July 15, 2011

Coq Au Vin

Since yesterday was Bastille Day I decided to celebrate by making this all time favorite French dish. The recipe is fairly easy and cook time is just about an hour. There's lots of flavor from the wine, brandy and herbs which are used to create this dish. And of course the little flambe action adds  excitement to the whole process of making Co Au Vin.


6 T butter
3 T olive oil
3-4lbs chicken thighs and legs
4 oz smoked pork (bacon, pancetta) cut into small strips
5 oz pearl onions peeled but left whole
6 oz cremini mushrooms halved or quartered depending on the size
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c brandy
1 1/4c. red wine
1 3/4 c. chicken broth
1 bouquet garni*
salt and pepper
3 T flour


In a flame proof pan, brown chicken pieces in 3 T of butter an 3 T of the olive oil for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the bacon, pearl onions, mushrooms and garlic to the pan. **Pour the brandy over top and ignite immediately with a long match or torch. Let the flames diminish before adding the wine, broth and bouquet garni, salt and pepper and return to stove top. Heat to a soft boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken has become tender. Meanwhile in a small bowl add the other 3 T of butter and the flour, mash together and set aside.

When the chicken is done cooking remove from the pan and add the flour butter mixture in a little at a time stirring continually...this will thicken the sauce. Bring back to a boil and return the chicken to the pan. Serve immediately and garnish with bay leaves. You can serve it oby itself or over noodles or rice.

*Bouquet Garni...typically I will tie fresh thyme and parsley together and add a bay leaf or two to the pan.

**Flambeing is believed to add a richness to the food by chemically changing the food's composition. Don't use anything more that 80 proof or 40% alcohol for this process.

July 13, 2011

Classic Whoopie Pies

The other day my husband handed me a recipe he had cut out of the Sunday newspaper...he's never done something like this before...and it was a recipe for Whoppie Pies. "Can you make these?" he asked very politely and of course I agreed! So yesterday I decided to make them with Michael and Grace and they were a big hit with both husband and kids.

(For the pies)

1 12/3 c. of all purpose flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 T. unsalted butter at room temp
4 T of vegetable shortening
1 c. dark brown sugar packed
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. milk

(For the Marshmallow filling)
1 1/2 c. marshmallow fluff
1 1/2 c. shortening
1 c. confectioner's sugar
1 T vanilla extract.


To make the pies...
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. In the work bowl of a standard mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, the shortening and the brown sugar on a low setting until combined then increase setting to medium and beat for 3 more minutes. (If using a standard mixer, use the paddle attachment to blend ingredients.) Then add the egg and vanilla and beat 2 minutes. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk and beat until blended then repeat with the other half of milk and flour.

Using a tablespoon drop batter onto the parchment paper spacing them at 2 inches apart. Bake in the center of your heated oven one sheet at a time for approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet and then remove from sheet and let cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the filling...
In a medium bowl beat the fluff and shortening until blended and then add the vanilla and sugar and beat until fluffy. Once the pies are cooled, place a dollop of the marshmallow mixture between to pies like a sandwich. Repeat with remaining pies and enjoy!

Surprisingly each pie is only 250 calories...but be careful...it's hard to eat only one!!!

Recipe courtesy of Parade Magazine

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