel. Immediately place 1 Tbsp chicken mixture on tortilla and roll up tightly. It is important to fill and roll each tortilla immediately after softening to prevent the flautas from cracking.
When all tortillas are filled, fry at 375 degrees Ff until crisp. Serve warm on large platter surrounding a bowl of guacamole. To serve as hors d’oeuvres, simply cut flautas in half prior to serving.
Makes 20 – 24