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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 68

Are you thinking what I was thinking when I first saw this recipe? Gourmet has a recipe for Cornflake Fried Chicken? I was really shocked! I knew it was something that Brandon would love and I had some cornflakes in the pantry that needed to be used. I made several modifications to the original recipe that included dredging in flour before egg and adding spices to the cornflakes. I decided to bake mine instead of frying it and it turned out great. We did a taste test with Brandon’s fried and my baked and while the baked was definitely missing out on the “fried chicken” taste it was okay with me! Chicken breasts are so big when you pound them out so I saved half of mine to eat over a salad for lunch tomorrow.

I taught BodyPump tonight at the Y. There were 32 people in the class! So exciting. I’m going to yoga tomorrow morning – so looking forward to it after two days out of the studio. After work, Brandon and I are working on making chocolate butterfly wings for the butterfly cupcakes I’m making for my niece’s 2nd birthday Saturday. I am so thankful to have his help with the wings because he just has so much more patience with this type of thing. We’re heading to Sole for a late dinner to take advantage of their Charlotte Restaurant Week menu.

We have a really good chance of getting some snow this weekend! We’ve had two close calls this winter but no snow yet so keep your fingers crossed :)

Cornflake Fried Chicken
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, July 2008)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup flour
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups cornflakes
Paprika or cayenne pepper, optional
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Pound out chicken to 1/2 inch thickness (in a plastic bag or between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper).

Set up three shallow bowls. Put flour in the first and season with salt and pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together egg and milk. In the third bowl, crush cornflakes and toss with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cayenne and paprika to your liking (about 1/2 teaspoon) if desired.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot.

Meanwhile, season chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess flour and then dip in egg mixture, then in cornflakes, pressing to help adhere.

Fry chicken, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes total. Internal temperature should be 160 degrees. Drain on paper towels.

*Note – I baked mine on a wire rack at 400 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, until internal temperature reached 160.

Yield: 2 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 37

It’s Wednesday night…which means I’m on my own! Brandon is in a bowling league (seriously) on Wednesday nights so I get to enjoy a night of eating whatever I want and watching what  I want on TV. Glorious! :) Tonight I had leftover Coconut Red Lentil Curry, a salad and a chocolate chip cookie.  It’s always some sort of meat-free feast!

It’s been a very relaxing night. I took the day off from exercising because I haven’t had a rest day in over two weeks and I’m just tired and my body needs a break. I’ve started teaching a BodyPump class on Monday mornings at 6 a.m. and it’s been a big adjustment. The 5 a.m. wake up call is very early for me. I know I’ll get used to it but so far I feel like I start the week in a sleep deficit.  The good thing is that I have a class full of people up early with me and they are ready to work!

Yesterday I went to a hot vinyasa class at Y2 Yoga. I’m so sad that my one month unlimited “new student” pass is ending! My brother-in-law and his wife gave me a pass to try this studio for Christmas. Obviously, I’ve definitely been using the free month to its fullest extent! So now I have to make the decision whether to buy a 10 class pass or a month unlimited. There’s about a $25 difference in price. I’m just not sure which is the right fit. I know I’ve been all about the yoga lately but I’m starting a new half marathon training plan on February 1. I dont’ know if I can fit in teaching BodyPump, running 4-5 days a week and utilizing a month unlimited pass to it’s fullest extent? Thoughts?

Okay…back to food. I’m sure you’re confused about the meaty pasta dish in the picture above since I’ve been going on and on about vegetarian dinners and working out. I made this dish on Monday night. It’s a Greek dish – Lamb and Eggplant Pastitsio. I was craving eggplant and love Greek food so this recipe hit the spot.

It was so good…the cinnamon added an awesome warm flavor to the lamb sauce and the nutmeg I added to the cheese sauce complimented it perfectly. Although it took a couple hours start to finish, the end result was totally worth it. And it’s not all hands on time – lots of simmering and baking time in there too. I thought the double layer was really fun – you mix the bottom pasta layer with the meat sauce and the top pasta layer with the cheese sauce. Yum! I’m so embarrassed to admit that we both went back for not only seconds but thirds! And we had the leftovers again last night. If you’re a Greek food lover this is a must try. And just a side note, I think you could sub beef for the lamb if you’re not a fan of lamb.

