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Archive for November 16th, 2008

We’re had my best friend Kim (from university) and her husband Michael for dinner last night, and planning a meal for them is always a challenge. Kim is allergic to gluten, potatoes, and soy; Michael doesn’t eat anything with nuts or onions or anything that is very different! The dinner was a huge success and I was relieved!

I always try to make interesting, but safe meals (safe meaning Michael will eat it!) and that’s when I thought of a contemporary twist on Chicken Cordon Bleu! The first time I had Chicken Cordon Bleu was at my future (at the time) mother-in-law’s home; they were store bought, with chunks of ham and swiss cheese stuffed into a breaded, seasoned chicken breast. I can still taste the salt! My version will not be as bad for you, and it will be home-made.

The Menu:

Hors d’oeuvres: Sesame Crackers and warm Caramelized Onion Cheddar Dip (I used roasted garlic for this version)

Appetizer: old fashioned shrimp cocktail with Wasabi cocktail sauce (ketchup, wasabi (to taste) and about 1/2 tsp fresh micro-ground ginger)

Main:
Chicken Cordon Bleu with a creamy mushroom sauce
Cauliflower and white bean mash
Asparagus with butter and garlic

Dessert: Molten chocolate cake with a berry sauce.

Sesame Crackers (from Elana’s Pantry)

These are delicious!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond flour, salt, sesame seeds, eggs and oil until well blended
  2. Separate dough into two halves
  3. Line two large (12 x 16) stainless steel baking sheets with parchment paper
  4. Place one half of the dough in the center of each lined sheet
  5. Cut another piece of parchment paper and place it over one of the balls of dough
  6. Roll dough out between the two pieces of parchment paper, until it is ⅛ inch thick and covers the entire baking sheet; remove top paper and repeat process with the other piece of dough (Note from Eva: use a flavoured olive oil)
  7. Cut the dough with a knife or pizza cutter into 2 inch squares
  8. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown
  9. Cool and serve

Makes 96 crackers

Contemporary Chicken Cordon Bleu

Ingredients:

  • 4 5-6 oz skinless, boneless chicken or turkey breasts.
  • 8 slices of Proscuito
  • 8 slices of smoked cheese (I used Manitoba Smoked Cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (home made or low sodium)

Directions:

  1. Butterfly the chicken breast. Put one into a zip lock baggy and lay as flat as possible. Flatten the chicken using a meat pounder (flat, not ridged) to an even thickness. Repeat for all chicken breasts.
  2. On each chicken breast place two slices of Proscuito and 2 slices of cheese to cover the breast.
  3. Roll tightly with remaining Proscuito, securing with butcher string. Store in refrigerator until required.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F.
  5. Using a well seasoned cast iron skillet with a squirt of Pam, brown chicken rolls on all sides.
  6. Add wine and chicken stock, cover with foil and finish baking in oven (until chicken juices run clear). Reserve liquid, if any.
  7. Serve sliced into 1/2 inch slices on a bed of Cauliflower and White Bean mash.

Cauliflower and White Bean Mash

I got the idea of mixing white beans with cauliflower to beef up the creaminess of the cauliflower (and white beans won’t change the colour of the cauliflower!).

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 1kg)
  • 25g dried white or navy beans (prepare according to package directions – use water to rehydrate)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup sweet Mayan onion

Directions:

  1. Steam cauliflower and garlic clove until very soft (steaming as opposed to roasting to preserve the whiteness).
  2. Prepare white beans according to directions, add onions and cook until everything is soft.
  3. In a food processor, process cauliflower and white beans mix and garlic to a fine paste.
  4. This is a very important step: Strain the processed mix through a fine sieve (this step will remove the bean skins which will be coarse and ensure the mash is really creamy and smooth!)
  5. Keep warm over a bain-marie. The steamed cauliflower should have enough liquid to make a thick creamy mash, but if it is too thick, add a bit of chicken stock.

‘Creamy’ Mushroom Sauce (adapted from Epicurious)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups home-made or canned low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 ounce dried forest mushroom mix rehydrated in 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp brandy or cognac
  • 1/2 cup low fat cream (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1. The night before, rehydrate forest mushrooms with water in refrigerator.
  2. Strain the mushroom liquid through a coffee filter, reserve.
  3. Rinse hydrated mushroom carefully (these are often very sandy, so rinse well). Set aside.
  4. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a cast iron sauce pan, add onions and cook until soft.
  5. Add 1/2 the sliced brown mushrooms. Cook until soft. The mushrooms will release quite a bit of water, this will help make the sauce!
  6. Add the garlic and then add the reserved mushroom liquid and reserved chicken liquid.
  7. Transfer this mushroom mix into a blender and blend until smooth, add cream. You may add chicken stock until desired consistency is achieved.
  8. Strain through a fine sieve, set aside. Discard bits.
  9. Melt the remaining 1 tbsp butter in the sauce pan. Add the forest mushrooms and remaining sliced brown mushrooms. Cook until soft.
  10. Add brandy or cognac and cook until alcohol has burned off.
  11. Pour the reserved strained mushroom sauce into the pan and mix thoroughly with the chopped mushrooms.
  12. Add fresh chopped parsley.
  13. Serve in a warm gravy boat and allow people to help themselves.

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