Advertisements

What a fabulous week it has been.  It is officially summer for me now.  After my 17 years of schooling and then 8 years of teaching high school science, the rhythm of the academic calendar is deeply rooted in my bones.  So even though the weather is unseasonably soggy and  gloomy, deep down inside I still know that- School’s…out for summer!!!   To make the upcoming break all that much more sweet, on my last day of school I found out that my Sausage and Kale Dinner Tart won the contest for the Best Dirt Cheap Dinner on food52.  What an incredible honor!  I am a huge fan of food52.  It is one of my go-t0 sites for great recipes and culinary inspiration from the many fabulous cooks that contribute to the site.  What a great way to start the summer and kick off my serious cooking and canning season!

As a celebratory meal, I made Roasted Garlic Lemon Chicken.  I love how chicken is both a perfect special occasion meal, yet inexpensive and quick enough to be perfectly suited for a weeknight as well.  This particular recipe is a regular in our rotation.  It is easy to adapt by changing the herbs, I call for rosemary here, but you could also use thyme, oregano, basil, or forgo the herbs altogether and add a touch of curry paste to the garlic mixture instead.

Roasted Garlic Lemon Chicken can be made with any pieces of chicken you prefer.  The original recipe calls for chicken thighs.  Since I often buy chickens whole and part them myself, I have always made it with a whole parted chicken.  When arranging the pieces in the pan, I put the breasts in the center and dark meat pieces around the outside.  All the pieces cook up perfectly!  Preparing this meal is incredibly simple.  Spread garlic paste over the chicken pieces and under the skin, then roast the chicken until the skin is browned and crackly, but the meat is super tender and moist.  The herbs perfume the meat and the lemon roasts and caramelizes lending a rich, lemony flavor.  Degrease the juices and reduce to make a flavorful sauce to pour over the sliced meat.  Dress it up or dress it down, this chicken is great for any occasion.

Roasted Garlic Lemon Chicken

adapted from  Bill Devin at  Fine Cooking

via The 140 Best American Recipes by Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens

Serves 6

the garlic paste

2 garlic cloves

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

Mince garlic with a knife.  Sprinkle salt over the garlic and the flat blade of your knife to grind the garlic into a fine paste.  Transfer paste to a bowl.  Drizzle oil over paste slowly while whisking vigorously until mixture is uniform and emulsified.  (If it does not emulsify, do not worry.  The chicken will still turn out great.)

the chicken

1 5-pound chicken, parted

2 large lemons, sliced into 1/4 inch slices

1 bunch rosemary (6 4-inch pieces)

2 tablespoons white wine

freshly cracked black pepper

Rub the chicken pieces with the garlic paste thoroughly on both the outside and inside of the skin.   Cover and let chill 2 hours to overnight. The longer you let it chill, the more flavorful it will be.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and set rack in the middle of the oven.

Using a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, lay lemon slices evenly over the bottom.  Arrange rosemary sprigs over the top of the lemon and chicken pieces, skin side up, on top of the rosemary.  The breasts should be in the center since they cook the fastest.  Arrange the dark meat pieces around the outside.

Bake the chicken for 45 minutes or until the skin is browned and crisp and the meat is cooked thoroughly.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a platter and cover loosely with foil.  Strain any accumulated juices into a small saucepan.  Skim fat from the top.  Heat remaining juices over medium to create a simmer.  Add white wine and black pepper to taste. Simmer until sauce is reduced by 1/3.  Serve meat as whole pieces or sliced with the flavorful sauce.

Here is a printer-friendly version of the recipe: Roasted Garlic Lemon Chicken

You may also like:

Divine Indian Butter Chicken

Biscuit-topped Chicken Pot Pie

Orange Quinoa with Almonds, Olives and Feta

Advertisements

Over the past four and a half years, my husband and I have mastered the art of the special dinner at home.  Our kids, too young to tuck themselves in, hold us captive.  We have a running joke where one of us asks, “What do you want to do tonight?”  In response, the other spouts off lists of adventurous ideas all involving actually leaving the house together, even though our kids are sound asleep.   We laugh as we pretend we have options aside from the rented movie, the game of dominoes, or going to sleep at a deliciously early hour- oh, now I really am sounding old.  All jokes aside, a night at home can be quite special.  We prefer to celebrate the opportunity staying in presents, rather than long for the greener grass.

