Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Weekend of great recipes

                                                                                           Picture from Cooking Light

Photo from Epicurious

This weekend I prepared two dinners, which besides being delicious were pretty easy to whip up after a long day of errands and yard work: Grilled Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Crusty Mustard Dill Meatloaf. Both were fantastic and as a side dish I prepared a dish which always makes me happy… Mark Bittman’s Swiss-Style Cheese Bake. I cannot say enough about this veggie-loaded side, and as usual with Bittman, you're limited only by your own pantry and imagination here - swapping out types of veggies and cheese on a whim. I will only make on recommendation about the Bittman Cheese Bake, don’t leave out the walnuts!

Tuscan Lemon Chicken
Barefoot Contessa

1 1/2-pound chicken, flattened
Kosher salt
1/3 cup good olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved

Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt on each side. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a small measuring cup. Place the chicken in a ceramic or glass dish just large enough to hold it flat. Pour the lemon marinade over the chicken, turning it in the dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the chicken 2 or 3 times while marinating.

When ready to grill, prepare a hot charcoal fire on 1 side of a grill (or turn a gas grill on low heat). Spread 1/4 of the coals across the other side of the grill. Place the chicken on the cooler side, skin side up, and weigh it down with the dish you used for marinating. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the underside is golden brown. Turn the chicken skin side down, weight again with the dish, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Place the lemon halves on the cool side of the grill, cut side down for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut in quarters, sprinkle with salt, and serve with the grilled lemon halves.

Crusty Mustard-Dill MeatLoaf
Bon Appétit

1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 pounds meat loaf mix (I used half ground bison, half ground pork, I don't eat babies)
1/2 cup minced onion
1 large egg
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix 1/2 cup broth and oats in medium bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Mix in meat, onion, egg, dill, mustard, salt, and pepper. Transfer mixture to rimmed baking sheet; shape into two 3x6-inch rectangular loaves.

Bake meat loaves until browned and cooked through and thermometer inserted into center registers 160°F, about 25 minutes. Using large spatula, transfer loaves to platter. Place baking sheet directly atop 2 burners. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth to sheet. Boil pan juices over high heat until reduced by half, scraping up browned bits, about 2 minutes. Pour sauce over loaves and serve.

Swiss-Style Cheese Bake
Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

Butter or EVOO for greasing the baking dish(es)
2 cups grated Fontina, Emmenthal, Gruyere, Chantal, Cheddar or Jack cheese
1 Tbsp cornstarch*
3 cups cooked potato cubes (boiled or roasted, peeled or not)
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cups roughly chopped cooked asparagus, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts, green beans...
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

If you’re baking immediately, preheat the oven to 375. Grease and 8 inch square baking pan with a little butter or olive oil. Toss the grated cheese with the cornstarch until it is coated evenly.

Spread the potatoes evenly in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and half the cheese mixture. Top with the vegetable, a little more salt and pepper, and the remaining cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the walnuts if you and the Parmesan. Cover tightly with foil. (The dish may be assembled up to this point and refrigerated for up to a day. Bring to room temperature and preheat the oven before proceeding.)

Put the pan in the oven and bake, covered, until the cheese melts and the vegetables are hot, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the cheese is golden and bubbly, another ten minutes or so. Sprinkle with parsley if you’re using it and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

*the cornstarch is a great addition here which is added to keep the grated cheese shreds "separate" so that they melt properly into the dish. Think about how cheese topping melts into sort of a solid piece. That doesn't happen here; it integrates with the potatoes and vegetables rather than just laying there in a sheet... such a good idea.

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