Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chicken Roulade

Chicken, feta, lemon, spices?  What more can you ask for?  Not much, in my opinion.  Zesty, creamy, flavorful, healthy?  It's great!  This seemingly fancy roulade (it even has a fancy name!) was very easy to make.  I like dishes that look they took hours to make, but in fact just took minutes.  It's all about the wow factor, right? 

It pairs wonderfully with wild rice, roasted potatoes, or any sort of veggie imaginable.  It would also be great to take as finger food to a party or BBQ.  I can't wait to make it again!

Chicken Roulade:
Inspired by this recipe.
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/8-inch in thickness
  • olive oil 
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 6-8 ounces feta, crumbled 
  • about a tablespoon each of dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • the zest of one lemon
  • a little fresh lemon juice
  1. Line a baking sheet with nonstick tinfoil.  Arrange the pounded chicken breasts in a single layer and brush all over with oil. 
  2. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the feta, spices, garlic, and lemon zest together. 
  4. Sprinkle chicken with the feta mixture, dividing evenly, and keeping the filling away from edges. 
  5. Beginning at the narrower end of a chicken breast, roll up, enclosing filling as you would a jelly roll.  Tie with kitchen twine at one-inch intervals to secure. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
  6. Preheat oven to 450 degree.  Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken roulades and cook until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. 
  7. Transfer chicken roulades to a small baking dish and bake until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of roulades registers 160 degrees, about 5-7 minutes. 
  8. Cut off the strings and cut the roulades across in inch-long pieces--essentially making inch-wide "wheels".
  9. Drizzle with a little fresh lemon juice and ENJOY!

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    Gnocchi with Sundried Tomatoes and Artichokes

    According to Hallmark, February is the month of looooooooove.  Well, I looooooooove gnocchi.  Really, who doesn't?  It's like these little potato dumplings that pretend to be pasta bring a little more love to your mouth with every bite.  They are both hearty and light, fluffy and dense.  Of all the amazing Italian meals I have had in my life in very cool places around this country, the times where I have had gnocchi are all at the top of my list.  A great gnocchi meal is impossible to forget.  (I am salivating right now...)

    With all of that in mind, we made gnocchi at home a few weeks ago when my lovely parents were visiting for the holidays.  (Yes, I am a month behind in blog posts.)  I was nervous that our gnocchi would either fall apart and turn into mush or be so stiff that it was gummy.  Wrong--it was PERFECT!  It took time to make, but was certainly worth it.  Then, we topped it off with a marinated artichoke and sundried tomato sauce with fresh basil that was also delicious--the perfect complement to the gnocchi.

    If you want to impress your guests with a fancy meal, this is for you.  You can make up some story about a distant great aunt's recipe straight from Italy if you really want to--everyone will believe you.

    This dish is delicious.  Now I am starving.  Enjoy!

    Gnocchi with Sundried Tomatoes and Artichokes:
    Gnocchi adapted from this recipe.

    For the Gnocchi...
    • 1ish pound of yukon gold potatoes (I think we used 5 potatoes, but don't quote me on that)
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • a heaping 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan
    • about 1/2 teaspoon each of crushed rosemary, thyme, and sage (next time I will use a little more of each)
    • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
    • 2ish cups of flour (maybe more, maybe less)
    1. Peel all of your potatoes.  Using a ricer or the smallest setting on a grater, rice/grate the potatoes.  In the meantime, bring a large of water to boil.  
    2. Once the water is boiling, add the potatoes and stir constantly for about 5-7 minutes until the potatoes are done.  
    3. Using a sieve or a very fine colander, drain the potatoes.  We even went so far as to squeeze out some of the extra liquid using a paper towel.  (This is the part of the process I haven't perfected yet.  Next time, I think I may cut the potatoes into chunks, cook them, then throw them in the food processor or stand mixer.)  In the end, you should have about between 2 and 3 cups of potatoes.
    4. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl, and make a well.  Add the egg yolks, cheese, and all of the spices.  Using your hands or a spatula, mix well.
    5. Sprinkle in 1/2 cup of flour, and mix again. 
    6. Keep adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough holds together and gives slightly under pressure.  It should not be a sticky mess, nor should it be a rock.  (I imagine that all of this could be done in a stand mixer too--next time.)
    7. To test if the dough is the correct consistency, take a piece and roll it with onto a well-floured surface until it is about 1/2-inch in diameter.  If the dough holds together, it is ready. 
    8. Line numerous cookie sheets with parchment paper.
    9. Now that your dough is ready, flour your hands and a surface well.  Grab a baseball-sized hunk of dough and roll into a 1/2-inch diameter rope.  
    10. Cut the rope into inch-long pieces and place onto the parchment paper.  Continue until the dough is gone or your cookie sheets are full.
    11. Lightly flour all of the cut gnocchi pieces.  Use the back of a fork to make indents on the up-side of the dumplings.  Flip and do the same to the other side.
    12. Set the cookie sheets in front of a fan for 30 minutes or so.
    13. To cook, again brink a large pot of water to boil.  Lightly place the dumplings you plan on cooking into the water and stir consistently, but don't be too rough.  (You are going to have zillions--you can freeze all the rest of the uncooked gnocchi.)
    14. Cook for a few minutes until they all start to float.  Give a taste test and drain when they are cooked through.
    15. Top with sauce, fresh basil, and fresh parmesan.
    16. ENJOY!
    For the Sauce...

    ***Here are the ingredients.  Determine the amounts of each based on taste preference and on the number of people you are feeding.
    • sweet onion, diced
    • garlic, minced
    • marinated artichoke hearts, loosely diced
    • marinated sundried tomatoes, chopped
    • a dash of red wine
    • crushed rosemary, thyme, and sage
    • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
    • chopped fresh basil
    • freshly grated parmesan
    1. Heat a glug of basil-infused olive oil (if you have some) in a large skillet.
    2. Add the onions and garlic.  Cook until soft and fragrant.
    3. Add everything else.  Cook for a few minutes.
    4. Taste and adjust.
    5. Serve on top of gnocchi and cover the whole show with the fresh basil and paremsan.
    6. Holy smokes it is good.