Thursday, October 08, 2009

Hearty dinner salad

We eat a lot of salads around here — they're quick and easy, and there's usually something in the house to throw in there. To celebrate the change in weather, I decided to mix it up a bit and go for a fall-inspired salad. I combined a couple of different recipes to get this tasty treat:

Hearty Potato, Chicken and Beet Salad

For dressing
• 2 tsp white wine vinegar
• 1 Tb plus 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 2 tsp sugar
• 6 Tb olive oil
• 2-3 Tb minced dill
• 1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds crushed in mortar & pestle

For salad
• 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
• 3-4 cups chicken broth
• 3 medium beets, stems trimmed to 2 inches
• 1 lb. small red potatoes
• 1 tsp olive oil
• Dash of salt

• 4 oz. baby spinach
• 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced
• 1 scallion, sliced

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
Wrap beets individually in foil and roast on a baking sheet in upper third of oven until tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Once beets have roasted for 30 minutes, toss potatoes with oil and salt in a small baking pan and roast in lower third of oven, shaking pan occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Carefully unwrap beets and cool slightly, then slip off and discard skins.

Meanwhile, bring chicken broth to boil in medium saucepan. Add chicken breast, reduce heat and simmer until chicken cooked through, 18-20 minutes. Remove and let cool. Shred with two forks.

Make the
Mix together white wine vinegar, dijon mustard and sugar. Whisk in olive oil in steady stream and then add dill and caraway seeds.

Assemble salad:
Cut beets into 1/3-inch dice and put in a large salad bowl. Cut potatoes into 1/3-inch-thick slices and add to beets along with chicken. Add enough vinaigrette to coat evenly. In a separate bowl, combine the spinach, cucumber and scallions and toss with remaining vinaigrette. Serve greens topped with potato, chicken and beet combo.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Autumn's best dinner: Chicken Pot Pie

After we had our first frost on September 30, the boy started whispering dreamily about chicken pot pie and he didn't have to ask twice. We scarfed down a few generous helpings of this cold-weather classic last weekend… I'm not gonna lie: it is time-consuming. But, if you make a full recipe and put half away for the freezer (see notes), it's all worth it knowing you have this socked away for another blustery day!

Chicken and Fall Vegetable Pot Pie
Adapted from Appetit Oct 1999
Serves 8.
  • 4 pounds chicken breasts with skin and bones
  • 4 to 6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large bunch spinach or bunch of green beans
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • (Herb crust recipe follow)

Butter 4-quart oval baking dish. Place chicken breasts in heavy large pot. Add just enough broth to cover chicken. Bring broth to boil; reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, skimming surface occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to plate and cool.

Add carrots and potatoes to chicken broth in pot. Simmer uncovered until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to prepared baking dish. Add greens/beans to broth and cook just until wilted, about 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer greens to colander; drain well. Add to vegetables in baking dish.

Strain broth; reserve 4 cups. Remove skin and bones from chicken. Cut meat into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces. Add chicken to vegetables in baking dish.

Melt butter in same pot over medium heat. Add leeks, shallots and thyme. Sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Stir in 4 cups broth and white wine. Increase heat to high and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Add cream and boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, whisking frequently, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour gravy over mixture in dish. Stir to blend. Cool 45 minutes. (Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Position 1 rack in top third of oven and place baking sheet on bottom rack in oven; preheat to 400deg;F. Roll out crust dough on parchment paper to 15x10 1/2-inch rectangle. Using paper as aid, turn dough over onto filling. Trim dough overhang; tuck dough edge inside dish. Roll out dough scraps to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out leaf shapes. Brush bottom of cutouts with water and place on crust; cut slits in crust to allow steam to escape.

Place pot pie on top rack and bake until crust is golden and gravy is bubbling, about 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Filling before crust is put on

Herb Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons (about) ice water
Blend first 5 ingredients in processor until herbs are very finely chopped. Add butter and shortening. Blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Using fork, mix enough ice water into flour mixture to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into rectangle. Cover and chill 30 minutes. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.)

• This recipe really does take quite a bit of time, but is well worth it, especially if you…
• I make the full recipe and use a 1 1/2 - 2 quart casserole, fill with half ingredients and cover with half of crust recipe. The remainder goes in the freezer for later.
• I had bones left over from a roasted chicken earlier in the week. I simmered them with boneless chicken breasts
• Cooling the filling keeps the crust from getting gooey. (My mom called while I was waiting for things to cool and she explained why this is necessary — thanks, Mom!)
• Original recipe calls for turnips and turnip greens. I'm not a huge fan, but feel free to try it.


Monday, October 05, 2009

A whale of an update…

Well, not really, but I wnated to work the whale into the post title… Hello people! This was my submission for the Shadow Art Fair poster design contest. I'd been wanting to do a design with a whale for a while and this is what happened. If you're not familiar, Shadow Art is a local crafty fair day held in Ypsi at the Corner Brewery. I haven't ever been to it, but have heard terrific things. I'm hoping to be a vendor at the holiday one in December.

In other news: I found out last week that I will be a vendor at the staggeringly awesome Detroit Urban Craft Fair at the Majestic Theater on November 21. Much to do before then! I'm working on a 2010 calendar as well as new holiday items, so stay tuned for shop and blog updates… I'm hoping to be a more frequent visitor to the blog in the coming days!

AND, in sad, sad news, I just heard that Gourmet magazine is shutting its doors. I'm a big fan and was shocked to hear it. Boo. Waiting to hear what will happen at and Ruth Reichl's next move…