Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tried and true...with something new!

It's been a bit on the warm side here in Edmonds, and yesterday it seemed to break just a bit. While me and the boys hung out inside, the chickens had the run of the yard. The girls loved foraging all day, especially after I mowed the back lawn and stirred up all the bugs! :) When it came time to decide what was for dinner I pulled out my cookbooks and started thumbing through them. I smiled as I planned the dinner and knew that it has been a while since I did a dinner post so this was the perfect one!

As you know I **adore** Miss Nigella Lawson and all of her cookbooks. Her recipes have all been winners, and her cookbook is riddled with post it notes to mark all the recipes I have tried and those that I still want to try. I also picked up Tyler Florence's cookbook and found another recipe. By the way...did you all know that I have a recipe contest going on? :) And did you know that the recipes from this post are both found in the cookbooks that I'm giving away as prizes! Can you believe the coincidence?!? Maybe you should go and check out my contest and ENTER!! :)

Okay, enough of that! :) Let's make some delicious dinner! Nigella brought a recipe into our home that we've enjoyed half a dozen times and each time it has been a winner. "Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic!" Now I know what  you are thinking, "Holy crap! 40 cloves of garlic?!? Garlic is going to be eeping out of my pores!" But don't worry, in this recipe you leave the skins on the garlic cloves which allows the garlic to roast and turn into the most amazing sweet garlicy awesomeness! But before our main course I decided to make "Roasted Beet Salad with Almonds, Whipped Goat Cheese and Maple Balsamic Dressing." I know that is a mouthful, but I promise you that all of those flavors together will create a party in your mouth like none other! So let's get to it!

**Housewife note**I made this at the same time. Make sure to read through both recipes and plan accordingly. I started the beets and when they were almost finished cooking I started the chicken dish. Plan things out in advance.

Roasted Beet Salad with Almonds, Whipped Goat Cheese and Maple Balsamic Dressing

We have an abundance of beets in our garden right now, and I've been searching for things to make besides sautéed beet greens(which by the way are AMAZING). This recipe takes a while to make, but most of that time the beets are in the oven roasting away! Tyler's recipe calls for Marcona Almonds and Micro Arugula or Pea Sprouts, but those aren't ingredients that are easy to find, so I used regular sliced almonds and left out the arugula or sprouts. Remember...making recipes is a time to be creative, don't let the store not having an ingredient stop you from making a dish...figure out a substitute or leave it out if you can! (Remember this does NOT work with baking!)

Maple Balsamic Dressing
- 1 Shallot, finely diced
- 3 tbsps. of Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
- 2 tbsps. of PURE Maple Syrup
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
- Small jar with tight fitting lid to shake ingredients

- 1 1/2 lbs of Baby Beets. I used all red beets but you can mix colors.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp. of FRESH Thyme Leaves
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
- 4 ounces of Fresh Goat Cheese
- 1/2 cup of Almonds (I used sliced, but use whatever you have)

First make the dressing, this will give it time for all the flavors to party and combine in the jar!

Treat the shallot just like an onion...but smaller. Chop off the end, peel, and finely dice it. Then add the shallots to the jar.

Next add 3 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar.

Add 2 tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup.

Add 1/2 cup of Olive Oil.

Season to taste with Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper.

Put the lid on and shake like the dickens! Then set aside for later.

Now on to the beets. In the stores you can find them with their greens or without them. If they have the greens on them, cut them off and put them in water like you would flowers. You can make them that night or use them the next. First things first, get 2 sheets of aluminum foil ready, each one being about a foot long.

Cut the greens and the long root end off of each beet and arrange them in the middle of 1 of the sheets of aluminum foil.

Now drizzle with Olive Oil, about 2 tablespoons, but just eyeball it. Then season with Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper. Take the leaves off fresh sprigs of thyme and sprinkle over the beets as well.

Now place the other sheet of foil over the top and make a pouch. Fold up each side several times, sealing the pouch. Then put the pouch on a baking sheet and put it into an oven that has been preheated to 400 degrees, for 1 hour.

After the beets have roasted for an hour, pull them out of the oven and cut the pouch open, allowing them to cool so you can peel them.

I've found it easiest to use a spoon to start the peel. Once started, if the beets are cooked all the way through, the skin should come off pretty easily.

**Housewife tip** When working with beets I always use a plastic cutting board, the red from the beets will stain, so be careful. If you don't want to wear gloves, after handling the beets, soap up and use the scrubby side of a sponge across your fingers. This will get the red off your skin.

