Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday Dinner - Rotisserie Chicken and Warm Goat Cheese Salad

 Trey's Mom got him this great rotisserie for our new grill back in June and we hadn't used it until last night. Sometimes I think chicken is super boring, but then we make it a new way and I'm reminded that seasoned and cooked well, chicken can be wonderful. We had the rotisserie chicken with a side salad of arugula, bacon, warm goat cheese medallions (super easy to make!) with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. We also had white rice (delicious when you add salt and butter to the boiling water) and some grilled asparagus that got a little burnt. It was a really nice meal. Simple, homey and delicious. It's this type of meal that prompted me to start this blog - anyone can make it and it'll make you feel good all over.

The rotisserie is completely optional in this recipe. If you don't have one (you should get one!) you can roast the chicken in the oven at 375 degrees for about an hour and a half (or until a thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the thigh reads 180).

So, Trey had wanted to get the chicken started early so we could eat at a decent hour. He started it at about 6:30 I believe. He wanted me to go to the store after work (I work until 7) and get  a roasting pan to catch the drippings with. By the time I had gotten to the store (about 7:10) he called to ask me to get another chicken since the one he was making got completely burnt to a crisp. This was due to the fact that he added the butter basting sauce without first putting the roasting pan under it to catch the drippings and the grill flared up. He left it alone for one minute, came back and it was gone. Irreparable. He was pretty mad about it, but I wasn't concerned. With me home, I could see the whole process (plus take pictures!). So, to make a long story short - we ate at 10 pm and I didn't get a good shot of the chicken on the rotisserie, but it doesn't really matter does it? As long as it tasted good...And it did. In fact, only one word comes to mind as I recall this chicken - succulent.

The salad was inspired by one I used to get at South Congress Cafe in Austin, TX. They put warm goat cheese medallions on their salad and I've been obsessed with goat cheese ever since. They are super easy to make and really good - I do recommend eating them right out of the oven while the cheese is still warm. Don't let them sit around for 10 minutes like I did last night.

Rotisserie Chicken (or Roasted Chicken):
1 3-4 lb. whole chicken
Various herbs - we used sage, rosemary and thyme. Keep half of the herbs whole and chop the other half.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, cut into slices
1 stick butter, for basting

Prepare your chicken by removing anything from the cavity, rinsing with cold water and patting dry. Season liberally inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with your herbs, a few slices of the lemon and two pats of butter. Season the outside with some of herbs that have been chopped and some of the minced garlic. Reserve some minced garlic for the basting sauce.

Tie the legs and wings back with kitchen string and put the chicken on the rotisserie bar. If you are using an oven, preheat to 450 degrees - put chicken in a roasting pan and let it cook for about 10 minutes at 450 then turn oven down to 375. Roast for an hour and a half, until a thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the thigh reads 180. On the rotisserie, cook the chicken over high heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes put a roasting pan underneath the chicken to catch drippings and turn heat down to low. Roast for an hour and half, or until a thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the thigh reads 180.

For both methods, baste with chicken's own juices or with basting sauce (just melted butter and garlic will do, you can also add any herbs you like) every 20 minutes or so.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad:
Salad mix (We used arugula, because that's what we had on hand, but any salad mix will do)
Toasted pine nuts
Cooked bacon, chopped
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Goat cheese, cut into rounds (using really cold goat cheese will help with this, so you may want to stick it in the freezer for about 10 minutes before cutting)
1/2 C Panko bread crumbs
1/2 C Regular (Italian) bread crumbs
2 eggs
Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 425.

Cook your bacon and toast your pine nuts. Add to the salad mix.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk the two eggs with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the two types of bread crumbs. Take your goat cheese rounds and dip into the eggs then into the bread crumbs. Shake off excess and dip back into eggs and then back into breadcrumbs. Lay them on your baking sheet. Cook in oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and serve on a plate with the goat cheese medallions.