In our home every detail of our meal can be catered to our whim.  We choose festive, fancy, or casual.  Our tastes can travel to Thailand, Italy, or Mexico.  We can eat with china or our fingers.  At home we make the food exactly how we want to eat it.  We use only the freshest, seasonal ingredients, all at a fraction of the cost of a nice restaurant meal.  There is no need for reservations or babysitters.  Perhaps the best reason to celebrate the special dinner at home, is the pride and satisfaction of sitting down together to eat a meal which one of us (or both) have put our heart and hands into preparing with love.

Our most recent special meal was  Herb Rubbed Pork Loin.  I used an exceptional brine from the girl and the fig that I have used in the past with chops.  Brining allows the meat to retain moisture through the cooking and infuses the meat with tremendous flavor.  To ensure the brine and seasoning could permeate the entire roast, I sliced the meat horizontally, a technique I picked up from Cook’s Illustrated.  After the brine, I marinated the meat in mustard and herbs from the garden.  We were able to take advantage of unseasonably warm weather here in Sonoma County and grill the loin.  This could easily be roasted in the oven as well with the added bonus of being able to collect the juices for a gravy.

The pork loin turned out incredibly moist and flavorful.  The brine perfectly seasoned the interior of the meat, and the marinade gave a delightful herbal tang to the exterior.  Do not overlook the Onion, Raisin, Garlic Compote, it is fabulous!  We both agreed that we could eat an entire bowl of it as an official side dish.  Onions, raisins, and garlic are cooked down with butter, port, and herbs.  This is a perfect accompaniment to the pork loin.  This meal turned another night at home with the family into a special night indeed.

Read the rest of this entry »

For many people Brussels sprouts rank right up there with lima beans and lutefisk for the food they would least like to see on their dining table.  While I cannot speak for the other two, I can tell you that Brussels sprouts have been unfairly charged.  These dense little gems are not only delicious, but also incredibly nutritious and filling too (a feature that is quite a strength in the month of January when many of us are attempting to recover from the holiday bulge).

It is easy to understand why these green meatballs earned their bad rap.  Boiled to oblivion, the leafy globes take on a putrid aroma and ooze  nasty green juice when you attempt to cut off a bite.  The key to creating a delicious side dish is to prepare them properly.  I often halve the Brussels sprouts,  toss them in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven.  It is super easy and they turn out delicious. The dish enclosed in this post, however, is cooked on the stove top, allowing for more even cooking.  It has quickly become our favorite.

The recipe included today is based on one published in our local paper a couple of months ago.  The original recipe includes bacon and 1/2 cup of olive oil.  While I have no doubt that those additions add a lot of flavor to the dish, I am not feeling nearly as decadent as I was last month (see aforementioned holiday bulge).  Feel free to add the bacon and drizzle on as much oil as you desire!  What I share with you are simply sauteed Brussels sprouts topped with garlicky bread crumbs and parmesan.  They are easy to prepare, delicious, and nothing like the Brussels sprouts you may have eaten (or pretended to) as a kid.  Try them and let me know what you think!

Brussels Sprouts with Garlicky Bread Crumbs

Adapted from Scopa Restaurant

(originally published in Press Democrat)

Makes 4 servings as a side dish

2 pounds Brussels sprouts

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

3 hefty pinches of black pepper

1 pinch of salt or to taste

1-2 tablespoons toasted breadcrumbs (see note below)

1-2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Trim and quarter the brussel sprouts.  Heat pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add  the quartered brussel sprouts, salt, and pepper.  After 30-60 seconds move the sprouts around to caramelize all sides.  Repeat this every minute for about 5 minutes.  As the pan becomes dry, add a drizzle of remaining olive oil every 2 minutes or so.  The goal is to achieve a deep golden brown color on 1-2 sides of each sprout.  Be careful not to burn them or they will turn bitter.

Once sprouts are caramelized, cook for another 3-4 minutes on medium-low heat to finish cooking the sprouts through to their center.  Toss with toasted breadcrumbs and Parmesan and serve immediately.

To toast breadcrumbs: Saute breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and ½ clove of minced garlic on medium heat until browned.   Watch carefully, the breadcrumbs will go from brown to burnt very quickly.

Here is a printer-friendly version of the recipe:

Brussel Sprouts with Garlicky Bread Crumbs

You may also like:

Winter Kale with Lemon and Olives

Beets with Pistachios and Mint

Eggs in a Basket of Greens

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: