Crispy Fried (Leftover) Turkey Tacos

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One of the best things about hosting Thanksgiving at your own house is leftovers…leftover turkey especially. The last several years, Tony and I have gone to Sonoma to celebrate the holiday with our daughter-in-law’s family (see last year’s post here), which is so much fun and so much delicious food, but no leftovers!  This year, plans got all discombobulated and we are ending up staying in town with Tony’s family, which is great, but still no leftover turkey.

So last weekend we decided to roast a turkey breast, just for the two of us, so we could have leftovers.  Of course, we’ve done the mandatory BLAT sandwich, but still had more.  I recalled years ago going to Tony’s Jacal, a Mexican restaurant in Solana Beach that’s been around since 1946, where I had a turkey taco.  A deep-fried, crispy turkey taco.  It’s like their “signature” dish.  And it was one of the best things I’ve ever had.  (Which actually begs the question, “why haven’t I made them before now?”  Well, I guess because we usually only make a turkey for Thanksgiving, which, in and of itself, is dumb.  Every year, after T’giving, Tony says, “we should really make turkey more often.” And I agree.  And we never do.)

Okay, again I digress.  I had a general idea of how to do this (I mean, I can’t remember the last time I deep fried a taco…we’re all about soft tacos, right?) but decided I’d pull out the (very) old, tried-and-true HPBooks Mexican Cookery cookbook I’ve had for years and years and sure enough, instructions for “how to make & fill taco shells…you can fry tacos after they are filled.”  Bingo!

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HPBooks Mexican Cookery, circa 1980. And those chicken enchiladas verde on the cover are muy delicioso!

I couldn’t remember what toppings Tony’s Jacal served with their turkey tacos, but we decided on shredded jack cheese, avocado, white onion, cilantro and salsa.  They were muy bueno.  I mean, really really muy bueno.  Not sure what it is about the combination of turkey and deep frying the tortillas, but it is wonderful.  Really worth it.  No soft tortillas here!

I promise now I will be roasting a turkey more often, if only just to have leftovers for these tacos.  (I’m actually hoping I’ll be able to pilfer some of the leftovers from my in-laws on Thursday so I can make these again!!!)

And the tacos were delicious accompanied by one of our favorites, Pati’s Chop-Chop Salad.

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Crispy Fried (Leftover) Turkey Tacos

INGREDIENTS

Corn tortillas (you’ll probably want 2 or 3 per person)

Cooked turkey, shredded or cut into small pieces (you’ll need about 1/4 cup per taco)

Vegetable oil for frying

Your favorite accoutrements – we used shredded jack cheese, avocado, white onion, cilantro (I like to chop the white onion and finely chop the cilantro and mix them together in a small bowl for serving) and salsa.

DIRECTIONS

Heat each tortilla on a griddle until softened.  Place about 1/4 cup turkey on each warmed tortilla and fold in half.  Fasten securely with wooden picks.

Heat oil in a large skillet to 365° (don’t have a thermometer?  The easiest, and safest, method is to stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If you see bubbles form around the wood and they start to float up, your oil is hot enough to cook with).

Fry a few tacos at a time in hot oil until they are crisp, turning as necessary.  Drain tacos on paper towels.  Before serving, remove the wooden picks and add your favorite accoutrements.

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Parmesan Chicken with Caesar Roasted Romaine

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A while back, Bon Appétit posted an article called, “27 Recipes for Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts That Are NOT Boring“.

The description said, “chicken breasts may be everyone’s go-to lean protein—but, man, can it be BORING. Too often it’s an overcooked afterthought, sautéed and tossed into pasta or tumbled over some greens. Nobody likes dry, flavorless chicken, even if it is healthier than, say, luscious, drool-inducing pork belly.

But we say: No more! WE WILL NOT PUT UP WITH BORING BREASTS! That’s why we’re presenting 27 of our best, most enthralling chicken-breast recipes—from a hearty Moroccan stew to a rich roulade to a light chicken salad—each of which will take your healthy chicken routine from drab to fab.”

Okay.  I’m curious. So I scrolled through the slide show and found a bunch that looked good (including Chicken w/Herb-Roasted Tomatoes & Pan Sauce, Chicken Breast Dijon, Chicken w/Salsa Verde and Chicken, Asparagus & Wild Mushroom Stir Fry), but the one that really tempted me was the very first photo…Parmesan Chicken with Caesar Roasted Romaine, so I printed out the recipe and added it to the ever-expanding recipes-I-must-try pile.

