Friday, July 19, 2013

Berries and Cream

The heat has been sweltering for the past few days so heavy meals have been crossed off the list to leave room for light, no-oven-needed meals. I have popsicles in the fridge (peach and mint!) and have been making chilled soup (you might have seen my cucumber, avocodo and chive soup on Instagram!).  A few fresh berries topped with a dollop of cream is a nice alternative as well, and it couldn't be easier to make!

This week, in the Canadian Living Test Kitchen, I've been in holiday paradise -- with dozens upon dozens of cookies, complete with cakes, turkeys and holidays sides. I often get asked what Christmas in July feels like, and to be honest, I quite love it! I won't pretend it's the easiest way to maintain a healthful diet (it's contant temptation!), but it's a fun time to create recipes for. It's all about sharing food, taking the time to make a meal, and indulging. It also makes me than much more excited to come home after a long work day and cook seasonally. I can leave snowy desserts and winter comfort food behind and cook according to the time of year. And, once the actual holidays come around, I've had enough time to recuperate so I can get excited about the festivities, all over again!

Berries and Cream
Serves 2

1/2 whipping cream (35 %)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp Grand Marnier or any other orange liqueur (optional)
2 cups fresh berries

In bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and beat until combined. Fold in vanilla and Grand Marnier. Spoon over berries.Enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Herbed Chicken with Summer Salad and Buttered Corn

Sometimes, I struggle with the desire for a Sunday-worthy meal on a busy weeknight. A classic roast chicken, for example, is something I crave time and time again. To be honest, what I really crave are the 'rotisseries' I grew up eating in Paris. Chickens are roasted whole on large metal rods, and gently turn as the skin gets crispy and the meat stays nice and juicy, The fat from the chicken drips down and most butchers  cook potatoes -- and sometimes lardons (strips of bacony goodness) -- under the roasting chickens so they get flavoured while they cook. It's making me want a plateful just describing it!

In lieu of a trip back home to Paris, I have a great recipe for a weeknight roasted chicken. I like to cut the chicken into pieces (legs, thighs and breast) so that it cooks faster and is easier to marinate -- I then pop the pieces in a ziploc bag with my marinade ( in this case thyme, garlic, olive oil, lemon and oregano) and let it sit in the fridge all day while I'm at work. This kind of dish hits the spot every time!

In the absence of a barbecue, I make the chicken in an oven, but for all you lucky backyard barbecue owners, grill away!

Herbed Chicken with Summer Salad and Buttered Corn
Serves 4

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Summer Salad
4 1-inch slices of Halloumi cheese
8 asparagus spears, trimmed
3 cups mixed lettuce
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Buttered Corn
4 cobs of corn, steamed
2 tbsp butter to serve
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Add chicken to a ziploc bag. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and zest, thyme, garlic, oregano, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Pour mixture into bag. Seal and shake to combine. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Lightly grease a roasting rack and evenly lay out chicken pieces. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Bake at 425°F for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through and the juices run clear. The breast should cook quicker than the rest of the pieces, so check on the breast a couple minutes before. Broil for about 2 minutes to get a little extra colour on the skin, if needed. Once out of the oven, tent with aluminum foil to rest for 10 minutes, so the chicken stays nice and juicy.

While the chicken is cooking, move on to the salad. Add the Halloumi cheese slices to a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Cook, turning once, until Halloumi is golden, about 2 minutes per side. Cut into chunks and set aside. Cook asparagus in a pot of salted boiling water until tender crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain and add asparagus to a bowl of ice cold waterto stop the cooking process. Drain, pat dry, and cut into thirds. In a bowl, toss together lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and asparagus. In a small bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard and olive oil until the mixture is homogenous. Whisk in red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing over salad, stirring to coat. Transfer to serving platter, top with Halloumi pieces. Arrange chicken pieces around salad.

Serve with steamed corn and butter. Enjoy!
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