Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tarragon Makes Me Angry, or Maybe it Was the Hardcore Music

So last weekend, the husband and I decided to go to a few reunions. Mine was somewhat of a flop; 6 people showed up. Granted they were 6 people I wanted to see, but still, 6 PEOPLE. It also didn't help that it was balls hot in the bar, with barely any air conditioning.

Saturday was more of a success. It was like taking a time machine back to 1995 all over again, for my husband and for myself. The music, the people, the scene, everything was so "high school Cassie." But in a good way. The only bad thing to come out of it was I became so angry on Saturday night that I carried it around with me until Monday. I would like to blame it on the tarragon, but unfortunately I don't think that was the cause. Anyway, here is the quickie recipe I made on Saturday. I decided last minute to cook, and thankfully this only took about 30 minutes, including prep.


2 tablespoons butter
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds in all)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped onion, or dried onion flakes
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, or 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup heavy cream


In a medium frying pan, heat the butter over moderate heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper and add it to the pan. Cook the chicken until brown, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until just done, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Remove the chicken from the pan and put it in a warm spot (like in the oven on the warm setting).

Reduce the heat to moderately low. Stir in the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onion and stir to combine. Increase the heat to moderate; whisk in the wine and the tarragon, and cook until the sauce starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the cream, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and any accumulated chicken juices. Serve the sauce over the chicken.

I served this with creamed spinach because of the Atkins diet, but it can also be served over rice or noodles or with any other vegetable.

Serves 4

*I used Chardonnay when I should have used Pinot Grigio. It made the sauce pretty boozy and a little on the sourish side, though it was still digestible. Just make sure to use a dry white wine, not just any white.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grilling: My Not-So-Creative Way to Eat

So anyway kids, it's my first blog post EVER. And of course, it's a lame one because all I've been doing lately is grilling, which I don't really consider cooking. Especially when it involves packaged meat and packaged marinade. I know, I know. I shouldn't even be blogging about this on a site I call the Cooking Machine, but whatever; I am.

Tonight was easy; teriyaki pork chops, chicken burgers, cheeseburgers and salad. Finley (the husband) and I are both on Atkins right now so it's just easier to grill. And since it's hot as balls outside, an oven is out of the question. I feel like I'm taking the easy way out here, so I'll post a recipe for a favorite of mine and last year's Rock the Dock* participants. These Inside Out Burgers went over so well that I have gotten continued requests for them for the last year. I will definitely be making them for the birthday Rock the Dock* coming up next weekend.

    • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
    • 1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
    • 1 pound 90%-lean ground beef
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat grill to medium-high.

2. Combine Cheddar and Mozzarella in a small bowl.

3. Gently mix beef, Worcestershire, paprika and pepper in a large bowl, preferably with your hands, without overworking. Shape into 8 thin, 4-inch-wide patties. Mound 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture on each of 4 patties, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Cover each with one of the remaining patties. Crimp and seal the edges closed.

4. Grill the stuffed patties over medium-high heat, about 4 minutes per side for medium-well. (Be sure not to press the burgers as they cook or they'll split open and the cheese will ooze out.) Let the burgers stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

* Rock the Dock is a party that my friends Casey and Mike have at their house on Lake Hopatcong almost every Sunday during the summer. It kicks ass!