Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Made Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing

Tuesday nights in our house are quickly turning into Madeley Family dinners.  Not intending to start a tradition, we asked Brian's dad to join us for dinner a few weeks ago while B's Mom was out of town.  Week 1 we enjoyed Flank Steak with 'Poppy' at our house.  Week 1 turned into week 2 at Kathleen's Sky Diner and tonight we enjoyed this wonderful grilled chicken with fresh basil dressing with both of Brian's parents, Poppy and Peaches, back at our house.  I love hearing about the Madeley's having dinner with their parents when they first got married.  Sometimes I think that we are much like Peaches & Poppy having dinner with their parents, talking about all the happenings of the week and laughing at recent stories.  At the close of dinner I was told, "That was delicious Mrs. Madeley" and thought Peaches might have said that to another Madeley woman so many years back.    

Tuesday nights are starting to become some of my favorites as we carry on a tradition of family dinners!

We all enjoyed this wonderful chicken off the grill and incredibly tasty basil dressing.  Peaches brought roasted vegetables as our side dish and I could not help but nearly drinking the dressing so I coated the veggies in the dressing.  Yum!  

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs. fresh lemon juice, plus 1/4 c. (2 large lemons)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
5 chicken breasts 
1 3/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 large garlic clove
1 tsp. grated lemon peel

Whish 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 tbs. lemon juice, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.  Pour mixture into resealable plastic bag.  Add the chicken breasts and seal the bag for marinating.  Massage the marinade into the chicken and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes - the longer the better.

Blend the basil, garlic, lemon peel, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper in blender or food processor until smooth.  I added the additional 3/4 cup basil as my mixture was too soupy at first.  Gradually blend in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil.  Test the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Prepare the grill on high heat.  Remove chicken from marinade, discarding the marinade, and place pieces on the grill.  Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook on each side 8-10 minutes.  Transfer the cooked chicken to a serving platter and drizzle sauce or serve separately in a side dish.  

My notes:
The original recipe calls for fennel seeds but I omitted because I did not have any.  It also calls for pieces of bone-in chicken.  I just used the amount of chicken I knew we would eat.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Made Bolognese

I have not been this excited for a post since Made Like Madeley joined the cyberspace world.  This Weeknight Bolognese recipe from the Barefoot Contessa was a process that started a few days back when I watched Ina make this dish.  She makes it look so easy so I thought I would give it a whirl.  My lunch yesterday was the second unexpected step, as I ate at a wonderful Dallas hot-spot, Jimmy's Food Store.  Besides an amazing Italian sandwich, I picked up some of the groceries for our dinner - authentic Italian items I was grinning ear-to-ear about.  Never heard of San Marzano tomatoes, never bought Italian wine and NEVER purchased fresh, imported Parmigiano Reggiano.  Going to Jimmy's for some of my items beat the heck out of Tom Thumb - no offense to my weekly grocer.  Here are the next few steps with more pictures than I usually post but I was just having so much fun!!
2 tbs. olive oil, plus extra to cook the pasta
1 lb. lean ground sirloin
4 tsp. minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 c. Chianti wine, divided
1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes, San Marzano (I bought whole and crushed myself)
2 tbs. tomato paste
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb. Orecchiette pasta
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-heat.  Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5-7 minutes, until browned.  I got over myself and did not drain the fat…a first for me!!

Stir in garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute.

Pour one cup of the Chianti into the skillet and stir to scrape up and browned bits.  It smells as good as it looks!

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, stirring until combined.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.  While simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, a splash of oil, and the pasta and cook according to directions on the package.

Now to my favorite part - adding the lovely cream and finishing the sauce.  Add the nutmeg, fresh basil (grow your own - it's more fun), cream and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.
While smelling the flavors of your fabulous sauce, grate 1/2 cup of Parmesan for tossing and of course you will want extra while seated at your table.  Can you see the rainbow on the Parmesan?!  It's a sign that I should never again buy pre-grated Parmesan.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl.  Add the sauce and Parmesan, tossing well.
Enjoy a little glass of Chianti and this wonderful Italian dish.

