Foodening Friday – September 27, 2013

I really do need to get better about taking pictures when it comes to the recipes that I’m attempting, because I find that what the expected result is as shown in the recipient never is what I get. Must get on that…

Two (ok, technically three) recipes are up for review this week, and come from dinner last Sunday. The housemate wanted a more formal meal then she and I normally scrounge, so I obliged with some citrus roasted chicken and salad to match

When I look to plan a meal, my first stop is the kitchen to see what we’ve already got in the house. Call it a factor of budget living in the last few months, it’s helped me actively use healthy staples that I already have. Knowing I was going to focus around chicken, I picked my way through my Pinterest board to look for tasty ideas. I settled on the , but made two important swaps, going with skinless chicken breasts instead of skinned thighs and legs, and added mixed red, white and purple skinned mini potatoes.

Because I knew ahead of time what I was going to be cooking, I was able to shop for missing ingredients early enough to allow the chicken to marinate for a few hours. I originally felt that I had too much marinade, but when I poured it all in to the roasting pan as per the instructions, I found I honestly could have done with more to ensure a better coverage of the potatoes. The original author notes that you can change the cooking time, to 30-40 minutes if you are cooking breasts instead of thighs/legs. I let it go for the full time, and probably could have let it go another 10 minutes or so to soften the potatoes further. They were cooked but some of them were a little harder/more crunchy in the middle then I preferred to serve. The purple ones especially didn’t seem to get as well done – not sure if that was a result of them being a denser potato or what exactly. I also think if I’d had more marinade in general for them to be sitting in, they would have been a bit softer. The chicken itself came out perfectly, was moist and flavourful and I will definitely add it to my list of “will cook again!” #TasteVerified

My other “try” when I’m cooking is to balance the meal and provide a colourful plate – the stronger the colours the better, since that normally means you’re getting the most nutrition out of it all. For a side with the chicken and potatoes, I went with an Arugula salad, “topped” with roasted Beets and Pine Nuts, Feta, and a Dill Citrus dressing. I was pretty particular about how much citrus was in the salad, because while I wanted it to be complimentary to the chicken, I didn’t want to only taste the citrus and nothing else. The “technical” third recipe comes from roasting the beets separately beforehand. And I’m not pleased with the results I achieved exactly, but I think that was a result of chef’s error.

The recipe first called for 4 “medium” beets – and I did not choose a consistent size for them, going with two slightly smaller and two that were larger. When I roasted them, I had to nearly double the cooking time, because even the smaller ones were no where near “fork soft” when I tested them. I also found that to get the “top” side of the beets to soften at all, I had to rotate them somewhat frequently. We ended up changing physical locations for dinner itself, so instead of cutting the beets at the house, I lifted the entire foil with the four of them in it out and put it into a container for transport – thus allowing them to retain a fair amount of heat and perhaps soften just a little bit more. I also ended up using a real peeler to take the skins off, because we didn’t have any papertowels – they were exceptionally easy to peel however.

I also skipped toasting the pine nuts, because I was doing so much else already, so I just put in raw ones – definitely missed out slightly on a better crunch. Oh well. My final ‘error’ was as a result of not dressing only the arugula before adding it to the plate, and THEN adding the beets, feta and pine nuts. I stupidly added everything in together before tossing it with the dressing – as a result, we got slightly pinker dressing then we should have, and the feta was quite crumbled. Doh. Oh well, it tasted quite good no matter what. I will experiment again with the roasting of the beets, as it is should make cooking them much easier – and less likely to stain my hands blood red.

Alright, I lied. I actually have a forth recipe to include this week. Not sure how I forgot about this one, as I’ve been planning to make them for weeks, and kept getting the wrong thing, or forgetting about it.

Three words: Bacon. Cinnamon. Rolls.

And I actually have a picture of these!Sept 26_1 I only put in one slice of bacon (which had been cut in half) per roll, honestly, I found even with one, it was more than enough. The bacon itself was MUCH saltier then I had expected, and as I didn’t drench them with as much icing as I could have, I think it stood out more. However, these were amazing. I don’t even want to THINK of how they are now (still, almost a week later) happily sitting on my hips, but damn they were good. VERY #TasteVerified – yum!

Interested in my other Foodening posts? Check them out by clicking the #FoodeningFriday tag at the bottom of the page, or see the whole “Ambrosial Alliterations” blog collection. Enjoy!