So I missed 3 posts in one week, but not really. Y'see, nobody counts Mondays as posting days -- especially not the first Monday back to work after a long break. And anyways, Saturdays shouldn't count, especially not this past Saturday, because I was cleaning. I did laundry. I picked up my floordrobe and put it all in the closet or the chest'o'drawers. That's gotta count for something, even if it's not actually blogging.
So this is the third post of last week, and the first post of this week. Sunday's a good day to start things over, right?
Wednesday, January 7
Our friends Steele and Laura came over for dinner!! I got to use my food processor!! I got to make ORZO!!! And Steele brought some of his amazing HOMEBREW!!!
It was a good night.
For dinner, I cooked a variation on Chicken Kiev, and orzo with spinach pesto. Mmmm....
For the compound butter, instead of shallot, garlic, and thyme, I used minced onion that had been rehydrated (why chop an onion when you're only using a tablespoon?), I think a small garlic clove, parsley, salt and pepper. And Butter. Obviously. I whirled it all around in my food processor Tuesday night, so that the flavors could get all comfy with each other overnight in the fridge. Then, I wrapped it up in parchment paper and let it sit.
Wednesday, Steele was incredibly helpful and smashed the crap out of the chicken breasts for me. I put 2 rounds of compound butter, a few spinach leaves, and some swiss cheese inside the chicken breast, and then rolled them up and proceeded as usual. They got to sit in the fridge for about an hour while we waited for Laura and Jesse to show up... which I think only helped things, because the recipe actually tells you to let them sit for about 4 hours after you've rolled them up - but who the hell has that kind of time??
They were baked as usual. WHile they were in the oven, I boiled the orzo and made the spinach pesto - about 2/3 of a bag of spinach, 1 garlic clove, some parsley, and salt, pepper, and cheese. Olive oil. A little lemon zest. WHIIRRRRLLL in the food-pro with some olive oil drizzled in until it was all delicious.
Thursday, January 8
Beer and pizza were required for watching the BCS title game -- Steele's homebrew, my cast-iron skillet pizza, and the Sooners..... sad. :(
The pizza, however, not sad. Delicious. I made my traditional pizza dough, no beer added because as much as Steele's delicious beer makes me want to bake, I wanted to drink it, not waste it in pizza dough. So, the crust got some flavor punch instead from some garlic powder and dried parsley. After it rose, I heated up some olive oil with 3 cracked garlic cloves, some red-pepper flake, and more dried parsley.
Once I formed the dough in the skillet, I brushed the bottom crust with the oil (which I never remember is not a good idea unless you're GRILLING the pizza - always makes it oily.), then topped it with sliced mozzarella, sliced tomato, spinach, thinly sliced shallot, more of the flavored oil, more torn mozzarella, and shredded parm. I baked it, sprinkling more parm over the crust at various intervals, and then.... finally.... nom!!!
Too bad the Sooners didn't do as well as the pizza. There's always next year, and at least I got to see the Sooner Schooner run around once! :)
Friday, January 9
This dinner was seriously whelming. So whelming, in fact, that I didn't want to take photos. The side dish was delicious and I will definitely make it again, but the chicken part wasn't as awesome as I was hoping.
I took 2 chicken breasts and seasoned them with salt and pepper, poultry seasoning. I cut pockets in both, and stuffed them with swiss cheese and sauteed mushrooms. I wrapped bacon around them at put them in to bake. Then, I sauteed some shallot and garlic, and added some chopped-up Red Chard. When it was all soft and darker green, I added about a cup of total liquid, which is too much. 1/3 of a cup of chicken broth, and 2/3 of water. I let that simmer away for a while, and then added about half a can of cannelini beans, with the liquid that was attached to the beans. And of course, salt, pepper, some red pepper flake. Usual suspects for when I make greens.
It simmered away until most of the liquid was reduced. I added about a tablespoon of butter and some grated parm, and served it with the chicken breasts.
I need to cut a bigger pocket in the chicken, I need a more flavorful filling, and I need to season more. Probably a stronger cheese. Maybe use skin-on chicken breasts if I can find them, I don't know. Something to work on. Jesse just suggested butterflying the chicken breasts, then stuffing and folding them over like a book. This is a good plan. We won't abandon this one just yet.
Saturday, January 10
The good old standby. RoniCheese. I used pre-shredded "seriously sharp" Cabot cheddar, and pre-shredded Kraft "nondescript swiss" cheese. I used tri-color radiatore. You may not know this about me, but I have some negative history with tri-color pasta. When I was in college, every time I'd buy the tri-color cheese tortellini from Barilla, I'd boil them in broth and eat them as a sort-of soup. And every time, the spinach ones would be undercooked. Spinach pasta and I have been at odds for a long time.
This time, however, the spinach pasta knew its role, and knew it was destined for some delicious cheese sauce bathing, so it cooked up properly and was pretty darn delicious. DuMont Burger uses radiatore pasta in their heavenly Mac & Cheese - the one that inspired me to make my own so I didn't have to pay 14 dollars every time I wanted some.... which is all the time.
I think I prefer the old standard of Cavatappi pasta, gruyere and ementaller cheese -- although the Leerdammer we had last time I made it was spectacular, so maybe we'll go with that instead of ementaller in the future.
In any event. This one was pretty good, and I can't complain. Especially because I'm about to go eat the left-overs. NOM!!!
Until next time. :)