Tuesday, February 12, 2013

V Day

Looking to do something romantic at home? Skip the crowds and go for this hot and spicy menu that will make you fall in love all over again.  It's so good that that it will probably earn you the 'Kitchen Goddess' moniker... which could easily lead into other pet names if you play your cards right.  

It starts with a Whipped Feta and Heirloom Tomato crostini that should be paired with a crisp, white wine.  It's followed by a Spicy Caesar Salad with bacon and red chiles in honor of V Day.  The main event is the juiciest and most flavorful Paprika Roasted Chicken cooked over crispy (duck fat) potatoes.  And the icing on the cake is the most refreshing Lemon Yogurt Pound Cake with a citrus glaze. Happy V Day!

Heirloom Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta
(my new favorite crostini of all time)

Spicy Caesar salad with bacon
(I've made it as is and low fat with light mayo and turkey bacon and it is still amazing)

Paprika roasted chicken with potatoes
(By far the best roasted chicken I've ever made)

Lemon yogurt citrus glazed pound cake

Recipes after the Jump

Heirloom Tomato Crostini by Ina Garten:
-Makes 20 to 25 crostini; serves 6 to 8

6 ounces good feta cheese, crumbled
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup good olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp pine nuts
2 Tbsp minced shallots (2 shallots)
2 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 Tbsp good red wine vinegar
2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes 1/2" diced
3 Tbsp julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for servings
20 to 25 (1/2" thick) diagonal baguette slices, toasted)

Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Place feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until cheeses are mixed. Add ⅓ cup olive oil, lemon juice, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place pine nuts in a dry sauté pan over low heat and cook 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until lightly browned. Set aside.

For the tomato topping, up to an hour before serving, combine shallots, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside 5 minutes to allow shallots to absorb vinegar. Whisk in remaining ⅓ cup olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper. Add tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside 10 minutes. Stir in basil and taste for seasoning.

To assemble crostini, spread each baguette slice with a generous amount of whipped feta. With a slotted spoon, place tomatoes on top. Put crostini on plates and scatter with the reserved toasted pine nuts. Sprinkle with basil and serve.

Spicy Caesar Salad from Food & Wine:
Servings: 6
Prep time: 20 minutes

1/2 baguette, sliced 1/3" thick
1/4 cup EVOO, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, preferably spicy, drained and chopped
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
freshly ground pepper
6 slices lean bacon (3 oz)
1 1/2 pounds romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 long red chile, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the baguette slices on a baking sheet and lightly brush both sides with olive oil. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the toasts cool, then break them into large pieces.

Meanwhile, in a mini food processor, combine the mayonnaise, anchovies, lemon juice, garlic and mustard and blend until smooth. With the processor on, slowly pour in the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season the dressing with pepper.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Drain and slice crosswise 1 inch thick

In a large bowl, toss the romaine with the sliced chile, croutons and the bacon. Add the dressing and toss. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the salad, toss again and serve right away.

MAKE AHEAD The dressing can be refrigerated overnight.

Paprika Roasted Chicken with Potatoes:
-recipe from dianeabroad.com adapted from lottie + doof

Servings: 2-3


1 chicken, around 3 pounds
1 tablespoon salt
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 onion
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2-2 pounds waxy potatoes (I used yukon gold) scrubbed and dried
3 tablespoons duck fat, rendered bacon fat, or oil (I used canola oil, but would have loved duck fat)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper
8 hours to 3 days before you plan to cook the bird, pat it completely dry inside and out with paper towels, removing the gizzards and fat from inside the cavity if they were included. Sprinkle a little of the salt inside the cavity, along the backbone. Sprinkle the rest of the salt all over the skin. Cover loosely and refrigerate until you’re ready to roast.

Prepare the rub: finely grate 1 of the cloves of garlic and mix in a small bowl with the smoked paprika, Hungarian paprika, and olive oil.

Heat your oven to 475°F (250°C).

Remove the chicken from the fridge and stuff with the thyme sprigs, 1/2 an onion, and the 3 remaining garlic cloves, smashed with the blade of a knife or with the bottom of a heavy mug. Rub the paprika mixture all over the outside of the chicken. Truss the bird if desired, or just tie the legs together with a bit of twine.

Cut the potatoes into a 3/4″ dice. Warm the duck fat (or bacon fat or oil) in a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until the fat is melted. Add the diced potatoes, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper to taste, and toss well to coat the potatoes with the fat.

Make a well in the center of the potatoes to expose some of the cast iron (if you have enough room in your skillet to do so). Lay the chicken breast-side up in the center of the cast iron and immediately transfer to the hot oven. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken to a plate, give the potatoes a stir, flip the bird breast-side down onto the potatoes and place back into the oven. Lower the heat to 425°F (220°C). Roast for another 15-20 minutes, then flip again breast-side up. Finish roasting for 5-10 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thighs registers 165°F (74°C).
Remove the chicken to a plate or carving board to rest for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, give the potatoes another toss and return to the oven for a final crisping. Serve the potatoes hot out of the oven and the chicken carved or whole.

PCM: the Oprah magazine, Simply Recipes, Diane-A-Broad, Food & Wine

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