I love making this! While it may seem a bit of an involved process, it really isn’t if you organize yourself well and have everything laid out. Simple enough for a weekday meal, yet elegant and simply delicious. Add some wild rice and seasonal vegetables and is a great dish for entertaining.

Saltimbocca Ingredient Lineup

Saltimbocca Ingredient Lineup

Ingredients – Serves 4
4 TB extra virgin olive oil
3 TB butter, divided
8 sage leaves
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 slices provolone cheese
8 slices prosciutto
salt and pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock

Sauteeing - Prosciutto Already Browned

Method
1. In a large skillet heat up the olive oil and “fry” the sage leaves, about 30 second per side.
2. Remove from the skillet and set on paper towels.
3. Cut each breast into two half pieces and flatten with a meat mallot.
4. Lay two sage leaves on top of each breast half. Top with cheese and then prosciutto. Secure the prosciutto to the chicken with toothpicks.
5. Season the flour with salt and pepper.
6. Turn the chicken onto the flour and coat both sides, make sure to shake excess flour. Put aside on a dry plate.
7. Return to the skillet to the heat and add a tablespoon of butter.
8. When the oil and butter mixture starts to bubble up, place the chicken on the pan, pancetta side down. Brown for three minutes on each side and remove from the pan.
9. Add remaning butter, wine and stock.
10. Return chicken to the pan and cook on medium heat for 15 more minutes, turning the chicken halfway through cooking.
11. Plate and top with the remaining pan juices.

Saltimbocca Success!

Saltimbocca Success!

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This recipe has been “somewhat in development” for a while.  I have made gnocchi with mushrooms many times over, different varieties depending on the season, always finished with a garlic aioli and fresh parm.  I always thought I should make a winter version of it by adding a hearthy cream sauce.  Well, I was in Amsterdam last November and found just the right inspiration here. This velvetty cream sauce has just the right consistency and such delicate flavor. I set to replicate what I tasted at Pianeta Terra and can now share it with you. By the way, if you are ever in Amsterdam, you have got to try this place. Hands down, best Italian food I have had outside of Italy.

Gnocchi al Tartuffo

Gnocchi al Tartuffo

Ingredients
2 TB butter
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups chanterelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 pkg gnocchi, about 4 cups dry
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded parmessan cheese
2 TB truffle oil

Method
1. In large skillet with tall sides melt butter and sautee onions till softened. Add mushrooms and continue to cook over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a medium stock pot bring water to boil, add salt and gnocchi.
3. Cook gnocchi till doness according to package, typically 4 minutes.
4. While gnocchi cooks, to the skillet add the heavy cream, milk and cheese. Season again with salt and pepper and bring to a slow simmer.
5. Remove the cooked gnocchi from the stock pot using a slotted spoon and put directly into the skillet with the creamy mushroom sauce.
6. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
7. Drizzle with truffle oil and enjoy!

Chef’s Notes
– Chanterelle mushrooms are the best choice for this dish, but when not available, criminis work nicely.
– In the absence of truffle oil, you can always use high quality extra virgin olive oil.
– This is a great stand alone main dish, first course, or side dish to filet mignon or roasted lamb chops… I have tried them all!

As indicated in this post, I spent a fair amount of time in Portland last year. While in Portland, I had the opportunity to take in the wonderful culinary landscape of the city. These are my top picks, hope you try them out if you are ever in this fun city. And if you do, drop me a note, would love to hear about your experience.

So my Portland Top Fives:

1. Andina – I discovered Peruvian food a few years ago. Unfortunatelly my experience, up until know, was limited to one restaurant here in Indy. I found Andina’s cuisine to be “upscale Peruvian” with a contemporary flair. My dining companions and I got started with a round of appetizers that left us looking forward to dinner. The highlight of my meal was actually Sacsayhuaman a passion fruit infused martini-type cocktail that I am planning on reproducing soon. Don’t take me wrong, the food was extraordinary and the presentation simply artistic, but this drink stuck with me.

2. Jake’s Crawfish – ok, ok, so I went to a chain restaurant… sort of. Jake’s is the original McCormicks and Schmicks, but is also one of the top ten seafood restaurants in the country and a true Portland institution, over 110 years old. I went to Jake’s on a cold rainy night and ordered the Jambalaya. While it was simple, it had all the right ingredients…. andouille sausage, collosal shrimp…. yum!

