Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beer-Braised Barbecued Chicken

Labor Day is coming up, readers, so it's time to cart out those summer recipes.  You know, the ones that use grills, corn on the cob, and fresh peaches.  The ones that make big portions perfect for feeding family and friends at backyard cookouts.
For some of you, Labor Day is a last hurrah for summertime.  You're already noticing a change in the weather and you're having thoughts of pumpkin, apple picking, sweaters, and big pots of chili.  I'm jealous.  (Although our momentary dip into double-digit highs was a welcome respite from the average temps around 100!)  I wish I lived somewhere that thought of summer as a three-month celebration of sun, sand, and ice cream.  Around here, summer lasts five or six months and it's the time of year when it's too hot to do anything outside.

Still, summer food is summer food.  And this chicken is bonafide all-American summer fare.  So get the grill going, call over all your favorite people, and celebrate summer, no matter if it's ending or not!


Beer-Braised Barbecued Chicken

Ingredients:
4 TBSP canola oil
4 lbs. bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 yellow onions, sliced 1⁄4 in. thick
1 1⁄4 c. ale or lager-style beer
2 1⁄2 c. barbecue sauce 

Directions:
1.  In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 3 Tbs. of the oil until almost smoking.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

2.  Working in batches, brown the chicken on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter.

3.  Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the pan along with the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the beer and barbecue sauce and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and let cool.  (If you do not have a grill, increase time to 45 minutes and omit step five.)

4.  While chicken is cooling, bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Pour the sauce into a shallow bowl and let cool to lukewarm.

5.  Preheat a grill on medium-high heat. Brush the chicken on both sides with some of the sauce. Grill the chicken until cooked trough, turning once and brushing occasionally with more sauce, until nicely grill-marked, about three minutes per side.

6.  Transfer the chicken to a platter and brush with more sauce.  Serves 4. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blackberry-Blueberry Pie

Berry pies used to scare me.  The crust never came out quite right, the filing was always runny, and the flavor always seemed to be a disappointment.  I'd take one bite and just wish I'd eaten the fresh fruit.  I kept try to make great pies, but it never really happened.  But earlier this summer, one pie changed all that.  Bumbleberry pie, you'll always have a special place in my heart.  

Without you, I never would've realized I can make delicious berry pies.  Without you, I never would've gotten the confidence to make another berry pie--this blackberry-blueberry pie, which highlights yummy summer berries and makes a fantastic base for a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.  

 
Blackberry-Blueberry Pie
adapted from Martha Stewart Living, July 2010

Ingredients:
4 c. fresh blackberries
2 c. fresh blueberries
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 TBSP tapioca
2 TBSP lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly whisked
Turbinado sugar, if desired

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

2.  Combine blackberries, blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, flour, tapioca, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aisde.

3.  On a floured surface, roll out pate brisee disks to about 1/8 in. thickness.  Using a rolling pin, roll one crust into the bottom of the pie dish.  Press into the bottom and up the sides.  Cut any desired design into the second (top) crust.

4.  Foll pie crust with berry filling, then roll on top crust.  Trim the excess dough with a paring knife, then create desired edge design using a fork or crimping with fingers.  Brush the top crust with the egg and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar, if desired.

5.  Bake the pie for 45 minutes, then tent with foil and bake 35 minutes more.  Let cool completely before serving.  Pie can be stored overnight without refrigerating or in the refrigerator up to three days.

two years ago: honey cake with honey cream cheese frosting

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Savory Peach Chicken

What a wonderful and healthy weeknight meal!  M and I both absolutely adored this recipe, especially with fresh in-season peaches.  We've already decided to make it again before summer ends, but we're very glad to know it can also be made with frozen peaches.

And readers, you know the saying...don't judge a recipe by it's picture.  Well, maybe that's just my saying for this recipe, but take my word for it and don't let my less-than-stellar picture deter you.  Just make the dish, please.


Savory Peach Chicken
from Ellie Krieger, So Easy

Ingredients:
1 TBSP canola oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 1 1/4 pounds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper, plus more to taste
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
2 TBSP rice vinegar
1/4 c. orange juice
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
4 large firm-ripe peaches, cut into 1/4-in. slices, or 2 (10-oz.) packages frozen peaches, (about 4 1/2 c.)
2 TBSP sliced almonds
brown rice, for serving

Directions:
1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat.

2.  Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook until browned, about two minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.

3.  Meanwhile combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar and orange juice in a small bowl and set aside.

