Jan 182013
 

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds free-range, boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast tenders.
4 thick strips smoked bacon, diced
1 large sweet onion sliced thin
8 oz. assorted wild mushrooms, sliced (cremini mushrooms will work in a pinch)
4″ piece of fresh thyme, stem discarded
1/4 cup Traditional Style Balsamic Condimento
2 tablespoons of fruity-floral Extra Virgin Olive Oil such as Hojiblanca, Picual, or Koroneiki or Wild Mushroom-Sage infused olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
1 pound pappardelle pasta or wide egg noodle pasta, cooked and drained

Directions
In a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, brown the diced bacon to a crisp.  Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve. Pour off all but a tablespoon of the bacon fat.  Season the chicken on both sides liberally with salt and pepper  Add the olive oil to the pan, place it back over the heat, and allow it to heat for a minute over medium-high heat.

Saute the chicken for a few minutes until golden brown on both sides, in batches if necessary.  Do not over-crowd the pan.  Remove the chicken to a plate and reserve.

Add the onions to the drippings in the pan.  Cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently until the onions become a soft golden brown.  Add the mushrooms.  Saute for approximately three more minutes over medium high heat until the mushrooms are browned and slightly caramelized.

Add the fresh thyme leaves and balsamic to the mushrooms and onions, de-glazing the pan by scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.  Cook to reduce for a minute.  Add the cream and stir to combine.  Add the bacon and reserved chicken.  Allow the pan to come to a simmer.  Cook for another two minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens.  Season generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Serve over pasta, rice, or cooked whole grains.

Jan 182013
 

Polenta
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 cup dried polenta
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
2 tablespoons Ultra Premium California Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring the stock to a simmer in a heavy 6+ quart pot.  Slowly whisk in the polenta.  Cook on low stirring frequently for approximately 25-30 minutes.  Remove from heat an stir in the cheese and olive oil.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if desired.

Wild Mushroom Ragu
3 cups assorted fresh wild mushrooms such as oyster, shitake, cremini, etc. wiped clean, tough stems removed
2 tablespoons Certified Ultra Premium Organic California Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine (I used extra dry Prosecco)
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

While the polenta is cooking, heat the extra virgin over medium-high in a large 12″ saute pan. Add clean, dry mushrooms to the pan.  Cook until the mushrooms caramelize and become crusty golden-brown.  Add the shallot, and saute for two minutes, add the garlic and saute for a minute.  Add the wine and cook scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and reduced by half.  Add the stock and cook until reduced by half.  Taste and adjust with salt and fresh pepper if desired.

Truffled Mascarpone
1/2 cup mascarpone
1 teaspoon black truffle oil

Stir the truffle oil in to the mascarpone.
Serve the wild mushroom ragu over the hot polenta.  Add a dollop of the truffled mascarpone, a sprinkle of pecorino cheese, and a pinch of minced parsley.

Serves 4-6

Jan 182013
 

The sweet earthiness of the golden beets, along with the salty blue cheese, nutty arugula, tangy tangerines, and pungent olio nuovo olive oil make this salad a virtual party in your mouth.  Beyond that, the impeccably fresh seasonal ingredients are visually arresting, and resemble a ray of golden sunshine on the plate.
Ingredients
4 cups baby arugula
3 medium sized golden beets
2  medium Satsuma Tangerines, 1 peeled and divided in to segments, the other juiced
1 Tablespoon Cara Cara Orange Cream White Balsamic
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Peppery Olio Nuovo Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup good quality, crumbled blue cheese
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup Tarragon Croutons (see recipe below) – or store bought croutons
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350.  Scrub the beets removing any debris, roots and green parts.  Place the beets on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to fully enclose the beets in to a package.  Drizzle the beets with a tablespoon of olio nuovo olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and 1 tablespoon of water.  Seal the package by crimping the foil and roast the beets for 1 hour or until tender when pierced with a knife.  Allow to cool and then peel.  Cut the beets in to six wedges and set aside.
Just before serving, whisk the tangerine juice with the Cara-Cara Orange White Balsamic and a pinch of salt.   Slowly drizzle in the remaining olio nuovo while whisking constantly to make a vinaigrette.  In a large bowl, gently toss the arugula with 1/2 of the vinaigrette and then arrange on a plate or platter.  Arrange the tangerine segments, golden beet wedges, and blue cheese over the arugula.  Drizzle the rest of the dressing over the top, then add the croutons, and finish with fresh ground pepper if desired.  Serve immediately.
Makes 4 generous salad portions