3. Piazza Italia – nestled in a somewhat residential street in the Pearl District this little piece of Italy was worth waiting 45 minutes for a table on a cool October night. If you plan on going to Piazza Italia, make sure you reserve a table ahead of time. It probably has a total of 15 tables, and judging by how busy it was on a Wednesday night, it is a local favorite. I ordered the Pasta with Wild Boar Ragu and also got to sample the Bucatini that my dining companion order, both simply amazing!

4. Portland City Grill – I am sure most people go to the Portland City Grill for the spectacular 360 views of the city, and frankly, this was part of my motivation. I was very glad to discover that the views were just a bonus and compliment to the great food bustling out of their kitchen!

5. Typhoon – I yet have to google this, but my first impression is that Portland must have one of the largest numbers of Thai restaurants per capita. Out of the gate, I decided that I would order the same item every time I tried a new Thai restaurant, and let this be my guide for comparison. So I decided on Panang Curry as my gauge for best Thai in the Portland area, and Typhoon simply does it best. Nice blend and balance of flavors and just enough spice in the medium heat sauce to make you order a second and even third beer to wash it with. By the way, Typhoon is in Beaverton, a short 20 minute drive from downtown Portland and very much worth the drive.

Nothing says Christmas in my native Puerto Rico, like Coquito does.  For many years now my husband and other non-Latin friends have enjoyed this festive drink, and every year I am asked for the recipe.  Now that I finally gave in, and emailed the recipe to a friend, who in turn started an entire Facebook thread on it, I might as well write about it!

I like to best describe it as the Puerto Rican version of eggnog.  In my opinion it is “lighter” and better balanced than eggnog.  Also it contains raw eggs; which I know is raising some eyebrows as some of you read.  If you are against consuming raw eggs, simply cook the eggs with the evaporated milk over a double boiler, let it cool and add to the mixture before you add the rum.

I hope you enjoy Coquito as much as we do in our household, and in my island, all the way through the New Year. 

Have a Very Merry Christmas!!!

Coquito

Ingredients – makes 1 liter
1 cup of water
12 spice cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
2 eggs
14 oz coconut milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup condensed milk
3/4 cup of rum

Method
1. In a small saucepan bring to a boil the water, cloves and cinnamon. Once it comes to a rapid boil, turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. While the spice mixture cools, in a large stainless bowl or a blender mix the eggs and the coconut milk.
3. Add the evaporated milk, condensed milk and 1/3 cup of the reduced spice mixture.
4. Add the rum and blend some more.
5. Refrigerate for one to two hours before serving.

Chef’s Notes
* Keep refrigerated for up to a month.
* Empty rum bottles are great for keeping Coquito.
* Sprinkle with a little cinnamon before serving.
* If you live in Florida and can get Don Q rum, I highly recommend it!!!

So you know how the tag line in the blog reads “taking my wine and food obsession on a road trip”? Well that I have certainly done over the past few months, the blogging, well not so much. The good thing is that I have two weeks to catch up and a lot of share!

Frites!

 

I took this picture in Brussels a little over a month ago. These have got to be some of the best frites I have ever tried. As it turns out, Belgians eat on average 250 lbs of potatoes each year. And each person I asked had a very strong opinion about what the best friterie was in the city. After trying several of them, I gave up trying to decide on the winner and just enjoyed them all.

Not sure if I am just noticing them, but it seems heirloom tomatoes hit the market stands later than usual this year.  I created this recipe last summer and was featured in my late summer menu.  After making it many times over for several clients and getting great reviews, I finally got around to making it for the family.

My favorite heirloom tomatoes come from my local farmer’s market. Laura (KG Acres) grows the best tomatoes in her farm in Lebanon. You can also find her at City Market, downtown Indy.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

This recipe is so simple, that I am just going to list the ingredients as I write the instructions on how to assemble.  Here it goes:

1. In a cookie sheet prepare a batch of prepared crescent roll dough.  Just don’t break it apart, bake as a flat sheet, according to the directions in the package.  Set aside to cool after baking.

2. In a bowl mix together an assortment of heirloom tomatoes (about 5), a few leaves of basil (finely chopped), salt, pepper and olive oil.  Set aside.

3. In a different bowl, mix together softened boursin cheese (or cream cheese) and pesto.

4. To assemble the tarts, simply spread the cool cream mixture over the crescent roll sheet and top with the tomatoes.

See! Easy, fast and a guaranteed hit with your guests!

Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomato Tart