Lamb and Eggplant Pastitsio
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, October 2001)

Ingredients:

FOR THE LAMB SAUCE
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground lamb
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (28- to 32-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 garlic clove
1 whole clove or a pinch of nutmeg
1/2 pound feta, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs

FOR THE PASTA
10 ounces penne (3 cups)

Directions:

FOR THE LAMB SAUCE
Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add lamb and continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring to break up lumps. Cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, oregano, cinnamon, sugar and pepper and cook another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in eggplant and tomatoes. Gently simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is just tender, about 40 minutes. Remove lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes more. Season generously with salt and pepper.

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

While meat sauce is simmering, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Whisk in milk and add garlic clove and whole clove or nutmeg. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Add feta, salt and pepper and cook, whisking vigorously, until cheese is well incorporated.

Beat eggs in a large bowl and slowly add sauce to eggs, whisking constantly.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Slightly undercook the pasta since it will finish in the oven. Drain in a colander. Toss half of pasta with lamb sauce and half with cheese sauce.

TO ASSEMBLE PASTITSIO
Pour pasta with lamb sauce into a 9 x 13 baking dish, spreading evenly. Spoon pasta with cheese sauce on top, spreading evenly.

Bake uncovered, in middle of oven until bubbling and top is golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6-8 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 36

This vegetarian goodness was warmly welcomed after a weekend of splurging for Charlotte Restaurant Week. Friday night we went to BLT Steak and Saturday night we went to Sullivan’s. Both meals were delicious but very indulgent!

I taught BodyPump on Saturday morning and was very excited to have a great crowd! Love seeing people up and knocking out their workouts on Saturdays. Later that morning Brandon and I headed over to Y2 Yoga for a power 1 class. Saturday was Yoga Day USA so I couldn’t miss out on practicing! I headed over to Y2 again today for hot yoga. I’m happy to report that I practiced 6 out of 7 days this week!

After yoga I was famished. This dinner was so easy to put together and a nice change from all the steakhouse dinners we enjoyed this weekend. Honestly, it wasn’t my favorite curry that I’ve ever made but was still very good. My favorite vegetarian curry is still this Butternut Squash Curry which also happens to be from Gourmet!

Heading to bed early tonight…teaching BodyPump at 6 a.m. tomorrow.

Coconut Red Lentil Curry
(Recipe source Gourmet, December 2006)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 fresh jalapeño or serrano chile, finely diced, including seeds
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils (about 10 ounces)
1 (13- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (I used lite)
1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium), diced
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro sprigs (omitted, cilantro is Brandon’s least favorite herb!)

Steamed brown or white rice, for serving

Directions:

Heat oil in a 3-4 quart heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, about 6 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt and chili pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Stir in water or broth, lentils and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and then cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in zucchini and simmer, covered, until lentils and zucchini are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and serve over rice with cilantro sprigs scattered on top.

Yield: 6 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 35

Hot fudge sauce is the perfect desperation dessert. I always have the ingredients in my pantry and it just really takes ice cream to the next level. Brandon was wanting dessert and we really didn’t have anything but ice cream. I whipped this up in about 10 minutes and it totally hit the spot! So chocolately and delicious!

This has been a pretty solid week on the health and fitness front. Here’s a quick fitness overview:
Monday: taught BodyPump AM, 60 minute power mixed yoga class PM
Tuesday: 75 minute hot vinyasa yoga (this class was SERIOUSLY hard!)
Wednesday: 75 minute power mixed yoga class
Thursday: taught BodyPump (launched the new release!!!)
Tomorrow (Friday): 60 minute hot vinyasa

Now…I know you’re wondering where the cardio is. I totally admit that I’ve been on hiatus. And the funny thing is that I feel really good. The yoga has been exactly what I need. I’m looking forward to starting a new half marathon training program on February 1 rested and restored. I’m running the Charlotte RaceFest Half Marathon on April 10. I’m following a 10 week training program from Runners World that will hopefully help me improve my time. The training plan is pretty aggressive but I’m excited about it and looking forward to some hard work. Can’t wait to run on some beautiful spring days and for the days to get a little longer!

