Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grilled Poblano Chicken with Melted Monterey Jack

~*Sigh*~... Last week we had a relaxing, too short week at "The Sandy Beach", as my 2 year old excitedly called it. We took a much needed family vacation to San Diego, and had an amazing time! The weather was perfect, we had many fun things to do, and amazing places to dine. My thanks to The Recipe Girl for some really great recommendations, one of which was to visit and dine in Old Town San Diego. You know when your 12 year old son enjoys it, it has to be good- we spent 2 days there! I have to say though, the best breakfast I've truly ever had was in downtown San Diego, at Richard Walker's Pancake House. So good, my family can't stop talking about it! If you ever get a chance to go, it is worth the wait in line.

After a week of dining out though, it was nice to get back into my own kitchen. One of my favorite dishes is grilled poblano chicken with melted Monterey Jack cheese. It's a great idea for company because you can prepare the marinade and roast the chili's the day before, and serve with an easy Spanish rice and salad to complete the meal. Great for the 4th of July!

Personally, I enjoy the flavor of fresh roasted poblano's. They are so easy to prepare. Just grill on all sides till charred, enclose in a paper bag or wrap in a heavy kitchen towel while hot.

After about 30 minutes or so, remove chili's from bag and peel off the outer waxy skin. Remove the seeds and stem. Then you have the most delicious, silky textured chili's.

Grilled Poblano Chicken with Melted Monterey Jack

1/2 c olive oil
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
4 Tbs lime juice
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, grated
1- 1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp pasilla chili powder
Approx 8 medium size chicken breasts
4 roasted poblano chili's (if you can't roast, you can use canned whole green chili's instead)
8 slices monterey jack cheese

Combine everything except chili's and cheese in a large ziploc bag or covered bowl and let marinate 4 to 6 hours.

Grill chicken on medium heat, and just before done, depending on the thickness of chicken you have, place a strip of roasted green chili on top of chicken. Let sit for about a minute, then add slices of monterey jack cheese on top, and let cook until melted and bubbly.

I love the melted cheese on top of the roasted chili... Mmmmmmm.... Enjoy!

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Provolone Pesto Terrine

Like every girl, I love beautiful bouquets of flowers. I love the scent, the colors, and the surprise of waking up to a vase full on my counter, from my hubby, for absolutely no reason at all. He has learned though, over time, that it doesn't take a rose to bring a smile to my face. Actually, I've never really been a rose girl. Bring me a bouquet of wildflowers, or a bucket full of dandelions though, and I am a very happy gal... however, bring me a bunch of basil and I'll cook, clean, do your laundry... the scent of basil in my kitchen is pure, absolute heaven.

About 10 years ago my sister gave me this recipe for a Provolone Pesto Terrine, and I absolutely fell in love. A client of hers had given her the recipe, and it's been an appetizer staple at family gatherings ever since. While it has a few steps, and multiple ingredients, it isn't difficult to make at all...

While you could certainly save some steps by purchasing some ready made pesto, I wouldn't recommend it. Fresh, in this case, is best.

With a glass of wine, some crusty bread, and some good friends, this is a fabulous summertime treat.

Provolone Pesto Terrine

1 c fresh lightly packed Basil
1 c fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c olive oil
2 small cloves garlic, minced fine
1/4 c pine nuts

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1/4 c unsalted butter
1 small clove minced garlic
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/4 c roasted salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

1/2 c sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained, blotted, and coarsely chopped
1 lb thin sliced provolone

Italian bread and/ or Table water crackers

Cheesecloth or flour sack towel, to line loaf pan

In a food processor combine until smooth, basil, parmesan, olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts. Place in bowl and refrigerate until needed.

In food processor combine cream cheese, butter, garlic, and white pepper. When smooth and creamy, place in small bowl and fold in pistachios.

Wet cheesecloth and ring dry. Completely line loaf pan, letting excess hang over edges.

Cut provolone slices in half. Slightly overlapping slices, line bottom and sides of loaf pan, extending halfway up. Divide remaining cheese into 3 equal stacks, and set aside.

Spread 1/2 of the pesto mixture over the provolone in bottom of loaf pan. Cover pesto with 1 of the stacks of provolone, overlapping as you go.

Sprinkle cheese with 1/2 of the sun dried tomatoes. On top of that evenly spread all of the cream cheese mixture, then sprinkle on remaining 1/2 of the tomatoes. Cover that with another stack of provolone cheese.

Cover with the remaining pesto, and then cover that with remaining stack of cheese. Fold the cloth over top of cheese, compact slightly, and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.

To serve, invert onto a serving dish, remove cheesecloth, and garnish with basil and pistachios. Serve with slices of crusty bread or Table water crackers.

**This can be made up to a week in advance. To store, wrap in wax paper and keep in a gallon sized Ziploc bag.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Peach Blueberry Galette

So, how many of you, besides me, have run into the store "just to get a gallon of milk" and walked out instead with the complete opposite and then some..? It's not my fault...really.

