Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ruth Pretty's Prosciutto Chicken with Tomatoes

Caterer Ruth Pretty
During my stay in New Zealand I had the good fortune to attend a party catered by the delightful and generous Ruth Pretty.

The food was divine. Here's one of her latest recipes.



 Ruth Pretty's Prosciutto Chicken with Tomatoes
Serves 8
4 chicken breasts (skin on, trimmed, rinsed and dried)
1¼ TBS grated lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2  1/2 TBS finely chopped parsley
1¾ tsp. flaky sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 large slices prosciutto

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180ºC )

Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic and, using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound breast to 1/4-inch (5mm-7mm) thickness.

To make rub: Into a small bowl place lemon rind, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Place chicken skin side down on a clean work surface. and rub the exposed surface of each breast with 1 teaspoon of the rub. Starting from the narrow end roll each breast like a scroll.

Lay prosciutto out on a clean work surface, place a rolled chicken breast onto each slice and roll to fully cover the chicken.

Lightly grease a low-sided baking tray and place prosciutto chicken onto tray. Place into preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or till prosciutto is crispy and chicken is tender.

Remove from oven, cover with a heavy tea towel, and rest for 5 minutes.

8 Slow Roasted Tomatoes
oil for greasing tray
8 medium tomatoes, cored and halved
3 TBS olive oil
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
flaky sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (150ºC)

Place tomatoes on a baking tray brushed with oil.
Into a small bowl place measured olive oil and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Drizzle over tomatoes and sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 1 hour or till tomatoes have softened and are lightly caramelized on top. Serve warm or hot.
Verjuice and Basil Dressing*
(1/3 cup + 2 tsp) extra virgin olive oil (if possible an olive oil with a soft flavor profile)
(3 tbsp) verjuice*
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 large basil leaves, roughly torn

Into a small bowl place olive oil, verjuice, salt and pepper and whisk well till amalgamated.  Just prior to serving add basil and gently stir to combine.

To serve: Slice each breast thickly on the angle into six pieces. Place Slow Roasted Tomatoes onto a large warm platter and place chicken on tomatoes. Drizzle with Verjuice and Basil Dressing and serve immediately.

* You can find verjuice, the juice of unripened (green) grapes, at a specialty food shop. It is softer and more wine friendly than vinegar in a sauce. Google it and you'll find a great N. Y. Times article on it by John Willoughby.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Israeli Breakfast Salad

A small part of a typical breakfast buffet
The array of salads, breads, fruit, vegetables and hot dishes make breakfast in Israel a meal of wonder. Especially the breakfast salads. The chef at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv shared this and a few other recipes and I'll share them with you.

First ....
Tel Aviv Dan Panorama Green Leaves and Fruit Salad
Serves 6

1½ pounds lettuce mix (Romaine, iceberg, red leaf)
1 cup celery leaves
2 Rome Beauty apples
1 ruby red grapefruit, separated into fillets (peel segments and remove seeds and piths)

5 TBS olive oil
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
2 TBS honey
1 TBS Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

To serve:
2 oz. walnuts, roasted and broken to pieces
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

Mix the ingredients for the dressing.
Combine the vegetables and fruits.
Add the vinaigrette and toss until evenly coated.
Put on a serving dish and sprinkle with walnuts and Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bon Appetit Chef in Bradenton

Want a cooking demonstration and luncheon with Bon Appetit Chef de Cuisine and star of Food Network's Chic and Easy Mary Nolan?

If you're going to be in or near Bradenton, Florida June 9 you're in luck.

Get all the details at WellsWorld.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Celebrate National Pi Day with Pies

Satisfy your sweet tooth, help feed the hungry and celebrate Pi Day the American Pie Council way: Bid for pies.

Also other pie lovers' goodies.

The online auction begins today, Wednesday, March 14, and closes at 9 p.m. Sunday, March 25. All proceeds go to benefit the Central Florida Second Harvest Food Bank. Items range from pie plates and cookbooks to pies every week for a year and the mother of all pies, a 48-inch, 300 slicer!

See for yourself at

Go to and you'll find all about the Crisco National Pie Championships, where I'll be a judge, and the Great American Pie Festival in Orlando in April.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Tishreen's Chicken Breast in Plum and Coffee Sauce

Nazareth in Israel may have been an insignificant village when Mary, Joseph and their son, Jesus, lived there, but Tishreen, with its contemporary Arabic food, has put it on the map for gourmets. Lunch there  was the most memorable meal I had during a wine and culinary tour of Galilee and visiting throughout Israel. And, believe me, we at some wonderful food.

Everything at Tishreen was exceptional from the nutty hummus to the stuffed mushrooms cooked in a traditional oven, but this chicken dish had our table of food writers oohing and aahing and begging for the recipe. Many thanks to Musa for his amazing cuisine and gracious generosity.

Tishreen's Chicken Breast in Plum and Coffee Sauce

1 spoon of butter
1/2 pound (250 grams) chicken breast, cut into chunks
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. roasted coffee beans
1/2 tsp. ground and roasted coffee beans
3 dried apricots, halved
1 tablespoon raisins
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounce, 40 ml) red wine
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounce, 40 ml) beef stock
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounce, 40 ml) plum juice

Marinate the dried fruit in the wine for 30 minutes.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken chunks and fry until golden and cooked through.

Add the ground and powdered coffee.

Remove the dried fruit from the marinade and add to the skillet together with the beef stock and plum juice.

Bring to the boil and remove from heat.

My advice: Double the recipe. Expect no leftovers.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Grand Velas Chocolate Fondant

Grand Velas Riviera Nayat, Mexico, a Five-Star Leading Hotel of the World
The chefs at Grand Velas Riviera Nayat's French restaurant, Piaf, whipped up this chocolate treat for Valentine's Day but I think it would be perfect for any day of the year.

Grand Velas  Riviera Nayat Piaf Chocolate Fondant

9 oz. dark chocolate
8 oz. butter
4.5 oz sugar
4.5 oz. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
5 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly butter the inside of ramekins and dust with powdered sugar.

In a medium heatproof bowl combine the chocolate and butter. Set it over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan and melt, stirring often, until smooth and blended.
Stir in the sugar until dissolved.
Incorporate the flour and baking soda into the mixture.
Whisk eggs and add a few at a time, mixing consistently.
Pour the mixture into the ramekins and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Is something you ate away from home still lingering deliciously in your memory? Let me know what, where and when and I'll try to get the recipe so you can taste it again!