Then a few weeks later, we’re having the “what shall we have for dinner?” conversation and I remembered the chicken.  Pulled out the recipe.  AND had all the ingredients on hand.  Perfect.

Not only was it super duper easy, but it was really delicious too.  I honestly couldn’t believe how moist the chicken stayed.  And I loved the roasted romaine.

The only thing I changed was that I had some homemade Caesar salad dressing in the fridge, so I used that for drizzling on the romaine before roasting and drizzled a little more on just before serving.

Parmesan Chicken with Caesar Roasted Romaine

INGREDIENTS

4 7-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, Pecorino, or Asiago cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)

1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 garlic cloves, chopped, divided

2 large hearts of romaine, halved lengthwise

4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained, chopped (optional)

1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

Ingredient info: Panko is available in the Asian foods section of most supermarkets and at Asian markets.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Season chicken with salt and pepper; place on prepared sheet. Combine cheese, panko, 2 tablespoons oil, parsley, and 1 garlic clove in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Pat panko mixture onto breasts. Roast chicken until crumbs begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes.

Drizzle romaine with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with remaining 1 chopped garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper. Remove sheet from oven; place romaine roast right around chicken. Roast until chicken is cooked through and lettuce is browned at edges, about 5 minutes. Divide among plates. Top lettuce with anchovies (if using); garnish with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Beer-Can Chicken

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So I think I’ve mentioned that the July “Grilling” issue of Bon Appétit is my favorite issue of the year (followed by a close second is the Thanksgiving issue).  This July’s has already produced infamous Sriracha-Glazed Chicken Skewers and the Beer-Can Chicken recipe had been taunting me for too long.  So I decided to make it one Saturday a couple weeks ago.  

Tony and I had been running around doing errands and stopped in at our local Sprouts Farmer’s Market to pick up the ingredients for dinner (the chicken and our fave Broccoli Slaw).  Sprouts is a chain of smallish grocery stores that specialize in organic, natural and healthy products.  Which is great – we bought a Rosie Brand “sustainably farmed, free range, organic, hormone and antibiotic-free” chicken, but the recipe calls for a can of light lager beer and Sprouts had a great selection of expensive bottled craft beers, but the only beer in cans they had was 12-packs of Pabst Blue Ribbon. (Seriously?  PBR?  I know PBR has become quite the hipster beer lately with most trendy, cool bars serving it, but really? A 12-pack?  All I needed was one can!)

1/2 can PBR + 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub = 1 delicious chicken

1/2 can PBR + 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub = 1 delicious chicken

Okay, fine.  So we took our expensive sustainably farmed, organic, free range chicken and our 12-pack of PBR home.  And you know what?  This chicken is DE-licious.  Incredibly delicious. And so easy and simple.  It’s moist and tender.  The steam from the beer and the salt in the rub just lock in all the juices.  And the skin gets all browned and crisp.  In the famous words of Colonel Sanders, “it’s finger licking good”.  Literally.  We were pulling meat off the bones and licking our fingers.  Tony claimed it was the best chicken he had ever had anywhere.  I’m still torn between this and the Sriracha skewers, but we’ll definitely be making this again.  And again.

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Well, what can I say? It IS called Beer-Can Chicken!

And the PBR wasn’t so bad either.

Beer-Can Chicken

(Bon Appétit, July 2013)

 INGREDIENTS

1 can light lager beer

1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken (buy the best quality chicken you can find)

2 tablespoons 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub (recipe follows)

 Special equipment: A foil baking pan (for drip pan)

DIRECTIONS

Pour out (or drink) half of beer (guess which I opted for?  Lol.)  Tip:  if you use a can opener to remove the whole top of the beer can, it’ll maximize the boozy vapors that make it to the chicken

Prepare grill for high, indirect heat and fit with grill pan (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on 1 side of grill and put drip pan on empty side; for a gas grill, leave 1 burner turned off and place drip pan over unlit burner). Add water to pan to a depth of 1/2″.

