Homemade Breadcrumbs

I never buy bread crumbs unless they are Panko crumbs from Japan which I use when I need a really crisp topping or coating.

I also never throw out stale bread. If my bread is stale, I either make croutons or bruschetta. Otherwise, I freeze the bread and use it for stuffing or breadcrumbs.

When making breadcrumbs, remove the crust from the bread, cube it into small pieces and place it in the food processor. I usually “pulse” it a few times and then let the machine run until I achieve the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. This takes only a few minutes.

These freeze really well so if you have a lot of stale bread, go ahead and make breadcrumbs and freeze them for a later date.

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Individual Chicken Pot Pies

With winter hanging on this week, I decided to make chicken pot pies. I used the recipe from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. This book is out of print but can be purchased from Amazon or on ebay. Mine has definitely seen better days.

I bought 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, some zucchini and carrots. I had onions and chicken stock on hand and made my usual savory pastry which is my tart dough recipe with the sugar omitted and 1 tsp of salt added.

I baked the chicken in a cup of heavy cream for 25 minutes and then cubed it when cool.

The recipe calls for one large chicken pot pie, but I decided to make six separate pies. We will have two of them tonight and I can freeze the rest for a busy night when I don’t feel like or have time to cook. I always do an egg wash on these. Just beat 1 egg with 1 tbsp of water with a dinner fork until blended and then apply on the pastry tops with a pastry brush. It really make the crust look and taste amazing.

These bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

This is a definite do ahead recipe which you could do in stages. You could make your pastry in advance as well and freeze it until needed.

I will serve this with a simple salad.

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Pasta Fagoli

I was in Sarasota last week and a neighbor of my cousin, Leslie invited us to learn how to make his dish.

Ingredients

2 cans of cannellini beans (14 oz)
1 can of crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
2 cups tomato sauce
1 onion diced
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 stalks of peeled celery diced
1 tbsp of olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 14.5 oz chicken broth
1/2 lb dried pasta (small size pasta is best) or elbow macaroni

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over low heat and add the onion, celery and garlic. Cook about ten minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. Add red pepper flakes, oregano and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

Fill a large pot with water and add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cook pasta until slightly undercooked. Drain well and add the pasta to the sauté pan. Add the undrained beans and mix well. Heat thoroughly and serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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Lobster and Sun-dried Tomato Ravioli

Tonight for dinner I made lobster ravioli. This was to be our Christmas Eve dinner, but due to the power failure previous to Christmas Eve, I never got around to making it.

The filling was canned lobster meat finely chopped, sun-dried tomatoes finely chopped, one scallion finely chopped, about a cup of marscarpone cheese (room temperature), finely chopped fresh parsley with salt and pepper to taste.

I made a tomato and cream sauce for the pasta which was just sautéed chopped garlic, tomato sauce and heavy cream which I simmered for about thirty minutes.

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alexandra-guarnaschelli/jerusalem-artichoke-soup-recipe/index.html

Today is New Year’s Day and it is freezing outside so I decided to make the above soup. I received the Jerusalem Artichokes in my farm box last week and this a great way to use them.

I have to tell you that the kitchen smells amazing from the artichokes roasting in the oven.

Since I had a lot of fresh thyme leftover I decided to give the soup a bit of color by chopping some and adding it to the soup.

I substituted chicken stock for vegetable stock because I feel it always make a tastier soup.

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