Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Newman's Own Cookbook - Sparkling Recipes from Paul Newman and his Hollywood Friends" - Martha Stewart's Cataplana Chicken

Date I made this recipe: September 28, 2008

Newman’s Own Cookbook – Sparkling Recipes from Paul Newman and his Hollywood Friends by Paul Newman & A.E. Hotchner
Published by: Ebury Press/Random House
ISBN: 009186926-9 © 1999
Recipe: Martha Stewart’s Chicken Cataplana – p. 85

If you’ve been keeping up on current events, then you’ll know that actor Paul Newman passed away on September 26, 2008. The world is indeed a little worse off with the loss of P.L. Newman (also known in car-racing circles as “Skinny Legs”).

Although I’ve missed out on quite a few of his movies, I do have a fond memory of how I almost went to see The Sting on a high school date. The word “almost” is pivitol: the nearest movie theater was an hour’s drive away, and my parents were not going to send their baby out in the cold (it was winter) with “Jake, the Snake” (Actually, Jake was a nice guy. It was the evil high school boys in my class who teased him endlessly and gave him that nickname). And then there was the fact that the picture was not rated G, something that my very-Catholic mother took most seriously, consulting her Catholic newspaper each and every time a movie opened. If it was rated PG, there was no chance in hell (sorry, Mom!) that I was going to see it. Although this wasn’t the end of me and Jake, the Snake, the writing was on the wall. I’m happy to report that I saw the movie, in the privacy of my own home (where – gasp – I even watch R rated movies!) and it was great. Right up there with my all-time favorite Newman movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (“Who ARE those guys?”)

As to the recipe, this was really easy and very tasty. Martha Stewart, who contributed this recipe, is no slouch and would never put out a schlocky meal and this one did not disappoint. Of course, Martha being Martha, she apparently wanted us to go out and buy a fancy-schmancy Cataplana pan (it’s a copper Portuguese cooking pan), or perhaps unearth one from our unlimited supply of (always polished) copper pans. Silly Martha. Lucky for us, the recipe says you can substitute a small casserole with a tight-fitting lid instead. Whew, dodged that bullet.

This recipe says to use Newman’s Own All-Natural Bandito Salsa or your favorite. We used Newman’s Own Pineapple Salsa and that sweetness really added to the dish. I think Paul would have been proud, and we’re happy that money from the sale of all his Newman’s Own products goes to charity. So hat’s off to Paul and his Hole in the Wall Gang charities. We’ll miss you, Skinny Legs.

Martha Stewart’s Chicken Cataplana – serves 4
2 T. olive oil
12 fl. Oz. Newman’s Own All-Natural Bandito Salsa, or your favorite
2 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano (Note: since I used pineapple salsa, I left this off as I wasn’t sure I’d like the taste of oregano with pineapple. I think it was a good call.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 F (or 180 C or gas mark 4 – talk about thorough!!)

Place the oil in the bottom of the cataplana or casserole. Add half of the salsa. Top with the sliced potatoes, chicken breasts, and onion. Top with the remaining salsa and sprinkle the oregano over it. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake for 1 ½ hours.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"Most-for-the-Money Main Dishes - A Campbell Cookbook" - Ham and Pea Tetrazzini

Date I made this recipe: September 14, 2008

Most-for-the-Money Main Dishes—A Campbell Cookbook by Campbell Kitchens
Recipes developed and tested by Home Economists of Campbell Kitchens
Published by: Campbell Soup Company
© 1975
Recipe: Ham and Pea Tetrazzini – p. 77

Well, this recipe was a walk in the park compared to some I’ve made in recent weeks! To be honest, I spent this afternoon test- driving a cake recipe for an upcoming party (recipe to be reviewed at a later date) and so I wanted something easy to make for dinner. My husband also requested that I serve no later than 7:00 given that I have a tendency to underestimate how long recipes are going to take. And given that our weather turned rainy the past couple of days, this was perfect – easy to make and comforting to eat. For those of you concerned about sodium levels in canned soups, Campbell makes a low-sodium version of the cream of chicken soup that the recipe calls for. I’d recommend seasoning with a little pepper, but otherwise, this recipe is good to go. Um, um good!

Ham and Pea Tetrazzini – makes about 5 ½ cups
1 ½ cups cooked ham cut in strips
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 can (10 ¾ ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup
¾ cup milk
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, cooked and drained
2 cups cooked spaghetti

In saucepan, brown ham with garlic in butter. Add soup, milk, and cheese. Heat until cheese melts; stir occasionally. Add peas and spaghetti; heat.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Blue Ribbon USA - Prizewinning Recipes from State and County Fairs" - Marjorie Johnson's Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake

Date I made this recipe: September 1, 2008 (Labor Day)

Blue Ribbon USA-Prizewinning Recipes from State and County Fairs by Georgia Orcutt and John Margolies
Published by: Chronicle Books
ISBN: 10-0-8118-5484-1
Recipe: Marjorie Johnson’s Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake – p. 58-59

Well, the Minnesota State Fair wraps up today, just in time for me to use my newly-purchased Blue Ribbon USA – Prizewinning Recipes from State and County Fairs. Although many recipes from other states besides Minnesota sounded interesting (some even horrifying: I have never, ever heard of adding cream of mushroom soup to my beloved Michigan Pasties –pronounced pass-tees. The horror!), they didn’t strike my fancy.

Instead, I turned to the recipe created by the woman who embodies the Minnesota State Fair, indeed, to be clear, IS the State Fair, and that is Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake made by Minnesota’s own Marjorie Johnson.

Now the first time I went to the fair, it was clear to me that this woman was a winner, as evidenced by the multiple blue ribbons in the baking categories. And for a while, she was our little secret. But the next thing you know, she was on Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show, then Jay Leno found her and made her a regular and she is now as famous as some of the Hollywood Celebrities.

The thing is it couldn’t have happened to a nicer woman. Marjorie is a bundle of energy, that just pours off her 4’8” frame that is outfitted in her signature red (as far as I know, Marjorie doesn’t wear other colors) and her stints on Leno have been hilarious. And her baking isn’t too bad, either!

This recipe is really easy and the cake is very moist. I have only two complaints that I am almost afraid to voice in fear of offending the baking goddess: I would have liked more streusel in the middle of the cake and I was hoping for a bit more sour cream taste. Other than that, I enjoyed making this blue-ribbon winner and hope you will, too!

Marjorie Johnson’s Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake – makes two cakes

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sour cream

2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup packed all-purpose flour
¼ cup sweetened flake coconut
½ cup (2 ounces) sliced almonds or chopped nuts

½ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1 to 3 teaspoons milk

Heat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch cake pans.

To make the batter: Combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and cream with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk to blend. On low speed or by hand, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Spoon one-fourth of the batter into teach prepared pan.

To make the streusel: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork. Sprinkle one-fourth of the mixture over the batter in each pan. Spoon the remaining batter equally into the 2 pans. Sprinkle the top of each with an equal amount of the remaining streusel.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops of the cakes feel firm to the touch. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them rest for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges and remove from the pans by gently inverting each one onto a flat dinner plate, covering it with a wire rack, and then carefully flipping it right-side up to cool on the rack.

To make the glaze: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a spoon until smooth. Drizzle over the tops of the cooled cakes.