Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A trip to the winery!

This past weekend, Steve took me to a winery in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. It was a an old winery with creaky floorboards, Midwestern accents and a lovely assortment of cheese. As I was sifting through the bottles of Pinot and Chardonnay, I found my favorite bottle from the tour..a Riesling. What better excuse to make an awesome dinner than a delish bottle of wine?! I mean it's like...duh.

Garlic-Roasted Chicken Breasts

This was the easiest chicken dish I've ever made, and quite possibly the most moist and flavorful. It takes awhile in the oven, but nothing could have fewer ingredients and this much flavor.

4 heads of garlic
8 sprigs fresh oregano
2 whole roaster chicken breasts (rinsed and patted dry)
2 tbl olive oil
salt and pepper

*Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the tops from the garlic heads, resserving the bottoms; arrange the tops (cut side down) in the center of an 11x17 inch roasting pan or casserole dish. Place a sprig of oregano over each garlic top and arrange the chicken breasts over the garlic.

(P.S. Little tip, the garlic on the right is fresh and the one on the left is NOT. It's not that it's rotten, it's just better to use the fresh stuff...more flava)

*Place reserved garlic bottoms (cut side up) next to the chicken in the pan. Drizzle the chicken and garlic bottoms with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the remaining sprigs of oregano on top.

*Roast the chicken for 30 minutes, turn the garlic bottoms so that the cut sides are down, and rotate the pan. Continue roasting the chicken until the skin is browned, the juices run clear, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165 degrees about 30 minutes more.

*Pour the pan juices into a measuring cup; skim the fat from the top. Serve the juices with the chicken and roasted garlic.

I can't emphasize how good this dish was. I'm a huge proponent of chicken, and this was the first time I've made chicken with the bone-in...let me tell you it's like double the flavor.

Since I've also been craving green squash, I decided to make the Barefoot Contessa's zucchini casserole. It's one of my go-to casserole dishes.

5 1/2 medium sized zucchini
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
1 cup Fontina cheese
3 tbl Pecorino cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
olive oil, salt and pepper

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare all the ingredients, chop the zucchinis into medium-sized slices and grate all three of the cheeses. Take a casserole dish (you can double the recipe and use a larger size dish) and begin layering the ingredients. Drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of the dish and layer the zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

*Cover the zucchini layer with a layer of 1/3 of the Mozzarella cheese and 1/3 of the Fontina. Pour 1/3 of the cream over the cheese layer, and add 1/3 of the breadcrumbs and 1 tbl of Pecorino cheese. Repeat this twice more.

*Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until top of layers is browned.

Ok, ok so this dish isn't the healthiest. But when you tell people it has zucchini, that makes it ok right?

For dessert! My Mom sent me a care package (she is the cutest) and among my favorite staple items (pasta, nutella, puppy chow) there was a container of dried cherries. Although I do not really care for cherries (Love you Mom!) I saw an opportunity for...you guessed it. New recipe. What is the harm in trying new things?! I don't see any.

Cherry Almond Chocolate Clusters

  • 1 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

  • *In a medium bowl, toss together the almonds and the cherries. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
  • *Melt half the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over slightly simmering water, over the lowest possible heat, stirring frequently. Make sure the water is not touching the top pan. Remove thedouble boiler from the heat and stir in the rest of the chocolate.

  • *Remove the top pan with the chocolate in it, gently wipe the bottom of it and set it aside for a moment. Replace the simmering water in the bottom pan with warm tap water. Put the pan of melted chocolate on top of the warm water. This will keep the chocolate at the right temperature while you make the clusters.

  • *Stir the fruit-nut mixture into the chocolate. Spoon out heaping tablespoon-sized clusters of the chocolate mixture onto the baking sheet about 1-inch apart. Put them in the refrigerator to set for 15 minutes. Store and serve at room temperature.

Though the chocolate part is a little tricky, this recipe is very easy and all you have to do is throw them in the fridge. Compared to some other desserts, this is a little bit lighter and I don't feel AS bad about eating nuts and fruit!

After the winery tour, Steve and I walked around the cute little town of Cedarburg. We went into a little bakery and picked up some cinnamon buns and raspberry cream cheese croissants. You know...the perfect, healthy way to start a Sunday. I threw in some pictures of the deliciousness that was breakfast.

"Rich, fatty foods are like destiny: they too, shape our ends."
Author Unknown

Peace and Love.

1 comment:

  1. haha I love your quote at the end,:"Rich, fatty foods are like destiny: they too, shape our ends."
    Author Unknown

    So cute.

    The chicken looks great, I would love to make it sometime! Only thing is, my dad is super sensitive to garlic...=/
    I know you really like garlic, so in your opinion would you say the garlic was really strong or over powering? hmmmm Looks so good! I love putting chicken in the oven, it always comes out awesome.

    Miss you, and happy late Valentine's day my love.