Recipe: White Wine Seafood Stew

Sometimes, you have to alter what you’re going to make for dinner when you find a good deal at the local grocery store.  This is what happened to me yesterday… the store had some beautiful scallops and shrimp on a 50% off sale, so my recipe plan took on a life of its own.SeafoodStew

I started with two small packages (each) of scallops and shrimp.  I shelled the shrimp, washed the seafood, and then seasoned everything with a dash of soy sauce, herbs de provence, salt, and freshly ground pepper, before letting it sit in the fridge for an hour or so.  NOTE: This step isn’t necessarily important… I was bored and wanted to get dinner prep started early.

Once I started cooking, I began by sauteing the seafood in some olive oil.   Since I had so much seafood, I did this in two batches to keep the heat up.  Once the seafood was cooked through, I removed it all and added a few cups of diced vegetables.  I also added a healthy amount of Viognier white wine for flavor.  NOTE: If I’d had it around, I would have used either James River Cellars Gewurztraminer or Vidal Blanc… either would be a great background taste for this stew.  The vegetables were ones that I had picked up at the salad bar of the grocery store recently, so it was a great way to use up leftovers that needed to be eaten or tossed.  While the vegetables were cooking, I decided to cook some pasta to throw into the stew, so I boiled some spaghetti noodles that I broke in half.  I added the cooked spaghetti to the vegetables and then also added the seafood back into the stew.

Once the components of the stew were together, I decided to play with the seasonings a bit.  I used varying amounts of parmesan cheese, Viognier white wine, a little mozzarella cheese, and bumped up the tastes of the original spices.  It was a fun dinner to create and delicious to eat… I added some garlic toasts and called it a night!

Enjoy playing with your spices… they can make a huge difference in the flavor of your final product.  Try one new spice at a time and see how it works with your meals and recipes.  Have fun with your cooking… after all… it’s just food!

“Using The Force” for the first time

I was talking with a friend yesterday about what to make for dinner, when we stumbled upon the idea of having him “use The Force” to create a meal for him and his girlfriend.  We talked about a few recipes, contemplated different degrees of difficulty, and came up with the plan to use my Chicken Prosciutto Roll recipe.  He didn’t want to spend an inordinate amount of time on dinner, so we discussed ways he could “shortcut” the recipe and tailor it to their tastes.  I was so excited for him that I had to write a quick blog post to share this with you all.

AMUsingTheForce

Here’s his final product:

Doesn’t it look terrific?  THIS is what I mean when I say, if you’re planning to use one of my recipes,  that you should alter the original to fit what your family likes best, using the flavors and spices that you most enjoy.  He made his own version of a Chicken Prosciutto Roll and it turned out wonderfully.  He *did* use chicken breasts, Bourcin Cheese, and James River Cellars Gewurztraminer white wine, but swapped out ham for the prosciutto, since that’s what he had on hand.  More importantly than simply following the recipe, he used what he had at his disposal and took the time to prepare a meal that he and his girlfriend would enjoy.

My friend, AM, did a fabulous job of tailoring a basic recipe to make it his own.  I hope you’ll consider trying this same sort of thing in your own home.  It’s not hard to make dinner… it just takes a little thought and the ability to let your efforts shine as your own.

If you want me to blog about it and share your steps, just send me a message and take a few pics of the beginning/middle/end of your efforts so you can send them to me.  I’d be more than happy to help as you create dinners for your friends and loved ones… after all, it’s just food!

Enjoy the process…

Recipe: Updated Chicken Prosciutto Roll

I know this is a re-do of a recipe that I posted in August, but honestly this  set of photos is much more informative than the first, so I decided to go ahead and add it… never hurts to show you more about a recipe than less, right?  I also adjusted this recipe a bit from the original, so please forgive my repetition… I want you to have as much info about recipes as I can provide, especially when I make something so tasty that doesn’t actually use a recipe.

I wanted to make a simple, yet elegant, dinner with James River Cellars’ Gewurztraminer wine.  Since we have found that the tastiest pairing of cheese-to-wine uses Bourcin cheese with this particular wine, my primary pairing was already set.  Sadly, though, my local grocery store was out of Bourcin Cheese, so I had to make due with a local goat cheese infused with garlic and herbs which turned out to be very tasty and worked just as well (in my humble opinion).

I started with three large chicken breasts from a sale package of chicken breasts.  Note: I don’t know what sort of giant chickens produced these breasts, but they were thick, meaty, and looked amazing.  I’m sure that they are genetically altered and I should have reached instead for the organic meat, but I was looking for value this time – I was able to get 5 breasts for the price of 2 organic breasts, so that made my decision for me yesterday.  I ran my knife through the meatiest part of the breast but didn’t cut all the way through, so I could open the breast like an envelope and make it as thin and wide as possible.  I used a mallet to pound the thicker spots down a bit so everything was even and got on with the recipe.

Making sure not to tear the meat, I separated a thin slice of prosciutto and laid it on top of the open chicken breast, then topped the breast with a thin line of garlic/herb goat cheese (here’s where I would have used the Bourcin Cheese, had I been able to find it at the store).  Once the layers were in place, I carefully rolled the chicken, beginning at the  side rather than from one of the ends, and then used a long skewer to secure the breast meat and keep all the toppings inside.  My goal was to make a long/thin roll as opposed to a short/fat roll so the meat would be able to cook thoroughly without being too overdone on the outside.  NewChickenPriscuittoRoll

When you are ready to cook dinner,  add a pat of butter and a bit of olive oil to the pan and then sear the rolls on all sides until they are browned and crispy.  I actually made the rolls earlier in the day and let them sit in the fridge until I was ready to cook, but you’re welcome to make them whenever it works for you.  I definitely would have done this earlier in the day if I were making it for company.  Once the meat is seared along all edges, I added the remaining cheese (maybe the last inch of the roll of goat cheese) and Gewurztraminer wine to create a bit of sauce in which the rolls could cook.  Note:  Since I knew the inside of the rolls weren’t anywhere near ready, my plan was to bake them in the oven until my husband came home for dinner.  I’m not sure exactly how long I baked them (remember… I USE THE FORCE TO COOK) but I had set the oven at 350 degrees and popped the saute pan in the oven until things “smelled done” and we were ready to eat.

To finish this dish, I used a bag of green beans and a bag of brown rice.  I microwaved the beans first and tossed them with a little butter and salt before serving.  I microwaved the brown rice afterward and divided that out among the dinner plates.  Removing the skewer at this point wasn’t easy, but I used a fork to keep things steady as I gently pulled the skewer out of each chicken roll.  The final touch was to spoon the cooking sauce over the chicken and rice.  It looked as pretty as it tasted!

Extra idea… if you are serving a small group of people, you could make four of these rolls and then slice them to serve onto individual plates instead of offering each person their own chicken roll.

This is one of my favorite recipes to share with people when I do a wine tasting at James River Cellars.  I do hope that you’ll consider trying this recipe and make it your own.  That’s the essence of cooking… creating something delicious to feed the ones that you love.

Enjoy!