Daily Archives: August 19, 2010

Thursday Night Menu: Zesty Lemon Edition

One thing about peach week is that I’m about over recipe testing anything sweet. So tonight’s menu features some tangy chicken.  Like Garlic, Garlic Chicken, this one could be called Lemon, Lemon Chicken, for it’s an intense lemon chicken.

There is an interesting thing going on here in Colorado, I don’t know if anyone else is experiencing it, but our vegetable crops are very late this year. I spent some time at a couple of farm stands this past week. All were surprisingly sparse in produce. I talked with the owners and it seems this year everything is late to harvest. I thought it was just me. Most summers, by now, I’m up to my armpits in tomatoes.  This year, while my plants are full, the tomatoes are still green and not yet full-sized. No one really had a good explanation. The summer as been fairly typical, maybe a few more afternoon showers, but normal temps.

Even the patty pan squash I use in tonight’s menu was scarce and selection limited.  Just a bit of a mystery here in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.

On the board tonight:

  1. Zesty Lemon Chicken
  2. Patty Pan Squash
  3. Fresh Bread
  4. Mixed Berries and Whipped Cream

Zesty Lemon Chicken

(adapted from Crème de Colorado – serves 6)

  • 6 chicken breast, boned and skinned
  • 10 whole lemons, (enough to make 2 cups juice)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon peel, (grated)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 whole lemons, sliced thin

In large zip-lock bag, combine chicken breasts and lemon juice. Squeeze out air and seal. Refrigerate overnight. Remove chicken and reserve 2 tablespoons of marinade. Pat chicken dry. Put flour, salt, paprika and pepper in a plastic bag. Shake until well mixed. Put chicken breasts in bag one at a time and shake to cover. In large skillet heat oil and fry breasts a few at a time until well browned. (about ten minutes) Arrange chicken in a single layer in a large baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with lemon peel and brown sugar. Mix chicken broth with reserved lemon marinade and pour around chicken. Pace a sliced lemon on top of each breast and sprinkle with minced parsley. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until tender.

Patty Pan Squash Sauté

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 patty pan squash, quartered
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded & cut into strips
  • salt & pepper

skillet

Heat oil and butter in skillet until butter melts, add vegetables and sauté until squash is tender. Salt & pepper to taste.

Fresh Bread: I liked Kirk’s idea earlier about mixing 1 part grated parmesan with 3 parts butter as a spread for the bread.

Mixed Berries: toss cleaned berries with a tablespoon of sugar and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving with whipped cream.

Shopping List:

  • 6 chicken breast, boned and skinned
  • 12 whole lemons
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon peel, (grated)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 oz chicken broth
  • 1 lb berries (I’d go for what you can find fresh)
  • 1 pint whipped cream
  • Loaf of a nice bread
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 patty pan squash
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper

Also: olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar, parmesan, paprika, brown sugar

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So, Tomatoes…OK, but Did Ya Eat Anything?

Glad you asked.  Mrs J was off at the shelter most of the day so I just made myself sammiches.  When she got home and was thinking about dinner she mentioned…sammiches.  I can deal.  We had hot dogs for dinner.  Never fear, we have a proper dessert waiting, the rest of the peach dump cake.

Sammiches:

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Dealing with Tomatoes

It’s not like this in an onerous job, it just takes some time.  Of the romas Mrs J gathered in this morning I halved enough to cover two baking trays for drying in the oven.  I did nothing to them after splitting and gutting them aside from giving them all a good sprinkle of salt.  They spent all day in a 200-250 oven.  I just took the last of them out and put the whole batch into a quart sized plastic bag.  There was plenty of room. The rest of the tomatoes went into the veggie juicer thing.  It is a lousy juicer for oranges but it really shines when doing tomatoes. We ended up with a good gallon of juice, maybe 5 quarts.  It simmered on the stove all day.  I added herbs and some diced celery, onion, and celery.  The basil, thyme, and rosemary were from the patio container garden, as were the bay leaves.  It’s going to be very tasty on something.  Not sure what that will be right now.  Still thinking on it.

