Monday, July 27, 2015

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches with Fig, Prosciutto, Parmesan and Arugula Salad with Chive Dressing

I am on a chicken kick this week. Although chicken thighs are higher in fat and calories than chicken breasts sometimes you just have to go for the flavor. Besides there are many worse things I could be eating.

Use the garlic dressing as sparingly or heavy as you like. Roasting the garlic bring out the sweetness. I prefer to use anchovy paste instead of mashing my own anchovies since it tends to have a milder flavor because it is mixed with vinegar and spices. My boys are not anchovy fans so I tend to go for the more subtle flavor. The original recipe called for double of what I added. Remember 1 anchovy fillet is equal to 1/2 tsp anchovy paste.

As far as the salad goes, we love roasted figs stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in prosciutto. I am trying to find healthier ways of eating them while they are in season.

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches with Garlic Dressing
adapted from Food & Wine June 2015

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 lemons, cut in half
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced
1 head of roasted garlic, cooled
6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp anchovy paste
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Romaine lettuce leaves
Your favorite buns, toasting optional

Combine 2 Tbsp olive oil with the lemon juice, rosemary and minced garlic. Put the chicken thighs in a resealable bag and add the marinade.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Arrange the lemon halves cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

To make the dressing, squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins into a small bowl and mash until smooth. Squeeze the flesh from the roasted lemons into the bowl and add any juices from the baking sheet. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil, the crème fraîche, cheese and anchovies paste and stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and grill, until cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes.

To make the sandwiches, arrange romaine leaves on the bottom half of each bun. Top each with chicken thighs. Spoon the dressing generously over the chicken . Close the sandwiches and serve immediately with more dressing on the side.
not the greatest pic but you get the gist 
Fig, Prosciutto, Parmesan and Arugula Salad with Chive Dressing
adapted from Gourmet July 1998 and Food & Wine June 2015

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped chives
1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 bag baby arugula
2 fresh figs
3 thin prosciutto slices , sliced into long strips
Parmesan shavings

For the vinaigrette, combine all of the ingredients and which until well incorporated.

For the salad, place the arugula in a bowls. 

Trim tough stem ends from the figs and cut each fig into 6 wedges. 

Toss arugula with about vinaigrette to taste and mound in center of each of individual plates. Arrange long prosciutto pieces in a ring around each mound of arugula, overlapping ends to secure . Arrange figs and Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings on and around salad and drizzle salads with more vinaigrette. 

Grilled Spice Rubbed Chicken Wings with Broccoli Slaw

If you have the time, brining the chicken before grilling leads to very tender, extra juicy meat. 
The CSA share had some broccoli this week. Just trying to mix it up a little.
My grill master hard at work.
Dinner on the Deck
 Grilled Chicken Wings with Spiced Dry Rub
adapted from Food & Wine June 2015
1/2 cup kosher salt
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
11 bay leaf
4 lbs chicken wings, wings split and tips removed and frozen for chicken stock 

Dry Rub 
1/4 cup granulated light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup paprika
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp onion powder
3/4 Tbsp finely ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp dry sage
1/2 Tbsp dry mustard
1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
1/2 Tbsp cayenne

To make the brine, combine the salt, sugar, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaf with 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar and salt dissolve, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 2 cups of ice cubes and let cool to room temperature.

Place the chicken wings and the brine in a resealable 1 gallon bag. It will all fit but it is helpful if someone is around to lend a hand as it can be a little challenging to close the bag. Refrigerate for 3 hours. I like to stand the bag in a bread pan to give the bag some support and prevent possible leakage.

To make the dry rub, mix all of the ingredients in a small container.

When ready to cook, drain the wings and pat dry with paper towels. Toss the wings with 1/3 cup of the dry rub. Grill over moderate heat, until nicely charred and cooked through, about 15 minutes. 

Serve hot with lime wedges.

Broccoli Coleslaw with Bacon and Raisins
adapted from Food & Wine June 2015

1 small head of broccoli, cut into bite size florets, steamed

1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar substitute
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup raisins
1/4 small red onion, minced
1/4 cup sunflower seed kernels
3 Tbsp real bacon bits 
Whisk the mayonnaise with the vinegar and sugar substitute in a bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the broccoli, raisins, onion, sunflower seeds and bacon bits. Toss to coat evenly. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cinnamon Cranberry Snack Mix

We have been into the snack mixes lately. I still prefer the savory ones but this one is pretty good too.

