Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grilled Mustard Chicken with Fresh Corn Polenta

This recipe was so tasty!  But the photo here doesn't really tempt you - does it?  I think I was in a rush to get stuck in.

It's finally that time of year when everything is in season.  I decided to take a break from all our zucchini and tomatoes and pick up some fresh corn at our local farmer's market. Peak-of-the-season corn is really the best.  If you love corn (Phil and Mom) this is the perfect summer evening BBQ recipe for you.  I would even serve this when entertaining.  You can do the marinating ahead of time and just throw the chicken on the BBQ once guests arrive. I always say it's best if you marinant for 5 hours but 1 hour will do if you don't have the time.

We had a lot of extra polenta, so I'll follow with an easy vegetarian recipe for later in the week using up the leftovers.

Thank you Bon Appetite magazine for the summery recipe!


6 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 Cup of Dijon mustard
1 Tbs of fresh lemon juice
1 Large garllic clove, minced
Chicken thighs with skin and bone
Olive oil

5 Cups of water
1 cup of polenta (course cornmeal)
11/2 Tsp of salt
1 Tsp of sugar
1/2 Cup of mascarpone cheese

For the chicken:
Whisk onions, mustard, lemon juice, and garlic in medium bowl to blend.  Using fingertips and leaving one side still attached, loosen skin on each chicken thigh.  Lift skin flap on each and fold back.  Spoon half of mustard mixture atop thighs, dividing equally and spread to cover meat.  Fold skin flap back and seal with toothpick.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides and turn skin side up, and spread remaining mustard mixture over skin.  Transfer chicken to baking dish and let marinate.

Heat BBQ to medium-high heat.  Brush grill rack with olive oil.  Grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through, turning chicken occasionally and moving to a cooler spot if browning too quickly., 40-50 minutes.  Transfer chicken to another baking dish and keep warm in the oven while preparing polenta.

For the polenta:

Boil 5 cups of water in heavy large saucepan.  Gradually whisk in polenta, then 11/2 teaspoons of salt and sugar and cook.  Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer until polenta is tender, thick, and creamy, whisking often and adjusting heat to maintain gentle simmer, 25 to 30 minutes.  Add corn kernels (removed from cob) and cook, stirring constantly, until corn is tender, about 5 minutes.  Mix in mascarpone cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tomato Zucchini Gratin

 I've had quite a bit of zucchini to use up from our garden.  We've had it in salads and on pizza as well as in this delicious gratin.  I was ready for more zucchini dishes but for some reason all the plants just died.  I'm thinking it's the 14 tomato plants I planted this year that took over.  I over did it a bit.  I'm learning a lot of lessons for next year's garden.  Good news is the tomatoes are thriving!  I've already made two big batches of tomato sauce!  Speaking of, I'll post two versions of sauce I've made possibly three. 
This gratin is great as a side dish or as a Vegetarian main course.  I found the recipe on Epicurious but I substituted the white rice for brown and added some basil.  I think the basil was key.  


1/3 cup brown rice
2-3 zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
6 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tsp thyme, chopped
2 Tbs basil, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided

For the gratin:

Preheat oven to 450F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
Cook rice.
While rice cooks, toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a shallow baking pan. Toss tomatoes with 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another baking pan.
Roast zucchini in upper third of oven and tomatoes in lower third, turning vegetables once halfway through roasting, until tender and light golden, about 10 minutes for tomatoes; 20 minutes for zucchini. Leave oven on.
Meanwhile, cook onion and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt in 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir together onion mixture, cooked rice, eggs, thyme, basil, 1/4 cup cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread half of rice mixture in a shallow 2-quart baking dish, then top with half of zucchini. Spread remaining rice mixture over zucchini, then top with remaining zucchini. Top with tomatoes and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
Bake in upper third of oven until set and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer weekends are way too short

What did you do this weekend?  I started off my weekend with a Thai massage after work and a spaghetti dinner watching a movie later with Phil.  I made the sauce on Thursday night with a bunch of tomatoes from our garden.  The garden is exploding with them right now.  I'll probably make more sauce later this week.

Saturday we walked down to the lake and grabbed a coffee and tea and read for a bit, and later we stopped by the Kerr Street Farmer's Market.  We discovered this stand that I've never seen before with lots of smoked meat and fish - called Smokeville, I believe.  We treated ourselves to smoked salmon and smoked pulled pork.  We had a nice light lunch with the salmon outside on our doorstep when we got home before a BBQ we were headed to in the city.  Can't wait to have the pulled pork on sandwiches later this weekend.  I will for sure return next week to get some of their smoked trout that they were all sold out of.  I have a weakness for smoked fish.

This is a salad with the salmon, artichokes, boiled egg, caper berries, tomatoes, and greens with a little extra virgin olive oil and green onion.  So fresh tasting!

Now we're off to meet Phil's family for a picnic.  Fingers crossed it doesn't rain! Hope you're having a good weekend!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Summer Summertime!

Okay so I'm not going to ignore the fact that I haven't been blogging for a few months now, but I think I have some pretty good excuses.  First, it's summer out there! When the clock hits five I just want to be enjoying the rays.  Whether it's watering my vegetable garden, having drinks in the backyard or going for walks by the water... anything but indoors and on the computer!  We're finally having a real summer and I can't imagine letting it go to waste. 

My second reason is I was planing a wedding!  July 17, 2010 Phil and I tied the knot.   Sigh... it was such a beautiful day.  Though earlier in the day there was hail as Phil was leaving our house and lightening in the background during the ceremony, but it never did surface and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset later in the evening.

After the wedding Phil and I headed to Midwest USA for hockey school.  Since it was also our sort of honeymoon we spent a couple of days before we left on Wolf Island at a bed and breakfast.  The B&B was an old minister's retreat and we had the whole place to ourselves.  After returning home for a day to pack up we left to Mackinaw Island in Michigan for the weekend before we arrived in Wisconsin for hockey.  While Phil was doing his thing on the ice I relaxed in a cottage by the water.  Last, we spent the weekend in Chicago.  I'll post pics of all the places we ate soon.

 Summer isn't over yet but I plan on making more of an effort now that things are back to normal.  Anyway, since we got home we've been pulling lots of veggies from the garden so I'll have to start cooking with all those amazing fresh ingredients. Get ready for a lot of zucchini and tomato based dishes.

Kerr Street Cafe

Really want this place to do well but it's a little steep.  We need more places like this one in our neighborhood so I'll do my best to support it, but breakfast for $38 might set me back a bit. 

Phil and I both had the "Big Breakfast" that wasn't so big in size, but it was tasty at least.  It came with two eggs, Chorizo sausage, potatoes, mushrooms and thick grainy toast.  I get it, chorizo is expensive, but $14 is pricey for a plate of eggs and sausage, no matter what kind - no?  We had a coffee and tea but no coffee refills were offered and we didn't order any OJ once we saw the price.

A few days before I had lunch there with Meg.  Lunch is a little more reasonable.  Both sandwiches were delicious and we each had a couscous salad with it.