Make sure the goat cheese is at ROOM TEMP. Put it into a bowl and drizzle about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil over it. Then whip it like a crazy person with a whisk until it's combined and looks like frosting. Then season to taste with Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper and use a fork to combine it. (I transferred it to a smaller bowl for this part.)

Now it's time to assemble the dish. Cut the beets into wedges. I cut the bigger ones into 4, and I just cut the small beets in half. You can do whatever you want. :)

Then put down some goat cheese on the plate, and push some of the beets on top of the goat cheese, sprinkle the almonds over the top. Shake up the dressing and drizzle it over the beets. AMAZING! :)

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
This chicken dish is one of the easiest dishes to make, and for two people you just might have some left overs! Around our house, it doesn't last very long, and honestly I said about 10 times while eating how GREAT this chicken was! :)

- 8 or 9 Bone in, skin on Chicken Thighs. (I used 9, but use as many as you can fit into your pot)
- 2 tbsps. of Olive Oil
- 40 Cloves of Garlic (About 4 or 5 heads of garlic depending on size of head)
- 6 Scallions
- 10 or so Sprigs of FRESH Thyme
- 2 tbsps. of either Extra Dry White Vermouth or White Wine (either will work)
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper

You will need literally...40 cloves of garlic for this recipe. This is about 4 or 5 heads of garlic. First using the flat side of your knife, place it on the top of the head of garlic and press down... smashing the head of garlic. This is so much easier than peeling the head and pulling the cloves one by one.
In a dutch oven, heat 2 tbsps. of Olive Oil over high heat. (The recipe calls for a wide, shallow one but I don't have that so use what you have)
Season the skin side of the chicken thighs with Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, place the chicken in the pot...SKIN  SIDE DOWN. You want to make sure the oil is HOT and you hear the SIZZLE sound when the skin hits it. Then season the underside of the chicken with Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper. Do this in batches, if you crowd the chicken it will steam and not brown. It took me three batches.
The girls had NO clue that I was cooking chicken. ;-)
After a few minutes, flip the chicken. If the chicken is sticking to the pan, give it another minute. Do NOT force it. It will release when it's ready. Flip them for just a minute then transfer them to a bowl while you sear the rest.
While the chicken is searing, finely slice the scallions, and pull the leaves off 3 of the sprigs of thyme.
Once the all the chicken is seared, quickly fry the scallions and pulled thyme leaves in the hot oil. Literally just for 30 to 45 seconds. Stir these to make sure they don't stick. And be careful, when they hit the oil they will pop and splatter! Be prepared! :)
Once that is done, add about 1/2 the cloves of garlic, and give it a stir.
Place the chicken on top of the scallions/garlic/thyme (skin side up) and then cover with the remaining cloves of garlic and the whole sprigs of thyme.
Put the 2 tablespoons of Vermouth or Wine into the bowl the chicken was resting in, and swish it around to get all the yummy chicken juices mixed into it. Then pour that over the chicken.
Again, season with Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper.
 Put the lid on the pot, and pop it into a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.
And when you pull it out, be prepared to pass out from the smell!'s heavenly! :)
I serve this over rice, with a little bit of the oil and scallions over the rice as well. And make sure to include a couple cloves of garlic with each dish! You squeeze the caramelized garlic out of the skins and mix it with everything! YUMMY!!
So how about them apples?!? Amazing right? I'm being honest when I say this chicken dish is an EASY dish to make. I once doubled this recipe and made it in my big goose pot just to make sure we had plenty of left overs! We are having this again for dinner tonight, along with the sautéed beet greens. :) Make sure you try this out, you seriously won't be disappointed!
Here is the link to Nigella's recipe, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. Make sure to try it and let me know what you think!!! :)
Until next time...Keep Cooking!


  1. This chicken dish sounds SO GOOD! I am definitely going to try it! Thanks for the great recipe ideas, Brian :)

    1. You will have to let me know if you try this!! :) I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe! :)


  2. Love your step by step approach to your recipes. Can't wait to try both of these dishes. Hugs, Mary

  3. Made both these tonight for my son and family. I am soooo popular. However, there are four pieces of chicken leftover calling me to have a late night snack - I could eat them all they're so good. Wow!

    1. Mary,
      I'm so happy you loved these recipes as much as I do!!! And aren't the leftovers just the devil?!? They seem to be calling you from the fridge! They do NOT last long in our house! I'm so happy your family loved these dishes!!!! :)