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Old 09-20-2009, 03:53 PM   #1
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A few dish ideas I have - help needed :)

Hey folks,

I have a few ideas I want to try out, but as I'm a fussy eater I won't eat half the stuff I'd like to cook, but I want to do it for the enjoyment of others having nice tasting food etc. As the ideas I have don't really need michelin star class cooking technique, I'd like to hope I can try and cook these things using instinct (is the correct term to cook 'blind'?)

These are just brainstorm ideas I've had over the past few days, so I apologise if my thoughts are a little jumbled or if I don't use proper cooking terminology. I need some help and guidance, so could you comment on the following things for me:-
  • How do you think the dishes would taste?
  • How do you think the dishes would look?
  • Do you think these dishes are right for my 'target'? - that is a group of friends that meet every few weeks for a night of chess and food/drink
  • How practical are the dishes to make?
  • Any other comments you may have ( please feel free to ask questions if you have any, it will make me think more too! :) )
1) My take on a chicken kiev (Dinner course)

I don't like Chicken Kievs because I don't like the taste of Garlic, but I like the concept of there being something in the middle of the chicken, to add something to the dish.

My idea is to replace the garlic butter in the middle of the breaded chicken with some very creamy mashed potato with finely chopped crispy bacon. I feel that bacon and chicken could compliment each other quite well, judging by the number of people I know who have chicken burgers with a slice of bacon on top, or those who have chicken and bacon sandwiches from sandwich shops.

I would like to cut the middle out of the skinless boneless chicken breast before cooking. Then cook the chicken throughout, and then put the potato mixture in the centre then cook for just a couple more minutes.

If I want it to be like a kiev I guess I would need to bread the outside, but I could try the idea with no breadcrumbs, just the plain chicken and filling.

I need to consider the seasoning. I would probably avoid salt on the chicken as I'd season the creamy mashed potato with salt and pepper. But perhaps I could finely chop parsley or some other herb like sage just to add another flavour - this would go on top of the chicken or I would cook the chicken on top of the herbs.

I was thinking also of using some kind of mint because I actually like chicken and mint sauce despite English tradition being to use mint with lamb. My original thought was to mix mint sauce in the mashed potato, but I realised that that may be a little overpowering and may not work with the seasoning. So the idea changed to making a minted pea puree type of thing for the chicken to lay on. Or maybe just making minted musy peas perhaps? A 'kiev' on its own seems a little dissatisfying though...

An alternative idea is to replace creamy mash on the inside with stuffing and then do mashed potato and minted peas seperately so it looks like a hearty main course.

2) BEST breakfast sandwich that isn't actually a sandwich at all

I have no idea how it would come together but the basic idea, is to use the ingredients of BEST (Bacon, Egg, Sausage & Tomato) in a totally different way. My idea was to enable people to eat this as a very small snack, and the idea is hard to explain but I'll do my best to explain it.

The idea is to first get a tomato, cut the top off then remove the inside of the tomato to leave you with a 'hollow shell' (similar to what you would do with a pumpkin by removing seeds and pulp etc). Cook your sausage and bacon, cutting them into very tiny pieces.

You probably think so far "How does this sound like a sandwich?"

It doesn't really, but the 'clever' part I wanted was to toast some bread and then dip it in egg. Then cut the toasted eggy bread into little cubes and then what to do, is put the sauage bacon and eggy toast cubes inside the tomato!

Perhaps I could put part of a proper egg inside it as well depending on how big the tomato is. Once I've have filled the tomato, I'd put it under the grill for a minute or two and then serve and eat hot.

So you get all the BEST taste, but inside a tomato rather than on a baguette or sandwich!!! Could be a perfect starter, if I made 2 per person.

3) Tomato soup starter

Same idea as with 2) is to make a hollow tomato by taking the insides out, but instead of filling the tomato with a breakfast, fill it with a nice variety of tomato soup probably served hot - not really sure if you can do tomato soup chilled, although Ive seen chefs on TV do things like chillled broad bean soup etc.

I think I would prefer to eat tomato soup hot in any case. I would toast some bread into strips so it would be a 'soup and soldiers' style starter. Very light, and a reminder of the childhood days of egg and soldiers, only replacing the egg with a soup to make it a proper dinner starter, as opposed to a breakfast.

4) Different Desserts

Aint a clue what I'd do for a dessert, it would have to be chocolate based because I love chocolate!