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/8 C good balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1/4 C olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil slowly to emulsify.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sunday Dinner with Mom and Dad - Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps and Shrimp Stir Fry

I saw this recipe on Serious Eats (my new obsession) and really wanted to try them. I first had bulgogi at Burger Tex in Austin, TX. According to Wikipedia, bulgogi is simply a Korean dish that usually consists of marinated barbecue beef, although chicken or pork may also be used. This recipe calls for 1 lb. pork loin, and it needs to be marinated for quite awhile, so it's one of those "think ahead" meals. I was just starting to marinate the pork on Saturday night for Sunday's dinner when my Mom texted to see if we wanted to have dinner out with them Sunday. I told her I was just marinating the pork for Sunday's dinner and did she and my Dad want to come over to our house for dinner instead? She agreed and Trey and I quickly decided to make a quick shrimp stir fry with the lettuce wraps to make it a meal. The bulgogi is super easy and doesn't call for anything too out of the ordinary, except maybe gochujang - a savory and pungent fermented Korean condiment that is basically a hot pepper paste. I'd never heard of it before, and we couldn't find it at the grocery store so we picked up some sweet chilli sauce and used that instead. I marinated the pork overnight, and it was really good in just the Boston lettuce, with a little rice stick noodles and soy sauce. I can't wait to make them again. Perfect for a hot summer night.

The stir fry is one that Trey and I have been doing for years. It's super easy and you can add whatever you like in your stir fry to it. We use shrimp, sugar snap peas, green onion, bean sprouts, garlic, sesame seeds and make a quick sauce of soy sauce, wok oil, sesame oil, mirin, a dash of sriracha, and ginger. It's also really easy and comes together quickly.

Oh, one more quick note on the recipe - I don't particularly care for kimchi so I omitted it. I also didn't feel like making the quick pickles, so I didn't use those either.

And finally, a little shameless self-promotion, a few more of my pictures have made it up to Serious Eat's Photograzing site - here. Mine are the "Gartner's Marinated Short Ribs" and "Thick Cut Bacon". Tell me which pictures from this post you think I should upload to the site in the comments section!

Daeji Bulgogi:

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and excess fat
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons gochujang
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon crushed ginger root
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 green onions, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 heads Boston, Bibb or Buttercrunch lettuce
1/2 package rice stick noodles, prepared according to package directions

Place the pork in the freezer until it firms up, about 1 hour. While the pork is in the freezer, combine the soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, gochujang , mirin, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper flakes, and green onions in a small bowl.

Remove the pork from the freezer and slice into pieces 1/8 inch thick. Place the pork and sliced onion in a large Ziploc bag, pour in the marinade and seal. Toss to evenly distribute the marinade, then open and reseal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least one hour to overnight.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the pork slices on the grill and cook until the meat is seared on both sides and cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Remove from the grill and serve immediately with bibb lettuce, rice stick noodles and soy sauce.

Shrimp Stir Fry:
6-12 prawns, cleaned and de-veined
2 packages ramen noodles
sugar snap peas
bean sprouts
green onion, chopped
sesame seeds
1 garlic clove, sliced thinly
Ginger root, grated

 For the sauce:
2 tbsp wok oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp Mirin (rice wine vinegar)
Juice of 1 lime

 There's not a whole let of method to the madness that is Trey's stir fry but I will attempt to recount how he made this delicious dish...

Cook ramen noodles according to package directions. Add 1 packet of seasoning (the stuff that comes with Top Ramen) to the water after cooking and drain.

Put 1 tbsp of the wok oil in your wok and heat to high. Add the shrimp and cook until it's opaque. Add the garlic slices, let them sautee for about 1 minute then add bean sprouts and sugar snap peas. Add cooked noodles, and turn heat down to medium-low. Add 1 more tbsp wok oil and 1 tsp sesame oil. Let fry for a minute or two until noodles firm up a little bit. Add 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sriracha and 1 tsp Mirin.

Add ginger, stir. Add lime juice, sesame seeds and green onions. Serve immediately.

Bon appetit!