Monthly Archives: July 2014

Corn and Chicken Salad

 

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My grandparents had a tiny farm south east of Boston where they raised quarter horses, had the obligatory dog, and an occasional goat and/or pig. Their neighbors, Russ and Doris, had horses and chickens. I would routinely sit and watch their plumed tenants pecking around the yard, scratching the dirt, and forcefully clucking at each other. Their feathers would be ruffled over tiny turf wars and a host of other more mysterious unfolding dramas. Russ would toss dried corn at the clucking masses and it was great fun to gawk at their inability to share a good meal together. So is it any surprise that the combination of corn and chicken tastes so good? After watching the joy that just a simple handful of corn provides a flock of poultry, it’s obvious why they’re a marriage made in hen houses. 

It was a warm day and I had a craving for a corn and chicken salad for dinner. After perusing the fridge and cabinets to see what I had on hand, I took a ride to Whole Foods to pick up a few ears of corn and a whole roasted chicken. Here’s what you’ll need.

Corn and Chicken Salad (Serves 6-8)

1 whole roasted chicken

3 ears of corn

2 cups cooked jasmine rice (I had rice leftover from Thai takeout)

1 jalapeno

½ medium red onion, minced and rinsed (rinsing with cold water removes the harshness of the onion)

1/3 cup crumbled feta

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 ripe avocado

1/3 cup fresh basil chiffonade (julienned)

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. canola oil

½ tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

 

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Husk the ears and shave the corn off of the cobs. Add the oil and butter to a cast iron pan (or non-stick) and put on medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the corn. Cook the corn until it’s slightly charred.

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 Julienne the jalapeno pepper and dice into small pieces.

 

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Dice the avocado.

 

Shred the chicken and place it in a large bowl.

 

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Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl containing the chicken. Make your dressing.

 

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Dressing

3 tbsp. of white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. of Dijon mustard

¼ cup EVOO (I used lemon flavored EVOO)

Pinch of sugar

A pinch of salt and pepper.

 

Add the vinegar, Dijon, salt, sugar, and pepper to a small bowl. Mix.

 

Add the EVOO and mix again until well emulsified. Add the dressing to the salad and mix well again. Enjoy.

 

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Eat well!!

April

“You are what you eat eats.” – Michael Pollan

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spatchcock Chicken

Spatchcock Chicken

 

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Spatchcocking, a.k.a. “spattlecocking,” a chicken is a quick and dirty way to achieve the most succulent bird you’ve ever tasted in 15 minutes less time than if you were roasting a whole bird. All you need is a strong stomach (spatchcocking is a gooey business), a whole chicken, sturdy boning scissors, kosher salt and fresh pepper, two-aluminum foil wrapped bricks, and, preferably, a cast iron pan.

First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

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And now for the bird. If your butcher presents you with a bird concerned with modesty, begin by uncrossing its legs, and remove the excess flaps of skin used to keep its legs closed. After that process, remove the neck, etc., that your butcher has so helpfully removed for you and stuffed inside the cavity. Now rinse your chicken and pat dry.

 Flip your bird over so the breast side is down on your cutting board. You are now presented with the bird’s backbone. Take your boning scissors and cut along the backbone on both sides. I prefer to remove most of the back so my bird becomes flat, which increases the skin contact with the pan creating more crispalicious skin! Take care not to cut yourself while performing your backbone-ectomy, as the bones are very sharp.

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 After you remove the backbone, rinse your bird and pat dry again.

 

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Place your bird breast side up on the cutting board and press down until the bird is fully flat.

Sprinkle a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper all over the skin. Flip it over, breast side down, into your pan.

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Place the two bricks on the chicken and slide the pan into the oven (I used our wood-fired oven).

 Roast the bird until it reaches 165 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven and take off the bricks.

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Flip the bird over and very carefully place it on a clean cutting board. Let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. Resting helps the juices absorb back into the meat. If you cut into the bird too soon, all of that juicy deliciousness runs out onto your cutting board and that’s just criminal. 

Eat well! 