But for those who dont like chocolate as much, I was thinking about a 3 variety plum pudding - making jelly with one variety of plum and a sparkling white wine, using a second variety to use as a sauce/topping on some vanilla ice cream, and a 3rd variety of plum which would just sit alongside the jelly and ice cream so you get 3 lots of plums and 3 different textures on the same plate.

Another idea I had, if I can make it work, is rather than make jelly which might be technically hard for me as a beginner, to make a plum juice, and make a floating dessert. That is to have a plum shake at the bottom of a glass, topped with vanilla ice cream and a plum sauce. Put a straw in glass to get a nice cool drink or eat it as an ice cream, or do both, it is up to you!




All of this is making me hungry!!! What do you guys reckon? Would any of these ideas work at all? It's entirely random but thought it was worth noting my ideas somewhere and getting some proper opinions.

If any of you wish to try a version of these ideas yourself please let me know how you get on if you are brave enough, it would be interesting to see if these ideas are practical at all.

I thank anybody in advance who comments and can help me. My ambition would be to please my friends with something semi-creative and different to a takeaway on a friday night.



Cheers again
Barry :)

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Old 09-20-2009, 04:09 PM   #2
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Hi!
The technique for your Chicken "Kiev" idea is, quite frankly, odd. One can easily make a chicken roulade with your desired filling, dip it in oil, then crumbs and bake to the proper internal temp. Also, pick a flavor profile and go with it, seasoning the potatoes, the peas, whatever. Mint is strong and you might not want to mix it with the potato/bacon concept. Or you could fill with cheese, and do your potatoes on the side. Another good one is ham/cheese, lay a slice of ham on the flattened chicken breast, lay string cheese (easy to use) across it, roll up like a burrito.
The tomato-filled eggy toast sounds interesting, but if you are putting toast cubes into raw egg, you'd need to cook it for more than a few minutes under the broiler. But you may have been talking about cooked egg at that point. I don't know how the tomato would stand up to the amount of cooking time for raw egg.
Filling a tomato for soup is a good idea, if you are making like a cold gazpacho.
The plums sound interesting. I like to take them, put them in a quart jar, whole. Then put in a cup of white sugar and fill to the top with vodka. Put the lid on. Each day, turn the jar (not shake, just a turn) upside down and back, until sugar dissolves. Then let sit on the shelf for a couple of months...mmmmmmm. Drink the vodka, straight, on the rocks, or with club soda. Cut up the plums for ice cream, adults only.
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Old 09-20-2009, 04:19 PM   #3
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Sorry - none of your ideas appeal to me at all.

It's so sad that you're such a self-proclaimed "fussy eater". And a good thing you'll never be dining at my house where you definitely eat what you're served or don't eat at all unless you've contacted me ahead of time with allergy problems, et al.

I have absolutely NO sympathy for "picky eaters". Unfortunately, most of them were raised that way, & it's so very sad.

If you want "nice tasting food" that you have no intention of eating, why not just make the food the way it was intended & just not eat it yourself, as you state??? Your entire post makes no sense whatsoever.
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Old 09-20-2009, 04:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyogal View Post
Hi! The technique for your Chicken "Kiev" idea is, quite frankly, odd. One can easily make a chicken roulade with your desired filling, dip it in oil, then crumbs and bake to the proper internal temp. Also, pick a flavor profile and go with it, seasoning the potatoes, the peas, whatever. Mint is strong and you might not want to mix it with the potato/bacon concept. Or you could fill with cheese, and do your potatoes on the side. Another good one is ham/cheese, lay a slice of ham on the flattened chicken breast, lay string cheese (easy to use) across it, roll up like a burrito
Hi, thanks for the quick reply

I never heard of a chicken roulade before. The only thing I knew that had a hole in the middle was a kiev style thing. As I say, I'm not very well acquainted with food, so don't really know proper techniques or proper names for anything.

You are right about mint, certainly with bacon it would be quite strong. I suppose I could experiment, but I might bin the idea unless I do a potato only filling then mint will of course work better.

An idea of cheese filling is good. It wouldn't be to my palette as I find cheese quite revolting, but my friends would probably love it, especially with ham as the two work so well together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyogal View Post
The tomato-filled eggy toast sounds interesting, but if you are putting toast cubes into raw egg, you'd need to cook it for more than a few minutes under the broiler. But you may have been talking about cooked egg at that point. I don't know how the tomato would stand up to the amount of cooking time for raw egg.
I should've clarified, that I'd be putting the toast cubes into cooked egg yolk. Also on reflection, the egg taste in the tomato would be from the toast cubes of which there would be a fair few. Putting in real egg would be too messy, and isn't the main component I had in mind for the snack.

