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Gastronomy + Meal Plan October 20, 2011

Filed under: Meal Planning — clappingonthedownbeat @ 9:32 PM

What is gastronomy you ask?  Gastronomy is the art or science of good eating. Also, it can be defined as the study of food and culture, with a particular focus on gourmet cuisine.  I started my culinary class Basic Food Prep, last night.  Here is a picture of me before class:

  Full uniform is a beanie, chef coat, neckerchief, black chef pants, thermomenter, apron, side towels and black crew shoes.  Monday we start knife skills with chopping.  My kids are so funny, they couldn’t understand why I have homework or why I am going to school.  My daughter said, “mom, you already have good recipes”.  Well, there is always room for improvement!  I think I will add a mini-lesson on the blog.  I have to keep a journal anyway so why not just add it to the blog.  Look for posts in the Cooking 101 category.

So I slacked off this week with my meal plan because of class and getting ready.  Here are some recipes to try:


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced in half crossways (butterflied, cut all the way through)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, plus 1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine, optional
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • Spinach “bed”, recipe follows

Season chicken with dried thyme and salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the oil. Dredge the chicken in flour, add to the hot oil and saute until cooked through. Set chicken aside to rest on plate tented with foil.

In same saute pan, over low heat, add onions and fresh thyme and cook until aromatic.

In a measuring cup, measure out wine, if using, and broth, and add the lemon juice. Turn the heat up to high, and deglaze the pan with the broth mixture until starting to reduce.

Remove the pan from the heat and finish the sauce by whisking in butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Place a bed of cooked spinach on a serving platter, top with the chicken. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Spinach “bed”:

  • 1 bag pre-washed fresh spinach
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Microwave spinach in a microwave-proof dish with a few tablespoons of water on high for 5 to 6 minutes, or until hot. Drain, and toss with butter, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, to taste.


  • 4 large slices country-style bread or scones- see recipe at below
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large slices good quality lunchmeat ham
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 eggs

Preheat the broiler on low.  Gently dry the bread under the broiler, just until dry and with no browning.

In a small bowl, toss the cheese with the white wine and allow to sit.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper. On a baking sheet, lay out the bread slices. Take less than one-quarter of the sour cream mixture and divide evenly among the bread slices, spreading thinly to coat 1 side of each slice. Next, evenly distribute the ham on top of the bread. Divide the rest of the sour cream mixture over the ham. Spoon the cheese on top of the sour cream mixture, blotting lightly before adding to remove any excess wine.

Preheat a large, nonstick saute pan over medium heat and melt the butter. Crack the eggs into the pan and fry, either over-easy or sunny-side up, according to your preference.

While the eggs are cooking, place the open-faced sandwiches under the broiler until very bubbly and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Watch closely and don’t let the topping burn. Place each sandwich on a plate. Season the fried eggs with salt and pepper and place 1 egg on each sandwich. (If desired, use a biscuit cutter to cut the egg into an evenly round shape.)


  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup lemon-lime soda (such as Sprite)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. With a fork, gently stir in the soda and cream, mixing until incorporated (do not overmix).
    3. Drop 8 large spoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with raw or granulated sugar, if desired, and bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm with butter and honey or jam.
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 2-in. piece fresh ginger, half thinly sliced and half grated
  • 2 1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2-in. pieces
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 1/4 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  1. In a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker, combine the soy sauce, allspice, red pepper, ¼ cup of the brown sugar and the sliced ginger. Add the pork and toss to coat. Cover and cook until the meat is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours.
  2. Thirty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to package directions. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, the remaining Tbsp brown sugar, the grated ginger, and ¼ tsp each salt and pepper. Add the cucumber and onion and toss to combine. 3 Spoon the pork over the rice and serve with the cucumber salad.
BAKED PUMPKIN RISOTTO  I love all things pumpkin!  Yum
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, small dice
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Combine broth, rice, squash, puree, and onion in a 3-quart baking dish, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to evenly combine. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake, stirring occasionally, until most the water has been absorbed and rice granules are puffed, about 35 to 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir in remaining ingredients, season to taste and serve.


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