Season chicken with 2 tablespoons 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub. Place cavity of chicken, legs pointing down, onto open can so that it supports chicken upright. Place can, with chicken, on grill over indirect heat (and above drip pan). Grill chicken, covered, until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, 45-60 minutes. (If using charcoal, you may need to add more to maintain heat.) Let chicken rest 10 minutes before carving. Serve with pan drippings.

4-3-2-1 Spice Rub

You can use this simple formula to sass up plenty of things that aren’t poultry, like pork, steak, or vegetables.

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons kosher salt

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

 DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Makes enough spice rub for two whole chickens. Double or triple the recipe and use it all summer.  Keep the leftover in a tightly covered jar or container.

Sriracha-Glazed Chicken Skewers

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The July issue of Bon Appétit arrived in our mailbox one afternoon at the end of June at about 4:00pm.  The picture of the Sriracha-Glazed Chicken Skewers on the cover looked so good that I turned immediately to page 69 for the recipe (forgoing reading the entire magazine cover-to-cover, which is my usual routine the day the new BA arrives), made a short list of the few ingredients I didn’t have, soaked the bamboo skewers in water, went to the grocery store and by 7:00pm the same day, said chicken skewers (along with one of our favorite salads – Grilled Zucchini & Bell Pepper Fattoush – recipe to be posted soon) were on the dinner table.

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I can honestly say this might be the best chicken I’ve ever had.  Ever.  The sauce is so darn delicious.  A little spicy.  A little tangy.  A little sweet.  And easy (only seven ingredients, all of which can be found in the Asian section of your supermarket).  I think we’ve made them probably four times since.  In fact, I’m thinking maybe I’ll even make them again tonight.

Oh, and yes, after dinner that night, I did sit on the couch and read the magazine cover-to-cover…there’s a great barbecue sauce recipe in there and one for Roasted Strawberry-Buttermilk Sherbet that was to die for.

Sriracha-Glazed Chicken Skewers

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1/3 cup hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)*

1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)**

1/4 cup Sriracha

2 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch–2-inch pieces

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

8 bamboo skewers soaked in water at least 1 hour (or, you can use metal skewers)

NOTES

*Hot chili paste is available at Asian markets and many supermarkets.

**I actually am not a fan of fish sauce, so I substituted 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.

DIRECTIONS

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Whisk brown sugar, vinegar, chili paste, fish sauce, Sriracha, and ginger in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Thread 4 or 5 chicken pieces onto each skewer.

Transfer marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half (about 1 cup), 7–10 minutes.

Grill chicken, turning and basting often with reduced marinade, until cooked through, 8–10 minutes.

Cheryl’s Chinois Chicken Salad

Leftovers at my desk!  Yum.

Leftovers at my desk! Yum.

Chinese Chicken Salad.  It’s pretty much a staple on just about every restaurant menu and has been since, what, like the mid-1980’s?  And it’s still a favorite.  Wolfgang Puck makes one that he calls Chinois Chicken Salad.  Fancy.  And it’s served at all of his restaurants, from the most high-end like Jai in La Jolla (in fact, I just had one there in December, when Tony and I went to the La Jolla Playhouse to see “Yoshini Battles the Pink Robots” for my birthday) to the Wolfgang Puck Expresses you find at airports.

A co-worker gave me a signed copy of Wolfgang’s Live, Love, Eat cookbook several years ago for a holiday gift exchange and I’ve made the Chinois salad (well, a somewhat revised version) many, many times.  I hadn’t made it for quite a while and was craving one the other night. I pulled the cookbook off the shelf, turned to the page (which is just about falling out of the book, btw, and saw that I had printed out a Chinese Chicken Salad recipe from a 2006 Gourmet magazine and stuck it in there, with lots of notes, combining the best of both recipes.)

It was a delicious, light dinner and the leftovers made for the best yummy lunch at my desk the next day at work.

With all the revisions I’ve made, it’s not so much Wolfgang’s original recipe anymore.  We’ll just call it Cheryl’s Chinois Salad and thank him for the inspiration!

Cheryl’s Chinois Salad

INGREDIENTS

Salad:

6 cups shredded Romaine lettuce (about one 1-lb head)

2 cups shredded Napa cabbage (one smallish head)

1/2 pound snow peas, cut into 1/4″ julienne strips

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

1 cup won ton strips (You can buy won ton strips in most grocery store produce sections, like where the croutons are.  I’ve also on occasion stopped in at our local Chinese restaurant and bought them.  You can make your own, too, either deep frying or baking, though I never have.  Shame on me.  Wolfgang doesn’t even include them in his salad!)

