Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ina Garten - Foolproof

I received this cookbook as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago and have made a few recipes from it. 
The kids and I like to watch Ina's show on The Food Network. Not only does she make good (and not terribly difficult recipes), she seems to be very down to earth, smart and adventurous. In 1978, Ina saw ad for a specialty food store for sale in the Hamptons, and, in a matter of days (and with no experience at all in the food business), she went from working in the Office of Management and Budget in the White House to owning that store. She has since built her "Barefoot Contessa" brand into many books, television shows, etc. Sometimes I watch the show just to get a glimpse of her home in East Hampton. It is To. Die. For. 

Last night I made this recipe for our dinner.

Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup dry white wine
1 (3½- to 4-pound) chicken, cut up
1. Preheat the oven to 350℉.
2. Place the garlic, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the garlic is finely minced. Add panko, lemon zest, olive oil, and butter and pulse a few times to moisten the bread flakes. Pour the mixture onto a large plate.
3. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the mustard and wine.
4. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Dip each piece in the mustard mixture to coat on all sides, and then place skin-side down only into the crumb mixture, pressing gently to make the crumbs adhere.
5. Place the chicken on a sheet pan crumb-side up. Press the remaining crumbs on the chicken pieces.
6. Bake the chicken for 40 minutes. Raise the heat to 400℉ and bake for another 10 minutes, until the crumbs are browned and the chicken is cooked through. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Serves 6
 I added a lot more garlic and thyme than what was called for.
I hate, hate, hate using my food processor. It is such a hassle to set up, attach the bowl and then clean. We received it as a wedding gift and I think, in the 17+ years, I have used it less than 20 times. However, sometimes it is an absolute necessity. 
My work station.
I used (store brand) boneless & skinless chicken thighs and probably wouldn't do that again. While the chicken looked beautiful in the package, the thighs were folded/displayed in such a way so as to hide all of the fat and goop attached to them. It was so gross and I had to spend about 20 minutes cleaning them up. I felt so nauseous after I finished. I would use either what the recipe recommended (a chicken cut up) or Purdue boneless & skinless chicken breasts (which, although more expensive, are always cleaned the way I like them). 
 Out of the oven!
I served the chicken with a side of green beans (not our usual broccoli!) and Israeli Cous-Cous (as Christopher always says, the food so nice they named it twice!) tossed with pesto sauce. I fell in love with Israeli Cous-Cous before we moved to Australia but forgot about it until I saw it in a sales flyer for Trader Joe's a few weeks ago. I thought to look for it at our local grocery store and was able to pick up a few boxes. My original plan was to toss the Cous-Cous with Parmesan cheese and olive oil but decided to go with the pesto and add some color to the table. 

Yum! The chicken was very good too. My only complaint was that it was very salty. Almost to the point of not being able to eat it. If you attempt this recipe, I would recommend only adding half of the amount of salt called for and see how that tastes. 

I puppy-sat Ridley yesterday afternoon while Jan went out for a run...
She is getting noticeably bigger and developing quite a personality!

While we had a lot of fun playing together, she was happy to see Jan return.
 And my boys. The Yin and the Yang.
Another crazy weekend ahead for us...Caitlynne has a crew competition at a high school in Arlington, I have a crew parent meeting, Christopher has team photos for basketball and then a basketball game, he has tryouts for the AAU baskettball team and we have a family dinner (Kevin's brother is visiting from Seattle). Whew! 

Have a great Saturday!

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