4.  Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, the soy sauce mixture, and the peaches to the pan. Turn the heat up to high and cook, uncovered, for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce is nicely thickened and the peaches soften.

5.  Add the chicken back to the pan with the sauce, turn the heat down to moderate-low, cover and cook for about five minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

6.  In the meantime, toast the almonds in a dry skillet over a medium-high heat stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, about two minutes.

7.  Serve the chicken alongside the rice, topped with the sauce, and sprinkled with the toasted almonds.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer Zucchini and Vegetable Tian

Each ingredient in this delicious vegetable dish would rank in M and I's list of favorites.  I've had it bookmarked to make since the day I my mom gave me this cookbook.  It's been tough to wait, but I knew it would be best if I used summer zucchini and tomatoes during their peak season.  And readers, it was sooo worth the wait.  Lucky for you, now's the season and you don't have to wait!


Summer Zucchini and Vegetable Tian
adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Cooking from the Farmers' Market

Ingredients:
2 TBSP olive oil
canola oil cooking spray
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 lb. Roma tomatoes, sliced
3/4 lb. zucchini, sliced
1 TBSP minced fresh basil
1 TBSP minced fresh marjoram or thyme
1/4 c. chicken broth or water

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Spray a shallow two-quart baking dish with the cooking spray.

2.  In a frying pan over medium heat, warm the 2 TBSP olive oil.  Add the onion and garlic and saute slowly, until soft, about ten minutes.  Transfer the mixture to the baking dish, spreading evenly over the bottom.  Season with salt and pepper.

3.  Arrange the tomato and zucchini slices over the onion in alternating rows.  Sprinkle with the basil and pepper.  Pour the broth over the top.

4.  Cover and bake until the vegetables are bubbling and tender, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven, uncover, and bake ten minutes more.  Serves 4-6.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Honey-Oat Waffles with Fresh Blueberries

In this world, there are pancake people and there are waffle people.  While I'm not really one to pass up a good pancake, I am definitely a waffle person.  I love the extra crispiness and all those little divots just waiting to be filled with yummy toppings.

Unfortunately, waffles aren't exactly the best thing in the world for you.  But it's not so difficult to make them a bit healthier.  By simply exchanging some of the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour and oats, you've already made quite a dent.  And don't forget the toppings!  One of my favorite ways to eat waffles, especially fruit waffles, is with plain yogurt and fresh fruit on top instead of butter and maple syrup.

So go get some fresh summer berries and enjoy these healthier waffles with a clean conscience, readers.  Go on.  You deserve it!


Honey-Oat Waffles with Fresh Blueberries
adapted from The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole-wheat flour
1/2 c. old-fashioned oats, coarsely ground
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. honey
4 TBSP (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. fresh blueberries
plain low-fat yogurt, for topping
extra honey, for drizzling
fresh blueberries, for topping
canola oil cooking spray

Directions:
1.  Preheat your waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.  Also heat oven to 250 degrees to use a warmer for waffles.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, honey, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Gently fold in blueberries.  Let rest five minutes.

4.  Spray the preheated waffle iron with cooking spray and pour in the appropriate amount of batter, as noted by the manufacturer's instructions.  As you finish waffles, put on a jelly roll pan in the oven.  Try not to stack waffles, as they will become soggy.

5.  When ready to eat, top waffles with yogurt, a drizzle of honey, and more fresh blueberries.  Enjoy!  Serves four.

two years ago: pina colada cupcakes and margarita cupcakes to celebrate the end of the first week of school

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

31 While 31--Salsa Verde

I put salsa verde on my list of thirty things to make while I'm thirty because M loves it.  The funny thing is, though, he meant tomatillo salsa when he told me he wanted me to find a salsa verde recipe that would become out go to.  Good thing this traditional salsa verde was AMAZING.  I served it over beer-marinated flank steak and boy was it a hit!  Lucky for us, we had leftovers to put over scrambled eggs the next morning.  In the end, I don't think M minded the little mix up.


Salsa Verde

Ingredients:
1 c. packed fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
1/3 c. packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 c. packed fresh mint leaves
1 garlic clove
2 tsp. capers, soaked and drained
1/2 anchovy fillet (optional)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more, to taste
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

Directions:
1.  Roughly chop the parsley, basil and mint and transfer to a blender. Add the garlic, capers, anchovy (if using), mustard, red pepper flakes and the 1/2 cup olive oil. Blend until the mixture is smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute, adding more oil, if needed.

