Food, Wine, Rock & Roll

Part food blog, part jam session

Mediterranean Chicken

Posted by Becca On September - 1 - 20102 COMMENTS

I got this recipe from one of my husband’s former co-workers who was also an avid home-chef.  It’s simple, quick, and very filling (oh, and it makes great leftovers…are we seeing a pattern yet?).  The sauce is creamy with just a hint of bite because of the feta, which balances very well with the basil, artichokes, and olives.  The sun-dried tomatoes give the dish just a touch of sweetness that rounds out this wonderfully delicious dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly torn
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup artichoke hearts in water, quartered and drained
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 6 oz. low fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fat free half & half
  • 1/2 lb angel hair pasta
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preparation

Boil water for pasta and cook until tender

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Brown chicken until no longer pink – about 3-4 minutes.

Add sun-dried tomatoes and garlic to skillet. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add the basil, artichoke hearts, olives, and feta cheese to the skillet.  Saute for 1 minute then stir in the cream.

Strain the pasta and transfer to a large pasta bowl.  Add the chicken saute to the pasta and toss.  Season with oregano, salt and pepper before serving.

Drinks

I recently discovered an incredibly inexpensive wine that is really quite good (it’s made by the same folks who make Two-Buck Chuck) at Sprouts Farmers Market.  Crane Lake’s Chardonnay goes very well with this dish because it has just a hint of sweetness that complements the fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes and has a very smooth finish that goes well with the creaminess of the sauce.

Music

In the past, I have listened to a fairly wide array of albums while making this dish.  My current favorite album to throw on while making this yummy dish is the self-titled album released by the collaborative effort band, Broken Bells (composed of Danger Mouse & the lead singer of The Shins).  It’s an amazing album that, at times, seems inspired by some music from the early 80s (The Cure, Modern English, etc).  It’s great to listen to while making this dish because, while it is mellow & easy to groove to, it has some rather surprising moments that just sweeten up the whole experience.


Baked Chicken with Mushrooms

Posted by Becca On August - 9 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

This dish is just plain old comfort food.  It is not even remotely difficult to make but does take a little time to cook.  None of the ingredients are expensive and, yet again, this meal makes excellent leftovers.  The paprika and thyme coating the chicken adds a nice savory flavor and the mushrooms mellow everything out.  Served with rice, this is a perfect meal for the whole family.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1-2 lbs chicken legs & thighs
  • 3/4 cup white cooking wine
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt the butter in a shallow dish.  Stir in thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Lightly dredge the chicken pieces in flour, then swish both sides in the butter until coated.

Arrange the chicken pieces in a 13×9 baking dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees, turn the chicken pieces over, and add mushrooms and wine.

Cover the dish with foil and continue to bake for 30 minutes longer.

Serve with hot buttered rice.

Drinks

I really, really like anything that comes out of the Bogle Vineyards; every one of their wines is excellent.  For this dish, their Riesling is a perfect pair.  It has a nice combination of crisp and sweet with a hint of spice that goes very well with the hint of spice from the paprika in the chicken with the mellowness of the mushrooms.

Music

Classic comfort food makes me want to go back to some of my all time favorite musicians.  For this, there is no one more classic in my mind than the great Janis Joplin.  I have been an enormous fan of Ms. Joplin’s music for more years than I can remember.  I have always been moved by her ability to combine grit, sorrow, and exuberance into her music.  The Very Best of Janis Joplin is an excellent compilation album that truly has the “very best” of her work.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Posted by Becca On July - 31 - 20101 COMMENT

The original for this dish came from a recipe I found in a cookbook published by a group of women in my hometown.  After making it a few times, I decided to start playing with it & adding some of my own ideas.  Through a great deal of experimentation and alterations, I finally arrived at this recipe.  It is a major favorite in my home but I can only make it when I really have plenty of time because it takes a few hours, primarily in the prep time.  Once everything is prepared, it takes almost no time to actually cook.  Time aside, this is a delicious dish that is completely worth it.

Ingredients

  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped (keep a few seeds for added heat)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
  • 1 (10 oz) can green chili enchilada sauce
  • 1 (5 fl oz) can evaporated milk
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Filling:

Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.

Mix chicken, tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper in a large sauce pan.  Fill sauce pan with just enough water to cover all ingredients.  Cover.  Boil over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked (about 10-15 minutes).

Drain water and remove chicken pieces, reserving about 1 cup of vegetable mix.

Chop or shred chicken pieces.

In a medium bowl, combine the can of chopped green chilies, vegetable mix, chicken, and remaining 1 tsp. of salt.

Sauce:

In a shallow dish, combine the green chili enchilada sauce and evaporated milk.  Gently stir together until the heavier enchilada sauce fully mixes with the evaporated milk.

Enchiladas:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Dip each tortilla in the enchilada sauce mixture.  Fill with a handful (roughly 1/3 cup) of the filling mixture.  *Note: if you use your hands for this process, wash your hands frequently or wear rubber gloves in order to avoid the oil from the jalapenos soaking into your skin.*  Sprinkle the mixture with the shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup).  Roll enchiladas and place seam-side down in a sprayed 13×9 inch baking dish.

Pour remaining sauce mixture over the top of the enchiladas.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Drinks

A Mexican meal requires a Mexican beverage.  As with an earlier dish, I really like to pair this meal with a good Mexican beer.  My favorite for this alternates between the Dos Equis Lager and a nice, cold Corona with a splash of lime.  Once the meal is in the oven, I sometimes like to switch over to my husband’s amazing home-made margarita, which I have lovingly named the “Not Your Mama’s Margarita.”  It uses only the most basic ingredients for a margarita: fresh squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and high quality silver tequila (full recipe will be posted at some point in the future).  I reserve the margarita until after the cooking is completed because there is a strict two drink limit….seriously.

Music

A dish that takes this long to prepare needs a very long album to listen to while cooking.  No, I’m not going with the obligatory Led Zepplin Four which features “Stairway to Heaven,” which is a really good album but still isn’t long enough to hold up to this recipe.  For this, I always like to put on the 2005 live album Freak & Roll into the Fog by my #2 favorite band of all time: The Black Crowes.

Moroccan Chicken

Posted by Becca On July - 1 - 20101 COMMENT

This is a really simple, quick recipe that brings the exotic flavors of the Middle East into your home.  It is a favorite in my household because we love “weird” food and it takes almost no time to make.  It is also one of the only ways I can get my husband to eat chicken because of how juicy it is.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 pounds chicken legs and thighs skin on
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°

Mix spices, 2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and the oil in a small bowl.

Rub the spice paste all over the chicken pieces.

Arrange the chicken in a single layer on a roasting pan, and arrange the lemon wedges around chicken.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes.

Serve with hummus, couscous (I like Near East Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil), and warm flat bread.

Drinks

This dish is perfect for a lighter, slightly fruity white wine.  Some of my favorites are Cupcake Vineyard’s Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay or Schmitt Sohne’s Blue Riesling Kabinett.  Both of these wines are very reasonably prices (I am a teacher, after all).

Music

A meal such as this one requires music influenced by other cultures.  What better than any Led Zeppelin album every recorded?  I personally really enjoy turning on Houses of the Holy or Physical Graffiti (because it has “Kashmir” on it.  Duh.) very loudly.  When I want something really different, I like to turn on the “Dublin to Dakar” album released by Putumayo World Music.