Last week when I decided to cook this dish, I planned to write a silly little post about the pot holes in Montreal, or “nids de poules” as they are called in French (chickens nests). But then Japan happened. Seeing all the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami made writing about a few bumps in the road seem so petty.
People around the world are looking for ways to help. The easiest thing to do is to make a donation to a non-profit that is helping in the area. Which non-profit to donate to is always a tough call. The safe choices like The Red Cross have high overhead costs, and the smaller organizations may not be legitamite. Because of their reputation, I choose to donate to organizations like The Red Cross or Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders); they may have more overhead but they are trusted, well known organizations.
If you are looking for another way to help, Sabrina from The Tomato Tart is hosting an Online Bake Sale to help Japan. Check out her post if you want to donate goods or bid.
If you simply want to donate, here are a few links.
The Canadian Red Cross
Medecins Sans Frontieres
In the United States:
The American Red Cross
Doctors Without Borders
And now for the recipe…
Chicken With Vegetables and Spinach
- 2 chicken legs
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces
- 5 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into large pieces
- 4 garlic cloves
- olive oil
- salt, pepper and thyme to taste
- 1/4 cup white wine
- fresh spinach
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Clean and pat dry the chicken legs. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the onion, garlic cloves, bell pepper and potatoes with oil so that everything is coated. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.
- Place the vegetables on a large baking sheet in an even layer. Place the chicken legs on top of the vegetables. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pan. Place the pan on a burner on high, pour the wine into the pan and deglaze (scrape up all the brown bits).
- Place the chicken and vegetables on a bed of spinach and top with the wine sauce.
It’s amazing how quickly stuff can accumulate. I’ve been in my current condo since 2006. It was my first place so all I had when I moved in were the basics. My budget was pretty tight in the beginning, so I stayed with the basics for awhile. As time went on and I got more comfortable, I started buying some of those “nice to have” things. Then I started buying the “don’t really need by it’s so darn cute” things. Now as I’m decluttering and simplifying for my next move, I’ve realized that I’m bursting at the seams with stuff.
I know most of it is unnecessary, but just putting things in a box is difficult. It’s easy to become attached to stuff. Memories and emotions get all mixed up with possessions. I know that by choosing to sacrifice square footage in order to be in a better location, I’ve also made the choice to simplify. I need to start embracing that.
Simplicity can be a very good thing, like this one pan meal of roast chicken and vegetables. Low on effort and dirty dishes but high in flavour, this is one of my favourite things to make when life gets a little too hectic. Just chop up some root vegetables, toss them with oil and pour them in a pan, put some seasoned chicken on top and roast. I used chicken legs, but if you’re feeding a crowd a whole chicken be used in the exact same way, just use a deeper pan.
Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables
- Chicken Legs
- Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- Carrots, cut into chunks
- Leeks, cleaned and sliced into large pieces
- Olive Oil
- Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400
- Put the potatoes, carrots and leeks in a pan. Drizzle with some olive oil, then season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss until the vegetables are evenly coated ( I used my hands)
- Season the chicken legs with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Coat with a small amount of oil, then sprinkle with paprika.
- Place in the oven and roast for about 40 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and the chicken is cooked through. (Test the chicken by piercing it with a knife and seeing if the juices run clear)
When thinking about what to do with all those pears most of what I came up with was dessert. After flipping through some magazines and a few google searches, I managed to find a couple of savory applications for them too. The first one I tried was pear ketchup. Because I had never heard of anything other than tomato ketchup I was a little worried, but since the ingredient list sounded good I gave it a shot. I’m really glad I did. It tasted amazing. The pears sautéed with onions smelled wonderful and tasted even better. I was a little nervous about adding the cider vinegar, but it added a really nice tang to the pears (and really, a ketchup needs vinegar.)
