Friday, July 31, 2009

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

My true love

Okay, I'm going to try and keep this post as level-headed as I can. But it might be difficult, because I am in love. If I could I would doodle hearts and flowers all over this post, with Pam + Spatchcocked Chicken written in the hearts.

More true love

For those of you that don't know, spatchcocked chicken is split or butterflied chicken. But it's much more fun to use the older term, spatchcocked, don't you think? Except that my husband keeps calling it cockspatched (do I even have to explain why?)

To spatchcock a chicken, you use your knife or kitchen shears and cut out the backbone of the chicken. It's really easy, you just cut up both sides close to the backbone (and then save those for stock). Then you turn the chicken over and press down on it and flatten it. It provides a much more even surface for the grill and allows a whole chicken to grill in 30 minutes.

Kind of icky but still true love

I adapted the recipe from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food. The chicken was amazing. It was so juicy and moist, perfectly seasoned from the marinade/rub.

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken
Serves 4

1 whole 3-4 pound chicken, trimmed of excess fat and spatchcocked
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon quartered

Mix the rosemary leaves, the salt, the garlic and one tablespoon of the olive oil together in a small bowl. Rub this all over the chicken and under the skin if you'd like. Marinate for up to a day in the refrigerator (I highly recommend a full day of marinating).

When you are ready to grill, remove the chicken from the fridge about an hour before you plan to grill to allow it to come to room temperature.

Heat grill to high and then lower heat to medium. Place chicken on grill skin side down and grill for 15 minutes. Turn and grill for 15 more minutes. My chicken was done after that, but you could use a thermometer to make sure the thickest part of the thigh reads 160 to 165 F.

Remove from the grill and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Begin doodling your name + spatchcocked chicken on your notebook.

Music listened to: Valley Girl: Music From The Soundtrack

Thursday, July 30, 2009

TFF - Heirloom Tomatoes and Black-Eyed Peas


Remember when the only tomatoes you could find at the store were red? And not just red, but that kind of washed out red, that did not bode well for the flavor of said tomato. Thankfully those days are behind us and now an array of heirloom tomatoes is becoming easier and easier to find.


I love heirloom tomatoes, I love looking at them, taking pictures of them, talking about them, and eating them. The shades of reds, greens, yellows, purples, all beautiful.

When I eat good tomatoes, I don't want much done to them. I'm more than happy to eat them like an apple, taking big, messy bites out of them, with pauses for fresh sprinkles of salt.

But sometimes, one needs to step up to the plate, and do a little something with them, and what I did was Tyler Florence's Heirloom Tomatoes and Black-Eyed Peas. Well, I sort of did it, since I didn't have any watercress or red onion, so I subbed in a little fresh parsley for color. And then I kind of diced them instead of artfully slicing them and arranging them oh-so-prettily like Tyler (we are on a first name basis) does.

Heirloom Tomatoes and Black-Eyed Peas

I'm not going to post the recipe, since you can follow the link above and see the recipe on his site. Plus you get the benefit of seeing his interpretation of how this salad should look. Doesn't matter, mine was quite yummy, I should know I ate it for three days in a row, and would have eaten it for more, it's just that I ate it all up.

This lovely summery salad will be my entry for this week's Tyler Florence Fridays!

Music listened to while cooking: Homeby The BoDeans.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Carrabba’s Italian Grill MDA Charity Event July 30

Since I love to cook, I don't eat out very often. But when I do eat out, Carrabba's is always one of my top choices. So, when I was contacted and asked if I would help publisize their upcoming charity event, I didn't even have to think twice. Then I said, "But what's in it for my peeps, besides the whole feel good about yourself thing and the cocktail and the sampling of four menu items?" and they said "well, how about the recipes for the cocktails and a recipe for Chicken Parmesan Piccolinos?" and I said "sold!" **Not really, I pretty much said okay right from the start, I'm pretty easy going that way.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill “Mix it up for MDA” Event

What: “Mix it Up for MDA” Event, a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association

When: Thursday, July 30thfrom 5 p.m. to close

Cost: $15 a person

Admission includes a sampling of four food items from the new Mr. C’s Bar Menu and, for guests 21 years and older, one of three signature cocktails (Blackberry Lemonade, the Italian Lemon Drop or Blackberry Fields Martini) or another drink on the Mr. C’s list. In addition to monies raised from event admission, Carrabba’s also will donate $1 to MDA for each of the three signature drinks sold from July 30 – August 6.

Where: To find Carrabba’s locations near you, click here.