2.  Pour the mixture into a small bowl. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and black pepper. Makes about 1 cup. 

one year ago: chicken and black bean quesadillas with warm corn salsa

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

31 While 31--Beer-Marinated Flank Steak

I'm seriously off track with my Thirty.  I got a good start, then slacked a bit.  I'm trying to get back on track, so I found a way to make two recipes in one night.  And boy. were. they. GOOD.  (As if I had any doubt about a recipe by Stephen Raichlen.)

This flank steak couldn't have been easier and it was so tasty with a healthy drizzle (okay, maybe a mound) of traditional salsa verde, which I made the night before.  This is a meal both M and I scarfed down.  We can't wait to have it again!


Beer-Marinated Flank Steak
from Bon Appetit, July 2009

Ingredients:











  • 2 1 1/3-pound flank steaks





























  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano





























  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin





























  • Coarse kosher salt





























  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil





























  • 11/4 cups thinly sliced green onions (about 6)





























  • 1 12-ounce bottle dark beer





























  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce






























  • 2 1 1/3-pound flank steaks





























  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano





























  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin





























  • Coarse kosher salt





























  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil





























  • 11/4 cups thinly sliced green onions (about 6)





























  • 1 12-ounce bottle dark beer





























  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce



















  • 2 (1 1/3 lb.) flank steaks
    1 TBSP dried oregano
    2 tsp. ground cumin
    coarse Kosher salt
    1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
    6 green onions, thinly sliced
    1 (12 oz.) bottle dark beer
    1/2 c. Worcestershire sauce

    Directions:
    1.  Using sharp knife, lightly score flank steaks about 1/8 inch deep on both sides in a crisscross pattern at 1/2-inch intervals. Place steaks in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle steaks on both sides with oregano and cumin and generous amount of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle olive oil over both sides of steaks, rubbing oil and spices into meat. Add green onions, beer, and Worcestershire sauce, turning steaks several times to coat both sides. Cover and chill at least three hours and up to one day, turning occasionally.  Keep chilled.

    2.  Heat grill or cast iron grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush lightly with oil. 

    3.  Grill steaks to desired doneness, three to four minutes total per side for medium-rare, turning steaks 1/4 turn after 1 1/2 minutes to form crisscross grill marks, if desired. Increase time as desired, but do not overcook as flank steak can become tough.  

    4.  Transfer steaks to cutting board; let rest five minutes. Thinly slice steaks across grain.  Top with salsa verde and serve.

    two years ago: whole-wheat penne with turkey sausage, peas, and mushrooms











  • 2 1 1/3-pound flank steaks





























  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano





























  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin





























  • Coarse kosher salt





























  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil





























  • 11/4 cups thinly sliced green onions (about 6)





























  • 1 12-ounce bottle dark beer





























  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce



















  • Sunday, August 15, 2010

    Banana-Buttermilk Muffins

    Tomorrow is the first day of school!  Hooray!  I can't wait to meet all my new kiddos and get to work teaching them all that I can manage to cram into 180 days.

    Every year, I bring a bunch of muffins to put in the teachers lounge.  The first day of school takes about as much energy as the other 179 days combined, so I've got to bring something that will give my coworkers the boost they need.  With whole grains, bananas, and walnuts, these muffins should do the trick.  Plus, a muffin is the perfect portable snack for that last minute run from the teachers' lounge to the classroom!


    Banana-Buttermilk Muffins
    from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking

    Ingredients:
    1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
    3/4 c. whole-wheat flour
    1/2 c. sugar (less if your bananas are very sweet)
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 c. low-fat buttermilk
    1 c. mashed ripe banana
    2 TBSP canola oil
    1 large egg
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

    Directions:
    1.  Preheat oven to 375 degree Farenheit.  Spray a standard-sized muffin tin (the recipe will make 12 to 15 muffins) with canola oil spray or use paper liners.

    2.  In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.

    3.  In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, banana, canola oil, egg, and vanilla.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just blended.

    4.  Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, filling each about three-fourths full.  (I like to use a standard-sized scoop.)  Sprinkle the tops evenly with walnuts.

