Purple Kitchen Treats

Over the past few years, I have been working on a cookbook. During this time, I took time off to finish my Master's Degree. Now that I have accomplished that, I am working again on my cookbook, slowly but surely.

However, over the past few months, something interesting has happened...I have received multiple requests for baked goods, particularly my cookies. I am also receiving multiple requests for granola. So, with all these requests in mind, I have started to make my cookies for sale, along with my granola.

My official web site is available, but will be undergoing a significant redesign. Be sure to visit my "official" web site at: http://www.susanshonk.com and watch for some exciting changes.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

365 in 365 - Recipes for Grilled Chicken, Artichokes with White Wine Tomato Sauce

Last nite I posted pics of dinner along with what I served.  My husband is till talking about dinner.  Tonite was another hit, which I will post separately.

So...the grilled chicken recipe.  I was roaming around Whole Foods and deciding what I wanted to serve for dinner.  It had been several days since I had been cooking, so I went to the meat counter first.  They had just gotten in some fresh chicken that had only been in the case for about 2 hours.  What I saw was a chicken that did not look like it was bleached.  You know how commercially raised chicken has that very white skin in the package?  Well, this ground pecking, dirt scratching, free roaming chicken had some color to it.  The skin was almost yellow and the flesh itself was a bit darker than commercially raised birds.  I immediately bought 2 of them.  I had the butcher take the back bone out and the "keel" bone that holds the breast together.  When I got home, I flattened them out on a sheet pan and separated the skin from the meat, including all the way down into the thighs and legs.  I took my left-over Mojo de Ajo (recipe # 43) and added about 4 tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary from the garden, about 1 tablespoon of minced lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and mixed it up.  I took the majority of the marinade and spread it all under the skin of both chickens and let it sit covered in the fridge for about 2 hours to marinate.

In the mean time, I fired up the grill with real wood charcoal from Whole Foods.  I don't use those pressed, charcoal brickettes....they do not lend themselves to a natural flavor in your meats and veggies.  I find that there is always a chemical under taste when I use them.  I let the coals get to the stage where they are all gray and ashen looking and the heat is well developed in the grill.

I spread the remaining Mojo de Ajo with the rosemary and lemon zest all over the chicken and placed the chickens, skin side down on the grill.  I took the sheet pan, placed it over the chickens to keep them flat and then weighted the sheet pan down with a large corning ware baking dish.  I closed the grill cover and let them cook.  After about 15 minutes, I checked them to see how brown the skin was and let them cook for another 5 - 10 minutes with the skin side down.  then, I added some extra olive oil to the "bone" side of the chicken with salt and pepper, turned them over and let them cook for another 20 minutes with the grill cover closed.  When the chickens were done, I placed lemon halves on the grill and grilled them to go with the chickens.  Holey Moley - this was amazing!!!!  Th grilled lemons were simply wonderful spritzed on the chicken.  The chicken skin was cooked to perfection......dark golden brown and crispy....it actually crunched when you cut it or bit into it.

For the Artichokes, I placed 3 cups of water and 1/2 cup of olive oil in a Dutch oven and brought that to a simmer.  While I was waiting for the water and oil to come to temperature, I trimmed and snipped the leaves of the artichoke, then removed the "choke" and placed them in lemon water.  I peeled the stems and placed them in the lemon water as well.  I took some fresh ciabatta bread (about 4 slices), chunked it up and placed it in the food processor and let 'er rip to make fresh breadcrumbs (I will never purchased a can of breadcrumbs again).  I placed the breadcrumbs into a bowl and added 1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, about 1/3 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, diced the artichoke stems and added them to the bread crumbs along with 1/4 cup of olive oil and mixed.  I stuffed the cavity of the artichokes with the breadcrumb mix and place them gently into the simmering water, covered and let them cook for about 45 minutes.  I basted them occasionally with the water and as they were nearing completion, I added a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes.  Once the artichokes were done, I removed them from the pan and placed them in the serving dish covered with tin foil.  I turned up the heat on the pan with the cooking liquid and tomatoes in it and added 2 cups of a nice Pino Grigio and the remainder of the breadcrumb filling.  I know this sounds a bit odd, but it worked.  I reduced the liquid by about 1/3 and added 4 tablespoons of tomato paste and let the sauce thicken.  I served this over the artichokes......it was incredibly delicious.

The tomato salad with toasted bread is very simple.....1 package each of red and yellow grape tomatoes, sliced.  1container of pearl mozzarella, drained and dried in a few paper towels.  1/3 cup chopped fresh basil. 1/4 cup good olive oil, 2 tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.  Stire it up and let it sit for about 30 minutes.  Saute` rustic Italian bread in olive oil until golden brown and serve the tomato salad on the bread.

This, my dear readers, was dinner last nite.  I know it looks like a ton of work, but I started cooking at 3:30pm and served dinner at 6:30pm.   And, I have tons of left-overs for my hubby for the week.

I would love to hear if y'all try any of these and how well you like them.

Have a great week!!

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