Friday, November 5, 2010

Chicken Francais

Firstly, let me appologize for such an ugly photo of the dish. I only took one last night, and the cauliflower sitting next to it, doesn't look half as tasty as it actually was.
Secondly, I am a little troubled by the name of this dish. This comes from my Grandma Melusine, and she was a stickler for spelling things correctly. I cannot figure out what a Chicken Francais is. At first I thought maybe she just forgot the E in Fracaise, but the ingredients aren't what you would find in Fricasise. There is no lemon, no bread crumbs...
Irregardless, this is a damn good recipe. It's also one of a kind I suppose. This one is written in my grandmother's hand. It's printed, and it's very neat, which tells me that it's very old. My grandma Mel, had horrible arthritis by the time I came long (mid 70's) and her hand writting was not this neat then. She also opted for cursive later in life, because it was easier for her to continue the flow of the pen. anywho, just alittle aside to the history of the recipe.
Chicken Francais
1/4 cup butter
1 frying chicken cut up
1 medium onion, minced
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
3/4 cup apple cider or juice
2 cups half and half
2 tbsp cornstarch
heat butter, add chicken and onions and brown slowly for 20 minutes. Add seasonings and apple juice. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove chicken to headed platter. add cornstarch mixed with 4 tbsp of half and half. Stir in remaining half and half and cook until thick.
Add chicken back in and cover in sauce, then serve.
First let me just say the Chief Commentator's eyes lit up when he walked into the house and smelled dinner. He rushed right over to the pan and stuck his nose in it. Perhaps that's because Chief Commentator thinks that pan cooked chicken is a gift from the gods. Until we started this project neither of us had really cooked chicken in a pan, but rather relinquished it to the oven or a fryer. the Chief Commentator loves the color on the skin, and how it seals in all the juices.
This recipe was no exception. Great flavors, tender chicken. He ate a good 3/4 of the entire pan last night - picking every morsal he could find from the bones, and enjoying the sauce. I loved the texture of everything. I think the chicken really is showcased nicely in the sauce. I think next time I make it, I may double the seasonings and add a hint of black pepper, but that is just how I like my sauces.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Bread -1

First let me say, I didn't actually make this one. I did stand over and supervise the making of it though. Chief Commentator's daughter asked to make some pumpkin bread, so I dug up a recipe in my Grandma Melusines cookbook, and the two of us hit the kitchen for a little baking time. Again a recipe that was cut out of a newspaper with no credits.

Also, much like my cranberry dilema, it seems that myself, and both Grandma's have a think for pumpkin bread too (and zucchini bread, and carrot cake... ) so I have resorted to the numbering system.

2 cups cooked pumpkin
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 cup walnuts,finely chopped (thank you food processor)

Blend pumpkin, sugar, eggs and oil, add baking powder, soda, salt, allspice, cinnamon and flour. Mix well and fold in nuts. Bake at 325 for 1 hour or until done when tested with toothpick. Makes 3 small loaves.

Delishes. Everyone who tried some loved it. No one could believe that a 10 year old made it. One friend commented that she is officially 'out baked' by a 10 year old. The recipe is pretty fool proof, and the loaf comes out with a beautiful texture and pumpkin flavor. Not overwhelming with too many spices, or faux pumpkin like some of the boxed mixes - this is really a treat to behold.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cranberry Caramel Drops

In continuing with my love of everything cranberry, I have decided to make a cookie that involves them, to break up the monotony of all the bread recipes.
This one comes from my Grandma Melusines binder, they are called Cranberry Carmel drops, and the recipe is a cut out from a newspaper, no credit is given to the original creator.
Makes 4 dozen cookies
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 package (small 3 3/4oz) butterscotch instant pudding
5 cups quick cooking oatmeal
2 cups fresh cranberries
In a large saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and milk. Cook while stirring until miture comes to a full rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in pudding, otameal and cranberries. Stir until well blended. Cook 15 minutes. then drop by teaspoonfuls on waxed paper. Let set several hours befor paking into airtight container and storing in a cool dry place.
Ok - first of all, the recipe does not say how to cook for the final 15 minutes. Cook high? cook low? I just put it on medium, and stirred it a bunch of times and hoped that counted. I am guessing it didn't, because the drops came out a bit soggy. The flavor was incredible, and I loved the idea behind them, but I really need to figure out how to make them a little less limp.
Kids loved them. Chief commentator loved them. But we'd all like them to be a little firmer.