Adventures in 'Cooking Land' online




Every facet of documentation has been affected by the internet. What used to be a hunt for knowledge is now available at the tip of our fingers. When I first began my culinary quests, I completely relied on shared recipes, cookbooks, magazines, cooking shows, and cooking classes. Now, all I have to do is ask the internet a question and I am gifted with adventures in cooking land. Options roll out faster than any chance my fingers had in a card catalogue. Movies, videos, and blogs all based around a cornucopia of locations, people, questions, classes, and more. More than once, I have caught myself falling down the rabbit hole of one culinary quest and before I know it I’m across the the world learning about a subject I never even realized was of interest to me. When I want to master a new technique I can watch 20 different videos by 20 different chefs, home cooks, children, and adults. It honestly never ceases to amaze me.

A recent conversation with a college left me wondering, “Is our newfound accessibility to information leaving us as hungry for culinary knowledge as once before? Or is it leaving us even hungrier and encouraged by the abundance of available information?”

One thing I can be sure of, not everyone is as bold in person as we once were forced to be. Several cooking friends continue to surprise me by their timid conquest in the recipe-sharing world. If you don’t ask you don’t get. And when I’m hungry to figure out something, you better believe I’m gonna figure out how to get it.

Recently, I had the pleasure of helping a client plan a dinner party for her husband’s 90th birthday party. After sitting with her for only a few minutes, it was clear she loved to cook. She understood that a large part of cooking is knowing what good food tastes like. Among the dishes on the menu the delightful couple requested, was a dish from the Odette’s kitchen. A simple but elegant chicken dish, Odette said the couple had enjoyed the while taking a cruise together several years prior. To the surprise of the chef on the cruise and much to his delight, Odette requested his recipe. The party hostess told me the chef was more than happy to share and since it had become one of their favorite dishes to enjoy together at home.

Since making what I now have titled “Chicken a la Cruise,” it has quickly become one of my favorites. It is simple, can be made ahead, and is simply delicious.

If your looking for a little something different to spruce up your fall menu, give today’s a whirl. I have a feeling it’s one for the recipe box.

Good luck and enjoy!

Chicken a la Cruise

Preheat oven to 380 degrees.

(Delicious served over Israeli Couscous, rice, fried or mashed potatoes.)

4 pieces Chicken (boneless thighs & boneless breast-Pick what you like or use both of them.)

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 large onion, chopped

2 cups chicken broth (A little more or less may be needed.)

1 cup of wine

2 large garlic bulbs, crushed

1/2 cup sour cream, slightly diluted using a small bit of water

2 cups fresh mushroom or 1 large can, diced

1 tsp Thyme (Fresh or dry will work, just make sure it is off the stem and thinly diced.)

1 1/2 tsp basil (Fresh or dry will work, just make sure it is off the stem and thinly diced.)

1 tbsp of paprika (may need more

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Remove the chicken skin and some of the fat. Cut chicken breast into three section. If thick, cut each section into an open book. Thighs will most likely not need cutting. Mix salt, pepper and paprika together in a separate bowl. Sprinkle mix on both sides of each piece of chicken.

In a large skillet add olive oil, bringing to warm heat. Sauté chicken on each side until it is a light brown. Don’t worry about cooking it in the middle, just focus on the outside. Remove chicken and place in a bowl.

Using the same skillet, sauté onion until it is almost translucent. Add more olive oil if necessary. Add garlic and diced carrots. Cook until soft. Add the mushrooms. Cook three to five more minutes. Then add chicken broth, wine, herbs, and diluted sour cream. Stir.

Using an oven safe baking tray or pyrex tray, place the chicken so that it lays across the tray. Pour the veggie mix in the pan on top of the chicken. Bake in oven for 40 minutes. Baste on and off with chicken broth if needed. This will help the dish stay moist. If the top of the dish is still light, bake it a little longer. You want the top to be light brown.

The dish may be made a day ahead. Just place in the oven to warm up. Dish is easily doubled for several guests. Best served hot.

The photo and recipe used in todays recipe are from the kitchen of Chef Babz ([email protected]) with the help of her friend Odette Kaplan.

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