Cinnamon Cranberry Snack Mix
adapted from
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 cups rice cereal squares
1 cup mini pretzels
1/2 cup roasted almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

In large bowl, combine the cereal, pretzels and nuts. Pour the melted butter on top and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Stir well to coat.

Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven until beginning to toast, about 15 minutes. Stir once or twice during the cooking process. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried cranberries. Allow to cool then store in airtight container.

Open Faced BLT With Mixed Veggie Cream Cheese

Yesterday, we spent the day in Intercouse, PA. For those of you who are not familiar with Lancaster County, it is the heart of Amish country.  I, of course, had to make a stop at Stoltzfus Meats. I just love locally owned meat markets selling food sources from the area. We picked up some buffalo chicken and blue cheese sausages, tomato and basil sausages, Amish roll butter and bacon. The bacon was the inspiration for lunch.

Open Faced BLT With Mixed Veggie Cream Cheese
adapted from EveryDay with Rachael Ray March 2014

6 slices bacon
4 ounces whipped low fat cream cheese
3 scallions, chopped
1 large radish, chopped
1/2 small carrot, chopped
1/2 rib celery, chopped
1/4 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small clove garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp real bacon bits (I didn't want to waste the good bacon in the cream cheese spread)
1 bagels, split and toasted
Spring Mix Lettuce
Thin red onion slices
Thin  tomato slices
French Vinaigrette
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees . 

Arrange the bacon a rack in a rimmed baking pan. Bake until crisp about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels

In a small food processor, combine the scallions, radish, carrot, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Process util finely minced. Fold the vegetable mixture and bacon bits into the cream cheese.
Slather  a bagel half with the cream cheese mixture. Top each with red onion. half of the  bacon, tomato slices and some spring mix that was tossed with just a little bit of the vinaigrette. Season with to taste with salt and pepper.

This is what the veggie cream cheese looks like.

Croque Monsieur - Take 2

I made a slight variation to the Croque Monsieur recipe I made  few weeks ago. I toasted the bread before assembling the sandwiches. Still just as tasty but easier to pick up and eat.

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dip

My son loves dips. I have started making them with non-fat Greek yogurt and he has not noticed the difference.

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dip
adapted from
3 - 5.3 oz. containers non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 -  1 oz. packet ranch dip mix
1 cup shredded reduced fat colby-jack cheese
6 Tbsp real bacon bits

Combine all ingredients, until mixed well. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavor to meld before serving.

Serve with cut vegetables, pita chips or pretzels.

Ribs .............. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

My boys .... I am referring to my son and husband ... do not like to work for their food. But ribs and chicken wings are worthy of eating off the bone.

The ribs can be precooked and put in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill them. Just make sure when you are precooking them you are only bringing them to the very tender point but not falling off the bone so they do not fall apart when you lift them to go on the grill.

I didn't even have time to clean up the plate before taking the picture because they were dying to dive in.

Sweet And Spicy Ribs
adapted from Bon Appetit June 2015

1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp chili arbol pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 rack of pork ribs 
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 325°. 

Combine brown sugar, paprika, chili arbol, garlic powder, and salt in a small bowl; set aside ¼ cup spice mixture.Reserve 2 Tbsp of the spice mixture.

After patting the ribs dry, rub with remaining spice mixture. Wrap each rack in a double layer of foil, crimping edges to seal tightly. Place the packet on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the meat is fork-tender but not falling off the bone, about 2 hours. Let cool.

Carefully open the end of the foil packet and pour the juices from ribs into a grease separator. Let the juices settle

Heat butter a saucepan until it just starts to brown. Add juices from ribs (discarding the fat) and the reserved spice mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by one-third. Remove sauce from heat, add vinegar, and season with salt.

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Remove ribs from foil and grill, basting with sauce and turning occasionally, until lightly charred and warmed through. Serve with remaining sauce.