Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I carved a pumpkin for the first time! The boys and I had a blast!

Roast Chicken with Garlic

Do you have a favorite steak rub? Mine is this one and I use it on practically everything...steak (of course), porkchops, chicken,potatoes, ribs, roasts, gravies, fish, etc, etc.

To make this super simple roast chicken, spatchcock a 2-3 lb bird and sprinkle it with your favorite rub. Preheat oven to 350. Meanwhile, in a cast iron pan, brown chicken with the skin side down for 5-7 minutes. Flip chicken over and scatter 2 quartered onions and 10-15 cloves of unpeeled garlic around the chicken. Stick the entire pan in the oven and roast for about an hour until the juices from the chicken run clear. Skim off fat from drippings and pour drippings, onions and garlic on top of bird.

Roasted Cauliflower

If you think you don't like cauliflower, think again. Cauliflower used to not be be one of my favorite vegetables, but prepared this way, it's a revelation. Son #2 actually requests for this dish! The cauliflower is made sweeter by the roasting and the caramelized, slightly crunchy edges makes for a much more interesting texture.

1 head cauliflower cut into florets
olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Toss florets in olive oil.
2. Season generously with salt and pepper.
3. Roast in a shallow baking pan in a 400 oven for 10-15 minutes until tender but not mushy.
4. If you don't get the caramelization you like, turn on the broiler for a few minutes.

Simple, no?

Panna Cotta and Pomegranates

Who can resist the smooth, velvety texture of panna cotta? This dessert is ridiculously simple to make but looks so elegant, especially when served with fruit. Don't you just love how the translucent orbs of pomegranate arils lay against the creamy whiteness of the panna cotta?

Panna Cotta
1 envelope gelatin
3 tbsp. water
1 1/2 cups cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract

1. Sprinkle gelatin over the 3 tbsp of water and let it bloom for a few minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat cream, milk and sugar over medium flame.
3. Once the cream/milk mixture comes to a boil, turn off flame and add gelatin, stirring gently until it dissolves.
4. Add the extracts.
5. Pour mixture into 6 lightly oiled ramekins and chill until set (about 4-6 hours).
6. Loosen panna cotta gently from mold and serve with fresh fruit or a fruit puree.

Variations: Today, I made a coffee version. I added 2-3 tbsp. of instant coffee granules to the boiling cream. Lovely. Be forewarned though, this dessert is deceptive. One cup of cream weighs in at 800 calories! (Sorry to be a party-pooper...)