Friday, September 16, 2011

My Love of Garlic

Well, I am back from Napa. And, wow, it did not disappoint! It's taken me a full week to feel back to normal. Whatever that is! This was the view from the house we stayed at.

No, I didn't want to leave. But I was VERY ready to see the most precious girl in the world. I missed her a ton. A TON!

She did not appreciate it that I had left her to go to CA. After all, that's where Justin Bieber lives, and she could not believe I would not take her with me so we could go knock on his door to say hello. I tried explaining to her that's not how it works. But, what do I know, I'm just the Mom ;)

I have been cooking like crazy, hence the lack of posts. New clients plus my old ones are keeping me very busy. Which is a blessing. A very busy blessing!

This post is devoted to garlic. Or, as some might say, my perfume. There is garlic is the main dish and side dishes. When you add garlic, something special happens. You can smell this something as soon as it touches heat.

Garlic Chicken (Ina Garten)

3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves - I promise it will not overpower your dish. The garlic becomes very sweet & mild
2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

Roasted Root Vegetables

1 sweet potato; peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 butternut squash; peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 large carrots; peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 large shallots; peeled and left whole
10 garlic cloves; peeled; left whole
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
Kosher Salt & Pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 425.

Place all the veggies, garlic, and shallots on a sheet pan. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and Herbs de Provence. Mix together well with your hands. Cook for 25-35 minutes. After you take it out of the oven, check seasonings. I usually need to add a little more salt.

Pearl Cous Cous

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots; chopped
2 garlic cloves; minced
1 3/4 cup Chicken Stock
Splash of white wine
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup Craisins
Kosher Salt & Pepper

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cous cous to pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the splash of wine. Cook until absorbed. Add the chicken stock and craisins. Bring to boil, then lower heat to a simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the pine nuts.

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