Food Network Get Ready!

August 13, 2009 at 2:45 am | Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Meghan and her friend Rachel recently made dinner for our families. They both have a passion for cooking as well as healthy eating. Their dinner was to say the least, fabulous! Everything they prepare is so beautiful and complimentary. These girls are so talented, I’m sure Food Network is in their future.

Walking into Starbucks the morning of the dinner party, I find Meghan and Rachel with their table stacked with cookbooks and food magazines as they share recipes. OHH!! Look at this, it’s so great! OHH! Wait, wait, we’ve go to try that! It’s quite funny to see them work together. The guy at the next table could hear everything they were saying, and I’m sure he got hungry because he finally got up and ordered a sandwich!

After an hour spend scanning the mountain of recipes and drooling over dessert pictures, they decided on the following:

Moroccan Chicken
from: Sunny Season Flavors by FPC Magazines
1 1/4 lb. boneless chicken breast, 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp sumac (if available)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup chicken broth
3 tbs toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon, plus wedges to serve

Toss chicken in the flour. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skilled over high heat until hot, then cook the chicken, in batches, until golden. Set aside.
Heat remaining oil in skillet. Add onion, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring, until golden and softened. Return chicken to skillet with spices, raisins, and broth. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes or until heated through and thickened slightly. Stir in pine nuts, cilantro and lemon juice.

Herb-Grilled Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese
from: Nordstrom FLAVORS by Michael Northern

3 plum tomatoes, cored and halved
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the pan
Kosher salt
Freshly gournd black pepper
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
4 large basil leaves, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped shallot
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise
1 large yellow squash, quartered lengthwise
1 large red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rings
1 large bell pepper, cut into strips
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for the grill
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 clove minced garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
6 ounces mixed baby salad greens (The girls left this out)
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Vinaigrette: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Oil a rimmed baking sheet.
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1 Tablespoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread the tomatoes, skin side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Roast until the skin is deeply browned and somewhat charred, about 12 minutes. Let cool.
Remove the seeds from the tomatoes. In blender, combine the tomatoes, balsamic and sherry vinegars, basil, shallot, thyme, and garlic and process until smooth, about 1 minute. With the machine running, add the remaining 1/2 cup oil in a thin, steady stream to form an emulsion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the rosemary, parsley, thyme, and garlic. Season with the salt and pepper and toss gently to coat. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Roast the vegetables at 450 degrees until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Or, on a charcoal or gas grill, lightly oil the cooking grate. Place the vegetables on the grill, with the pepper wedges skin side down. Grill until the undersides are seared with grill marks, about 3 minutes. Turn the vegetables over (except for the peppers) and grill until they are crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes more. Transfer to a large platter. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with the vinaigrette, and season to taste with salt and pepper, Add the mixed baby greens and gently toss again.
Divide the salad among dinner plates, sprinkle evenly with the goat cheese, and serve.

Apricot Couscous

from:Food Network’s Tyler Florence
1 cup couscous
1 1/2 cups warm water
10 dried apricots
1/4 cup whole almonds, toasted
2 green onions, green parts only
2 handfuls fresh mint leaves
2 handfuls fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Put the couscous in a medium bowl; pour the water over it, stir with a fork to comine. Cover and let sit for 10-15 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork. Put the apricots, almonds, green onions, mint and cilantro on a cutting board and coarsely chop everything up; add this to the couscous. Add lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.

They served all this with fresh, whole-grain bread right out of the oven. For dessert they served a home-made shortbread cookie topped with ice cream and a fresh fruit compote followed by coffee.

Everything looked as pretty as it tasted. All the hard work was evident, as well as the passion for what they were doing.

Meghan and Rachel are such talented girls, and we are going to miss them as they head off to college to pursue their Nutrition/Culinary degrees. It’s been a fun summer with great friends and good food. We’ll miss you both, but look forward to more menu creations when you return!


On a side note: Rachel’s brothers, Chase and Michael, have challenged the girls to a Throwdown! Not to be out done, the boys have decided to show their culinary skill as well. I look forward to blogging about that next week!


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