Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sing Artichoke Chicken - Our new favorite

We're big fans of artichokes and I've been looking for a good artichoke chicken recipe. I found a good starting point on RecipeSource. I made it and it was pretty good, but seemed to be missing something - it just wasn't quite "there". On my next visit to the grocery store, I bought a bag of frozen artichokes (not marinated, just fresh frozen), started to improvise...
This is what I came up with - Our new favorite.

Sing Artichoke Chicken
8 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
16 ounces Fresh frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
4 1/2 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
4 Tablespoons Olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup broth
1 cup dry white wine
cooked wide egg noodles
fresh parsley, chopped

In a stainless or ceramic bowl, combine the artichoke hearts, Olive oil, basil, oregano, red pepper, and lemon juice and mix it well. add the mushrooms and toss again. Let this sit for an hour or more, stirring it about occasionally.
In a skillet, brown the chicken in the butter.
Remove the chicken to an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Do not drain pan juices.
Arrange artichokes and mushrooms on top of chicken and it set aside.
Saute the onion in pan juices. Blend in the flour, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Add the chicken broth and wine and cook until thickened and bubbly.
Remove the sauce from the heat and spoon it over chicken.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 50 to 60 minutes or until chicken is tender.
Place noodles on a serving platter and top with the chicken and sauce.
Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

I like to start the artichokes marinating the morning I plan to make this or even the day before.


Lemon Chicken With Olives

We've been eating this for years and it's become a dependable dish for us over the years. We found this recipe in "First for Women" magazine. During the first couple of years that "First" magazine was published, recipe cards were included as center inserts. There were four cards printed on stock that was not quite index card thickness, ready to be cut out of the magazine and put right into your recipe box. This recipe (and many others that are Sing Favorites) is one of those.

Lemon Chicken With Olives
4 servings
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 chicken hreats, about 2 ½ Ibs.
Salt and pepper
1 ½ cups black olives
1 lemon
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Remove. Add the garlic, cook 30 seconds and remove from heat. Stir in ¼ cup water, ¼ tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Return the chicken to the pan. Cover and cook until the meat is no longer pink, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the chicken and keep warm. Pit and halve the olives. Grate ½ tsp. of the yellow zest from the lemon and squeeze 2 tsp. juice. Boil the remaining pan juices over high heat until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the zest, lemon juice and olives. Serve with wide egg noodles. Pour over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley.

I use the jumbo size olives split in two and I double the amount of water, lemon zest and juice, and of course, the garlic. That way I have enough "gravy" to put on top of the chicken and also on top of the noodles.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Eggplant Salad (Bonjan)

OK, so who else thinks of Afganistan when they think of good food? No, not me either, at least not until I tried this fantastic dish. I recevied this recipe on a calender from Catholic Relief Services Operation Rice Bowl. While researching this recipe further (after cooking & loving it), I discovered that an Afgani menu would indeed be quite flavorful. Check out the Afgan Cooking Channel for some more interesting Afgani menu items.
I also found a great site for eggplant recipes - Ashbury's Aubergines. They've got everything eggplant there, including a few dozen ways to make Baba Ghanoush, which is not just fun to say, it's delicious. If you like hummus, you'll love Baba Ghanoush.

Ah, but I'm getting off track...

I served this Bonjan Salat, or Spicy Eggplant Salad at room temperature with just some bread. It would be great with pita. I'm not really sure I made it toally correct, but it tasted great and I WILL DEFINATELY be making it again.

Bonjan Salat(as I made it):
1 Large eggplant
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup corn oil
1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon hot red chili flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon crushed dried mint

Slice the eggplants crosswise into 3/4 inch thick pieces.
Sprinkle them with salt and let stand for 15 minutes (this is to draw out any bitterness).
Pat dry with paper towel (no they won't taste salty).
Heat a large skilet over medium to medium-high heat and put a thin coat of oil in the bottom.
Brush the eggplant slices generously with oil and place them oily side down in the pan in a single layer (you may have to do multiple batches).
Brush the tops of the slices generously with oil.
Brown both sides of the eggplant slices, about 5 minutes total.
Remove them to a serving bowl (I used a stainless steel bowl) to cool.
The slices broke up a bit and I helped break them up further.

In a small saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, pepper, chili flakes, cinnamon and mint and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the eggplant and rerigerate until ready to use. Serve cold or at room temperature.

The above recipe is bit different than those that I've found online, such as this one, but I'm really pleased at how it came out. I will probably use the commonly recommended 3 medium eggplants next time, though. (see this google search for more versions of Bonjan and decide on one for yourself.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Roasted Salmon Dinner

This is one of my favorite salmon recipes. It always turns out moist and has great flavor. The veggies make it a nice rounded 1 pot meal with a short prep time of only about 10 minutes.

This is a 4 serving recipe.

Roasted Salmon with Carrots, Mushrooms & New Potatoes

¼ cup olive or other vegetable oil
¼ cup chopped parsley (optional)
2 cloves minced garlic
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
8 small red potatoes (~1 pound), unpeeled
2 large carrots
3 scallions
½ pound small mushrooms
1 pound thick salmon fillet

1. Preheat the oven to 450°.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, parsley (if using), garlic, salt and pepper.
3. Quarter the potatoes (or, if they are large, cut them into 3/4-inch cubes). Cut the carrots on the diagonal into ½ inch slices. Cut the scallions (white and tender green parts) into 2-inch sections. If the mushrooms are large, halve them.
4. Scatter the potatoes, carrots, scallions and mushrooms over the bottom of a shallow 1½-quart baking dish. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil over them and toss gently to coat. Place the dish in the oven and roast until the potatoes are almost done and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes; stir the vegetables once or twice to ensure even cooking.
5. Meanwhile, cut the salmon into 1½-inch cubes. Add the salmon to the bowl of garlic oil and toss gently to coat.
6. Lower the oven temperature to 375°. Gently stir the vegetables in the baking dish, scatter the salmon on top and roast until the vegetables are tender and the salmon just flakes when tested with a fork, about 10 minutes longer.