Thursday, April 30, 2009

Grilled Lemon Chicken

From Cook's Illustrated ... back when I used to read it. We made it last weekend as Dallas weather was in the 80s and that just cries out for grilling.

Don't skip that second dousing in the lemon sauce combo. We did a before and after tasting and it really does make all the difference. You get a lemon zing but not too much. Truly delicious.

Grilled Lemon Chicken

Step 1:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, pressed

Heat oil and garlic until garlic starts to sizzle but not color. Remove from heat.

Step 2:
1 cup juice from 5 lemons
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

Mix with lemon juice and thyme in 9x13” dish; set aside.

Step 3:
2 chickens, cut up

Grill chicken until dark golden brown. When well colored, roll in lemon sauce to coat. Return pieces to grill; heat 5 minutes longer, turning and brushing with sauce once or twice more. Return pan and roll in sauce again.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Product Review: Garofalo Pasta

Thanks to one of those periods that come to us all every so often, my personal life has had one darned thing after another going wrong. These happen to be the sorts of things that required a lot of driving, dashing here and there, and (sadly) not really any time to think about cooking. Indeed, I had barely time to do any cooking. It was just a case of coming up with meals to fling on the table at the last minute for several weeks in a row.

In our household that means a definite dependence on pasta. There is rarely anything easier or more palatable than a pasta-based dish, salad, bread, and wine (oh yes, definitely the wine with the way that things were going ...).

You can therefore imagine my surprise and pleasure at receiving two samples of honest-to-goodness Italian pasta to try out. I was interested to see that this pasta has a 200-year-old history. Looking around the internet, I was intrigued to see that this pasta formerly was only available in Italy. Of course, regardless of a distinguished pedigree, the proof is in the tasting. I had ample opportunity to put them to the test.

First up was the Pappardelle, broad and long strips of pasta, that came in very handy on the night I had virtually nothing in the house to cook. I used them for Pasta with Parmigiano Regianno which not only had the virtue of being quick, simple, and using ingredients I had to hand, but also of allowing the pasta to shine forth with its own qualities. It was indeed delicious, firm to the tooth but tender, with a very good flavor. The only problem I had was that when I gave the pasta its first stir to keep it from sticking together after being allowed to sit in the boiling salted water for a bit the noodles themselves had a tendency to break. The length of about a third of them was therefore abbreviated but this didn't matter to us.

Secondly, the Radiatori was put to the test in a variation of Pasta Baked with Bechamel and Parmigiano. I had a generous amount of leftover turkey which I diced and only enough milk to make 2 cups of sauce instead of the 3 I needed to give the pasta enough creamy sauce to cover it. Interestingly, the Radiatori soaked up the sauce and retained all their tender but toothsome texture. It was truly delicious.

At first I thought that this pasta was not actually that different from the usual sort but then I realized that I already buy a high quality pasta. Therefore, what this meant was that Garofalo was standing up to a very high standard indeed. In fact, Hannah now has to take pasta from home to school for her cooking because in innocently trying the standard American sorts she has been greatly disappointed.

Garofalo is not only delicious but affordable. I see that:
Garofalo Signature pastas retail for $2.49 per pound and are available at popular
supermarkets including A&P, Kings and Costco, as well as New York based specialty
food retailers such as Food Emporium, D’Agostino and independent specialty food
stores in Chelsea Market.
Here's the complete list as well as an email address if you need another source.

Highly recommended.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

1-2-3-4 Peanut Butter Cookies

Rose is in a speech class in college. She has to make a persuasive speech and eschews the other very serious topics others have spoken about. For one thing, she's in a fine arts college and astutely notes, "You already know which side they're going to be on for those issues in our school and no one ever changes their mind on that stuff from those kind of speeches."

She went on, "I want to lighten it up. I want to talk them into baking. Everyone should bake. It will improve their lives."

No kidding.

Issues come and issues go. Meanwhile, cooking and baking continue in the background to improve lives, families, and ... dare I say it ... to restore our souls in this increasingly jaded world.

She will be touching on the fact that baking frozen lumps of cookie dough from a bag is not baking. That is merely being a technician. As well, she'll be informing classmates on the superiority in taste, health, quality, price, etc. of homemade versus store bought.

Here's the recipe she's going to give her classmates at the end of the speech. It is from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. It has the unique quality of being a cookie recipe with no flour in it. Both easy and delicious, I recall well when Rose baked these for us. I recommend you bake a batch for yourselves.

1-2-3-4 Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup (9-1/2 ounces) creamy or chunky peanut butter
1 large egg
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment (for easier cleanup, but sheets can be left unlined, and ungreased, if you prefer).

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the peanut butter, egg, sugar and baking soda until smooth. Drop the dough by the teaspoonful onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, or until they appear set. Remove them from the oven and cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Good Looking Shrimp Recipe for Upcoming Fast Day ...

... or for any day to tell the truth.

The photos and description of this Greek shrimp dish look so good that I wanted to throw this link out to everyone. Though the mention mastic resin gives me some pause as I think of ... however, that must mean it is truly authentic as you can find when you read this interesting article.