    5.  Bake the muffins until they are very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes, then turn out and let cool completely.  The muffins will keep in a sealed container at room temperature for two to three days or in the freezer for up to two months.

    one year ago: M's absolute favorite lemon bars made with homemade lemon curd
    two years ago: Muffin-Palozza 2008--whole-wheat apple walnut muffins, blueberry-yogurt muffins, and zucchini-lemon muffins

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Greek Salad

    It's always been funny to me when people talk about Labor Day weekend being the end of summer.  Growing up in Oklahoma, summer temperatures stuck around for the better part of September.  Here in Arizona, they can last until Halloween on a particularly bad year.

    What I do know, though, is that some food are best when they are in season.  Apples, for example.  They're fine year round, but they are certainly best in the fall.  Peaches.  Don't even think about buying them in January.  You won't like what you get.  Tomatoes too.  Sure, we all buy them year round because so many recipes call for them, but we all know there is something extra special about a vine-ripened summer tomato.  The color is bright, the flavor sweet, and the juiciness is just perfect.

    So while summer may not be coming to a close here in the Sonoran desert, I do know tomato season will soon be ending.  And I know that means I need to make a conscious effort to make a few dishes, like this easy, healthy, and colorful Greek salad, that will highlight tomatoes while they're at their seasonal best. 


    Greek Salad
    slightly adapted from www.williams-sonoma.com

    Ingredients:
    2 red bell peppers, cut into one-inch chunks
    1 green bell pepper, cut into one-inch chunks
    2 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
    2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
    1 red onion, thinly sliced
    1⁄2 lb. feta cheese, cut into one-inch cubes
    2 cloves garlic, finely minced
    3⁄4 c. Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
    6 anchovy fillets (optional)
    2 TBSP capers, rinsed (you may wish to use 3 TBSP if you omit the anchovies)
    1⁄4 c. red wine vinegar
    2 TBSP minced fresh dill
    1 tsp. dried oregano
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
    1⁄3 c. fruity extra-virgin olive oil 

    Directions:
    1.  In a large bowl, combine the bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese, olives, anchovies and capers and toss together.

    2.  In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, dill, oregano, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to make a thick dressing. 

    3.  Pour the dressing over the salad, toss, and serve immediately. Keeps in the refrigerator for two days.  Serves eight.

    one year ago: Delicious creamy blueberry frozen yogurt and the first meal my fiance and I ever cooked together, summer shrimp salad.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Fresh Fruit Tart

    I've often remarked that one of my favorite things about summer is the abundance of fresh fruit.  As a kid, I looked forward to fresh fruit salad with every.  single.  meal.  As an adult, it's not much different.  With this love of sweet summer fruit in mind, it didn't take me long to know I wanted to make a fresh fruit tart as the dessert to our recent engagement dinner.  Served it alongside a bottle of dessert wine we purchased on the day of our engagement, it was a perfect finish to a perfect evening.


    Fresh Fruit Tart
    Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

    Ingredients:
    For the tart shell:
    3/4 c. unsalted butter at room temperature
    1/2 c. granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
    1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
    pinch of salt

    For the pastry cream (makes enough for two nine or ten-inch tarts):
    6 extra-large egg yolks at room temperature
    3/4 c. granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
    3 TBSP cornstarch
    2 c. whole milk
    2 TBSP unsalted butter
    1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    2 TBSP heavy cream (I used half and half)
    1 TBSP Cognac or brandy

    For the topping, you may use any fresh fruit you like.  Ina suggests grouping the fruits together and leaving stems on for a French-style presentation.  I decided not to do this because I wanted each guest to get some of all the fruits I chose.

    Directions:
    1.  To make the tart shell, mixer the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until they are just combined.  Add the vanilla extract.

    2.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add to the butter mixture.  Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.

    3.  Generously dust your working surface with flour and turn the dough out onto the surface.  Using a rolling pin also dusted with flour, shape your dough into a circle large enough to cover a 10-inch round tart pan.  Press the dough into the tart pan and trim the edges so they are even.  Chill the dough in the pan until firm.

    4.  When ready to bake the shell, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Butter or spray one side of a piece of foil and place it, buttered side down, on the tart shell.  Fill with dry beans, rice, and pie weights and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and beans and prick the tart shell several times with a fork.  Bake again for 18-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

    5.  To make the pastry cream, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for about three minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  The mixture should become light yellow and fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.  On low speed, beat in the cornstarch.

    6.  Bring the milk to a bowl in a large saucepan and, with the mixer on low, slowly pour it into the egg mixture.  Once all of the milk is incorporated, return the mixture to the saucepan.

