Sunday, August 21, 2005

Grillin' and Chillin'

Sunday night’s dinner was a light meal, perfect for a hot day. I pulled out the tiny propane grill and set about doing some chicken and a light orzo salad. All told, I think I had the stove on for 15 minutes to boil and cook the orzo. The following is from a woman on the food network. I like watching her cook and prepare, but sometimes I want to mute her because of her overzealous use of adjectives, it drives me nuts. So Giadia De Laurentis, thank you for the recipe. I will probably make it again.

Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing
Recipe courtesy Giadia De Laurentis
Yield: 6 servings

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used chicken breast tenderloins, they were cheaper)
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 large clove garlic
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Whisk 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a heavy-duty re-sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, turning the chicken occasionally. (NOTE: make sure to marinate for longer if you can, I did one hour, not that noticeable. Try for 4 hours if you can.)

Meanwhile, blend the basil, garlic, lemon zest, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Gradually blend in the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Season the basil sauce, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to plates. Drizzle the basil sauce over and serve.

Orzo Salad
Recipe courtesy Giadia De Laurentis
Yield: 6 servings

4 cups broth (chicken or veggie)
1 1/2 cups orzo
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (I omitted them, not a fan)
1 1/2 cups red and yellow teardrop tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
About 3/4 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo. Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Drain the orzo through a strainer. Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl and toss until the orzo cools slightly. Set aside to cool completely.

Toss the orzo with the beans, tomatoes, onion, basil, mint, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.

NOTE on the broth: I used chicken, it's what I had. When I cook with canned broth or dry boullion, I like to add a chunk of onion. I feel it naturalizes the flavor a bit, if in a can, there can be a bit of a metallic taste. If dry boullion, there is an obvious "processed" taste. The onion will help that, not eliminate it, but help take it away.

Red Wine Vinaigrette (Yield: 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.


Lady Brandenburg said...

All I have to say is, where do I sign up to be married to Scott... who made home-cooked meals SIX DAYS IN A ROW!? I mean, I don't think my mom does that. I'm lucky if I do two nights in a row... usually if I cook one night I "reward" myself by going out the next night thus spending WAY too much money on restaurants. I still think Scott should be the next food critic for the City Paper.

Dancer in DC said...

No way! If he gets a food critic job that means less cooking at home for ME! It's all about ME!