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted (black or white, I like a combination of both.  You can find already toasted sesame seeds in the Asian section of most supermarkets, and sometimes black sesame seeds too.)

 Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon dry Chinese or English mustard

1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil (also found in the Asian section of most supermarkets)

1/4 cup vegetable or peanut oil

salt & pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Salad:  Gently toss lettuce, cabbage, snow peas, green onion, radish and cilantro in large bowl. Add chicken.  Toss with vinaigrette.  Just before serving, add won ton strips, almonds and sesame seeds and toss again.

Vinaigrette:  Whisk together soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, vinegar and mustard in small bowl, then add sesame oil and vegetable (or peanut) oil in a slow stream, whisking until sugar is dissolved and dressing is well combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Tequila Fettucine

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“Sammy’s answers pasta plea.  By Caroline Dipping.”  That was the title of this article in the San Diego Union-Tribune “Readers Ask” column in January 2005. I’m not sure why it made me laugh, but it did.  Was it the corny title?  Or was it that the food editor’s last name is Dipping?

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At any rate, the reader was asking for the recipe for Chicken Tequila Fettucine from Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, a favorite San Diego restaurant.  Tony and I really like the food at Sammy’s (though I’ve actually never ordered this pasta).  We always order the Grilled Chicken Balsamic Salad (creatures of habit) and a pizza (we do mix up the pizzas a bit…love the Thai Chicken and New York Style).

Okay, so Caroline Dipping made me laugh and the recipe sounded yummy and I know the food at Sammy’s is good, so I tried it and have made it countless times since.  It’s delicious…the sauce is flavorful and creamy, with a touch of tequila and a little kick from a jalapeño pepper.

And I still chuckle every time I pull out the recipe.

Chicken Tequila Fettuccine

(adapted slightly from Sammy’s via the U-T...the original recipe calls for a couple tablespoons of soy sauce, but I don’t think it needs it.)

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces chicken breast, diced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 tablespoons butter

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium red onion, quartered, sliced

1/2 jalapeño chile, seeded, minced

2 tablespoons tequila

3/4 cup chicken broth

2 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons cilantro leaves (divided use)

Juice from 1 lime

12 ounces cooked spinach fettuccine

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, mix diced chicken with olive oil and minced garlic. Set aside.

Heat a large, heavy saute pan. Add butter and melt. Add the diced garlic chicken, stirring occasionally until well-browned on all sides. Add bell pepper, onion and jalapeño. Continue cooking until vegetables soften.

Add tequila and chicken broth. Cook, reducing the mixture until there is just a little liquid left. Add the heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and the lime juice. Cook until sauce thickens.

Add the cooked and well-drained spinach fettuccine to the cream mixture. Toss until pasta is hot and well-coated. Divide pasta into 2 large bowls and top with remaining cilantro. Serve hot.

Chilaquiles

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A couple of Saturdays ago we had dinner at our friends Chip and Dale’s (yes, you read that right).  Chip had cooked a couple of pork butts on his beloved Kamodo grill (and not a “Big Green Egg” kamado…Chip’s is the authentic kind, made in Mexico) and then shredded the meat for carnitas tacos.  Everything was muy delicioso, as it always is at Chip and Dale’s (stop snickering…those are their names) and, as usual, there was a ton of food and a ton of food left over, so Dale sent us home with our own little stash of shredded pork.

Come Monday, I’m driving home from work and thinking about how much I’m looking forward to making our own carnitas tacos for dinner.  Alas, I open the fridge to discover that someone (who shall remain nameless, but he’s the only other person who lives at this house) had been snacking on the leftover pulled pork.  Slight change of plans.  What shall we make?  And, at this point, I don’t feel like going to the grocery store, so what shall we make using what we have on hand?  Tortilla chips, eggs, cheese, salsa verde, a little sour cream…Chilaquiles!