    7.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick, about ten minutes.  (Don't worry if the mixture looks clumpy for a couple of minutes.  If you're whisking or stirring consistently, it will relax.)  Bring to a boil and cook on low heat two to three minutes more.  Taste to be sure the cornstarch is cooked.

    8.  Remove from the heat, mix in the vanilla, butter, cream, and Cognac or brandy, and strain into a bowl.  Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.

    9.  To assemble the tart, spread the chilled pastry cream even over the interior surface of the cooled tart shell.  Arrange the fruit to your liking.  Ina recommends assembling the tart no more than a few hours before serving, as a baked shell or finished tart should not be refrigerated.

    One year ago: quick jerk-style chicken with cool pineapple salsa
    two years ago: chicken enchilada casserole

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Garlic Rice Pilaf

    This side dish was another winner from Annie.  Toasting the rice gave it a rich and nutty flavor, which provided a great base for the sweet roasted garlic.  When it was finished, it perfectly suited the lemon chicken I served it with.  Plus, it couldn't have been much easier to prepare, as you can have it in the oven well before your guests arrive.


    Garlic Rice Pilaf

    Ingredients:
    2 TBSP butter
    3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
    1 c. long-grain white rice
    2 1/2 c. chicken broth, divided
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. pepper
    squeeze of lemon juice

    Directions:
    1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.  Have a covered casserole dish ready.  

    2.  Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and rice and cook until both are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir in one cup of the chicken broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  

    3.  Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, cover, and bake for 25 minutes.  

    4.  Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and bake, covered, for another 45 minutes.  About 15 minutes before it is finished baking, stir in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. 

    **Note: This recipe doubled beautifully without changing the baking time.

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    Lemon Chicken

    This delicious chicken served as the main dish for my summer engagement dinner.  The flavors were perfect, especially for warm weather.  The lemon came through beautifully, the chicken was perfectly moist, and the skin was golden and crunchy.  The best part of it all, though, was how easy it was to make, particularly for a dinner party.  I put the chicken in the marinade that morning and had it in the oven before the guests even arrived.  It doesn't get much easier than that!


    Lemon Chicken

    Ingredients:
    2 TBSP lemon zest
    1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
    1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. black pepper
    2-4 lbs. of bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
    2-3 TBSP melted butter
    thinly sliced lemons, for garnished

    Directions:
    1.  In a large plastic bag with a zipper top, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Seal the bag and shake well to blend.  Put the chicken pieces in the bag with the marinade, press out the excess air, and seal again.  Refrigerate and let marinate for at least two hours and up to eight hours.

    2.  Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and transfer to a baking dish, skin-side up, reserving the leftover marinade.  Brush the top of each piece of chicken with melted butter.

    3.  Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the dish from the oven and pour the remaining marinade over the chicken.  Return the chicken to the oven and bake 15-20 more minutes for light meat and 20-25 more minutes for dark meat.  

    4.  Once fully baked, cover loosely with foil and let rest ten minutes before serving.  Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with lemon slices and serve.

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    Engagement Dinner

    When two people come together and decide they are going to spend the rest of their lives together, it only seems natural to have a dinner party to bring the families together.  This particular dinner party went beautifully.  The families got along famously, the food was delicious, and the couple beamed all night.

     
    So just who is the lucky-in-love couple?

    I'll give you a clue.

    Half of the couple involves M, who you've heard so much about on this blog over the last year or so.


    The other half is...

    ME!  That's right, readers!  That gorgeous ring you saw in the picture of above sits on MY finger.  EEEEEEE!!!  How in the world did I get so lucky?  


    I can't believe I'll soon get to call this wonderful man, who proposed to me with the sweetest words under an oak tree at the oldest vineyard in Napa, my husband.  


    Sigh.  I am so blessed.

    And with that news, readers, you can bet I'll be stepping up the healthy recipes on this blog.  I mean, I've got to get in the best shape of my life so I'll look perfect on the best day of my life.  There will still be sweet treats.  Don't worry about that.  It's just that I'll have to save a small portion for M and I and send the rest to work with one of us.  Seems like a fair trade :-)  For now, I leave you with the menu from our engagement dinner.  I'll be posting these recipes over the next few days.

    Engagement Dinner

    Appetizers:
    cheese board 
    olive tapenade
    Pink Lady apple slices
    assortment of crackers

    Main Course:
    King Estate Signature Pinot Gris (from M's home state)

    Dessert:
    Whitehall Lane Belmuscato (purchased the day M and I got engaged)