It’s been a good nutrition week too. For whatever reason, I just haven’t had my normal appetite. This is bad considering the amount of exercise I’ve been doing. I don’t know if it’s the lack of running or something about the yoga but my eating habits are definitely a little off. Also, I’ve been craving healthy food (which I’m not complaining about). I’ve just been all about the fruits, whole grains and veggies this week.

We have a pretty indulgent weekend coming up. It all starts with a pizza party at work tomorrow for lunch. I’m planning on having one slice of veggie and bringing other healthy snacks. Then tomorrow night my in law’s are taking us to BLT Steak for Charlotte Restaurant Week. So excited to try it. It’s the new hot spot in Charlotte. And then Saturday we have reservations as another steak house. I’m planning on hitting up the fish selections and steering clear of the beef!

So go get your workout in and then have a hot fudge sundae! :)

Hot Fudge Sauce
(Recipe source Gourmet, February 2004)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Bring cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt and half of chocolate to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla and remaining chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth.

Sauce can be made and stored for one week. Just scoop out what you need and heat!

Yield: 2 cups

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 34

I kind of can’t believe I’m posting this. I can sum up this Duck a’Orange in two words: learning experience. It wasn’t a total fail but it definitely wasn’t smooth sailing. First, I decided to tackle this on a weeknight – over two hours in the kitchen on a weeknight – maybe not the best decision. Second, it might have been helpful for me to have studied up on the anatomy of a duck. I roasted it upside down! And third, the picture is terrible because I was pretty over it by picture taking time. I just wanted to eat the thing and call it a night.

All that said, the flavor of this was actually really good. My l’Orange sauce was a TOTAL success. I was really happy about that because it’s one of the hardest sauces that I’ve ever made. And I feel very confident that the  next time I roast a whole duck, I’ll have much better results.

This recipe was originally published in Gourmet in 1943! I thought it would be downright wrong of me not to attempt such a classic dish during 68 Days of Gourmet. I’m really glad that I made this but I think it’s a lot of work for such a small amount of edible meat. I think I’ll definitely make the l’Orange sauce again with roasted chicken. The flavor of the sauce was incredible! Or maybe I’ll just make Duck a l’Orange breast instead of a whole duck!

It’s been a pretty calm week so far. Monday was my first time teaching 6 a.m. BodyPump. Overall, the class was great. It’s definitely going to take me some time to get used to the 5 a.m. wake up time on Mondays though. Even though I was tired from my early morning, I went to a power mixed yoga class after work. So glad I did, it was just what I needed. The class was really fun and I got to play around with some positions that were a little outside of my comfort zone. Tonight I went to a hot vinyasa class and the room was SO HOT! Apparently, they’ve made some adjustments to the room to allow it to heat more efficiently. Whatever they did, it worked. Whew! Chugging water tonight! I’m attempting to practice every day this week. We’ll see how that goes! I’ll keep you guys posted.

It’s been a great week so far on the nutrition front. My usual bowl of oats for breakfast, peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch and healthy dinners. Nice to be back in my routine. Feeling good and strong.

So here is the duck recipe. I seriously recommend trying this if you’re looking for a culinary challenge! :)

My poor upside down duck!

Duck a l’Orange
(Recipe source Gourmet, January 2006, originally printed in 1943)

Ingredients:

FOR THE DUCK
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 (5- to 6-lb) Long Island duck (also called Pekin)
1 juice orange, halved
4 fresh thyme sprigs
4 fresh marjoram sprigs
2 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 small onion, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup duck stock, duck and veal stock, chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 carrot
1/2 celery rib

FOR THE SAUCE
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 to 2 oranges)
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons duck or chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fine julienne of fresh orange zest, removed with a vegetable peeler

Directions:

FOR THE DUCK
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Make sure rack is positioned in the center of the oven.

