Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Roasted Rosemary & Garlic Chicken

This is the tastiest roast chicken I have ever tasted. It takes some pre-planning but it's definitely worth it!

chicken and brine
1/2 cup table salt
10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 whole chicken, giblets discarded

garlic-rosemary paste
2 t. minced fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil plus extra for brushing chicken
1-1/2 lb. small red potatoes, or larger ones quartered
10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1-1/2 T olive oil
salt and pepper

1. For the chicken and brine: Combine salt, garlic and rosemary in zip-lock bag, seal, pressing out air. Pound with meat pounder or rolling pin until garlic cloves are crushed. Transfer mixture to a large container or stockpot and stir in 2 cups boiling water, let stand 10 minutes to release flavors. Add a quart of cold tap water and stir until salt is dissolved. Submerge chicken in brine and refridgerate overnight (or longer; I've marinated it for up to two days).
2. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Set rack in small roasting pan and light spray with nonstick cooking spray.
3. For the paste: Stir together rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil in small bowl. Rub one teaspoon of paste in cavity of chicken. Carefully loosen skin over breast and thigh on each side; slip half of remaining paste under skin on each side of breast, then, using fingers, distribute paste over breast and thigh by rubbing surface of skin. Tie ends of drumsticks together with kitchen twine and tuck wings behind back. Rub all side of chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper. Set chicken breast-side down on rack and roast 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, toss potatoes, olive oil and salt and pepper in medium bowl. At end of 15 minutes, scatter potatoes in single layer in roasting pan, roast another 15 minutes.
5. Remove from oven, decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees. Turn chicken breast-side up, brush with oil, mix garlic in with potatoes and stir. Continue to roast until chicken is medium brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast and thigh registers about 160 to 175 degrees, respectively. Transfer chicken to large plate and allow to rest. Transfer potatoes and garlic to large paper towel-lined plate and pat with additional paper towels. Carve chicken and serve with potatoes and garlic.

Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash and Greens Over Bow-Tie Pasta

This is a seriously yummy dish. I'm a big fan of roasted vegetables because it causes the sugars to caramelize. Tossed with pasta, half-and-half and cheese, this dish is amazing!

roasted vegetables
butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-size chunks
large onion, peeled and cut into chunks
2 big handfuls of bitter greens washed, dried and torn into small pieces
1/3 cup tight-packed cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
16 large fresh sage leaves, torn into pieces
5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1 tight-packed T brown sugar
salt and pepper

pasta and finish
lb bow-tie pasta
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 to 1-1/2 cups shredded Asiago cheese

1. Slip large shallow sheet pan into oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Bring large pan of water to boil for pasta.
3. In large bowl toss all ingredients for roasted vegetables together. Be generous with salt and pepper.
4. Turn vegetable blend onto preheated sheet pan, and spread out. Roast for 25 minutes until squash is tender, turning the vegetables two or three times during roasted.
5. While vegetables roast, drop pasta into boiling water and cook until tender. Drain and put back into pan with a little olive oil and salt.
6. Once the squash is tender, turn on broiler to caramelize it. Watch the vegetables closely, turning the pieces often. Anticipate about five minutes under the broiler. You want crusty brown edges on the squash and wilted, almost crisp greens.
7. Scrape everything into a serving bowl. Add the half-and-half, hot pasta, and cheese. Toss well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pasta with Mushrooms and Peas

I found this recipe a few years ago on a blog called Tigers & Strawberries. It's very simple but a little time consuming. I typically take a book into the kitchen with me while making this because, while it doesn't have to be watched constantly, you do have to check on it periodically. I'm absent-minded enough that if I left the room, I'd forget about it until I smelled it burning. So instead I use the time to read while keeping an eye on it.

The flavor in this dish is so intense and delightful that it is totally worth the time it takes to make it! It's one of our favorite meatless meals because the mushrooms stand in for the meat in such a wonderful way that you don't feel like you're being cheated at all.

Since moving to Argentina, it's not easy to find some of the ingredients (like shiitake mushrooms and fresh or frozen peas) so I've substituted plain old button mushrooms, eliminated the peas altogether, and the dish is still delicious.

3 T butter or olive oil
2-1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
1 t salt
1 t Aleppo pepper (I usually substitute red pepper flakes)
3 baby portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 dried shiitake mushroom, rehydrated in boiling water, squeezed out, stem removed and cap thinly sliced
1-1/2 T minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup dry sherry
1-1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup shredded paresan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
pasta of your choice, prepared al dente

Heat butter or olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet or pan. Add onions, sprinkle with salt and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until they turn a deep golden color. [Note: this takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes so be patient!] Increase the heat to high, add Aleppo pepper and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the liquid from the mushrooms has mostly cooked off. Turn heat down to medium, add garlic and cook another minute or two.
Deglaze the pan with sherry, scraping up browned bits until the alcohol cooks off. Then add the cream and cook, stirring, until the cream coats the back of a spoon.
Add the peas and parmesan and cook until peas are a brilliant green, and the cheese has melted and incorporated into the sauce. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, add pasta to pan, remove from heat and stir and toss to coat the pasta thoroughly. Serve.