Thursday, September 8, 2011

Impressively simple

You see really fancy looking dishes pictured in magazines or cookbooks all the time. They look like someone put hours into creating them and you think "I don't have time for this. I've got work/kids that I need to deal with."  Well, here is something you can make that looks impressive and doesn't take more than 15 minutes to create (not counting the cooking time).

Next time I make this, I think I would have the rice on the side, not underneath, but that's not really the part I thought I'd have trouble with. Placement is easy...that's why we practice.

What you need:(Adapted from Annabel Karmel's Favorite Family Recipes)
4 chicken breasts
2 large carrots (ruebli)
2 large zucchini (zucchetti)
1 small red onion (or half a large, rot zwiebel)
50g chopped mushrooms (champignon)
olive oil
1 tsp parsley (petersilie)
1 lemon
Breadcrumbs (toast a piece of bread and crumble it up finely)
120 ml chicken bouillon (1 cube and you'll have some left over)
the remaining bit of the above lemon + 1/2 a lime (you can use the lemon and lime juice as well)
75g butter
1 tbls tarragon
60 ml of cream (vollrahm)
Rice or potatoes (whichever you prefer for a side)

Put a pot of water on to boil - big enough to put your vegetable strips in.
Wash the carrots and zucchini and then using a vegetable peeler, slice long thin strips from them.  I was able to get 10-12 strips from each by rotating the vegetable around after 3-4 slices.
Once the water boils, drop the strips into the water for about 30-45 seconds.  However long it takes you to put out some paper towels for them to dry on.  Remove from the water and lay flat on the towel to dry.
If you wanted to have pasta as a side, using the carrot/zucchini water would add some nice flavor.

Place a little oil in a frying pan and turn the heat to medium-high.  Dice your onion and mushrooms.  Put the onion in the pan and let it turn a little translucent, then add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add the parsley a dash of lemon and the breadcrumbs.  Cook for another 2 minutes until thoroughly mixed.

Slice the chicken open (being careful not to cut it in half) and put 1-2 tsp of the mixture in. (Depends on the size of your chicken).

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and get out some aluminium foil.
Tear off a strip big enough to wrap around the chicken (do this for as many pieces of chicken as you will be using).

Place 5 strips of zucchini next to each other on the foil and then weave the carrot strips through them.  (Think back to grade school art class).
Place the chicken stuffed side down (like wrapping a present)

Fold over one side of the foil with the vegetables so that one side is over the chicken. Using a knife, carefully separate from the foil and then fold the other side (you don't need to separate the 2nd side).  Leave the foil, then fold in the two ends and finally the first piece of foil.  Turn over onto a baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes.

About 5 minutes before the chicken is done, prepare the sauce.

I used the same pan I cooked the 'stuffing' in for added flavor.
Put the remaining lemon juice from your lemon (or a squirt from bottled lemon juice) and 1/2 a lime (or a squirt of lime juice) and the chicken broth into the pan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
Stir in the butter (you may want to slice it to make it quicker to mix in)
Stir in the tarragon and cream. Add pepper/salt as desired.

Put your chicken on a plate and spoon a little of the sauce over the top.  Enjoy!

Salad into a sandwich?

Yep...not into a wrap (which would be really easy to do...hello ideas for next week!), but into a sandwich.

I love the caprese salad. It's light and filling (not stuffing!).  The only problem is that it takes a while to eat...and sometimes you just don't have that time.  What I love about this sandwich is that you can have everything chopped/sliced ahead of time and on the day you're in a rush, it'll take you about 2 minutes to make it.

What you need:
1 baguette (will make 3-4 sandwiches)
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1-2 slice tomatoes
Basil leaves - sliced into thin strips
Mozzarella cheese, sliced
Black pepper
Balsamic vinegar

If you have everything pre-sliced, it's super easy (and even if you don't, it only adds another couple of minutes) I think one of the reasons I like this sandwich is it also reminds me a bit of Subway, which I miss.

Place the cheese slices on the bottom of the bread, layer with onion and sprinkle with the basil strips.  I put the tomato on the top layer to help moisten the bread. (You could also put some pesto on the bread if you don't have basil). Grind a little black pepper over it and then drizzle on the vinegar.    Serve with apple slices, chips or fries.  Yum!