July 30, 2009
July 27, 2009
July 18, 2009
France’s Country Salad
6 to 8 oz fresh haricots verts (or regular green beans), washed and trimmed
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
6 strips center-cut bacon, cooked (pan-fried, microwaved, or baked)
8 oz boneless chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled
Tarragon-Dijon Vinaigrette (see below)
Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Wash and trim green beans. Blanch beans in boiling water for 1-3 minutes until crisp-tender. Immediately drain and submerge beans in ice water for about 5 minutes in order to halt cooking. Drain.
Heat a large pan over medium heat. Cook bacon, turning halfway through. Set aside. Pour bacon drippings into a bowl and wipe pan clean. (Alternatively, you my choose to microwave or bake the bacon.)
Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill chicken over medium heat until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Once chicken is cooked, remove to plate and cover with foil. Allow to rest under foil for about 5 minutes; slice.
While the chicken is cooking, return 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings to sauté pan for onions and mushrooms. (Or substitute 1 tablespoon olive oil.) Reheat pan and fat over medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté onions 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and any liquid they release is cooked off (about 10-15 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
Toss green beans in half of dressing and divide between two dinner plates. Top with mushroom-onion mixture, bacon (cut into 1/2 pieces), and chicken. Drizzle remaining dressing over each salad. Serve immediately.
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Whisk together all ingredients to thoroughly combine.
Once Brian saw what was going into it my salad, he changed his mind about his cheddar-bacon chicken.
It was one of the best meals we’ve had in a while. And it tasted just like the French countryside. :)
Last night, we finally attempted an entire meal from our favorite new cookbook, “The 150 Healthiest Meals on Earth.” (Thanks to Betsy and Milan for introducing it to us last time we were in New York!) Following the author’s suggestion, we paired Cauliflower Cream (an unbelievably effective substitute for mashed potatoes)
with Haricots Verts (served cold with a pomegranate-mint dressing, so yummy and refreshing),
and Persian-Style Chicken – braised with chicken stock, pomegranate juice, almonds, red onions, cinnamon, and molasses! So maybe it was a little Christmas-y for the middle of July, but it was so delicious that we didn’t mind in the least.
We rounded it all off with a glass of Pinot Noir. (Yes, red wine does qualify as one of the “healthiest foods on earth!”)
July 14, 2009
The first week of July proved to be quite a busy one. We had last-minute, but very welcome, house guests over July 4th weekend. I was really happy to get to cook for everyone!
The cast and crew of King Lear were invited by a couple of STC donors to attend an Independence Day party at the Capitol Yacht Club and on their yacht! There was lots of grilling, great company, and amazing weather!
Later in the evening, our very gracious hosts shared some spectacular wine…complete with tasting notes and even some history.
We also got to try a fabulous whisky (not sold in the US) from “Scotland’s smallest distillery,”Edradour. It had just the right amount of peaty-ness and a smooth, just-sweet-enough-but-not-too-sweet finish. The website describes it as follows:
“Edradour is a unique, single Highland malt whisky… produced in Scotland's smallest distillery - and is hand made today as it was over 150 years ago by just three men who are devoted to the time-honoured methods of whisky making. Indeed equipment used at the distillery has remained unchanged since the day the distillery opened and is only just capable of producing commercial quantities. Only 12 casks of whisky are produced a week, making Edradour single malt a rare pleasure for a fortunate few.”
We certainly felt fortunate to be among those few. :)
July 8, 2009
We've gotten seriously behind this past month, so here's a brief look at what we did during the month of June:
I attempted homemade gelato--several batches. Pictured below is my first attempt, cantaloupe, which was my least successful. The best batch so far has been chocolate mint, which was super smooth and dense and creamy and the one attempt in which I didn’t precisely follow the recipe. More experimenting and a final verdict to come…
We had pizza:
Brian had to stand guard over the smoke detector each time because the cornmeal from the pizza peel got all over the oven and burned. We've since self-cleaned the oven (it does wonders) and figured out a much better way to get the dough off the peel and onto the stone!