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Monday, August 8, 2011

A Weekend with Abbey

Life is all just ups and downs lately.  First I had my birthday and that fancypants dinner. Then I got the news about my impending job loss.  Then my husband booked our trip to Italy for our anniversary in October.  Then we went to Chincoteague for the week.  Then, unfortunately, we came home from Chincoteague.

I did have one thing this past weekend to help me get over post-vacation letdown. I had a visit from one of my BFFs, my former college roommate Abbey just one week later. That cheered me up immensely. 

In college Friday nights consisted of eating dinner in the cafeteria with friends, then heading to the weekend movie on campus (they always showed cheap, second-run movies in one of the auditoriums on campus).  Next we would retreat to our room where we would put on some Roxy Music (Street Life: 20 Great Hits) and play mixologist with what was in our fridge.  We were good girls and generally didn't drink much, but once it was legal, we took advantage of the ability to create concoctions in our room that would make Sandra Lee cringe.  Our most infamous drink was the FLD - Fuzzy Lemon Driver (peach schnapps, lemonade, and vodka).  My boyfriend and his best friend would come over and make fun of us for a while until we would all go off to the weekend dance, where we would see the true drunks in action.

Good times I tell ya.

I thought that perhaps for Abbey's visit, I should try to be somewhat more adult and provide food and beverages a bit above the level of bizarre cocktails and the offerings of "The Caf."  We tend to go out a lot, but I thought I'd save everyone a few dollars and cook in for us the night she arrived.

We began with a chilled avocado and corn soup.  This was a very simple recipe inspired by a soup I saw at my favorite lunch stand in Chincoteague.  The recipe I used can be found here.  I didn't include much in the way of garnish as the recipe calls for except for the cilatro-infused olive oil.  I also used a seeded poblano instead of a serrano with seeds.  I wanted to make the taste a bit milder.  This soup was beautifully creamy and I definitely achieved the mild flavor I was going for.



Then some chicken saltimbocca with a tomato gratin on the side.  My recipe is a very basic one.  I just use chicken, sage, prosciutto, and wine. I believe there are times that keeping the flavors simple will make the best dish.  The tomatoes were just tomato slices layered with (gluten free) bread crumbs, pecorino, basil, salt, and thyme and baked at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.



Dessert was dulce de leche and coconut ice cream.  I still had a bit of homemade ducle de leche left and and I wanted to try one more experimental recipe with it.



The next morning I made an easy, but rich breakfast of a tomato, bacon, and cheddar quiche.


We then went to the city to have lunch and watch a production of War Horse.  It was an excellent show and I highly recommend it to anyone who lives in or near NY or plans to visit any time soon.  I understand they are making a movie out of it.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  Seeing puppet horses die on stage was tough enough.  I don't want to see that with real horses, or even realistic CGI horses.

Anyway, on with the recipes.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Note: I used a package of thin chicken cutlets here to save time.  You can save money by buying a package of whole breasts and just pounding them thin.

Ingredients
  • 4 thin chicken breast cutlets
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 20 sage leaves
  • Flour for dredging
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 Tbl butter
Lay 5 sage leaves across each piece of chicken.  Then lay the slice of prosciutto over the top of it.  Secure with toothpicks. 

Lightly salt and pepper the cutlets and dredge in flour.

Heat olive oil in a large pan.  Place chicken pieces prosciutto-side-up in the hot oil.  Brown well on that side about 5-7 minutes and flip.  Cook another 5 minutes or so until cooked through and prosciutto is a bit crisp.  Remove from pan and keep warm.

Pour wine into pan and bring to a simmer and allow to reduce for a minute or two.  Swirl in the butter.

Pour sauce over chicken and serve. 

Coconut Dulce De Leche Ice Cream

Note: I was using my rather thin homemade dulce de leche.  You may need to make adjustments to your amounts of dulce de leche and milk or cream when making this recipe if you have dulce de leche of normal thickness

Ingredients
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup dulce de leche
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
Set a bowl on top of a large bowl filled with ice water.

Bring the cream, dulce de leche, and coconut milk to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  When the bubbles begin to form, remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.

Beat the eggs, sugar, and salt together until thick.  Quickly stream in the milk mixture and whisk briskly.

Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, gently stirring until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon and you can draw a line through it with your finger.

Strain into the chilled bowl and stir in coconut extract.  Cotinue stirring until cooled to room temperature.  Chill in refrigerator until completely cold.

Freeze in ice cream maker according to your manufacturer's directions.  When ice cream is still soft, stir in shredded coconut.

Bacon Tomato and Cheddar Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 unbaked pie crust
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1 tomato, cored, seeded and diced
  • 8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 4 pieces of bacon, cooked to crispy and crumbled
Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine cream,eggs, nutmeg and pepper. 

Carefully stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour into pie shell.

Bake 45 minutes or until set.  Allow to cool before cutting as all of the melty cheese will make it kind of drippy and hard to cut.

10 comments:

The Duo Dishes said...

There's that dulce de leche coconut ice cream you mentioned. How delightful. Good food and good friends can make everything just a little better.

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm so glad you had fun!

Sue said...

Everything sounds and looks absolutely fabulous.

That's only the second person I've ever heard of in the entire world that spells her name that way. The one I know is 3 years old and had nothing to do with it. It always make me think of a huge cathedral...for some reason.

bellini said...

I would enjoy all of the above. They would all "jump in my mouth."

polwig said...

Your Eastern Shore (don't feel like looking up spelling for Chinquetique) album looks amazing. We are in Richmond, Virginia so not that far and every year we think about going to see the horses run/swim. I think I will wait till next year (too late now anyway) when my twins are 4.5. So were you on the boat or is it that easy to take amazing photos like this? Where there a lot of people? Too many questions I know.

By the way the dulce de leche coconut ice cream looks too die for... amazing

Jonny said...

Your impending job loss? That's awful! Still, a couple of scoops of coconut dulce de leche ice cream should relieve some of the stress, as will the October trip to Italy. Great meal all round. I wish my college friends had even 5% of your cooking ability, I think they all still live on cold pizza.

The Blonde Duck said...

Hope you're doing well!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

DD - Yes, I did mention my plans to make this ice cream, didn't I? It turned out pretty well too. Keeper of a recipe.

Sue - I'm assuming my friend had no say in the spelling of her nickname. Maybe her parents thought it looked classier? I know she has had to endure her share of Westminster Abbey and Abbey Road jokes her whole life because of it.

Val - Excellent Italian! :-D

Pol - I think you just complcated the spelling even more. ;-) Chincoteague is a great place to go. The beach is the most unspoiled ever. You definitely have to view it from a boat to get good photos. (If you want a boat, book EARLY) The downside is that no matter how late the swim is, you have to get up before the crack of down to view via boat. Ifyou decide to make a trip, let me know. I can tell you everything you need to know about what to do and where to stay.

Jonny - I don't have too many friends who are really passionate cooks and none of the ones who are live locally. That's why I am so obsessed with cooking for all of them!

Emily said...

Wow, everything looks and sounds fantastic! I haven't had quiche in so long. Maybe I'll make that for dinner tonight? :)

It sounds like you had a good time with your roommate! I actually think that peach lemonade drink sounds good.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Em - I do love quiche! I think we really pigged out on it all that weekend. The two of us ate the whole thing in two days! I definitely want to see any quiche you come up with!

The Fuzzy Lemon Driver is pretty good. It's for those who are fond of sweet drinks. Actually, the main reason we added the vodka to it was that it was too sweet with just the schnapps and lemonade.