Sep 26, 2008

Dinner Party

I love love love Ina Garten. She is so relaxed and calm. Best of all, every recipe of hers works like a charm. A couple of weeks ago, I had a small dinner party and made the parmesan crusted chicken and penne with 5 cheeses. We just had some nuts, olives, and cheese to start. It was simple and delicious. The recipes were easy and quick- made the penne during my lunch break, and the rest after work (took about hour to decorate, chicken, and get myself ready- the latter was prob the majority of the hour)

Here's the picture from Food Network of the Chicken- mine actually looked just like the picture! Gotta love the Barefoot Contessa!!!!!

All recipes and images are from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style via Food Network:

4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Unsalted butter
Good olive oil
Salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry
1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette. Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.
Lemon Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Yield: 6 servings


Kosher salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup crushed tomatoes in thick tomato puree
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup shredded imported Italian fontina (1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup crumbled Italian Gorgonzola (1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 pound imported penne rigate pasta
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stockpot.
Combine all the ingredients except the penne and butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
Drop the penne into the boiling water and parboil for 4 minutes. Drain well in a colander and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine.
Divide the pasta mixture among 6 shallow ceramic gratin dishes (1 1/2 to 2-cup capacity). Dot with the butter and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes

Sep 25, 2008

Leftover Pimento Cheese

From Southern Living:
Pimento Cheese Stuffed Fried Chicken (Bless you, Southern Living!)

Makes 4 servings
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 to 2 cups Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)
vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups Pimiento Cheese
Garnish: chopped fresh chives
1. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
2. Whisk together 1/2 cup milk and egg. Dip chicken in milk mixture, and dredge in breadcrumbs.
3. Pour oil to a depth of 1/8 inch in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in hot oil about 10 minutes on each side or until done.
4. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet. Hold chicken with tongs, and cut a slit in 1 side of each chicken breast to form a pocket. Spoon 1/3 cup Pimiento Cheese into each pocket.
5. Bake at 350° for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish, if desired, and serve immediately.

I'm just going to have to face fact- I think being a chunky-bride is in my future.

Sep 24, 2008

Girl's Night

In Knoxville there is a monthly girl's night. This month it was a recipe-swap. I ate so much that moving was painful. I brought an artichoke dip

And homemade pimento cheese-

Both were super easy-


v 1- 8 oz black of extra sharp cheddar
v 1- 8 oz block of white sharp cheddar
v 2-4 oz jars of pimentos
v ½ black of cream cheese (4 oz)
v Mayo (Duke’s is best for this- Hellmann’s is too sweet)
v Cayenne pepper to taste
v Tabasco to taste

The cheddar and cream cheese are easiest to work with if they are close to room temperature.

Grate all the cheese (you can use a cusinart on grate mode, or hand-grate. Just don’t buy pre-grated cheese!!!!).
Drain the pimentos and mash up some with a fork.
Mix together the cheese and pimentos in a large mixing bowl.
Add the cream cheese- you might need to smash it against the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula to get it to the right consistency.
Add mayo- this is a personal preference- I use about ½ a cup (dry measuring cup), but start small and add til you get the consistency and texture that you like.
Then add pepper and hot sauce to the spiciness you want- I didn’t do that much for this batch (about a heaping teaspoon of cayenne, and 8-10 shakes of Tabasco).
Let everything chill a couple of hours, then you are ready to dig in!!


v 2- 7-8 oz packages of frozen artichokes (do not thaw)
v 1 medium onion
v 2 cloves garlic
v ½ block cream cheese (4 oz)
v ¼ cup mayo
v ½ heaping cup shredded parmesan (plus couple tablespoons for topping)
v 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
v 1 Tablespoon butter
v 2 pieces high quality white bread

Preheat oven to 450
Toss artichokes with 1 T olive oil, 1 t. salt and ½ t. pepper
Spread on cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil, and roast for 25 minutes (might want to turn a couple of times). Turn oven to 400 when artichokes are done.
Meanwhile mince onion and garlic.
Heat other T of olive oil in 10 inch skillet until shimmering.
Add onion and cook 6-7 minutes.
Add garlic and cook another minute.
Coarsely chop artichokes.
Mix onion garlic mixture, cream cheese, ½ c. parmesan, and mayo in large bowl.
Add in artichokes.
Place in ovenproof dish
Put on topping (see below) and bake at 400 for about 20-25 minutes until bubbly. Yum!

chop bread in food processor til it is coarsely crumbled
toss with melted butter and parmesan.

You can also make spinach artichoke dip by adding a 10 oz box (cooked and drained) of frozen chopped spinach to the onions in Step 6.

Couples Shower

Last Friday we threw a couples baby shower down by the pool- I appropriated by parents house for the event, since there was over 40 people there. Four couples pitched in, which made everything really easy.

This is the walkway down to the pool- the party was super casual with tiki torches everywhere (unfortunately that did not help with the mosquitos- boo).

These flowers for the couples baby shower were super easy. Just sunflowers and daisies from the grocery store- I put them in old jars- Mason and even a pickle jar, then wrapped raffia around the top.

Here is the Tex Mex Spread- we had guac, queso, and salsa to start with (which I totally cheated on and bought from Sam's- this being a lawyer thing really cuts into my cooking/entertaining time).

I am so lucky because my mom is an incredible potter- I just rob her studio whenever I need serving dishes! All of the awesome black and white dishes we used are hers.

I did marinate 4 huge flank steaks overnight, which Morgan grilled for about half an hour on really low heat. The marinade was awesome- for 2 lbs of meat, 1/4 c. of vegetable oil, 1/4 c. soy sauce, chopped green onions (about 2 T.), couple of minced garlic cloves, 1 heaping t. of celery salt, and few shakes of tabasco. The meat stayed warm in my Le Creuset dutch oven ( and I served it with warmed tortillas, cheese, sour cream, and salsa.

One of the hostesses made an awesome corn salad- it was pretty and so so good! She also made a green salad.

Another Hostess made this really cute "diaper cake" which was the centerpiece for the drinks table.

Not the best picture, but you can kind of see the tables- just card tables with white tablecloths. We borrowed a bunch of folding chairs (bright red) but that looked great with the flowers and tex-mex kind of theme.