April 

“Sins, like chickens, come home to roost.” – Charles W. Chesnutt

Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebobs with Quinoa Salad

 

Yogurt Marinated Chicken with Quinoa Salad
Serves 4
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For the Chicken
  1. 1 tbsp. of minced cilantro
  2. 2 cloves of minced garlic
  3. 1 small onion (peeled and chopped enough to fit into food processor)
  4. 1 cup Fage 2% yogurt
  5. 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. Golchin chicken kebab seasoning
  6. 4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, pounded into uniform thickness, then cut into 1. 5 inch chunks
  7. For the Quinoa
  8. 1.5 cups cooked white quinoa
  9. 1 finely shredded carrot
  10. 1 finely shredded mini-bell pepper
  11. 1/4 cup reserved Fage yogurt marinade
  12. 1 avocado, diced
  13. 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  14. 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  15. 2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
  16. 1/2 large lemon, juiced
For Chicken
  1. Add the cilantro, garlic, onion, yogurt, and kebab seasoning to your food processor. Pulse until you have a smooth consistency. Put your marinade (minus the 1/4 cup for your quinoa salad) into a large Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and let steep for a minimum of four hours.
  2. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and thread onto a skewer. Place the kebabs on a non-stick griddle placed over the grill. Be sure it's very hot before you put the kebabs on. Turn the skewers once the chicken releases from the pan and you have a nice brown crust. Remove from the grill when an internal temp. of 165-degrees has been reached. Sprinkle with finishing salt and pepper. Let rest and serve.
For the Quinoa Salad
  1. Pour the lemon juice over all of the ingredients together and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Notes
  1. Great meal for a hot summer night!
Hands Across the Table http://handsacrossthetable.com/
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Monica had an errand in Laguna Hills yesterday and I asked if I could tag along. Yes, I’m that clingy parent right now who’s “tagging along” wherever she goes. She leaves for college soon and I just can’t help it. Anyway, we found ourselves within shouting distance of a market that I feel compelled to visit whenever I find myself in that area: Jordan Market. It’s stuffed full of exotic treasures and I could spend an entire day examining the unfamiliar labels if only the aisles weren’t one dachshund wide.

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I rummaged through Jordan’s phone booth-sized spice section looking for something to use on chicken and found a Persian chicken kebob seasoning made by Golchin. It looked intriguing. The spice ingredients are – in order: sumac (made from the ground fruit of a flowering plant that grows in subtropical and temperate climates) onion, pepper, garlic, saffron, salt, and other spices. After reading the recipe instructions on the back, I decided to put my own stamp on the marinade and made some additions. Here’s what you’ll need to feed a family of four:

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Chicken

1 tbsp. of minced cilantro

2 cloves of minced fresh garlic

1 small onion (peeled and chopped enough to fit into a food processor)

1 cup Fage 2% yogurt

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. Golchin chicken kebab seasoning (there’s salt already in the seasoning)

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, pounded into uniform thickness, then cut into 1.5 inch squares

Add the cilantro, garlic, onion, yogurt, and kebab seasoning to your food processor and pulse until you have a smooth consistency.

Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade for your quinoa salad and scrape the remaining marinade into a large Ziploc bag. Add the chicken cubes to the yogurt marinade and let the chicken cubes steep for a minimum of four hours.

Quinoa Salad

1.5 cups cooked white quinoa

1 finely shredded carrot

1 finely shredded mini-bell pepper

¼ reserved Fage yogurt marinade

1 avocado, diced

¼ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts

½ large lemon, juiced

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. The lemon juice will help stave off the browning: oxidation, of the avocado. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

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Take your chicken out of the marinade and thread onto skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, make sure they’ve been soaked for at least 30 minutes prior to use. Rather than put the kebabs directly on the grill rack, and have all that delicious marinade drip between the grates, I placed a non-stick griddle on the rack to sear my kebabs. Make sure the griddle is good and hot before you put the kebabs on. Turn the skewers once the chicken releases from the pan and you have a nice brown crust.

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Jordan market is located at 24771 Alicia Parkway in Laguna Hills. They specialize mostly in Mediterranean, German, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Turkish, Arabic, and Persian foods, but you’ll find many European and South American specialties, too. The also have a “halal” meat section, which simply means that the animal was butchered according to Islamic dietary laws.

If a drive to Laguna Hills seems daunting, your claustrophobic, or you live elsewhere, you can order the seasoning online at amazon.com or ofdusa.com (over seas food distribution).

 

Eat well!

April

“Food should be fun” – Thomas Keller

Keller’s iconic French Laundry just celebrated it’s 20th year in Napa. Bravo!