Chicken Parmesan Piccolinos

8 oz breast split Chicken breast, pounded thin (1/4 inch)
* Kosher salt and black pepper (to taste)
1 Beaten egg
2 Cups Seasoned breadcrumbs
2 oz Olive oil
4 oz Hot pomodoro sauce
1 oz Grated romano cheese
2 slices Mozzarella
4 slices Italian mini sandwich bread

1. Season chicken on both sides with the kosher salt and black pepper. Dip chicken breast into beaten egg and then coat with the seasoned breadcrumbs.

2. Heat olive oil, medium heat in a Teflon-coated skillet. Make sure the oil is hot before placing breaded chicken into the pan otherwise breading will absorb oil and not brown properly. Sauté chicken breast on both sides until golden brown.

3. Place chicken on a baking pan. Spread the pomodoro sauce evenly over the chicken and sprinkle with romano cheese, and top with mozzarella.

4. Melt cheese under broiler until lightly browned.

5. Cut to size and serve on Italian mini sandwich bread.

And, the lovely Andrew, my new best friend at Carraba's sent me the links for some youtube videos, where you can watch master mixologist Charlotte Voisey, mix up the new cocktails. I want to be a master mixologist.

Doesn't that sound like fun!!

Garden Tuesday - Crepe Myrtle

Crepe Myrtle

Remember back in May when I said that it was the law for Southerners to have Azaleas in their yard?

Crepe Myrtle

Well, now that we are further into summer I remember the other law. The one that requires Crepe Myrtles. I have always been a law abiding citizen.

Monday, July 27, 2009

BLT Salad

BLT Salad

When I got my latest batch of tomatoes from my CSA, I had them earmarked for a BLT sandwich. Unfortunately, I waited a day or two too long, and my tomatoes were past their prime. After I cut off their bad spots, I was left with some odd sized chunks of tomatoes.

BLT salad

What to do? What to do? I had my heart set on a BLT (especially the B part of the BLT). So, I morphed my dream sandwich into a dream salad. And there is no better way to top a dream salad than with a fried egg. Runny yolk is required.

Blt Salad

There really is no recipe here. I preheated my oven to 400, laid 4 bacon slices on one half of a cookie sheet and laid the tomato chunks on the other half. I drizzled some olive oil on the tomatoes and salted and peppered them. Roast until the bacon is as crispy as you like it (mine took about 10 minutes). I pureed the roasted tomatoes with a splash of red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil to make a dressing, and then fried up an egg. To serve, mound lettuce on a plate, drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with diced bacon, top with egg. As I was eating this, I realized that I should have made croutons! Next time, I'll make room on the cookie sheet for some bread cubes!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Weekend Wine Reviews #2

Are you a counter? I'm a counter. I countdown or up for everything. Like today, this is my last Sunday of summer. Now, you may argue that since I don't go back to school until next Monday, technically next Sunday is my last Sunday. But I say that weekend is just a normal weekend, since I have to go to work on that Monday. So, it's no longer a summer weekend, it's a regular work the next week - weekend.

See, the mindless trivial musings that fill my brain on a regular basis? It's amazing that I ever accomplish anything worthwhile.

So, on to something to cheer me up on my last weekend of summer. On to our wine reviews.

First up we have Kemblefield 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand, $9.99. They say: Passionfruit and gooseberry aromas combine with tropical fruit. We say: Excellent! Complex, citrusy, soft, buttery, long finish. Buy again - definitely.

PKNT Merlot, Chile, $7.40. They say: Crammed with plummy red fruits with a touch of tannin. We say: full up front, finishes quickly, mellow and smooth. Buy again - yes, definitely, well worth seven dollars and some change.

Little Penguin Merlot, 2007, Southeastern Australia, $5.70. We say: Smokey, berry, peppery, ends thinly and quickly. Buy again - yes, not bad at all for the price.

Rosemount Estate Sauvignon Blanc, 2007, Australia, $7.70.
They say: the wine delivers lively, ripe citrus and freshly cut grass aromas on the nose. The palate is dry, with vibrant, zesty fruit delivering a lively peak of varietal character and a long finish of kiwi and passionfruit flavours. We say: Citrusy, herby, watery weak finish. Buy it again - probably not.

Bohemian Highway California Pinot Grigio, 2007, $5.50. They say: zesty and crisp with refreshing aromas and flavors of melon, tropical fruit, and cool lemon/lime to finish. We say: light, sweet, peachy, smooth, citrusy finish. Buy again - definitely.

There you have it, the second installment of cheap wine reviews from people who have no idea what they are talking about, but still feel the need to say it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging #216

Patchouli would like to come out from under all that catnip and show you her pretty face, but she is very busy right now. Very. Busy.

Patchouli, will be my entry for this week's Weekend Cat Blogging, hosted by Samantha Black and Mr. Tigger at Life From a Cat's Perspective.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Presto Pasta Nights #123


The moment you have all be waiting for...The Presto Pasta Nights Round-Up!!! These are presented in the order they received, not playing any favorites here!


