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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sage Chicken and Pumpkin Polenta

Fall isn't over at our house! I had some pumkpin leftover from Cuteshorn's soup (which was also really good!), so I decided to try my hand at something different. I had some chicken thawed, so I went in search of something that would combine the two. Eventually I stumbled upon a pumpkin polenta recipe that sounded really good. So what then would I do with the chicken? I'm not very creative and am still trying to learn what flavors and spices go together. I decided sage was a good way to go, and found this recipe for Sage Chicken.

My notes on the chicken recipe: I combined all the seasonings and breadcrumbs to make one master batch, then coated both sides of the chicken with it. I had 4 chicken breasts but still found their recommendation to be a lot. I will probably cut it down next time. I baked mine at 350F until a thermometer read 160F in the chicken, then broiled for a minute or two, to help crisp up the topping.

Pumpkin Polenta (Source: Relishmag.com, Recipe by Crescent Dragonwagon, Relish the Season, "From Patch to Pan," October 2007. Below are the amounts I used, as I only wanted to make 1/2 the recipe)

Cooking spray
2 cups water (I used chicken broth)
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal (not instant or pre-cooked polenta)
3/4 cups cooked pumpkin, coarsely mashed (I use canned)
1/8 cup sour cream or heavy cream
Few turns coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded Gruyère or Jarlsberg cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or if you are like me and grab the wrong thing at the store, Grana Padano cheese)

Preheat oven to 350F. Generously coat a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. (I forgot this and still survived fine). Combine water, salt and cornmeal in dish, mixing well (the mixture will separate). Bake, uncovered, 40 minutes.

Remove from oven; stir in pumpkin, sour cream, pepper, nutmeg and half the cheeses. Bake 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, top with remaining cheese, and place under the broiler for a few minutes, until top is brown and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

These both turned out GREAT and got rave reviews from my fiance. Both recipes are definitely keepers!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Peppermint Shortbread Cookies

I found this recipe while going through my Sunday coupons. I thought they sounded good, so I decided to try them out (plus it would be a good use of the candy canes we had put on our Christmas tree). These were a nice little treat!

Peppermint Candy Shortbread Cookies (source: Argo website)

1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candy
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 cup corn starch

Frosting(optional, but highly recommended!):
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons crushed peppermint candy (I don't know how they came up with this amount... I used way more than 2 tablespoons!)

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Mix butter, sugar, crushed candy and vanilla thoroughly using an electric mixer. Gradually blend in flour and corn starch. Form into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Gently press down on each cookie to flatten using fingers or a flat bottomed drinking glass (dipped in sugar to prevent sticking). Bake at 300ºF for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown. Cool for 5 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and mix until frosting is smooth. Drizzle cookies with frosting and sprinkle with crushed candy.