Monday, July 14, 2008

Blogging About Dinner At Lunch

Last night we had a lovely, if somewhat low-key, dinner of locally grown goodness. It consisted of chicken soup, roasted scape and beet salad, and peach pie with balsamic stripe frozen yogert.

I'm not sure why chicken soup struck my fancy, maybe because its good for my soul and I had all of the ingredients from local sources. Chicken soup is almost always welcome but the simmering in the dead of summer is not. I was also roasted veggies and garlic so it was pretty toasty. The frozen yogert though is always easy and delicious.

I'm going to post some recipies but they are really not very useful to anyone but me since I improve my recipies and never write down amounts, cooking time, or other information useful in replication. I'm happy to blame this avoidance on my years of scientificly rigorous studies but its really because I'm an improvisional type of cook who really just wings it.

Chicken Soup with Leeks and Roasted Garlic
There are a few things that make this soup delicious. The first is to cook the chicken breast with the bones in, the second is the addition of roasted garlic, and the third is to first brown and then simmer the chicken. I also made this a one pot meal by doing the whole thing in a ceramic dutch over (which is superior as everyday cookware because it can be left in the sink over night and not rust and it can be put right in the refrigerator for food storage.

1 lbs Chicken Breasts with the bone in - dried with salt and pepper (local)
onion, celery, and carrots (about a cup each) (onion was local)
1 cup leeks- only the white part sliced about 1/4" round (Jersey Fresh!)
1 box chicken broth (add more or less depending on taste)
1 cup white wine (chardonay from the finger lakes)
Herbs from the "garden" - thyme, rosemary
2 small heads Roasted Garlic- from the Farmers' Market
3 cups egg noodles (PA) cooked before hand

I started by heating some EVOO in the ceramic dutch oven. Once it was hot, I sauted the onions. Once softened I added the carrots and celery until soft. Then I moved the veggies over to the side and put the chicken breasts in to brown on both sides. Once its browned, I add a cup of chicken broth, wine, leeks, and herbs and simmer for about 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, I remove the chicken, take it off of the bone, and add it back in with the remaining broth, roasted garlic, noodles, and anything else you may want. Let it simmer away until its reduced and become stew-like (but add more or less broth to your desired consistancy).

Roasted Scape and Beet Salad
This was my first attempt at making scapes so roasting sounded like a good idea. I untangled some of the scapes, coated them in EVOO, salt, and pepper and stuck them in the 425F oven until they were too crispy. They cook really quickly so just when I thought to myself "I wonder how long it takes to roast scapes" they were already well done. I still like them and ate them like french fries. Peter left most of them in the bottom of the bowl after trying to cut them up with a steak knife.

I also roasted the beets and just added them to a nice bed of local greens.

Next Time: I will cook the scapes correctly, toss the greens in a vinegrette, and maybe add some goat cheese chunks to the salad.

Peach Pie with Balsamic Vinegar Frozen Yogert

This is one of my favorite flavors of yogert to make. I made up the recipe after remembering that I make bad pies and just added the pie filling to yogert and tossed it in the ice creme machine. This time I added the balsamic stipe for a kick and put in honey for some added sweetness.

5 large peaches (cubed with the skins on)- Farmers' Market
3 cups plain yogurt (Farmers' Market)- This one was full fat but it works with lower fat content as well
Cinnemon, ginger, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice (a mistake purchase a few years ago that I throw into everything fruity)
3 tbs honey (Farmers' Market)
Balsamic Vinegar (not local at all)

I cube the peaches and toss them in the spices and honey. I would recommend throwing in any spices that you might use to make your own pie filling. Add the yogurt, mix, and into the ice cream maker it goes. Make according to the machine's instructions. Mine takes about 20 minutes.

Start to pack the finished yogert in the storage dish (a tall, narrow one works best for maximum stripage) and after you make a layer, drizzle some balsamic on it and then add another layer. It goes back in the freezer for a bit to harden. I might serve it next time with a balsamic reduction on top.

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