Chilaquiles (pronounced chee-la-KEE-les) is a traditional Mexican dish, usually eaten for breakfast or brunch, that consists of fried tortilla strips simmered in a red or green salsa.  From there, you find many different variations, with additions such as fried or scrambled eggs, cheese, chiles, shredded chicken or pork, sour cream, onions and cilantro.

I found a recipe that looked interesting and easy at Redbook magazine online.  It’s a baked version and you basically just layer all the ingredients lasagna-style and then put it in the oven for ten minutes.  It was suggested as a way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey.  It was really, really good (and really, really easy).  The guilty leftover-pork-snacking-person just kept saying, “yum” between bites.  We’ll be making this one again… I’ll have to remember it next November!

Note: just made these again.  I skipped the whole first step of simmering the salsa in oil.  No need.  Just put a generous tablespoon of oil in the ovenproof skillet before starting the layering.  

Chilaquiles

(adapted from redbookmag.com)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups green salsa

2 cups leftover cooked turkey (or chicken or pork), shredded

4-6 ounces lightly salted restaurant-style corn tortilla chips

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup jalapeño (or regular) Jack cheese, shredded

2 eggs, fried over-easy or to your liking

1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 425º.  In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium heat.  Add salsa and heat to simmering.

Spray a large, deep ovenproof skillet with cooking spray. Spread half of the salsa on bottom of skillet. Add half of the shredded meat, half of the chips, half of the sour cream, and half of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining salsa, meat, chips, sour cream, and cheese to make one more layer.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until hot and cheese has melted.

While that’s baking, fry your eggs.

Remove chilaquiles from oven and spoon onto individual plates then top with fried egg, crumbled Cotija cheese (if using) and fresh cilantro.

Herbed Grilled Chicken Paillards

Paillards

Herbed Grilled Chicken Paillards.  “Qu’est-ce que c’est un paillard?” you ask.  Paillard (pronounced pie-yard) is the French term for a boneless chicken breast or other cut of meat that’s been pounded into broad, thin sheets about 1/4″ thick.

In my post about Tuscan Grilled Chicken, Sausage & Sage Skewers,  I refer to the now coverless Grilling issue of Fine Cooking and say that, in addition to the skewers, we like to make these paillards.  They are delicious, quick and easy and one of our all-time “go-to” recipes.  But one of the things we really like about making paillards is just saying, “paillard”.  And saying it in a very overly exaggerated French accent, with a very heavy emphasis on the “d”.  As in “pie-yar-D(uh).”

I think we’ve had these with just about every salad on the blog.  Just the other night it was the Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad.  Grill a few extra paillards and you’ll have chicken for Fiesta Chicken Salad.

And let me know  if you become compelled to say “pie-yar-D(uh).”

Herbed Grilled Chicken Paillards

INGREDIENTS

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each), trimmed and rinsed
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
crushed red chile flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, flat-leaf parsley, or other fresh herb
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 4 lemon wedges for serving
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling

DIRECTIONS

Lightly wet a chicken breast with cold water and set it between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound it into a broad, flat sheet about 1/4-inch thick (called a paillard), using a meat pounder, the side of a heavy cleaver, a rolling pin, or a skillet. Pound the other breasts into paillards the same way and arrange them on a baking sheet.

Generously season each paillard on both sides with salt and pepper and a pinch or two of chile flakes. Sprinkle both sides with the garlic and rosemary. Drizzle both sides with the lemon juice and olive oil and pat into the meat with your fingertips.

Refrigerate the paillards for 20 minutes while you prepare the grill.

Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a hot charcoal fire. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Arrange the paillards on the grill grate and grill until cooked and firm to the touch, 1 to 2 minutes per side. (use a long, wide spatula to move and turn the paillards.) Transfer the paillards to a platter or plates. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Tuscan Grilled Chicken, Sausage and Sage Skewers

Apparently the “Grilling” issue of Fine Cooking magazine caught my eye once while standing in the checkout line at the supermarket and enticed me enough to buy it. There must have been something really delicious on the cover, but I couldn’t tell you what that was because the cover has since been chewed off by one black lab puppy named Lulu.  Anyway, there are a couple of recipes in it that we make all the time.  This is one.  The other is Herbed Grilled Chicken Paillards (and we like that especially because we like saying “paillard” in an overly-exaggerated French accent, with a strong emphasis on the “D”).