Mix together salt, coriander, cumin and pepper. Pat duck dry and sprinkle inside and out with spice mixture. Cut 1 half of orange into quarters and place in duck cavity with thyme, marjoram, parsley and 4 onion wedges.

Squeeze juice from remaining half of orange and stir together with wine and stock. Set aside.

Spread remaining 4 onion wedges in a 13 x 9 roasting pan with carrot and celery, then place duck (breast side up!) on top of vegetables and roast 30 minutes.

Pour wine mixture into roasting pan and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue roasting duck until thermometer inserted into a thigh (close to but not touching bone) registers 170 degrees, about 60 to 75 more minutes. Turn on broiler and broil duck 3 to 4 inches from heat until top is golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Tilt duck to drain juices from cavity into pan and transfer duck to a cutting board, reserving juices in pan. Let duck stand 15 minutes.

FOR THE SAUCE
While the duck roasts, cook sugar in a dry 1-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts and turns a golden caramel color. Reduce heat to low and add orange juice, vinegar and salt. Caution – the mixture will bubble and steam vigorously and the sugar may seize (don’t give up on it!). Continue to simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel is dissolved. Remove syrup from heat.

Discard vegetables from roasting pan and pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart glass container or bowl. Skim off and discard fat.  Add enough stock to pan juices to total 1 cup liquid.

Stir together butter and flour to form a beurre manié. Bring pan juices to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan, then add beurre manié, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Add orange syrup and zest and simmer, whisking occasionally, until sauce is thickened slightly and zest is tender, about 5 minutes. Serve with duck.

Yield: 4 servings (only 2 for us because we only ate the breast)

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 33

Greetings from Mema’s house! We arrived last night around 9 and were starving. Lucky for us, Mema had made cabbage rolls “deconstructed,” rice and green beans. So good and comforting – totally hit the spot. Finished dinner off with some ooey gooey bars (which I have had TOO many of while we’ve been here) and then fell into bed stuffed and exhausted.

This morning we enjoyed some of this Pear Cranberry Cake for breakfast along with a  fresh orange/grapefruit mixture. After breakfast, I headed upstairs to do a Dave Farmar power yoga podcast. I set up a space heater and felt right at home with my yoga practice! After yoga I was ready for lunch. I whipped up a potato/veggie/turkey kilebasa soup that Mema wanted to try while she made some pimento cheese. The soup was perfect for the rainy, cool day and Mema’s pimento cheese is always a hit! Of course I had to finish it off with another ooey gooey bar.

After lunch I decided it would be a good idea to demonstrate some yoga poses to Mema and practice tripod headstands. Yeah, maybe not the best idea after my big lunch. :oops:

After a lazy afternoon of getting Mema’s Christmas Nook set up and playing Scrabble, Brandon and I picked up a Mellow Mushroom pizza for dinner. Mellow Mushroom was our favorite pizza in college but they don’t have one in Charlotte. It was a yummy treat. They have the BEST dough!

Mema had a piece of the Pear Cranberry Cake for dessert. Overall I was pleased with it but I definitely thought it could have used more cranberries. The cranberry to pear ratio didn’t seem quite right. Also, the original recipe calls for a glaze but since we were traveling with the cake, I left it off. Good thing I did because Mema says she much prefers cakes without glazes. I thought the pears were a nice change of pace from your traditional apple cake.

We’re heading home tomorrow. I’m hoping to get a nice run in and attack some leftovers from the weekend before we leave!

Pear Cranberry Cake
(Recipe source Gourmet, November 2009)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 Bosc pears (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup cranberries (thawed if frozen)

FOR THE GLAZE (OPTIONAL)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 (3-inch-long) cinnamon sticks

Directions:

FOR THE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a bundt or angel food cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat together sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla on medium high speed until well combined.

