Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Successful Birthday Dinner

Dinner was a success. Started with a simple heirloom tomato salad drizzled with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Topped it off with fresh parsley, basil, fleur de sel and fresh pepper.

Almost Chicken Veronique w/ Cous Cous (chicken w/ grapes)

I know Rachael Ray can annoy the crap out of people (I happen to like her) but this recipe is a killer. I've made it twice and if it passes the Luis test then you know it's an ultimate keeper. Karen, you have to try this one.

(via foodnetwork)
1 1/2 pound asparagus
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, stripped from 6 to 7 sprigs
Coarse salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, eyeball it
2 pounds chicken tenders
1/2 cup white wine, eyeball it
2 1/2 cups chicken stock (available on soup aisle in paper boxes), divided
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grainy, stone-ground mustard
1 1/2 cups, about 1/2 pound, seedless red grapes, halved
2 cups couscous
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Trim tough ends of asparagus and save for soup. Place asparagus in a large bowl and toss with about 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of chopped thyme leaves and salt and pepper. Spread the asparagus out on a cookie sheet and roast 10 to 12 minutes until the asparagus is tender and crispy at the tips.

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat; add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, and 2 tablespoons butter to the pan. Place flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper then dredge the tenders in flour and add it to the pan. Cook chicken 7 to 8 minutes until browned. Add wine and scrape up browned bits as wine cooks down and bubbles, 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup stock to skillet. Combine cream and mustard and add to stock. Add grapes to the pan and turn chicken and grapes to coat and combine with the sauce. Simmer 5 minutes over low heat.

Bring remaining 2 cups chicken stock and remaining tablespoon of fresh thyme to a boil in a small pot. Add couscous. Put a tight fitting lid on pot and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Serve tenders and grapes on couscous alongside asparagus.

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