Greek Pasta Salad

And I know, I said that I wasn't playing any favorites here, so it's a good thing that Kitchenetta from Got No Milk with her Greek Pasta Salad was the first entry, because Greek food is one of my favorites!


Veggie Stuffed Pasta Shells

Maybelle is one lucky little girl, I have to say. Look at these completely yummy,
Veggie Stuffed Pasta Shells posted by her mom at Feeding Maybelle . I don't know what I want more, those pasta shells or the beautiful bowl.


Winter Ravioli

Before blogging, I never really stopped to think that while I was enjoying the long, hot days of summer, someone else was having winter. So, I love that I get to see what people are cooking in their winter, like this fabulousWinter Ravioli Salad from Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe.


Pasta with Lentils and Artichokes

The lovely Joanne at Eats Well With Others is a blog that I read regularly. So, I had actually already seen her Pasta with Lentils and Artichokes before she even sent me the entry. I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of lentils, but I desperately want to like them, and I definitely going to try this.


Chicken Picatta

Deb from Kahakai Kitchen brings us Dreamy, Creamy (and Healthy!) Chicken Picatta Pasta. She uses brown rice flour to thicken the sauce, she is a genius, I tell you!


Green and Red Pasta

Quick...what's your favorite pasta sauce, red or green? Can't decide? Me neither. Well, thanks to Abbhi of Soulful Creations we don't have to. Her Green and Red Pasta offers us the best of both worlds.


Spaghetti with Garlic Shrimp

The Sweet Kitchen like me, does not like dentists. We do not like them one bit, not one tiny bit. So, after a particularly grueling appointment, she needed something fast and comforting. I pretty much need fast and comforting all the time, so her Spaghetti with Garlic Shrimp is going on my list.


Garlic Cherry Tomato Tuna Pasta

I think I've mentioned before, I love the name Daphne. It's such a happy name. All Daphne's should be happy. So, it saddened me to hear that Daphne of More Than Words was not feeling well. Lucky for us though, she had made Garlic Cherry Tomato Tuna Pasta back when she was feeling better.


Broccoli and Sausage Pasta

My go-to pasta dish always includes some kind of sausage, but Graziana of Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs) takes it a delicious step further by adding broccoli with her Broccoli and Sausage Pasta. Now, why didn't I think of that??


Nameless Pasta

Sarah from What Smells So Good? brings us what she calls her Nameless Pasta. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah...dear girl..have you not learned the fine art of pasta naming. It's simple, you do like I do, call it by every major ingredient in it. Your pasta shall now be referred to as Garlic, Tomato, Clam Pasta with Fresh Basil.


Presto It's Pasta

Sandi from Whistle Stop Cafe Cooking knows my two favorite words that go with pasta - quick and easy! She created Presto It's Pasta - a dish that is ready in the time it takes you to cook the pasta!


Roasted Chicken Mushroom Penne

I don't know about you, but I am always looking for ways to use up my roasted chicken meat. Ruth, of Once Upon a Feast, also the lovely and talented creator of PPN, gives us a Roasted Chicken Mushroom Penne that is just to-die for!


Pistachio Pesto on Penne

I can always count on my dear friend, Kevin of Closet Cooking to come up with something inventive and creative, and once again, he does not disappoint with his Pistachio Pesto on Penne! Seriously, Pistachio Pesto, how does he come up with these??? Thank goodness for boring old me, I get to read Kevin's blog and try to let some of his creativity osmosively work it's way into my soul.



Debbie from Dining with Debbie offers up a wonderful use for all that mint you have growing abudantly in your garden. Because if you have mint, then you definitely have it in abundance! And I can think of no better use than this Sensational Summer Pasta from Cuisine at Home. Be sure and head over to her blog to read about Crock Pot Wednesdays!

Red Cabbage Udon Noodle Soup

The following is a sentence, that I say and repeat about 20 times a day..."Oh my gosh, I am sooo making this." Sometimes I follow through, sometimes I don't. But thanks to Tigerfish at Tesczcape - an Escape to Food I definitely mean it this time. Her Red Cabbage Udon Noodle Soup is everything I've ever wanted in a lovely bowl of noodles. Everything.


Pasta with Peppers and Tomato

Not only do I love a quick and easy pasta dish, but I also love a well-chosen phrase every now and then. As I was reading Judith's blog, Think on It, I came to the part where she was describing her pretty, fancy, but instructionless pasta. She had to keep continually testing it, but then informs us that we will probably not have that problem because we "will sensibly buy pasta with less charisma and more information." Sorry to disappoint you Judith, but I always buy the most charismatic pasta I can, and when I do, I'm making your gorgeous Pasta la Bandiera (Pasta with peppers and tomato).


