Monday, September 21, 2009

Good Bye Summer, Hello Fall

This is it... the last day of summer. Although I love fall I am a little sad to see summer go. I think because it really didn't start until halfway through July. But, there is plenty to be excited for. We put our flannel sheets on our bed and dug out our down comforter, the trees are just starting to turn and it is already promising to be a very colorful year (I heard once on NPR that the wetter the summer the redder the fall so this one ought to be amazing!) and I am always inspired and reinvigorated in the kitchen when the seasons change.

Yes, I do love fall, bring it on!

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Jeremy came home one day with this great cast iron, enamel coated pan and I am now addicted to using it. I haven't cooked in cast iron since I was growing up and I had forgotten (or never really appreciated in the first place) how nice they are to cook in. This one still has a ways to go to get a good seasoning on it but I'm working on it slowly but surely.

Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon Garlic Green Beans
from Real Simple
makes 2 servings

3 1/2 T olive oil
1 lemon, thinly slice half and juice the other half
2 gloves garlic, minced
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut in half
4 small red potatoes, quartered
2 chicken breasts, bone in, skin on

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large cast iron skillet or baking dish with 1 T of the oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer on the bottom of the skillet.

In a bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using tongs or a slotted spoon remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the olive oil mixture and toss to coat. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, arrange the potatoes along the perimeter of the skillet. Place the chicken in the oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the green beans. Pour and remaining olive oil mixture over the chicken.

Roast for 50 minutes.
~~~

This tomato was gorgeous. By far the best I have had all year (except maybe the $20 tomatoes Mom!) and could have just eaten a plate of them and been satisfied but I also had a perfectly ripe avocado and some delicious marinated olives and feta, and so, a salad was born. Oh, and we had spaghetti on the side.

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage and Zucchini and Salad

No recipe here. I just crumbled up two Italian sausage links and cooked them with a sliced zucchini and a half a jar of pasta sauce from the store.

~~~

When I first met Jer I had never heard of a Monte Cristo Sandwich so when he said that was what he wanted to have for his birthday that year I was utterly confused. Then he explained it to me and I was still confused. I thought it sounded pretty gross but I trusted him and we gave it a go. Well, I never should have doubted they were delicious. I have learned a few tricks since then to insure they are warm and melty all the way through, mainly, I pop them in the microwave for a few seconds before dipping them in the egg and putting them in the skillet. Otherwise it is hard to get the inside warm before the outside is burnt. This time I also put a little maple extract in the eggs and it added a little extra deliciousness.

Monte Cristo Sandwiches
makes 2 servings

4 slices sandwich bread
thinly sliced ham
thinly sliced turkey
sliced American cheese
sliced Swiss cheese
2 eggs beaten
1/8 cup milk
maple extract (optional)
maple syrup

Between two slices of bread, layer American cheese, ham, Swiss cheese and turkey (that is the order we like). Heat the sandwich in the microwave for about 25 seconds.

Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Beat the eggs, milk and extract (if using) in a shallow bowl. Coat the sandwich on both side with the egg mixture and place in the skillet. Cover with a lid. Cook the sandwich until golden brown on both sides. Serve with warm maple syrup.

~~~

Here it is.
My first batch of chili with the bounty from our trip. I have to say it was pretty darn good and I can't really think of anything I would do differently next time. Well, the one thing I may try is pureeing some of the chiles and chopping the rest (they were all chopped in this batch). I think it might give it a little thicker base. I brought home two kinds of chiles and one is hotter than the other. For this batch I used half and half and it had the perfect amount of heat for me. It will definitely clear your sinuses but it is not painful to eat. We have been eating this on top of everything: burritos, eggs, potatoes, quesidillas... I especially love it on scrambled eggs.

Green Chili
makes a lot of servings

1 T vegetable oil
1 pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2" chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow onions, chopped
~ 24 green chiles, roasted and peeled
1 14 oz can tomatoes, half pureed, half chopped
4 cups chicken broth
2 t cumin
2 t oregano
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t white pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the pork and cook until no pink remains. Add the onion and garlic and cook until lightly golden.

Add the chiles, tomatoes, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least one hour (the longer the better).

If you want to thicken it up a bit, stir together 1/2 cup all purpose flour with about 1 T vegetable oil to make a paste. Add a ladle full of juice from the chili and mix well. Once the mixture is smooth and liquidy stir it back into the chili.

Serve over rice, burritos, chile rellenos, eggs... The possibilities are endless.

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3 comments:

Noe said...

I just made the roasted chicken with my roommate and it was amazing. I would like to get the potatoes a bit crunchier though, is there anything to put on them, perhaps salt that would crispify?

Andrea said...

I'm glad you liked it! I'm not sure how you could get the potatoes crispier. I think there is a lot of moisture from the green beans that makes them so soft. Maybe a different kind of potato with a thicker skin (a russet perhaps?) would do the trick.

Anonymous said...

I roasted the dish for 45 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered, then sprinkled the entire dish with grated Parmesan cheese for the last 5 minutes. The potatoes had a lovely crisp cheesy crust! Yummy! -Emily