Herb crusted Chicken with Caramelized Onion Jam on Ciabatta

January 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4 to 6


For herb crusted chicken

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped fine
Zest of 1 lemon
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups arugula leaves, for sandwich
Ciabatta, recipe follows

For caramelized onion jam

2 tablespoons canola oil
4 sweet onions, sliced thin
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup water


Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine herbs and lemon zest. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and coat in herb mixture. In a large sauté pan, add oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and sea on one side, flip breast and then place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes (depending on thickness of breast) or until cooked through. Once out of oven, let rest 10 minutes and then slice on breasts on the bias.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, add oil over medium low heat. Add onions and cook very slowly, 10 minutes. Add sugar, vinegar and water and season with salt. Cook until onions are deep golden brown and sauce is reduced to a syrupy sauce, 15 to 20 minutes more.

To assemble sandwich, spread onion jam on ciabatta loaf, top with arugula leaves and sliced chicken breast. Cut into individual sandwiches and serve.

For ciabatta

Makes 2 loaves


For sponge

½ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (105°-115°F)
13 cup room-temperature water
1 cup bread flour

For bread

½ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm milk (105°-115°F)
23 cups room-temperature water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt


Make sponge

In a small bowl stir together yeast and warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a bowl, stir together yeast mixture, room-temperature water, and flour and stir 4 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand at cool room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

Make bread

In a small bowl, stir together yeast and milk and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a bowl of a blender, blend together milk mixture, sponge, water, oil, and flour and combine with wooden spoon. Add salt and mix. Turn out dough from bowl on floured surface and knead until soft, about 10 minutes. Place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1½ hours. (Dough will be sticky and full of air bubbles.)

Have ready a rimless baking sheet and 2 well-floured 12-by-6-inch sheets parchment paper. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut in half. Transfer each half to a parchment sheet and form into an irregular oval about 9 inches long. Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust tops with flour. Cover loaves with a dampened kitchen towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

At least 45 minutes before baking ciabatta, put a baking stone or 4 to 6 unglazed “quarry” tiles (see note, above) arranged close together on oven rack in lowest position in oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Transfer 1 loaf on its parchment to baking sheet with a long side of loaf parallel to far edge of baking sheet. Line up for edge of baking sheet with far edge of stone or tiles, and tilt baking sheet to slide loaf with parchment onto back half of stone or tiles. Transfer remaining loaf to front half of stone or tiles in a similar manner. Bake ciabatta loaves 20 minutes, or until pale golden. With a large spatula transfer loaves to a rack to cool.

Lemon Bars with Pecan Crust

January 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 24 squares


For the crust

1 cup flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup pecans, finely ground
18 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar

For lemon layer

4 eggs, at room temperature
1 23 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (3 to 4 lemons) lemon zest, grated
23 freshly squeezed lemon juice
23 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease an 8×12 baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine the flours, pecans and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar and then add flour mixture and combine. Add the dough to prepared baking sheet, using hands to make crust, building up a ½-inch edge on all sides. Chill for 10 minutes.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool. Leave the oven on. For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar (if using).

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

January 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Make 4 to 6 servings


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2½ pounds plum tomatoes, cored, quarter and deseeded
2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
5 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup fresh basil, stems and leaves (chop leaves and reserve)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable (onion based) broth
2 fresh bay leaves (optional)
3 tablespoons butter (optional)


Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large roasting pan combine olive oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil stems, and thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until soft and caramelized. Discard basil stems.

Once out of the oven, transfer to a large heavy bottomed soup pot and place on the stove over medium heat. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and bay leaves (if using), increase heat and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Remove bay leaves and discard. Using an immersion blender, add butter (if using) and reserved basil leaves and blend soup until smooth. Add more vegetable broth if too thick. Serve immediately.

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