Perhaps the tomato should be cut as planned, then chilled while I prepare the meat and eggy toast. Once ready then I pull the tomatos out, fill them then serve immediately. I love the sensation you get from certain foods where there are elements of hot and cold. Maybe that could work here. Temperature isn;t such a big factor as the snack will be gone in 2-3 mouthfuls :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyogal View Post
Filling a tomato for soup is a good idea, if you are making like a cold gazpacho
I'll google what a cold gazpacho is and come back to you on that one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyogal View Post
The plums sound interesting. I like to take them, put them in a quart jar, whole. Then put in a cup of white sugar and fill to the top with vodka. Put the lid on. Each day, turn the jar (not shake, just a turn) upside down and back, until sugar dissolves. Then let sit on the shelf for a couple of months...mmmmmmm. Drink the vodka, straight, on the rocks, or with club soda. Cut up the plums for ice cream, adults only.
Don't get me started on alcohol :D What fruit would work well with Southern Comfort? I'd love to try something with that as it's my favourite alcoholic drink.
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Old 09-20-2009, 04:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
Sorry - none of your ideas appeal to me at all.

It's so sad that you're such a self-proclaimed "fussy eater". And a good thing you'll never be dining at my house where you definitely eat what you're served or don't eat at all unless you've contacted me ahead of time with allergy problems, et al.

I have absolutely NO sympathy for "picky eaters". Unfortunately, most of them were raised that way, & it's so very sad.

If you want "nice tasting food" that you have no intention of eating, why not just make the food the way it was intended & just not eat it yourself, as you state??? Your entire post makes no sense whatsoever.
Don't be sorry, I'd prefer honesty over lies just to make me feel better. I do think your wording of the rest of the post is quite harshly worded, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and seriously hope you aren't being rude towards me. The last thing I need is an elitist frightening me away from this site.

I'm trying to get away from eating freezer and ready made food. I at least want to cook the limited things I do like but from fresh so I at least feel better about the ingredients I'm using. For example I eat birds eye crispy chicken, but how nice would it be to eat fresh chicken from the butchers, which isn't reconstituted and all that crap? You know what I mean?

I don't think you fully understand what I'm trying to say in my posts, which isn't a total surprise as I probably haven't explained myself well in the first place. When I want to cook nice tasting food, I'm thinking about in other peoples eyes as well as my own. Now I like chicken and stuff, so I'd eat that. I'd eat tomato soup as I love that. And I'd probably eat the BEST filled tomato thing. But desserts for me are chocolate only, and I know chocolate isn't to everybodys taste, so a fruit alternative needs to be considered.

I can't follow your approach of 'like it or lump it'. I actually think thats quite a nasty thing to do, to make people starve if they don't like something. If you are cooking surely it's your job to ensure everybody is happy?

I'm talking about comfort foods here, not michelin star class cooking or even gastropub food. As I said, I have no experience with cooking in any shape or form as I've always been told not to do anything because of the fact I have dyspraxia. I'm sick to the back teeth of it holding me back and I want to be able to at least feel like I can do something worthwhile
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Old 09-20-2009, 05:07 PM   #6
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If you like cheese and ham, try using those as your stuffing for the chicken.
My wife takes chicken breasts and stuffs them with ham and cheese, then lightly
breads and fries or bakes them.
Personally, I like the idea of mashed taters, especially if there is a nice gravy to
go along with it! I'd probably stuff and bake them.
Oh.... try other seasoned butters too! Here's Alton Brown's Kiev.. with no garlic:
Chicken Kiev Recipe : Alton Brown : Food Network

For the BEST in tomato, I would probably just scramble all the fixings, less the bread, right in with the egg, then fold in some flavored bread, then stuff the tomato with that. I like this idea too.

Not terribly excited by the hot tomato soup in tomato idea. A cold tomato soup is a
gazpacho, and would go well in the tomato, I think. (I am just not a fan of tomato soup.)

As for the desserts.... they sound interesting. I don't do desserts, I just eat them, so no ideas here, sorry.

And as for the responses.... Don't let it bother you. I have noticed a trend lately for more blunt and "negative" answers to questions, this too shall pass.

