Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Heaven on Earth

What would you choose as your "last supper" on earth? Interesting question. Maybe some people wouldn't care, but for those of us who live for the sublime tastes of real unprocessed delicious food, it's a question worth thinking about. This question is the topic of a beautiful picture book my son gave me for Mother's Day last year. It asks this question of chefs and gets their response on the setting, menu and guest list. The responses were diverse, yet quite often the answers were consistent. Simple divine foods, in beautiful settings with loved ones and friends. Certain tastes and smells evoke memories we hold on to. I'm not quite sure what all of my food choices would be, but I know the meal would take place on a certain patio in Los Angeles surrounded by family and close friends...I don't think I would cook it myself, but I know their would be garlic and good wine and lots of candles and beautiful flowers.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of dining with friends...(you hear me say that a lot). I would much rather get together around someone's table than go to a restaurant. My friend Ray is an incredible cook and teaches me something new all of the time. If you remember, in my last set of recipes, I sent out my families "tried and true" 40 Clove Garlic Chicken recipe, but Ray made us his recipe and quite honestly I was in heaven. He has a different cream, but the sauce that is created is perfection and is incredible if you sop it up with a crusty baguette. It brought a tear to my eye. He also made a horseradish browned butter cauliflower dish and I made a balsamic glazed brussels sprout recipe (did you know brussels sprouts are sexy all of the sudden? A far cry from the mushy vegetable from our past that no one liked) Julie made an oh so simple appetizer that you will want to make over and over, and dessert was elegant and perfectly simple. I used aged balsamic vinegar from my absolute favorite little SW Minneapolis shop Vinaigrette. and if you don't live here, check out their website and just give them a call, they are more than happy to ship. They have a wide variety of imported olive oils as well and a ton of ideas of how to use them. The shop owner is very savvy and fun to talk to...I really didn't want to leave. I talked to other customers and got more recipe ideas, one I will share with you today.

As passionate as I am about good food, I get equally excited about Shaklee product and the QUALITY and EFFICACY of the products...there truly are no other products out there that can touch them. You don't have to take my word for this short video clip on "The Shaklee Difference"

I have no doubts you will be impressed. For over 50 years, generations of families have counted on us to do what no other company can do quite like Shaklee—make products that are naturally safe AND proven effective. Every product that goes into every Shaklee bottle is designed to improve health, work without compromise, and be gentle on the planet.

Let's start with the new 40 Clove Garlic Chicken
(recipe from Williams Sonoma)

Ray says the key is to dry your chicken and let it sit on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper at this point

  • 2 chickens, each 4 lb., cut into 8 serving pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 40 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room
    temperature, cut into pieces
Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a wide Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the chicken, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the chicken, rosemary, thyme and lemon zest and stir to combine. Cover the pan, transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Baste the chicken with the accumulated juices. Continue roasting, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes more.

Transfer the chicken to a platter; leave the garlic in the pan. Cover the chicken loosely with aluminum foil.

Set the pan over medium heat and mash the garlic with the back of a spoon. Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes. Add the stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the sauce to a sauce boat. Serve the chicken immediately and pass the sauce alongside. Serves 8.

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic vinegar

A customer at Vinaigrette said this recipe would be great with the addition of toasted almonds...I think she's right (I didn't have any...still fab)

- makes 4 servings -


1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
Balsamic vinegar


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Heat the oil over high heat in an iron skillet. When almost smoking, dump in the sprouts. Cook for a minute or two, until slightly browned.

3. Pour in enough balsamic vinegar to come 1/4 way up the brussels sprouts. It’s a lot.

4. Cover the pan with foil, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 15 minutes.
5. Remove the foil, and return the pan to the burner over high heat. Cook until the balsamic vinegar reduces, about another minute. Season with salt and serve.

Julie's Super Easy Date Appetizer (You can't stop eating)

Mejool dates (pitted)
Goat Cheese
Crackers (get the good kind...we had the ones you find in the fancy cheese section of the store, the kind you break up yourself...they have a great rosemary version or plain sea salt)

Heat the dates for a few seconds...depends on your microwave until a bit soft.

I will use a microwave once in a while ( I kind of fear them..."the zapping of America") but to each his own, you could put them in a conventional oven if you have more patience)

smear goat cheese on cracker, top with date...ENJOY followed by a sip of wine :)

Berries in Balsamic

For this dessert I used fresh strawberries and blackberries. I cut up the strawberries, added blackberries and sprinkled with a bit of sugar (to taste) I let them sit at room temp while we ate dinner. Before serving drizzle liberally with aged balsamic vinegar and I know this might sound weird, but grind a few grinds of fresh black pepper on top.

Serve in a pretty glass or dish. I used a martini glass. Next a put a bit of creme fraische on top and stuck a (store bought) lemon and lavendar scented shortbread cookie on the side. So easy, pretty and delicious.

I keep forgetting to share this next recipe with you. We LOVE Indian food and find that it's really fun to prepare at home. You just have to have the right spices. This one was universally liked by all and very simple.

Indian Butter Chicken
(adapted from Sunset Magazine)

Serves 5 to 6

  • 1 onion (1/2 lb.), peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh jalapeƱo chili (about 1 oz.), rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salad oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala (see notes)
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned chicken breasts, rinsed and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine
  • 6 cups hot cooked white basmati rice
  • Lime wedges

1. In a 5- to 6-quart pan, combine onion, ginger, chili, and oil. Stir often over high heat until onion is lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garam masala. Scrape mixture into a blender; add tomato paste and chicken broth. Whirl until very smooth. Pour mixture back into pan, add cream, and bring to a gentle boil over high heat (mixture is inclined to spatter). Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until reduced to 3 cups, about 5 minutes. Pour sauce into a bowl. Rinse and dry pan.

2. Mix chicken with pepper and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set pan over high heat; add 1 tablespoon butter and the chicken. Stir until chicken is no longer pink on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sauce and simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until chicken is no longer pink in the center (cut to test), 3 to 4 minutes. Cut remaining 3 tablespoons butter into chunks and stir into sauce until melted.

3. Spoon chicken and sauce onto rice. Add salt to taste. Squeeze lime juice over portions.

Notes: If you can't find garam masala, use these seasonings: 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon cracked dried bay leaves, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. Sprinkle chopped fresh cilantro onto individual portions of butter chicken, if you like

Here is the recipe from the customer I met at Vinaigrette.

Edamame Radish Salad

Simply thaw frozen Edamame and shell. Slice radishes combine with rice wine vinegar ( or whatever you have on hand) I got some wonderful Rhubarb Vinegar at Vinaigrette!! good for you)

Salt, freshly ground pepper. I think some chopped parsely would be nice with this too.

Remember what you eat makes a difference in your health and well being. I would love to coach you to feeling your best through good nutrition. Shaklee products can make a tremendous difference in the way you feel. Please let me know how I can help you.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Alright, goat cheese and dates are going on my grocery list this week! :)

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