One of the secrets to these yummy skewers is the garlic-rosemary infused olive oil that you marinate the chicken in.  You’ll want to make the oil and start marinating at least a couple of hours, or even a whole day, ahead.

These are delicious accompanied by either Apple/Pomegranate/Blue Cheese Salad, Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad or the Urban Solace Watermelon/Cucumber/Tomato Salad.

Tuscan Grilled Chicken, Sausage and Sage Skewers

INGREDIENTS

Rosemary-Garlic Oil

3/4 cup cups extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Skewers

2-1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 7 or 8)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. Rosemary-Garlic Oil (recipe follows)
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 lb. Italian sausage links, cut into 2-inch pieces
24 large fresh sage leaves

6-12″ metal skewers OR wooden skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in water for half hour before using).

DIRECTIONS

Rosemary-Garlic Oil

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic starts to bubble steadily, 3 to 4 min. Add the rosemary, remove from the heat, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a clean glass jar or other storage container, cover, and refrigerate. Use within five days.

Skewers

Trim the chicken of excess fat and cut in half (the pieces should be roughly equal in size; if the thighs are large, cut them in thirds or quarters).

Up to a day ahead and at least a couple of hours before serving, toss the chicken in a medium bowl with 2 Tbs. of the oil, the rosemary, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

Heat a gas grill to medium or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup oil into two small bowls (one for grilling and one for serving).

Alternately thread three pieces of sausage, three pieces of chicken, and four sage leaves onto skewers.

Grill the skewers, covered, until one side is browned and has good grill marks, about 4 min. Brush with some of the rosemary-garlic oil, flip, and cook the other side until it, too, has good grill marks, about 4 min. Brush with more oil and flip again. Continue cooking, flipping, and brushing with oil until the sausage and chicken are both cooked through (check by slicing into a couple of the thicker pieces), about 10 min. more.

Let cool for a couple of minutes and then arrange on a platter, drizzling with the remaining oil.

Greek Chicken with Potatoes and CHUNKY Greek Salad

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I had to work late the other night, so Tony offered to make dinner.  Yes, you read that right.  Tony offered to make dinner.And, really, it’s not the first time.  (I know.  He’s a keeper.)  He said he was dying for a Greek Salad (there’s not much Tony loves more than a chunky Greek salad!).  We tossed around a few “protein” ideas and I remembered a baked Greek chicken and potatoes recipe that I used to make all the time but we hadn’t had in a while.  I told him it’s really easy…you basically just put chicken breasts, olive oil, lemon juice, potatoes and oregano in a baking dish and put it in the oven.  I gave him a grocery list and left for work.

Around 5:30, I get a text from him that says, “What time should I have dinner ready?”  (Uh…yes…I know.)

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I arrived home around 6:45pm to the wonderful aroma of chicken, lemon and oregano, a fire in the fireplace AND a glass of Pinot Noir waiting for me.  (Yes, I know.)

We ate in front of the fireplace, Tony talking all the while about his culinary prowess.  “You know the secret to a good Greek salad?  It has to be chunky…big pieces of vegetables.  This chicken is really good and its so easy.”

And, yes, it was all delicious.  I’m considering changing my schedule to work late more often!

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Greek Chicken and Potatoes

(adapted from Bon Appétit, April 1992)

INGREDIENTS

1 3 1/2-pound chicken, quartered (OR, we use 4 chicken breasts halves)
4 russet potatoes, peeled, quartered, lengthwise (I actually had never peeled them, but Tony did, and, I have to admit, they were much better)
4 large garlic cloves, halved
3/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange chicken, potatoes and garlic in large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Pour broth over. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and oregano to combine. Pour evenly over chicken and potatoes.

Bake until chicken is cooked through and golden brown and potatoes are tender, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

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CHUNKY Greek Salad

(salad by Tony Bruser; vinaigrette from some recipe Cheryl found somewhere)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into big CHUNKS

2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into big CHUNKS

4 large tomatoes, cut into big CHUNKS (or use cherry tomatoes, halved)

1 large red onion, cut into (yep you got it) big CHUNKS

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup Greek olives, Kalamata olives, or any other brine-cured black olives

DIRECTIONS

Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic powder, and oregano in small bowl to blend. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, cheese, and olives in very large bowl. Add vinaigrette to salad and toss to coat.