What I would do next time:
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes as there was more kick than I expected

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Made Egg Salad with a twist of Pioneer Woman

She is just so good and when I check out her blog, I cannot resist!!  I have not had egg salad since I was a little girl at Thanksgiving shoving deviled eggs in my mouth with the red "sprinkles" on top.  And have definitely not made it since being married - had to even ask if B liked egg salad.  It was a yes so I made Avocado Egg Salad for lunch!
8 hard boiled eggs, peeled
2 whole avocados, pitted
4 tbs. mayonnaise
3 tsp. red wine vinegar (I used white)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. chives, chopped

 Combine all ingredients except for chopped chives in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a few times, scraping the bowl once or twice if necessary.  Continue pulsing until salad reaches the consistency you want: chunky or smooth.  Check the seasoning and get ready to spread!

Slice up some great bread; I used homemade wheat bread that B and I have enjoyed making.  Then chop your chives.

If you want, you can mix mayo and dijon or just use the egg salad only on your bread.  The dijon gave our sandwiches a nice little kick.

Spread the egg salad generously over your bread, top with chives and add a nice juicy tomato.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Made Orzo…from Barefoot Contessa

The Barefoot Contessa has caught my eye lately with her lovely cookbooks and wonderful recipes.  I LOVE orzo so Memorial Day weekend when I was flipping through one of Ina's cookbooks, this recipe,  Orzo with Roasted Vegetables, caught my eye.  The White Rock Local Market would be a great place to stop in and pick up all the veggies for my dish.  If you live in the Dallas area and don't want to make the trek to the downtown market, this is a great option every 2nd and 4th Saturday.  My buddy and blogger friend, Merritt, enjoyed the market with me.  Check out her great blog with real thoughts and experiences on marriage - http://www.livesimplylove.com/.  Thankful for her faithful friendship AND compost that we are inheriting as she and her husband move to the mountains.  Love you, MO!
1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 lb. orzo

For the dressing:
1/3 cup squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

To assemble: 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup pignolis, toasted (WHAT?!)
3/4 lb. feta, 1/2-inch diced
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (stack & roll leaves like a cigar and cut across)

There are alot of ingredients but you can do it and it is WORTH IT!!  I substituted a few items as I have no idea what "pignolis" are and really wanted
to try the Indian Eggplant from the market.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion and garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet.  Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with spatula.

Cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender.  Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.  Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour on the past and vegetables.  Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta and basil.  Taste test to check the seasonings and serve at room temperature.

This is a wonderful dish served with your favorite summer iced tea or refreshing sip of wine.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Made Southwestern Flank Steak

A great steak to enjoy for a Country Christmas dinner or a 99 degree Texas evening.  In December 2007, you would have found me having a major anxiety attack at the thought of just preparing the marinade for this flank steak, to be served at my family's Christmas dinner the next day.  But I did just that with a little help from a great sister-in-law who prepared me for the task.  Now, 3 1/2 years later, I am a big girl mixing the marinade, scoring the steak and making the fresh Triple-Fruit Salsa.  Look at me now - thanks ET!!

1 (1 1/2 lb.) flank steak
1/4 c, orange juice
2 tbs. chili sauce
2 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp. grated orange rind
2 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 medium-size orange, thinly sliced
Triple-Fruit Salsa (see below)
Garnishes: orange wedges, fresh cilantro sprigs

Score steak diagonally across the grain at 1-inch intervals and set aside until combining with the marinade and orange slices.

Combine orange juice and next 9 ingredients.  Place oranges on top of steak in zip-lock bag.  Pour marinade over steak and orange slices.

Seal and marinate for 8+ hours.  The longer the better!!

Remove steak from marinade, discarding marinade.  Grill steak, covered over medium-high heat (350-400 degrees) 7 to 8 minutes on each side or to desired doneness.  Let stand 5 minutes.

To serve, slice steak diagonally across the grain into thins slices.  Top with Triple-Fruit Salsa.

1 c. diced fresh pineapple, undrained
1 c. chopped fresh mango
1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
3/4 c. diced sweet red pepper
3 tbsp. minced, fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, tossing gently.  Cover and chill up to 8 hours.  Let stand at room temperature before serving with a slotted spoon to drain the juice.

Father-in-laws will love this!!  Glad you joined us for dinner, Poppy!!