Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I was at the grocery store to pick up chicken thighs to make Sticky Lemon Chicken (which by the way was super delicious and so easy even I couldn't screw it up!) when I noticed that roasting chickens were on sale. What a delicious way to celebrate my sister/roommate leaving for four days (she is going to the Canadian Nationals of Synchronized Skating in Oshawa and won't be back until Sunday) leaving my boyfriend and I gloriously alone. It was also a good excuse to have leftovers for the rest of the week, and a chicken carcass to make soup with this weekend! So, I picked up a a chicken, some yukon gold potatoes, green beans, garlic, lemon, etc. and planned out a fabulous dinner, which would've been 10 times more fabulous had I two ovens, or more time (the boyfriend got last minute hockey tickets right behind the visitor's net, row 2!). Or at least one oven that was capable of retaining more than 70% of its heat. Anyway, it was tasty and I'll definitely be reusing all of the recipes I used, listed at the end of the post.

To top off the delightful home-cooked meal I was preparing, I thought, what better than fresh, homemade apple pie! Now, I know my crusts need work, but I have never had someone complain about my pie filling... so I decided to make a galette. Just like pie but half the work? I am SO there! Plus, I had just spent a good 20 minutes drooling over this recipe and accompanying photos at A Finger in Every Pie.

I used her pastry recipe, but substituted the shortening for butter. I also used all-purpose flour instead of pastry flour which I haven't done since my first pie. I'm attributing the attrociousness of this pastry crust to those to alterations, not the recipe itself. I may give it another try next time I make a galette... which, aside from the diasterous crust, was fantastically easy, and totally delicious topped with a scoop of Nesle's Real Dairy Natural Vanilla... though I would've loved to have had homemade ice cream, there was just no time. I had a lot of left over apples, but I also prepared 6 apples instead of 5. I froze the extras to use for apple crisp at a future date.

Pi Day Apple Galette
Pi Crust
1.5 c. flour
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
8 T. unsalted butter
2 T. shortening (I replaced the shortening with more butter... bad idea).
2 T. vodka with 1 T. water and 3 ice cubes. (I didn't understand this bit... am I supposed to let the icecubes melt and then add them also? That's what I did...)

Process flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until cornmealy and there are still some small, pea-sized pieces of butter and shortening. Empty mixture into medium bowl. Sprinkle vodka/water over mixture. With rubber spatula or your hand, use folding motion to mix, pressing dough until it just clumps together. Flatten dough into a 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refridgerate at least 45 minutes, up to 2 days.

Pi Apples
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled cored and sliced into 1/8 inch slices
1 t. grated lemon zest
3 T. sugar
1 T Calvados (Research led me to believe you can substitute with brandy if you have some... I didn't so I used Triple Sec, but I bet amaretto would go great)
1 t. cornstarch (I just realised I completely forgot the cornstarch.... Oops! It turned out anyway; the amaretti really do their job well!)
4 T. apricot jam/preserves
6 hard amaretti cookies, crushed into rubble
2 T. butter
Crystal sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350F. Toss apples with zest, sugar and Calvados. Roll out pie crust into a 15-16" circle on a piece of parchment paper. Slide paper and rolled out crust onto a rimless baking sheet. Spread apricot jam in a circle in the center, leaving a one-and-a-half to two-inch border for folding up over the apples. Sprinkle jam with crushed amaretti. Arrange the apples over amaretti in concentric circles. Add the cornstarch to the liquid left in the apple bowl and sitr until dissolved; drizzle this over the apples until it disappears. Dot the apples with bits of butter and fold up and pleat the crus to make a nice rim around the apples. Brush crust with cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes in the bottom third of the oven. Rotate the tart and bake for another 30 minutes in the top third of the oven, until the pastry is golden brown, the apple juices are bubbling nicely and the apples yield tenderly to a knife point. Cool for a while, and serve while still warm.

Lemon Rosemary Roast Chicken:
I sliced up half lemon and cut 8 garlic cloves in half. I then slid these under the skin in various places. I squeezed the rest of the lemon juice onto the chicken, and shoved the remains into the chicken's cavity with some rosemary and some more garlic. Then I sprinkled the bird with rosemary, salt, and pepper. I let the chicken sit in the fridge (uncovered, despite my sister's misgivings) for an hour so the skin could dry so it would get nice and crispy in the oven. Next time I roast a chicken I'm going to use a larger roaster, and more garlic and rosemary. It was roasted at 350F for the first half, 450F for the second half (because of temperature differences between baking the galette and the potatoes. This is where the second oven would've come in REAL handy).

Tasty Green Beans
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons beef bouillon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Melt margarine in a large saucepan over high heat. Mixing well, add green beans, onions and garlic. Stir in soy sauce. While stirring, add bouillon and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes (20 minutes was too long for mine - 15 would've been plenty). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Oven Roasted Potatoes
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I omitted these as I dislike them and don't have any)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine oil, garlic, basil, marjoram, dill weed, thyme, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir in potatoes until evenly coated. Place potatoes in a single layer on a roasting pan or baking sheet.
  3. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning occasionally to brown on all sides.
My potatoes were super crispy: I used a glass pan lined with parchment paper, and I tossed the potatoes with the olive oil 45 minutes before they went into the oven - I have no idea if either of these things contributed, and won't know until I try this recipe again!