I was minding my own business, when some little cartoon wisp of peach scented smoke latched onto my nostrils as I walked in the door, and dragged me clear over to the produce section. Next thing you know, I was in my car with all the ingredients for this Peach Blueberry Galette, and not one drop of milk! Don't you love the scents of summer..?!

I think what I love best about summer is making things simpler, less complicated. Which is why I love the rustic ease of a galette. All of us know people that shy away from anything having to do with a crust, all because they are afraid they can't make it pretty enough. With a galette, the more rustic, the better, for me. In its own messy way, it becomes simple elegance.

The peaches I found smelled like heaven, and were so delicious, that I felt little sugar was needed. Combined with a handful of blueberries, and a sprinkle of almond slivers, it was the best of summer on a plate.

Peach Blueberry Galette

1 single unbaked pie crust recipe, cold- I use Pate Brisee
6 or 7 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 c fresh blueberries
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp Vanilla (I used my homemade Bourbon vanilla, and increased to 2 tsp)
1/8 c slivered almonds

Combine peaches and blueberries in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and nutmeg. Then add cornstarch, and combine well. Pour into bowl with fruit and mix. Add vanilla, and mix. Set aside.

Roll out cold pastry dough between 1/8" and 1/4" thick on a floured surface, depending on size baking sheet or pan you have. No need for a perfect circle... rough edges are best. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you do not have parchment paper, spray pan lightly with non-stick spray.

Place all filling in center of dough. Fold over edges of dough around filling, tucking and crimping where necessary to avoid fruit spilling out, leaving center open. Sprinkle fruit with slivered almonds. If desired, brush pastry with a bit of beaten egg white, then sprinkle with a bit of sugar.

Bake galette at 400 F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 F, and bake an additional 35 to40 minutes, depending on your oven.

You can serve warm or cold, with or without ice cream. I prefer mine cold... as is. Enjoy!

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Spicy Grilled Cilantro Lime Coconut Shrimp with Orange and Coconut Milk Rice

Yesterday I was having some seriously bizarre food cravings... and no, I am not expecting. All I know is, that after my exercise class, there were a million different food items blabbing in my head, and they were all speaking at once... I felt like it was a blender of "pick me's" going on in there.

Shrimp seemed to have the most pull, but I was not in the mood for plain shrimp cocktail, or the usual restaurant fare of orange shrimp, or scampi. With this weather we're having, grilling it would be the way to go. So I starting looking for some different kind of dipping sauces, and once I found one on Low Fat Lifestyle that sounded good- Cilantro Lime Sauce- starting prepping all of my ingredients.

I swear, I feel like my mind gets hijacked... I can never stick to an original plan! In this case, however, the hijacking was a good thing. I decided to tweak the recipe some and change the dipping sauce to a marinade, and then coat the shrimp in coconut. Now, I'm not a big fan of coconut shrimp... see, that's where those weird cravings were coming in again... but this just seemed to call for coconut, and I'm really glad I went with it.

Needing a side dish to go with, I did a quick pantry check and found can of unsweetened coconut milk sitting next to a bag of rice. Now I've had that can of coconut milk for awhile- I don't even remember buying it. But I grabbed it, the rice, and started out just adding the rice and coconut milk in a pot. But I realized that ratio wise I didn't have enough liquid. So I ended up adding some fresh squeezed juice from oranges I had in my fruit bowl, a little water so that it wouldn't become too thick, and it turned out perfect.

Everything was really very quick easy to put together. I served it with an additional side of Plantain chips (which I'll post next time). Even my husband, who is not a big fan of coconut shrimp at all, actually loved this dish- So I know I'll be making this one again!

Spicy Grilled Cilantro Lime Coconut Shrimp
marinade adapted from Low Fat Lifestyle

1/2 c stone ground mustard with horseradish
1/2 c fresh squeezed lime juice
zest of 1 lime
2 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 lbs uncooked fresh or frozen shrimp
8 oz sweetened flaked coconut

In large Ziploc bag combine the first 5 ingredients. Add shrimp. Let marinate in refrigerator about 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator and place shrimp on skewers. Then, on a flat plate or baking sheet, place coconut. Dip the skewered shrimp in coconut, patting on both sides to make sure a fair amount adheres.

Before lighting grill, make sure to spray grill racks with a non-stick spray. Once heated, place skewers on grill, flipping once, for about a minute to minute and a half at most- just long enough to turn pink- nothing worse than tough shrimp! The coconut will still be slightly soft, and a little toasted.

Orange & Coconut Milk Rice

1 1/2 c white long grain rice
1- 14 oz can of Coconut Milk
3/4 c fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 c water
zest of 1 orange

Place all ingredients into a large pot. stir, and let come to a boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer, and cover, cooking an additional 20 -25 minutes. Remove from heat, and serve.

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