I needed to come up with something to put the ketchup on as well. The website I found the recipe on (which is currently not working) had the ketchup on bacon and blue cheese sliders. I liked the idea of a slider, but wanted something a little healthier than a chunk of bacon. Instead I made mini chicken burgers with brie. The ketchups tang went really well with the creaminess of the brie.
- 3 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup apple cider
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- In a medium pot, saute the onions until translucent. Add the pears, season with salt and pepper. Add the cider and bring to a boil.
- Lower the temperature and simmer for 1 hour.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the pear mixture. Add the cider vinegar and stir to combine.
For the mini chicken burgers I basically made things up as I went along. I have no idea what quantities I used so I’ll just give you a list of ingredients. I still haven’t really figured out my grill, but these turned out pretty juicy and tasty.
- ground extra lean chicken
- 1 egg
- semolina flour
- salt and pepper
- onion powder
- dried thyme
- slider buns
- brie cheese
- pear ketchup
- In a large bowl, mix ground chicken, egg, flour, and spices until well combined. Shape into small burgers (they will be very sticky)
- Cook on a hot grill until 7 minutes a side.
- Place in slider buns and top with cheese, ketchup and lettuce. (you know, make a burger)
The celebration of American Cuisine is finally here. Casey of Eating, Gardening, & Living in Bulgaria has invited food bloggers to share what they think American Cuisine is. I thought long and hard about this one, I even asked other bloggers for their opinions. Some people seem to think American cuisine doesn’t exist. I disagree, but I think it suffers from multiple personality disorder. The regional differences in cuisine in the states makes it hard to pinpoint one thing that could be called American cuisine. I think what all of these regional cuisines have in common is that are all looking for ways to innovate an incorporate new techniques and ingredients. I guess that’s what makes them american.
So when it came time to choose something to make I went with I feel is a traditional American meal, Thanksgiving dinner. Since it’s the middle of the summer, and I’m just cooking for myself, I made this a little more low-key than your typical Thanksgiving meal. Instead of roasting a whole bird, I just roasted a turkey breast stuffed with caramalized onions, goat cheese and cranberries (what’s Thanksgiving without cranberries and stuffing?). On the side there was sweet potato hash and roasted carrots.
And of course there was pie. I decided to make a pie with seasonal fruit instead of apple or pumpkin, and after Smitten Kitchen’s description of cherry pie as “epic, iconic, and it even has a metal song dedicated to it“, my choice was clear.
I have to say this pie kicked my butt. My original plan was to use this recipe from the New York Times, which calls for a prebaked crust. I got to work making my favourite crust (all butter, of course). At this point I should specify that it was ridiculously hot the day I made the pie, and I never actually read the recipe instructions. It took forever to make the crust, because I kept having to put all the ingredients back in the fridge to cool (cold ingredients make the best pie crusts). I finally got in all done, chilled and rolled. I put it in the oven and got to work on the filling. After about 15 minutes I took a peak at the crust and realized it shrank, like, a lot. So I stopped the oven and started making more pie crust dough. This time I stuck with the traditional soggy bottomed fruit pie technique, and I have to say it was pretty darn tasty (except for the burnt bits). I actually kinda like the soggy bottom in a fruit pie. And because of the crust do-over it wasn’t ready on time to bring to my parents for dinner, so I had to eat the whole thing all by myself.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
- Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until most of mixture looks rough and crumbly.
- Sprinkle 3 Tbsp ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until combined
- Press some of the dough together. If it doesn’t hold together add more water.
- Form a disk with the dough and chill for at least 4 hours.
- Roll out the dough and place in pie plate. Chill again for about 20 minutes.
- Save excess dough for topping pie.
- 4 cups pitted cherries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Toss cherries with other ingredients, make sure cherries are well covered.
- Pour into chilled pastry dough.
- Cover filling with excess dough.
- Bake at 375 for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until cherry filling is bubbling.
All in all, I think my american cuisine meal was quite delicious. Thanks again to Casey for hosting the event. Check out her site on July 4th for the round up of what everyone made!