Monday, April 28, 2008

Broiled Chicken with Meyer Lemon Dijon Marinade

First Time Cooking with Meyer Lemons

I don't know what took me so long to buy meyer lemons. I guess because they are a little more expensive than regular lemons, I kind of shyed away. I'm glad I finally broke down and got some! The flavor is so intense and the color is beautiful. They are a little more orangy in color.
This just a simple marinade for a simple weekday dinner. It's quick, easy and very tasty!

Broiled Chicken with Meyer Lemon Dijon Marinade

1 lb. chicken tenderloins or chicken breast cut into smaller pieces
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Combine oil, rind, juice, mustard, garlic, pepper and parsley in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place chicken pieces in a large zip lock plastic bag and add the marinade. Let stand for at least 1/2 hour or longer if possible.

Preheat Broiler.

Place chicken pieces on a broiler pan or baking sheet lined with foil. Broil for 4 minutes on the first side and then 3-4 minutes on the second, or until cooked through.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tarragon Turkey Burgers

Hankering For a Hamburger?

Try turkey instead. Sometimes I get a hankering for something hearty and filling for dinner after a long day at work. One night I was seriously craving a big juicy burger. So I stopped at the market after work and bought some ground turkey. It is healthier than ground beef with less saturated fat and I just love it. I actually prefer it to beef now.

I wanted to flavor it with some fresh herbs, I was thinking the usual; basil or parsley. But when I went to grab a pack of basil, the fresh tarragon caught my eye. So I went with that instead. I thought it would really freshen and brighten the flavor of the burger. And it did. It is such a fresh flavor; it tastes a little like fennel to me. Kind of like licorice, only not as strong. Delicious!

Tarragon Turkey Burgers

1 pound lean ground turkey (I used dark meat, which is about 93% lean)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 egg white, beaten
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Regiano cheese, or parmesan
1/4 cup flavored bread crumbs
2-3 tablespoons fresh finely chopped tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 light hamburger buns, toasted lightly on grill

Preheat broiler.
  1. Mix together egg white, garlic, tarragon, parmigiano cheese, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Add the ground turkey and mix until evenly blended. (Do not over work the meat or it will be tough when cooked).
  2. Form into 4 equal size patties.
  3. Broil burgers about 6 inches from element for about 5-6 minutes per side or until no longer pink in the center. (180 degrees on an instant read thermometer).
  4. Place each burger atop a toasted bun. Top with a slice of fresh tomato if desired.

Orange Almond Butter Bars

Got Orange Peel?

Lately I've been obsessed with orange peel. It seems I can't eat an orange without first zesting or peeling it. I actually feel like I'd be throwing away some kind of valuable commodity if I threw away the peel. I know it's weird.

I just really love the fresh smell of the oranges essential oils when zesting them. I used to just zest the peel over some waxed paper and save it in the freezer until I needed it for a recipe. But I realized that I wasn't getting all of the essential oils from the orange. So I started to make orange butter instead. By zesting the orange into room temperature butter, all of the oil is incorporated right into the butter. I mix it and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze for future use. It also makes it easy the next time I need orange zest in a recipe, since the work is already done!

In this recipe I made two different versions of bars. One with chocolate and the other is just topped with sliced almonds. They are both sure to please!

Orange Almond Butter Bars
by Mixed Salad Annie

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup natural almond butter
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup natural brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon pure almond extract
Grated orange rind from 1 1/2 oranges
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped or bittersweet morsels
2 tablespoons sliced almondsDirections
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
3. Beat together almond butter, butter and sugar in medium-size bowl until creamy. Beat in egg, yolk, rind and almond extract.
4. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture in 2 additions to form dough. If too soft, refrigerate to firm.
5. Place 1/2 of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.
6. Stir chocolate pieces into remaining dough. Place on the same baking sheet.
7. Shape into two 10 x 3-inch logs.
8. Top the first log with sliced almonds pushing gently into dough.
9. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 10 to 13 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove logs to cutting board. Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10-15 minutes.
10. Using serrated knife, cut logs crosswise on a slight angle into 1/2-inch-thick slices. With spatula, transfer bars to wire rack to cool.
Makes about 20 bars.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Broiled Chicken

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes- Yum!

This is a great recipe to use when cherry tomatoes go on sale. That's when I made mine. They were .99 cents a pint. Not bad!

As with roasting anything, the flavor of what ever is being roasted becomes intensified and caramelized. I love that! You could use these roasted tomatoes as just a pasta sauce as well. Just add some grated Parmigiano cheese and your good to go!

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Broiled Chicken

2 pints cherry tomatoes
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
4 chicken cutlets
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, or cooking spray

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil. Add the tomatoes and toss with the oil, whole garlic cloves, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Roast until the tomatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, add the chopped garlic and mix well. Place sheet back in the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes and any accumulated juices to a bowl; add the parsley and oregano. Stir well, cover to keep warm.
Preheat broiler.
Spray a foil lined baking sheet or broiler pan with cooking spray. Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper and place on the baking sheet. Spray the top of the cutlets with cooking spray or a 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Cook the chicken for 4 minutes per side or until no longer pink in the center.
Let rest for a few minutes and slice into strips. Add to the roasted tomatoes. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately with pasta or rice.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chocolate Covered Orange Peel

OMG-These Were Good!

If there are "two great tastes that taste great together" (besides chocolate and peanut butter), they would have to be chocolate and orange. This was my first ever attempt at making this type of candy. I have to say it was very easy, just a lot of steps.

