Saturday, June 26, 2010

June Recipe-Club Recipe

This month's recipe was Buttermilk Grilled Chicken. I used the recipe as a base, but changed up a lot of it. I caramelized the shallots and left out the sugar, instead of just chopping the shallots and adding sugar to the buttermilk. I added a pinch of cayenne, and I added the buttermilk to the pan to really infuse it with the shallot flavor. This caused the buttermilk to sort of break, but I figured it didn't matter since it would just be a marinade.

I used two chicken breasts, one with skin and bones, one skinless and boneless, to see which worked best. I marinated them all day in the fridge, then put them onto a hot grill pan on the stove. I only put it them on long enough to get the grill marks on both sides before putting them in a pan and into my table-top oven to finish cooking. I had heard feedback from others about them getting too blackened on the outside before finishing, and didn't want that to happen.
This was the end result. The one on the top is the one with skin, the bottom, skinless. I found that the skin didn't really stay that crispy and I ended up taking it off, so I would say go for skinless in the future. By doing it in the oven this way, it saves all the moisture you can see on the bottom of the pan. I poured this over the chicken and it was so moist and flavorful. This was a really easy and delicious recipe. I have buttermilk and a shallot left over and I might try doing a fried chicken version of this. Since so many recipes call for buttermilk anyway. Hopefully it'll work out all right.

June Round-up

I tried a few things this month that worked and didn't work. This one was a fail, but it was an inspiration for a win, so that balances it out. I tried a tuna noodle casserole from a low-sodium, heart-healthy cookbook and it was gross. Don't do it, it's just not good. But, the sauce I made for it I thought would work, if tweaked, for chicken divan. Chicken divan is one of my favorite recipes but it relies heavily on mayonnaise and canned cream of chicken soup, which is a dairy no-no for me. It's really hard to find recipes that replicate that creaminess but don't have cream in them. This one was for a thickened milk sauce. I tried it with rice milk for the tuna casserole and found it a bit too sweet, so I tried dairy milk, acidophilus kind, for the chicken casserole.
This was the result. The sauce was delicious. Milk thickened with cornstarch as opposed to a traditional bechamel. I added cheddar cheese to the sauce, since cheese is an important element to chicken divan, as well as a bit of curry powder and lemon juice, other essentials to a good sauce. I was very pleased with the results. I'd been nervous that the lemon juice might make the milk sauce curdle, but I added it at the very end and it did just fine.
I used fresh broccoli instead of frozen, which I am not a fan of. Frozen broccoli has very little flavor or texture, it's basically pointless, in my humble opinion. However, I should have steamed the broccoli instead of assuming it would cook enough in the oven. It didn't. But the flavor of the entire dish was what I wanted, and it was dairy friendly and at least slightly healthier since there's no mayonnaise in it. I used reduced fat cheese also since it doesn't matter too much when melted into a sauce like this. And I used one chicken breast for the entire dish. I will definitely do this one again.

I have a table-top oven that we got last year to try out in hot weather. Boy is it ever a life-saver! It doesn't heat up the apartment and I can bake and roast things year round now. This will be getting a lot of use. It already has.
My sister and I went to the Edmonds farmers market last Saturday where I found these little treasures. They just look like potatoes in this shot, but they're actually the size of marbles. They are adorable and delicious! I steamed them, then fried them up in a bit of butter so they got a bit crispy on the outside, but were mealy in the middle. I wish I could go to farmers markets all the time, but I doubt I could afford it. So, I'll have to satisfy myself by going once in a while.