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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Moroccan Mess?

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‘Twas not an easy task to drag my exhausted carcass out of bed this morning…..but I did it. And I also did a pretty decent job last night of getting things under control on the domestic front.

The house is in moderately presentable shape (could be better, but it has been, and usually is, so so so much worse) and as long as I can get home in time to do a little last-minute tidying, I think I’m safe.

To be honest though, I’m a little worried about dinner. I have no idea if my wacky pseudo-moroccan concoction will even be edible.

I’ll share photos and recipes, but I don’t advise running out to make this until I update with the results….it might be horrific!!!!!!!

Moroccan Chicken Wellington

6 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless (don’t accidentally almost buy the stupid ones with bones still in them – GAH hate when that happens!)
1.5 packages puff pastry (I advise PC Pre-rolled butter puff pastry – it’s both ‘pre-rolled’ and made with shortening – great on all fronts! You could always make your own but once you read how it’s done, you’ll probably want to buy it too)
egg whites

6 oz log of soft goat cheese
¼ c mint leaves, chopped
¼ c coriander, chopped
2 T slivered almonds
2 T raisins

1/3 c tomato paste
1 T evoo
salt and pepper
½ t turmeric
½ t cumin
½ t dried coriander
1 t cinnamon
1 t balsamic vinegar

To make :
1. Thaw puff pastry.
2. Mix all filling ingredients.

3. Mix all paste ingredients.
4. Butterfly chicken breast (basically cut a slit you can spread filling into. It’s a little tricky and don’t worry if it’s not perfect. That’s why you wrap it in puff pastry!)
5. Spread filling on breast

6. Close breast, baste with tomato paste mixture. Place on ½ sheet of puff pastry (you may need to get a little creative with wrapping/rolling out puff pastry to make it all fit.

7. Wrap up breast in puff pastry, sealing edges as best you can. Brush with eggwhite

8. Here is where the guessing starts. In looking at other recipes, I probably should have browned my chicken beforehand…ah well. I’m thinking this will probably take about 40 minutes at 375F. Most other recipes call for 25 minutes at 400F, but since my chicken will be both cold and raw (though I will de-fridgify when I get home), I think a longer time at a lower temperature would be best to make sure the chicken is cooked and the pastry isn’t burned. I will start checking at 30 minutes, but I think it will take longer than that.

In addition to this Moroccan-inspired mess, I also made crème brulée yesterday. I didn’t end up going with the recipe I linked to, though I did get the rosemary sprig idea from them and shamelessly stole it……

Here is my recipe:

Ginger Rosemary Vanilla Crème Brulée
3 cups whipping cream
¾ c sugar
1-2 sprigs rosemary
2 T chopped fresh ginger
1 t real vanilla extract
7 egg yolks (I’m seeing an egg-white omelette in my future…..)
sugar for caramelizing

1. In a medium saucepan, combine cream, sugar, rosemary and fresh ginger. Just bring to a simmer, and then continue to just barely simmer for another 10 minutes to infuse flavours.
2. While cream is simmering, have a fabulous time separating the eggs (only lost one yolk!). Beat with a whisk until a teeny bit frothy and smooth.
3. Strain cream mixture into a measuring pitcher (normally I’m lazy, but you really do want to strain this).
4. SLOOOOOOWLY add some of the hot cream into the egg yolk. It’s very important to just add a little at a time, because if you give the yolks a blast of hot cream, they will immediately coagulate and you will have chunky, scrambled-eggy crème brulée. Yuck. (Been there, done that, for the record!). Slowly add a stream of the hot cream to the eggs, whisking the whole time.
5. Once you have added all the cream, stop whisking (bubbles are bad, though I still ended up with a whack of them).
6. Preheat your oven to 325F.
7. Place your ramekins in a glass pan (I use 9X13). Pour the cream into the ramekins (this will fill 8 smallish ramekins, or 6 bigger ones). If you are picky, skim off the bubbles. If not, add enough hot water to the pan to go halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
8. Bake for about 35 minutes – you want the outsides to be set, and the insides to jiggle like jello. Don’t overcook or the aforementioned scrambled-egg texture will appear.
9. Cool (out of the water) at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight, covered.

10. Before serving, take them out about a half hour before, to allow the custard to warm back up a bit. Sprinkle the tops of the crèmes with white sugar (about 1-2 teaspoons per).
11. Give each custard a blast with the blowtorch, until the sugar is lightly caramelized (but not dark brown – that is burnt!). The tops will become crispy, and allow your diners to do the delightful spoon-crack, à la Amélie

Anyway, I still have a lot of stuff to do tonight – I got lazy in my veggie choppin’ and only chopped the carrots. I still have peppers and zucchini to chop….hopefully this will be edible!!!!!!!

Wish me luck, and thanks for reading! :)


Anonymous said...

I'm curiously to find out how your recipe turned out. It looks great with the goat's cheese and the herbs... I've always been nervous to use phyllo pastry, but I'll definately check out the brand that you recommend.

Anonymous said...

SOOO, how did it go? :)

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