Monday, September 22, 2008

A Twist on the Beer Can Chicken

We decided it would be interesting to try wine in the beer can instead of beer.  In addition, we got some fresh mushroom pasta at the farmeers market along with the usual fresh vegetables.  So, in the can, we put some white wine, some mushroom stems, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic and some fresh sage.  The 5 lb. chicken cooked for about 90 min on the Weber.  The veggies were added while the bird rested before carving.  The drippings we caught were used to make a roux that was thinned with the wine/stock mixture made as the chicken cooked.  The gravy had a nice mushroom/spice flavor.  To prepare the classic beer can chicken, this will give you the idea.  There are many such sites on the web.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Chicken and Dumplings with Green Peas

Start by browning the chicken parts in 3T of olive oil.  Remove the chicken and saute a diced carrot, one medium onion, diced, and a rib of celery also diced in the same pan.  When the vegetables are soft, add 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1t dry thyme.  Add enough water/stock to barely cover the chicken and heat to a slow simmer.  Cover the pan and maintain at a very low boil for 2-3 hrs.  
For the dumplings, mix together 1/2C flour, 1 slightly beaten egg and 1/2t baking powder.  Add freshly chopped parsley and set aside.  Remove the chicken and thicken the sauce with a mixture of flour and water (or a traditional roux made with butter and flour).  The amount you thicken is a matter of personal taste; you could serve it as a soup or as a thicker gravy.   Return the chicken to the pan and spoon in the dumpling batter.  Cover the pan and return to the boil.  Serve when the dumplings are done.  The peas were steamed in the microwave.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pasta Al Forno with Roasted Romaine Lettuce and Baby Eggplant

The pasta dish came from Soncerae Yeager via our daughter Karen.  Boil 1 lb. shaped pasta like rigatoni (al dente) and preheat the oven to 500 F.  Saute one finely chopped onion and 3 garlic cloves in 2T olive oil.  After 3-5 min. add 1 14oz. can of crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Add 1/2C heavy cream, cinnamon to taste (about 1t), salt and pepper.  Add 3oz. prosiutto (cooked bacon would work as well) mix in the pasta and turn into a greased baking dish.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese and place in the oven for 10 min.
Cut the Romaine head in half lengthwise.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and one clove of minced garlic.  Place on a hot grill for 2-4 min. until lightly browned on the surface.  The dressing was made by mixing 1T finely chopped shallot, 3T crumbled blue cheese, 2T mayo, 1 1/2T fresh lemon juice, ant 1 1/2t water.
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and a fresh herb, if you wish.  Grill along with the Romaine.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Lamb Tenderloin with Potato-Fennel au Gratin and Green Beans

We found lamb tender-loins at the Westside Market in Cleveland and decided to try them.  The potato-fennel dish takes the longest so start by slicing a potato and a fennel bulb into 1/4" thick pieces.  Layer them with along with 1/2C crumbled goat cheese and add 1 clove minced garlic.  Pour a mixture of 1/2C cream and 1/2C milk over them and bake covered at 400 F for about 1 hr.  Salt and pepper the lamb to taste and sear in a pan for 2 or 3 min on a side.  They are small so don't cook them for too long.  2-3 min will give you medium rare.  When the meat is done, remove and add 2T finely diced onion and 1 clove minced garlic.  Brown quickly and add 2T fresh rosemary leaves and 1/2C stock, chicken or vegetable is best.  Reduce this mixture to 1/2 and finish with 1T butter.  Serve over the lamb.  The green beans were simply steamed in the microwave.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Beer Can Chicken with Pasta and Summer Squash

We found some cilantro-lime fresh pasta at the farmers market and planned the meal around it.  Beer can chicken has been here before.  A link to a picture of the chicken on the beer can  is at the bottom.  We used a mexican beer with a fresh lime in it to add flavor.  After cooking (about 1-1/2 hrs on the Weber), the drippings are used to make the gravy.  We grilled some summer squash that had been drizzled with olive oil and minced garlic as the vegetable.  Delicious and different lime flavor to the gravy went well with the pasta.