I got the recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Emiline at Sugar Plum. She had made them for her Mom on Valentine's Day in the shape of little hearts. They were just so cute and I knew if Emiline made them they had to be good! I had been thinking of them ever since and starting saving all my orange peels. It started getting a little crazy, because I wouldn't eat an orange unless I properly peeled it in order to save the precious peel!So anyway I made the chocolate orange peel but I kept the natural shape of the peeled strips. I also used more oranges, probably 4-5. And lastly, I omitted the butter from the chocolate. Other than that I followed the recipe as written.

Chocolate Covered Orange Peel Hearts (Recipe adapted by Emiline from Chocolate Step-by-Step)

2 large oranges
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips, room temp.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp.

Cut oranges into quarters. Carefully remove peel in large sections, removing any excess pith with a sharp knife.

Using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut the peel into shapes.
Drop the rounds into a pan of boiling water, simmer for 5 minutes; drain. Repeat twice more using fresh boiling water each time you do it.

Combine water and sugar in pan; stir over low heat without boiling until sugar dissolves. Add orange hearts; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the peel becomes translucent.

Transfer shapes to large wire rack to drain. To dry thoroughly, stand peel overnight, loosely covered with foil.

Combine chocolate and butter in small saucepan; stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Using two forks, dip peel in chocolate to coat; drain excess. Stand shapes on foil-lined tray until set.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Apricot and Dried Plum Truffles

Easy As Pie...

The inspiration for these truffles came from Ellie Krieger on the Food Network. She hosts the show Healthy Appetite. I really like some of her recipes since she always tries to use healthful ingredients in recipes that would otherwise be very fattening or unhealthy.
This recipe is a perfect example of how you can eat healthy without missing out on the things you love, like chocolate.
We all know that dark chocolate (around 60%-70% cocoa, the higher the percentage, the better is it for you) can now be a healthy addition to our everyday diets (if eaten in moderation, something I have to practice myself)! And dried fruits are also an important part of a healthy diet since they contain minerals essential to our bodies.
In the first version I made, I used apricots and dried plums. The second version is very similar to Ellie's recipe, Fig and Ginger Truffles, which uses dried figs. I added some pistashios for crunch.

Apricot and Dried Plum Truffles

1 1/2 cups dried apricots, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup dried plums, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
2 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 70 percent cocoa solids), chopped

Place the apricots, dried plums, orange zest, cinnamon and honey in a food processor and process for about 1 minute, until the ingredients form a consistency of a sticky paste.

Roll the mixture in your hands into balls the size of cherry tomatoes and set them on a waxed paper lined baking sheet.

Use a double boiler or place a small bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, over low heat, making sure the water isn't touching the bottom of the bowl. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir until it is melted. Remove the bowl from the pan.

Roll the apricot balls into the melted chocolate 1 or 2 at a time, until they are all covered. Place them back on the waxed paper and chill in the refrigerator until set.


Figgy Pistashio Truffles
adapted from Ellie Krieger

2 cups dried figs, (about 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, I used candied ginger and grated it on my microplane

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup chopped pistashio nuts
2 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 70 percent cocoa solids), chopped

Cut the stems off the figs and discard. Put the figs, ginger, orange zest, cinnamon and honey in a food processor and process for about 1 minute, until the ingredients form a consistency of a sticky paste.

Roll the fig mixture in your hands into balls the size of cherry tomatoes and set them on a waxed paper lined baking sheet.

Use a double boiler or place a small bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, over low heat, making sure the water isn't touching the bottom of the bowl. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir until it is melted. Remove the bowl from the pan.

Roll the fig balls into the melted chocolate 1 or 2 at a time, until they are all covered. Place them back on the waxed paper and sprinkle with chopped pistashio nuts. Chill in the refrigerator until set.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Spinach, Roasted Fennel, Olive and Egg Calzone Loaf

Awesome Flavor!

I LOVE SPINACH PIES... Especially ones with roasted fennel and olives... and eggs! Yes EGGS! It may sound weird but let me tell you, it is awesome. The eggs not only give great flavor to this calzone, but also add a great amount of protein to this otherwise protein lacking loaf!
A friend of mine (Joann) actually turned me on to this idea. I guess it is a common addition in Italy, where eggs are added in many unsuspecting dishes.
If you don't like eggs then by all means leave them out, because the roasted fennel and olives, along with the sauteed spinach, would certainly give this loaf enough flavor on their own.

Spinach, Roasted Fennel, Olive and Egg Calzone Loaf

1 Lb. store bought dough
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 fennel bulb, cleaned, cut in half, cored and sliced thin
1/2 jar/can black olives, sliced in half lengthwise
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
2/3 cup low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Provolone cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon all purpose seasoning (garlic blend), plus 1/4 teaspoon for top of calzone
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash, or 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add the fennel and olives and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 45 - 55 minutes until fennel is soft and caramelized. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and sauté until soft. Add the spinach and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the basil, parsley, salt, pepper and seasoning blend and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the mixture to a bowl and add in the fennel olive mixture. Mix well.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and roll it out to a 12 x 14-inch rectangle. Lift the dough onto a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet.

Brush the top of the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread the spinach mixture over the dough. Leave about a 1/2 border. Add the egg slices and cheeses, covering the entire area evenly. Roll the long side of the dough up like a jelly roll. Pinch the seam and the 2 ends to seal, making sure the seam is on the bottom.Brush the top with the egg wash or milk and sprinkle with the seasoning blend. Slice several small slits in the top of the dough for the steam to vent.

Place in the 400°F oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Let cool for 5-10 minutes and cut on a diagonal for best presentation.