Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Parmesan Chicken

This time for the Barefoot Bloggers, Parmesan Chicken was chosen. It was delicious! It was chosen by Megan of My Baking Adventures. Thanks Megan! We now have another way to fix chicken in our rotation at our house! I served the chicken with a zucchini gratin and steamed broccoli.

Parmesan Chicken 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, Page 82, All Rights Reserved

4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 3 gigantic ones)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Unsalted butter
Good olive oil
Salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry (I didn't do the salad on top)
1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette, recipe follows (I didn't need the dressing, as I did not serve the salad)

Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate.
On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water.
On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.
Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts.
Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette. Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.Lemon Vinaigrette:1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)1/2 cup good olive oil1/2 teaspoon kosher salt1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepperIn a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.Yield: 6 servings

***Sorry for the poor pictures, we were really hungry and didn't have time to make everything pretty***

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Zucchini Gratin - the best way to eat zucchini...

When I went into the office the other day, someone had brought in a bunch of zucchini from their garden. It looked sooooo good that I took two good sized ones. I knew it might be challenging to get M to eat this veggie. I find that sometimes zucchini is not prepared well. It can become slimy very easily. So, I went in search for a zucchini gratin dish. And Ina came to the rescue. This was soooo good. I amde a few changes to use what I had on hand. Here is the recipe:

Zucchini Gratin Copyright 2004, Barefoot in Paris, All Rights Reserved

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping (I used about 1/2 a stick)
1 pound yellow onions, cut in 1/2 and sliced (3 large) (I used 1 large)
2 pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (4 zucchini) (I used 2 good sized one)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup hot milk
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Gruyere (I used parmesan)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a very large (12-inch) saute pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 10-inch baking dish.

Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

M and our dinner guests raved about this. YAY!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Peach and Blueberry Crumbles

We had our first (non-holiday) dinner guests tonight for dinner. T & R, Mike's good friends. T was one of M's groomsmen in our wedding. They were in town on business, so we invited them for dinner.

I made Parmesan Chicken, a zucchini gratin and steamed broccoli for dinner. I will post those later. For dessert, I found a recipe for peach and blueberry crumbles in Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa at home. My MIL and FIL have many a fruit tree in their backyard and when we were over there the other day they had so many peaches that needed a good home. So, I very happily grabbed all I could carry! They are sweet and juicy and oh so delicious! Here is the recipe:

Peach and Blueberry Crumbles
Barefoot Contessa at home, pages 197-198

For the fruit:

2 pounds firm, ripe peaches (6 to 8 peaches)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh blueberries (1/2 pint) - I only had frozen on hand

For the crumle:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until their skins peel off easily. Place the immediately in cold water. Peel the peaches, slice them into thick wedges, and place them in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the blueberries. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into ramekins or custard cups.

For the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it's in big crumbles, then sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you want to make these early, store the unbaked crumbles in the refrigerator and bake before dinner.

Back to the veggies

For lunch today I made a greek inspired calzone. I used leftover lamb tips, frozen spinach and feta cheese. Mmmmm....

1 whole wheat pizza dough from TJ's
1 cup of frozen spinach; defrosted and wrung dry
1/2 cup of feta cheese
1 cup of part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 of a yellow onion; diced small
4 pieces of lamb tips
1 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
flour for dusting
olive oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 400 degree F
In a large bowl, combine spinach, feta cheese, ricotta cheese, onion, cut up lamb tips, and pepper.
Roll out pizza dough to large circle
Place filling onto one half of the pizza circle.
Fold over top
Crimp edges to close.
Place calzone on a greased cookie sheet
Brush top of calzone with olive oil
Cut three (3) vent holes on top of the calzone

Place in oven for 15-18 minutes until gold brown
Let sit cooling, for about 5-10 minutes
Cut and enjoy!
Serves3-4 people

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

Hope everyone had a lovely Father's Day. On Friday, I took my Dad to the doctor and then M met us for a movie and dinner. We saw The Happening. It was interesting, but not great. Then we went to Lucille's for some gooood BBQ.

Sunday we spent with M's family. I volunteered to cook dinner for the family. M's parents have been very busy with some family things, so I thought I would help out. we had carne asada, polla asada, rice, beans, Sagaponack Corn pudding, corn salsa, guacamole and a pecan pie. We had so much food it was ridiculous! It was goooooood. The only picture I got was of the pecan pie. I didn't make the crust, but the filling was from here. It was ridiculously easy. Seriously.

2 Eggs, Slightly Beaten
1 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1-1/4 Cups Broken Texas native pecans
Preheat oven to 375 deg F.
Spread pecans in an unbaked 9-inch pie shell.
Mix remaining ingredients and pour over pecans.
Bake at 375 deg F. for 40 to 50 minutes or until filling is set.

**Sorry for the bad pictures, I had to take them quickly.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Pasta, Pesto and Peas

Say that three times fast. Sheesh!

I did it...I did it! I got my husband to eat veggies!!! This bi-weekly recipe from the Barefoot Bloggers was Pasta, Pesto and Peas, was chosen by Elizabeth at Ugg Smell Food. This recipe is from the Barefoot Parties cookbook.

I used whole wheat pasta, organic peas and spinach and light sour cream. And my husband ate dinner with gusto! I served the pasta with lamb tips that were already marinated with rosemary and garlic. Dinner was DELISH!!!!!!!!!

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas
Copyright, 2001, Ina Garten, All rights reserved

3/4 pound fusilli pasta (I used all fusilli whole wheat pasta)
3/4 pound bow tie pasta
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto, packaged or see recipe below
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise (I omitted this and replaced it with 1 1/2 cups of light sour cream)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise (Again, I used Sour Cream) and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (I am not a big fan of basil, so I substituted fresh baby spinach)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves (I used spinach), salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.
To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.
Yield: 4 cups