Reduce speed to low and mix in pears and cranberries. Once combined, slowly mix in flour mixture until all flour has been incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Cool in pan 30 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

FOR THE GLAZE (OPTIONAL)
Bring cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, cinnamon sticks and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, then simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Cool glaze 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks, then pour glaze over cake, letting some drip down sides.

Yield: 10-12 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 32

It’s been a busy week! I’m so looking forward to the weekend. We are heading to Georgia to visit my grandmother – can’t wait to see her! Growing up and in college I was usually able to visit once every week or two. Since graduating college, we’ve lived 4+ hours away so we don’t get down there nearly as much as we’d like to.

One of my favorite things my grandmother made growing up was French toast. It was a breakfast treat when I visited! I made an overnight French toast last weekend for breakfast. We usually try to have more traditional, sit down breakfasts on the weekends. This recipe is great because it’s very simple, requires minimal prep work and results in a nice Sunday breakfast.

Tonight’s been busy, busy trying to prep for our visit. I taught BodyPump at the Y after work. It was my first night teaching at the Y. I’m so excited to finally have my own class! I taught in Birmingham and have been waiting for a class to open up here.  I’m teaching twice a week – Monday mornings at 6 (eek!) and Thursday evenings.

I have a Cranberry Pear Cake in the oven (will be blogged about soon!) to take down to my grandmonther’s. I always like to take a treat :) I’m heading to yoga tomorrow morning to get one last class in before we leave. I will most likely miss my Sunday class that I always attend but Mema’s worth it!

Overnight Baked French Toast
(Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

1 (13-14 inch) long loaf soft Italian or French bread)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons butter) softened
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar

Maple syrup
Powdered sugar

Directions:

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cut 12 diagonal slices of bread. Reserve ends for another use (I made croutons for our salads this week). Generously butter one side of each piece of bread. Arrange bread buttered sides up in one layer in prepared dish. It will be a pretty tight fit.

Whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until combined. Pour evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate until bread has absorbed all of custard, at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bring soaked bread to room temperature. Sprinkle bread with sugar and bake until puffed and golden, about 20-25 mintues. Serve immediately sprinkled with powdered sugar and with maple syrup.

Yield: 6 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 31

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. Mine was full of cooking, house hunting, cleaning and working out. Saturday morning started off with a bowl of oats full of apples, peanut butter, raisins and ground flax while I updated my blog with the seared scallops from Friday night’s dinner. Then I headed out for a quick 3 mile run with Sullie before meeting with our realtor to look at houses.

On Saturday night we finally tried Lebowski’s for dinner. It’s a local bar and grill that actually has great food. I had two sliders – one turkey burger and one “beef on weck.” I’d never had a beef on weck before – delicious! I also had a side of garlic fries because I heard they were the thing to order. This was a big splurge for me – I’m usually all about the sweets and pass on fried food – but they were totally worth it. They had some great looking salads and healthier fare that I’ll have to check out next time. We’ll definitely be going back to Lebowski’s!

When we got home I put together an overnight French toast to have for breakfast the next morning. I was not feeling French toast after our feast but my feelings had changed Sunday morning when I woke up! I’ll be blogging about the French toast soon. It was the perfect weekend treat.

Sunday was devoted to mostly cleaning and organization (our apartment desperately needed it) and of course, my 90 minute hot yoga class at Charlotte Yoga with my very favorite teacher, Suzanne. I look forward to this class all week! Seriously amazing. I saw on the schedule that Grace, the founder of Charlotte Yoga, was assisting in the class so I knew I’d better get there early. I’m so glad I did, the class was packed and they ended up having to send about 20 people away. The room was packed with almost 50 sweaty, hard working yogis!

