Friday, October 28, 2011

What's Up Doc

One of my best friends is training for the D.C. Marine Corps Marathon this Sunday, and I made her dinner as a tasty farewell sendoff! She's on a pretty strict diet for health issues (no gluten, dairy or sugar.... sweet pete!) so I had to get crafty doctoring a recipe that fit within the parameters while still being delicious. I thought since it's so chilly outside that a hearty soup would be nice to start, and I had a bunch of carrots from the farmer's market earlier this week so I decided on Carrot Ginger soup. Can't leave out the protein for someone who runs as much as Elise does, so baked chicken and veggies were added to the menu!

Carrot Ginger Soup with Roasted Chicken and Veggies
1 box vegetable broth (low sodium preferred!)
15 whole carrots, peeled and chopped in half
1 sweet onion, 1/2 finely chopped and 1/2 quartered
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
1/2 tsp each salt & fresh ground pepper
1/2 sweet onion, quartered
5-7 button mushrooms, sliced
1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Trim fat from chicken and massage with 1 tbsp olive oil. Juice 1/2 of lemon over chicken and season both sides with salt and pepper. Put marinated chicken in plastic bag and let sit in the fridge until oven is heated.
3. Fill large pot with vegetable broth and add carrots, finely chopped 1/2 of the onion and ginger. Boil until carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.
4. While vegetables are boiling, transfer marinated chicken to an oven-safe pan and add the chopped onions, mushrooms and bell pepper around it.
5. Roast the chicken and veggies for 15 minutes and then flip the chicken and roast other side for another 15 minutes.
6. While chicken bakes and once the carrots in the pot have turned soft, transfer the pot's contents to a blender in small batches. Puree until smooth. Transfer back into the pot and heat on low until chicken is fully cooked (juices should run clear).
7. Pour soup into bowls and plate the chicken and veggies in a fancy fashion.
8. Enjoy your relatively cheap, very simple and incredibly delicious meal!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Taste the Rainbow: Rainbow Chard

Yesterday I was in for a tasty surprise when a good friend from work brought me some rainbow chard from her garden. I have a confession: I had never actually seen rainbow chard before. I thought the pink stems poking out from her bag were rhubarb. Jennifer explained that rainbow chard tastes the same as the standard Swiss variety and it keeps its bright color when cooked! I wholeheartedly believe 'the more color on your plate, the better' so you can imagine how these hot pink stems got me all excited!
What better time to taste the rainbow then today for lunch? Since I was at my boyfriend's place, my ingredient selection was slim pickins. I managed to find some orzo pasta I had left there a couple weeks back, a few cloves of garlic courtesy of Chris's roommate's vegan girlfriend (thanks Denise!) and bacon. Boys always seem to have bacon. Two things that I was definitely missing? Olive oil and pepper. Who doesn't have olive oil or pepper? Not to worry, a little ingenuity can go a long way in the kitchen!

Rainbow Chard and Bacon with Buttered Orzo
pinch of salt
one bunch rainbow chard (about 5-7 large leaves)
two strips of uncured hickory bacon
1/2 cup orzo pasta
two large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp parmesan cheese

1. Bring a small pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo. Cook for 9 minutes.
2. Place two strips of bacon on an ungreased pan and cook over medium heat, turning frequently. About 7-8 minutes.
3. While orzo and bacon cooks, thoroughly wash the chard and chop the stems off. Slice the leaves into thin strips.
4. Once bacon in cooked through (should be slightly cripsy, not burnt), remove from pan and place between two paper towels.
5. Place the pink stems in the pan and sauté in the bacon grease.
6. Finely chop two garlic cloves and add to the pan.
7. Add sliced chard leaves to the pan and let wilt till soft. Add bacon to crisp.
8. When orzo is cooked, drain thoroughly and add to the pan, stirring for a few more minutes so the pasta can absorb some of the flavors.
9. Transfer to plates and garnish with parmesan cheese.

*I don't have a picture of the final product because I'm a fattie at heart and ate it before it occured to me. Sorry boutcha.