Sunday, October 21, 2012

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Grape Salad

This salad is simple and delicious. I made it to accompany Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole. It combines as follows:

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Grape Salad

Salad Ingredients

6 strips of center cut bacon, cooked crisp, cooled, then crumbled into pieces
1/2 head fresh broccoli, chopped into fine pieces
1/4 to 1/2 head fresh cauliflower, chopped into fine pieces
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/3 cup red onion, diced
3/4 cup red, seedless grapes, halved
1/3 cup roasted almonds

Dressing Ingredients

2 Tbsp. white sugar
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/3 cup and 2 Tbsp. high quality mayonnaise


1. Mix the salad ingredients together. Set aside.
2. Whisk the dressing ingredients. Pour over salad ingredients.
3. Chill for two to three hours. Serve.

5 servings.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole--Definitely One to Keep on Hand

Have you ever had a stubborn cold, or an upper respiratory infection that won't go away in the usual five day time frame? I've had one for over a week. Tired of the sniffles and the whiffles, I decided to take the proverbial chicken (albeit a tiny one) by the wings yesterday. I stewed a whole chicken, infused with garlic, to create a medicinal broth for my own version of a non-pharmeceutical prescription. The soup was delicious, but I had about two and one half cups of herb and garlic infused chicken meat remaining.

What to do with it? I thought about making a chicken pot pie, but I wasn't in the mood for the same savory flavor. I thought about a chicken salad, but there was just too much...chicken...for one of those, as much as I love chicken salad.

So, I decided on a Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole I like to stay away from condensed soups and anything else that is pre-made (too much salt, too many ingredients that I can't pronounce--it calls out the skeptic in me). I looked at several recipes, and based on the tastes of my family, I came up with the following. And goodness if this "hot dish" wasn't quite wonderful.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
4-6 servings

2 to 3 cups of cooked and diced chicken
8 oz. ham, finely chopped
6 thin slices of good quality Swiss Cheese
1 oz. freshly, finely grated Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup)

3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. melted butter

1 and 3/4 cup milk
1 and 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared Dijon mustard
1 tsp. onion flakes
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 clove minced garlic

3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour

1/2 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place diced chicken in an even layer in a greased/buttered 8x8 glass baking dish, set aside.
3. Sauce preparation: Whisk together milk, lemon juice, mustard, onion flakes, parsley, salt, pepper, and minced garlic.
4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sautee garlic for a couple of minutes in butter. Add flour and cook stirring constantly for 1 minute. Whisk in milk mixture, then cook stirring constantly until mixture just begins to gently boil and has thickened. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream.
5. Pour mixture evenly over chicken.
6. Add ham over sauce then place Swiss slices and Parmesan cheese evenly over ham layer.
7. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together Panko bread crumbs, 1/2 tsp dried parsley, 1/8 tsp pepper then toss with melted butter until coated evenly.
8. Top with bread crumb mixture evenly over cheese layer.
9. Bake casserole in preheated oven for 45 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve warm.

Welcome to My Sweet Spot

I AM just wild about saffron. The sexy, burnt orangish/red threads lure me in, and then the way the color diffuses to a rich, sultry yellow is mysterious and wonderful to me. Saffron is worth the money, and worthy. It delivers magic to your mouth.

Hi, glad you're here, and I'm delighted that you're reading my blog. My name is Vicki Olmstead Stein, and I'm finally fulfilling my desire to write about one of my passions--food--on the internet.

I love food. (Who doesn't?) I love to cook, and I enjoy restaurant dining. Whether I cook at home or eat somewhere else, food is a chemistry class for my mouth. There's always something new to learn when you're cooking or baking.

So, please, explore with me the wonders of food.