I actually planned on making Duck a l’Orange last night for 68 Days of Gourmet but I just did not have the energy for it after my day of cleaning and the yoga class. I ended up making Teriyaki Chicken with the chicken breasts I got on sale at the grocery Friday. I was browsing chicken breast recipes from Gourmet online and thought this looked simple and healthy. Brandon and I decided that while this was a nice basic dinner it wasn’t anything special. Neither one of us is super fanatical about teriyaki chicken but if you are then this is a great recipe for you to try. It’s so simple, healthy and the homemade teriyaki sauce is way better than the stuff you buy in a bottle. We didn’t dislike this; it’s just not something I think we’ll make again. I adapted this by changing the sauce to pretty much double it after reading a lot of reviews to do so. Was definitely necessary. I also used boneless skinless chicken instead of boneless, skin on.

So the duck is on the agenda for tonight. Wish me luck! This is my first time preparing duck. Blog update to come soon!

Teriyaki Chicken
(Recipe adapted Gourmet, May 1990)

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger root
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon medium-dry sherry (I did not double this as I’m not the biggest fan of a strong sherry taste)
2 tablespoons white-wine or rice wine vinegar
1-2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions:

In a large, shallow dish, whisk together soy sauce, ginger, honey, Sherry, vinegar and garlic. Pound chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper to about ½ inch thickness. Place chicken in marinade and turning to coat. Marinate for at least 20 minutes, turning once.

Preaheat the broiler to high. Transfer chicken to the oiled rack of a broiling pan, reserving marinade. Broil about 6 inches from heat for 5 minutes. While chicken is cooking, boil the reserved marinade until reduced by half. Remove chicken from oven and flip chicken breasts. Brush marinade on tops of chicken and return to broiler for 5-8 more minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, careful not to overcook.

Yield: 2 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet:  Day 30

I know I’ve mentioned this before but I love staying in on Friday nights and cooking something a little more special than our average weeknight meal. This week sea scallops were on sale at the grocery. Since they are one of my favorites, I decided to base our Friday night meal off of them.

I browsed through the highly rated scallop recipes from Gourmet online and thought that this recipe for Seared Scallops with Tomato Beurre Blanc sounded perfect. I love sundried tomatoes so I knew I would enjoy this beurre blanc.

I went to a hot vinyasa class at Y2 yoga after work yesterday. The founder of the studio, Tanner, was teaching so I was very excited to check it out. It was an awesome class and I couldn’t believe the amount of work he packed in to 60 minutes. Usually, I prefer 90 minute yoga classes but I don’t think I could have made it through 30 more minutes of this class! I definitely think there was 90 minutes of work packed into the 60 minute class! I left exhausted but with a smile on my face – ready for the weekend and ready for these scallops!

The online recipe says that the preparation time is 2 hours and 15 minutes. That is not true. I don’t know how it could have taken that long. The only time you have to build in is making your sundried tomato butter. You can do that the day before or cheat like me and put the butter in the freezer to harden! :)

I loved this recipe. Simple but delicious preparation. I served it with Orzo “Risotto” (I was going to make real risotto but ran out of time and energy for it!) and roasted asparagus. Perfect Friday night feast!

Seared Scallops with Tomato Beurre Blanc
(Recipe source Gourmet, May 2002)

Ingredients:

FOR BEURRE BLANC
1/4 cup packed soft dried tomatoes (I used very soft, ready to use sundried tomatoes and skipped the rehydration step)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup minced shallot
2/3 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

FOR SCALLOPS
2 lb large sea scallops (30), tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
About 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

FOR THE BEURRE BLANC
Soak tomatoes in warm water until softened, 20 to 25 minutes (I skipped this step because I used ready to eat softened sundried tomatoes). Drain and pat dry, then mince. Mix together tomatoes, softened butter and salt. Form butter into a log on a sheet of plastic wrap, roll up and chill until firm. About 1 hour in fridge or you can cheat and put the butter in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Cut tomato butter into 12 equal pieces.