Bottom line.... GO FOR IT! Experiment! Get in there and let your imagination run wild. Just be sure to let us know if you invent a winner so we can try it too.

And welcome to Discuss Cooking!
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Old 09-20-2009, 07:07 PM   #7
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Quite frankly, Frenchie, your ideas don't really appeal to my American tastes, but I'd be more than happy to offer some ideas for some simple dishes. Being such a picky eater, it's good that you like chicken-- boneless, skinless chicken breasts offer endless possibilities.

An easy way to stuff a chicken breast would be to slice along the side of the filet (being careful not to cut through the other side and not quite from end to end), forming a pocket. Stuff with your choice of filling. You may want to use toothpicks or wooden skewers to keep everything together during baking, just don't forget to remove them before serving.

Another easy chicken recipe that I have been making since I was a teenager and has always been well received is this: Take butter, lemon juice, garlic (which you may want to omit to suit your tastes), black pepper and herbs (I use basil and a touch of oregano) and just mix everything together in to a paste. There is no need to add salt if you use salted butter or margarine (I've even used oil-based spreads, since my mother has high cholesterol and that worked just fine). Spread some of the mixture over each piece of chicken, reserving some for the "basting" process and bake. Every 10-15 mins. (depending on the thickness of the chicken, it could take more or less cooking time) drop/spread some more of the butter mixture on the chicken so that it doesn't dry out. The butter will brown a bit in the bottom of the baking dish, making a wonderful sauce to pour over the finished dish. Voila! Lemon butter and herb baked chicken. Sorry I can't offer an exact recipe, as I always just "eyeball" it and have since I was a child.

You might also want to try a chicken francaise. It's actually very easy and always a crowd-pleaser. Beat egg and milk in a bowl and set aside. Season a shallow dish of flour with salt and pepper. Melt quite a bit of butter in a deep frying pan (enough to sautee in). Dip each chicken breast in the egg mixture and then lightly coat (dredge) it in the seasoned flour, making sure to shake of the excess. Set aside until your butter is melted and hot enough for the chicken to begin cooking on contact. Turn chicken over halfway through cooking. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside, turning off the heat. Immediately sqeeze the juice of fresh lemons in to the hot pan, making sure to scrape the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan (deglazing) and pour over the chicken. Goes well with pasta or rice pilaf (make white rice as usual, using chicken broth instead of water, and quite a bit of butter and a little extra salt).

Also, since you like tomato, you might want to make your own pasta sauce. All you need to do is heat some olive oil and a touch of water in a pot (enough to mostly coat the bottom). Add garlic (or again omit to your taste), black pepper, basil, oregano (always less oregano than basil, and not too much oregano or it will be bitter) and some peeled, grated carrot to sweeten it a little. You may also add some finely diced onion if you like. A bay leaf or two is also optional, but be sure to remove it before serving, as bay leaves are not edible. Satuee the herbs for 2-3 minutes, to bring the flavors out. Add canned crushed or diced tomatoes, stirring until well blended. Bring the sauce just to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for roughly 2 hours, stirring occasionally. All it takes is 5 minutes of prep and then you can just walk away, but people will definitely notice the difference from a can or jar of sauce.

I agree with you about chocolate desserts. I can't understand people not loving chocolate. An easy dessert would be to bake a batch of brownies from a boxed mix and serve, still warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. You could also try my chocoholic cake, using mostly boxed ingredients. Bake a rich chocolate cake, such as devil's food in 2 round cake pans. Once cooled, spread milk chocolate mousse (Nestle makes this in a boxed "mix", all you have to do is add milk and chill ahead of time) between the layers. Once that is done, make a chocolate ganache-- Using a double boiler (or a heat-proof bowl that fits the pot you are usuing- just put a few inches of water in the pot and place the bowl on the top of the pot, making sure the water and bowl do not touch) melt your choice of good quality chocolate - I prefer using a dark or bittersweet chocolate so that it is not too sweet- and heavy cream, stirring constantly. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, spreading evenly and letting it drip down the sides. Let it cool fully and serve. Ganache, in case you are not familiar, will set, but not harden. It will be shiny and almost fudgy.

I hope these instructions are easy enough for you to follow and/or at least give you some ideas. Feel free to ask if you need any clarification. Enjoy!

P.S. The chicken breast stuffed with ham and (traditionally swiss) cheese that has been mentioned is called Chicken Cordon Bleu
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