Pictures?  ahyup:

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Garden Update

It’s been a while since I wandered through the garden with the camera.  Mrs J gathered a peck of tomatoes early today so there weren’t a lot of red ones left.  The jalapenos seem to be doing well.  We stripped the bushes last time we harvested but there were plenty of flowers coming on.  The banan peppers are doing fair.  Seems as soon as the peppers start getting some color something feasts on them.  The bell peppers are much the same.  Looking forward to freezing more of those.

Mr J brought in a good sized bucket full of romas this morning.  Half of those went into the oven to dry and the other half, along with the big boys, were boiled down to a nice sauce.

Here’s the garden:

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Kirk Spencer’s Peached Tilapia

I asked around for some peach recipes and Kirk sent me a list of things he could do with peaches and asked me to choose.  I decided the fish sounded like a good idea.  I like using fruits with meats, fishes and poultry, so this one appealed to me.  Here’s Kirk:

OK, let’s start with editorial comments. Tilapia is a fish with almost no flavor of its own. Worse, the odds are you’re going to get farmed tilapia, which is going to be even blander. When you make tilapia, then, you’ve got two choices. You can go for extreme subtlety to tease out the taste of the fish. Or you can go for any darn flavor you want and let the fish provide texture. Here, I’m taking the low road. We’re going to end up with PEACH flavors on a tender fish texture.

Second editorial comment. I’m in the process of returning to cooking for just two. As a result that’s what you’re going to get for recipes – serves two adults who don’t pick at their food. A whole Tilapia is one to two pounds, of which between half and 2/3s is food for most USians (ie, we don’t pick the bones or eat the head — and we might leave the skin alone as well.)

  • Two whole (cleaned [ means gutted ] and scaled) tilapia – heads optional.

Glaze:

  • One peach, peeled, pitted, and crushed, measured.
  • 1/2 measure brown sugar.
  • 1/2 measure white sugar.
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper.
  • Dash of salt.

Filling:

  • One peach, peeled, pitted, and crushed.
  • 4 ounces crushed pecans.
  • 4 ounces butter.
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder.
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder.
  • Dash of salt.

Overview: Soak some toothpicks or skewers. Make the glaze. Make the filling. Stuff the tilapia and seal cavity closed. Grill for three minutes. Turn, spread glaze over finished side, grill for two more minutes. Move to finish plate with glazed side down and glaze the unfinished side. Let rest under heat trap for three to five minutes.

Details.

Glaze. Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, until peaches seem translucent — about 20 minutes. Beware, the high sugar content is easy to burn. By the way, this is basically a homemade peach preserve. Remove from heat, but it’s fine to use this warm.

Filling.

Brown butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in pecans, cocoa and cayenne, and cook for another 30 seconds or so till it’s all hot and the pecans begin to brown. Add the peaches and remove from heat.

Make sure your tilapia are cleaned and scaled. Stuff half the filling into each fish’s belly. Use toothpicks or skewers that you’ve soaked in water for a few moments to close the bellies.

Heat your grill, and either oil the grate or oil the griddle on which you’ll hold the fish. Put the fish over direct heat about three-four inches above the coals for three minutes. Turn, and spread about half the glaze over the two fish’s upward sides. Let cook for two more minutes and move to a plate or pan, glaze side down. Yes, it’s going to stick to that pan. Glaze the side that’s now up, and put a lid or foil over the top to trap the heat. Let the fish rest for three to five minutes. Uncover and serve.

A service trick. Instead of using a pan for the rest, you could put the fish on the plates off which you’re going to eat. That way you don’t lose the bottom glaze to the pan. If you do this I recommend prewarming the plates.

RECOMMENDED SIDES:

A vinaigrette fruit salad – the easy way is a standard fruit salad tossed with a basic vinaigrette dressing, but the bananas usually used might be peculiar to some tastes. Alternatively any pickled, cold dish such as a vinaigrette slaw or sweet and sour red cabbage or carrot-daikon slaw. The sour will help balance the sweet of the fish, the cold will handle both the stove heat and the cayenne heat (not that there’s much in this.) Steamed greens of some sort – in this case I’d prefer steamed nettles, but any earthy green (kale, mustard greens, etc) will do.

Alternatively, buttered small beets will serve the same purpose. The earthy taste grounds the meal and helps make it seem more filling. Crisp, lightly toasted bread (such as a baguette) with a parmesan butter (1 part parmesan, three parts butter, whipped together) as support.

Kirk

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