Sunday, September 29, 2013

Use those figs!

Yay for figs! They've been everywhere here lately-the farmers market, the grocery store, the other grocery obviously I had to figure out how to use them. This originally was going to be a goat cheese and thyme stuffed chicken, but I only bought goat cheese in my head, so plans changed about 5 minutes before I started cooking.

Luckily, too. This was delicious. And I did it all in one skillet. (Plus a bowl here and there. You are welcome, hubby.)

This recipe might call more the most butter I've ever used, like ever. It wasn't a huge quantity, but it was in everything. And it was awesome. The recipes I found and combined to make this all called for a LOT more, so I actually replaced some with a bit of olive oil, and still ended up using 3 tbsp less than directed. So if you're a Paula Deen at heart (the butter loving part, not the other part), go ahead and throw some more in there-you can add at least another tbsp to the sauce. I just didn't want the calories and didn't miss it. Your call.

Also, I've been making 3-4 servings of everything lately so hubby can take leftovers for lunch. So this will work with 3 or 4 chicken breasts. It's not exact. You may have some leftover cheese mixture if you make 3, or just don't fill the chickens as full and make 4. I trust you can figure this one out.

I served with a side of simple mashed red potatoes (skins on, mashed with some butter, milk, salt and pepper to taste).

Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onion and Walnut Chicken with Fig Sauce

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
Half a medium-small red onion, halved and sliced thinly
about 3 oz blue cheese
About 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
salt and fresh pepper
8-10 figs, halved
1 cup red wine
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup chicken broth/stock
olive oil

Heat oven to 400.

Heat about 2 tsp butter and a dash of olive oil over medium heat in a large oven safe skillet (if you have one, otherwise a large frying pan or similar is fine) and cook onions for 8 minutes or so until they are soft and starting to brown. Remove to a medium bowl to cool.

Add the wine and sugar to the pan and bring to boil (high heat). Reduce to medium and simmer until it's reduced to about half. Add the broth and reduce again til about half gone. Pour liquid carefully into a pyrex or bowl (or whatever you've got) and set aside.

Take the cooled onions and add in the blue cheese and walnuts. Gently mix together.

Take your chicken breasts and with a thin knife, make a hole into the middle of the narrow end, fanning your knife a bit to make the hole wide on the inside. It may be easier at this point to stick a finger or two in there and widen a bit more (don't break through!) If you have a different way you want to make a pocket, do it. The point is that you're gonna put stuff in it and you don't really want it escaping.

Take the cheese and onion mixture and (with your hands) push it down into the pockets. Take a toothpick and close the hole up a bit, if you can. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.

Add 2 tsp butter and a splash of olive oil to skillet/pan and heat to medium. Brown the chicken for about 3 minutes a side, then either put the skillet straight into the oven or transfer the chicken to a (cooking spray coated) baking dish. Let cook 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let set. If you used the skillet method, remove from skillet and place on a serving dish before continuing.

In the skillet/pan, add another tbsp of butter and once hot (foamy) add the figs, cut side down. Let cook 3-4 minutes, then add the wine sauce back in. Cook another few minutes until hot and the figs are pretty and brown. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over the chicken.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I eventually get to the Edamame Pasta here.

Hubby is so very good about my fondness for vegetarian nights. He's also very good about just shutting up and eating, however, so that could also have something to do with things. He winced ever so slightly when I told him I was going to make an edamame pasta, but he had two large servings, so whatever, I'm gonna take that as a win.

I kind of feel like I can just stop writing right here and let you get on with the recipe, but maybe you've missed me and therefore I need to keep blathering for a moment. Plus I've had a couple V0&Diets tonight and that obviously means I think I'm far more interesting than I actually am. Or it means I am more interesting than I usually am, and so either way, I can't stop.

So. What's new?  I spent a solo weekend in San Diego for Labor Day, not laboring other than the giant amounts of work my stomach did.

Saffron's Vietnamese Noodles
Case in point: Saffron for lunch on Saturday. My favorite Thai, and I get it approximately once every 5 years, so it was even more appreciated. And delicious. Holy shit, it's delicious. And THEN I had sushi. Like, a lot of it. For two days in a row.

I also went snorkeling with sharks (and my two fave SD dudes) but NBD. Also, they are LEOPARD Sharks. I kept calling them Tiger Sharks, cause whatever, cat sharks, but my snorkeling host/oldest&dearest/guy on fire Jon pointed out that Tiger Sharks will eat you, while Leopard Sharks will let you, like, snuggle with them. So, yeah.

Ok...enough of that. Pasta time! I used yellow tomatoes but red are of course fine, and I like romano cheese, but parmesan would be just as good. Just pick a pasta that has the little grooves in it, cause it holds the pesto better than the smooth kind.

Edamame & Pesto Pasta

1 package frozen shelled edamame (about 2.5 cups)
About 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup extravirgin olive oil
1 pound (1 box) uncooked cavatappi (or similar) pasta
1 cup grape/cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup grated fresh Romano cheese

Combine basil and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Slowly pour oil through food chute (or just pour it in there if you need to, whatever), and keep blending/processing until all evenly mixed.

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain. In same pot, place edamame and cover with water. Bring back to a boil (or until hot), then drain them into pasta. Combine pasta, edamame and basil mixture in large bowl or the pot, tossing gently to coat. Add tomatoes and half the cheese, tossing to combine. Taste and add salt if needed. Sprinkle with remaining cheese to serve.