Homemade Pasta

Some of you may know that for Mother's Day I gifted myself the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid. You may also have noticed that I haven't posted anything about it yet. Unlike me, Kristin at Sogkonnite Living actually makes pasta. Just look at her Homemade Pasta! I am in serious envy!


Well, that's all folks! Thanks for a great round-up. Be sure and start getting your entries ready for next week, which will be hosted by Amy of Very Culinary . Send your entries to amy (at) veryculinary (dot) com and cc ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com.

Post for my Morning Peeps

This post is just for my morning peeps.

Those people who start their day with a quick gander at what I might be oh-so-elequently warbling about today.

I do have morning peeps. I do. I do. I do. (That by the way, should be said in the voice and manner of the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz).

Anywho, back to this post. This is simply a place card holder, reminding all of you to check back here in a few hours when I post the round-up for Presto Pasta Nights. I've got a few last minute stragglers to get worked in.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tyler Florence - Chili Cheese Dogs

Chili Cheese Dogs

After eating light and healthy for several days in a row (it's funny what an upcoming physical appointment with a doctor will do for your eating and drinking habits), it was time for something not so light and healthy. So, when I want to splurge, I go for beef and cheese. Beef and cheese does it for me everytime (and since the cholesterol results came back fine, bring it on!). But instead of my usual burger, I opted for another American classic, the chili cheese dog.

Chili Cheese Dogs

I love a good chili cheese dog, from the tiny chili cheese pups from Krystals, to the footlong from Sonic, to the really good ones at the those fancy hot dog stands. So, Tyler's Chili Cheese Dogs from Eat This Book: Cooking with Global Fresh Flavorssounded like a dream come true.

Hot Dogs

These were good, just what I had in mind. Now, the topping felt, and tasted, a little more "Manwichy" than chili to me, but that was okay. Nothing better than a beefy hot dog, topped with more beef, and then topped with cheese. And speaking of healthy, which we were several paragraphs back, these were made with grass-fed beef hot dogs, grass-fed beef hamburger, whole wheat buns, and organic whole milk cheddar from happy grass-fed cows, so I think it was healthy afterall!

Chili Cheese Dogs
Serves 4

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 all beef hot dogs, about 1/2 pound
4 hot dog rolls
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar

To make the chili: Heat a skillet over medium flame and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil gets hazy, add the onion and cook, stirring, until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, and cook until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, chili powder, and mustard; simmer for 15 minutes until thick; season with salt and pepper.

For the hot dogs: While the chili is cooking: place a large grill pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat or preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue and get it very hot. Brush the grates with oil to keep the hot dogs from sticking. Parboil the dogs first before grilling: bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the hot dogs for about 5 minutes. Remove from the water and grill the hot dogs just long enough to give them grill marks. Brush the insides of the rolls with the remaining oil and place them face down on the grill until toasty. To serve, top each hot dog with the chili and some Cheddar cheese.

This will be my entry for this week's Tyler Florence Fridays!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lemon Chicken Pasta for Presto Pasta Nights!!

Lemon Chicken Pasta

For some silly, strange reason I don't cook much pasta in the summer. Pasta feels wintery to me. But since I am the host of Presto Pasta Nights this week, I can't very well not make pasta, now can I?? I had some leftover cooked chicken in my fridge, and with that in mind, I decided to look in the indexes of my numerous cookbooks under pasta. It sounds more difficult than it was, since I found this recipe in the first book that I pulled off the shelf!

Lemon Chicken Pasta

Yep, the first book I pulled off was Donna Hay's Off The Shelf: Cooking From the Pantry. I needed something really easy because I would be getting home late, and Ms. Hay never disappoints me. She constantly reminds me that with a little olive oil, a chili pepper or two, and some herbs, you can make dinner out of anything. This was very good. And I seriously had this on the table within 25 minutes of walking in the door.

Lemon Chicken Pasta
Serves 4

14 oz spaghetti or linguini
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed (I only had brined)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 small red chillies, seeded and chopped
3 cooked chicken breasts fillets, shredded
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Place the pasta in a pan of boiling, salted water, cook as per directions, and drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil over high, in a skillet large enough to hold the sauce and the pasta. Add the oil, capers, garlic and chillies and cook for 1 minutes. Add the chicken and the lemon zest, and cook until the chicken is warmed up, about 4 minutes. Add the pasta to the pan, with the lemon juice, basil, and salt and pepper. Toss to combine and top with the paremsan cheese before serving.

As I said above, this will be my entry for Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by yours truly! Send your entries to morefromscraps AT comcast DOT net. Oh, and the whole thing about pasta being wintery, forgetaboutit! This was perfect.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Garden Tuesday - A Last Look at the Daylillies

Daylillies make me smile.

What doesn't make me smile - I go back to school in two weeks!