Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Peach Barbecue Chicken

Peach Barbecue Chicken
Nothing says summer better than barbecue. But I couldn't just do plain old barbecue chicken with a sauce from a bottle, I had to find something bigger and better than that. Thats where Gwyneth Paltrow came in. Featured on the latest cover of Bon Appetit magazine, Gwyneth is promoting her new cook book My Father's Daughter. Yes, ladies and gentleman, she acts, sings, writes her own blog (Goop.com) and now she is a published cook book author. Talk about a renaissance woman. Anyway, Gwyneth was pictured making this recipe for peach barbecue chicken and I knew it would be the perfect twist on a classic. Aside from being incredibly easy to prepare, this barbecue chicken is spicy and tangy all at the same time creating a fantastic flavor profile, and a welcome change from traditional barbecue sauce.

9-10 ounces frozen sliced peaches, thawed
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil

In the amount of time it takes you to cook four chicken breasts, you can have a delicious sauce to go along with it. Rub each chicken breast with a little vegetable oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for ten to twelve minutes, flipping once, on a grill pan or outdoor grill. In a small saucepan, add the ketchup, peaches, lemon juice, chipotle sauce and garlic and stir occasionally until the mixture is heated through. Most people don't know that you can cook with a saucepan over a grill the same way you can over a stove, so if you're cooking your chicken on an outdoor grill, don't hesitate to do the same with the barbecue sauce.

After heating the barbecue sauce, remove it from the grill or the stove and allow it to come to room temperature. Then, using an immersion blender or blending in a regular blender in small batches, puree the barbecue sauce until smooth. During the last few minutes of cooking the chicken, brush on the barbecue sauce and allow to heat through until it becomes glazed over the chicken. Serve the rest of the sauce on the side for dipping. 

If you prefer a sweeter sauce, feel free to add more peaches or ketchup and limit the adobo. But if you prefer a spicier sauce like I do, add a teaspoon more of adobo sauce. The peach flavor will definitely still shine through but you will just have that extra kick. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Are those not the most beautiful things you've ever seen? Perfectly browned on the top yet chewy and decadent in the middle. The addition of a little melted semi-sweet chocolate made these absolutely over the top delicious. I was inspired to make these by ones I had from the famous Tate's Bakeshop in Southampton, NY last weekend. Although hers didn't have the chocolate, they were extremely tasty and a nice change from the crunchy chocolate chip cookies everyone loves. Being excellent friends with the owner of Tate's Bakeshop, I knew Ina Garten would have a great recipe for macaroons and sure enough I was right. Just writing this post is making me wish I didn't bring these into work last week.

14 oz. bag of sweetened shredded coconut
14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 egg whites
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Just six ingredients and a quick pop in the oven and you have these bite sized gems. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Combine the coconut, condensed milk, vanilla extract and salt in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form then gently fold into the rest of the mixture. Once everything is well combined, I used a one inch melon baller to form my macaroons but you could use any spoon or even an ice cream scoop. If you use an ice cream scoop be aware that they will take longer in the oven to bake. Scoop out even balls of the coconut mixture and place them evenly on a baking sheet. If your raw macaroons are between one and two inches in diameter then twelve minutes in the oven should do the trick. Don't forget to spray the baking sheet with cooking spray! I made that mistake with one of my baking sheets and ended up having a small problem on my hands when it came time to put them on the cooling rack. Good thing this recipe makes so many macaroons!
If after twelve minutes your macaroons aren't beautifully golden brown on the top then leave them in the oven until they are. No exceptions. Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool for a half hour. In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips on high for minute increments stirring in between. Once the chocolate is fully melted and smooth and the macaroons have cooled, dip the bottom of each one into the chocolate and place on a foil-lined plate for easy removal once the chocolate has hardened. At this point you can leave the macaroons out at room temperature for about an hour until the chocolate is fully hardened, or, if you're as impatient as I am you can place them in the freezer for about five minutes for instant gratification. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rosemary Potato Pancake with a Poached Egg

Rosemary Potato Pancake
with a Poached Egg

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. This is true for a number of reasons. Breakfast is the most versatile meal of the day. It can be sweet or savory, warm or cold, simple or complex. My love affair with breakfast began with chocolate chip pancakes at a young age but I find that as I grow older I find myself preferring the more savory breakfast dishes. Eggs, of course, are a breakfast staple and I was almost appalled at myself that I hadn't attempted to poach one yet! So needless to say, the time had come, for me to poach my very first egg.

My first egg poaching experience was a flawless one as you'll find out how to do yourself in just a bit. And the deliciously crispy and flavorful red potato pancake was the perfect accompaniment. Rosemary and potato is a classic combination that I catered to my breakfast craving and it turned out exceptionally well :)

2 red potatoes
1 shallot
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon flour
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a small pan over medium high heat and add the two tablespoons of olive oil. Using a cheese grater with a medium grate, grate the red potatoes and the shallot into a small bowl. Dump the contents of the bowl onto a paper towel and squeeze out the excess water over the sink. Getting rid of the water enables the pancake to brown nicely. Pour the grated potato and shallot back into a bowl and add the flour, dried rosemary and garlic powder and a touch of salt and pepper. Stir the mixture with a fork until the flour and herbs are well distributed and the grated potato is coated. Using your hands, form the mixture into a tight patty. Place in the pan and allow to cook for five or six minutes, flipping once. Once the pancake is cooked place it on a paper towel to drain for a minute before plating.

And now for the pièce de résistance, the poached egg. Don't be daunted by this process because I promise it is not nearly as hard as it sounds. Crack an egg into a small bowl and bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. You do NOT want boiling water. Once the water is just barely simmering, turn the heat down slightly and pour a little bit of white vinegar into the pot. Using a large slotted spoon, stir the water in the pot to create a little whirlpool for the egg. Pour the egg into the middle of the whirlpool and just let it do its thing for about thirty seconds of cooking.  If you notice the egg is sticking to the bottom of the pot use a spatula to give it a little nudge. After a few more minutes the egg should be solid white and the yolk still runny. Using the same slotted spoon lift the egg out of the pot and place it on top of the potato pancake.

The combo of runny egg yolk and crispy potato pancake with the tantalizing flavors of onion and rosemary is a match made in heaven. I had actually skipped breakfast the day I made this and even late in the day it was just as satisfying as ever. Feel free to top it with salt, pepper, hollandaise or hot sauce and enjoy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Grilled Swordfish with Lemon Parsley Sauce

Grilled Swordfish with Lemon Parsley Sauce
I think swimsuit season pretty much has the same effect on everyone I know. It makes us want to eat better, fresher, healthier food and do it more often. My parents are always eager for me to cook dinner for the family when I'm home from school and I love doing it because then I get to control what goes onto our plates. This swordfish was a spur of the moment, weeknight dinner for the Beitel family on a night when I was feeling particularly healthy. I made mashed cauliflower as a side dish and my family and I enjoyed a delicious, healthy meal. Not to mention, this recipe calls for just six ingredients including water. I dare you to find an easier dish.

4 swordfish steaks
1 cup chopped parsley
1 lemon
1 glove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 cup water

Season the swordfish with salt and pepper and grill over medium high heat for ten to twelve minutes.  While the fish is cooking, place the last five ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. When the swordfish is cooked through, serve with the sauce or pour the sauce over the fish. Enjoy!