Monthly Archives: April 2011

Real Chicken Stock Is Always Better!

Most home cooks today don’t make their own chicken stock.  This could be for several reasons including time, don’t know how, and you can buy stock in a store.  But making chicken stock is really easy.  Unless you do a lot of cooking, you don’t realize how many recipes ask for chicken stock. 

As for time, I get it.  It takes some hours to make it.  I wait for a day when I have the time.  For example a rainy weekend day when you are most likely going to do chores around the house. 

Yes, I do buy the box chicken stocks when I don’t have the good stuff.  When I buy stock, I always look for the all-natural and with the fewest added ingredients.  Personally, I never buy chicken broth.  Why broth, when stock has more flavor.  Some people think that stock has more salt in it.  If you make your own, leave the salt out. Add your salt to the recipe not the stock!

If you fall into the “I don’t know how” to make chicken stock group, I have your solution. 

I like to buy my chickens whole and cut them up myself.  This is good for a several reasons including; price and I know that all the parts came from the same chicken.  After I have cut up the chicken into parts, I save and freeze the carcass.  When I have 3 or more, I make stock.  I understand that most people don’t cut up their own chickens so you can also save the carcass from any roasted chicken and freeze it.  That goes for the Thanksgiving turkey carcass too.  Or buy a whole chicken just for stock.  But if you do that, don’t waste the meat.  Take the cooked meat and make chicken salad with it!

Chicken Stock

3 chicken carcasses

Add classic mirepoix – chopped onions, carrots, and celery

Bouquet garni – parsley stems, spring of thyme, and bay leaf

Put all of the above in a stock of other large pot and add just enough water to cover all of the chicken. Bring water to a high simmer then reduce heat to a low simmer.  Cook for about 3 hours.  The batch I made with this recipe actually made 20 cups of stock!

When stock is done, strain stock into another pot and allow to cool.  Once it’s cooled, I find containers to put all of it.  I like to store in 2 cup increments.  This way I have pre-measured amounts and prevent wasting any of the liquid gold. You can also chill overnight in fridge and skim off the fat the next morning before placing in containers.  Place all the filled containers in the freezer.  When you need some, just pull some out and melt out in a saucepan. 

Once you start cooking with real chicken stock, you will understand!

Gourmet Flatbread Pizza With Apples

While I was working at one of my many culinary jobs last week, a cook came into the kitchen with a flatbread pizza recipe.  This particular restaurant is changing its menu and we have been looking at new potential items.  Flatbread pizza is going on the new menu.  For his pizza he used ingredients that we had on hand in the kitchen.  It was really good but I knew I could kick it up to the next level!  My creation is a salute to the Normandy region of France while giving a shout out to Italy.

If you like to cook outside on the grill, this is a perfect treat when you have company and you want to grill to impress.  You can actually do all the steps on the grill.  Cook your onions on a pan on the grill.  Bake the assembled pizzas on the cool side of the grill with the top closed.

 

Gourmet Flatbread Pizza with Apples

4 Flatbread round

2 large sweet onions, julienned

3 TBS butter

4 TBS balsamic vinegar (more if needed)

8 slices of prosciutto

1 apples cored & sliced into thin wedges

2 cups grated gruyere cheese

12 pieces of brie cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

 Preheat oven to 400°

Caramelize the onions until they are very soft and have some really nice color to them.  Once they are caramelized, add the balsamic vinegar.  Stir until the onions have soaked up all the vinegar and have that wonderful color.  Add salt and pepper and set aside. 

For the flatbreads, you can use any kind you like or you can make your own.  I like to use the pocketless flatbreads from Kontos.  They are the perfect size and thickness. 

Brush a little olive oil on each flatbread and grill long enough to leave grill marks on both sides. 

Assemble:

1)   First add the gruyere cheese to one side of flatbread.  Use enough to cover it.

2)   Next add a few spoonful’s of the onions. Again, make sure they are evenly distributed on the flatbread.

3)   Now place the apple wedges, prosciutto, and brie anyway you like on each flatbread (be creative).  Make sure the brie is not covered so that it will melt correctly in the oven. 

Place pizzas in oven (pizza stone if you have it) and bake for about 8 – 10 minutes. 

Enjoy!!!

Now I’m Food Blogging Too!

Welcome to the first blog post of Mad Good Food!  Just when I thought I had an enough on my plate (pun intended) with the Event & Entertainment Marketing Blog, I started another blog.  I’m passionate about food, so I thought I should blog about it.

In the next several weeks I’m going to take this blog to the next level by not just adding pictures but video.  The plan is to create a video blog which turns into an internet TV show on cooking.  This could be really exciting!

Let’s get cooking!!!!

Pasta Risotto

Last week I found in the weekend section of the Wall Street Journal a recipe for Pasta Risotto.  Since I was classically trained in culinary school, I was questioning the whole concept of using pasta instead of rice.  But the recipe sounded interesting so I tried it.  The bottom line on this dish is it’s a really nice mac & cheese. 

The ingredients are simple.  They include onions cooked in butter until soft and translucent, chicken stock, pasta, heavy cream, parmesan, and mascarpone cheese.  What’s not to love about this? My daughter, who is usually finicky about her mac & cheese, really liked it.  She had a second helping!

This dish would be excellent as a small plate for a party or served as a main course when you are looking for comfort food.