Heat a small heavy sauce pan over low heat. Cook shallot in 1 piece of tomato butter for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add wine and boil over medium heat until liquid is reduced by half, to about 1/3 cup. This should take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and whisk in remaining cold tomato butter 1 piece at a time, adding each piece before previous one has completely melted and lifting pan from heat occasionally to cool mixture (sauce should not get hot enough to separate). Whisk in water and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Transfer beurre blanc to a bowl and keep warm, covered, in a larger bowl of warm water.

FOR THE SCALLOPS
Rinse and pat scallops dry. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sear scallops, turning once, until golden on each side and cooked through. About 2-4 minutes total. Work in batches if you need, keeping previously cooked scallops warm on a platter covered with foil. Wipe out skillet and add more oil in between batches.

Serve scallops with 3 tablespoons of beurre blanc – either spooned onto the bottom of the dish or spooned over the scallops. I served my beurre blanc over the scallops and the orzo.

Yield: 6 servings
(I did not make 6 servings for the 2 of us. I just cut the beurre blanc in half and used about 1/2 pound of scallops.)

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 29

I feel terrible that I’ve been such a bad blogger this week. I started in the hole since I didn’t get to make my weekly menu and grocery shopping trip. It was a major pain to scramble every night to figure out what to have for dinner. Now we’re back in town and settled back into our routine.  I promise that I have lots of fun cooking and baking projects planned for this weekend that I can’t wait to share with everyone!

I was looking for something simple to make last night for dinner. I was browsing through the easy and healthy weeknight meals gallery on Epicurious and sent the link for this Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup recipe to Brandon. I was shocked when he said, “I’d eat that.” I still firmly believe that it’s only because this soup included sausage in the ingredient list! Also, kale is one of my grandmother’s signature dishes so Brandon has discovered that he loves it. I love using kale in recipes – it packs a HUGE nutrient punch. Check out this overview of the nutrients in boiled kale.

So back to my struggle with blogging and dinner this week…I work out pretty much every day after work. I usually don’t get home from my workout until after 7 p.m so if I haven’t planned dinner, it’s very challenging to make it happen. I’m very proud to share that it is extremely rare that we eat out on a weeknight. I always have something planned for dinner. I know I continue to harp on the importance of meal planning in advance but it makes a huge difference. I was stressed all week this week trying to pull together dinners and make time to get to the store.

On Monday Brandon and I went to a Vinyasa Basics yoga class at Y2 Yoga. It’s a newer yoga studio with smaller classes. I thought the class was pretty easy but it’s always nice to get back to the basics. Brandon enjoyed the class and got some great work in on perfecting the basic positions.

I planned on running with Sullie Tuesday after work but got stuck at work until 6:45. I still had to go to the grocery to get stuff for dinner (again, pre-planning people!) so by the time I got home at 7:30 I was hungry and cranky and it was freezing cold and dark. The run didn’t happen.

I set my alarm to get up and run Wednesday morning. Sullie is great motivation to get out of bed because she really needs the exercise and to get out of the apartment. We did an easy 3-miler but it was freezing – about 20 degrees and windy! Wednesday night I went to a power yoga class at Y2.

I planned on running today but got called at the last minute to sub BodyPump. Literally, at the last minute. I had to leave work a few minutes early to go home and grab my music, change and get to the gym. I hit terrible traffic and ended up being 10 minutes late to class. I felt terrible because I know how disappointing it is to have the workout you committed to cut short but hopefully all the push-ups we did made up for it! I ran 3 miles on the treadmill after.

So, hopefully I’ll be updating the blog A LOT more frequently and you won’t have to get a whole run down on my week in fitness in one post! I had this Kale and Potato soup for lunch today and it totally satisfied me for the whole afternoon! And I think the leftovers were even better today!

I made quite a few modifications to the original recipe. The original calls for only adding the kale in the last 5 minutes of cooking. There is no way it would have been done in that amount of time. We like our kale tender so I added it with the potatoes. Honestly, I didn’t  really follow the cooking directions at all for this recipe. I just did what made sense to me. But the soup turned out great and is an easy and nutritious weeknight dinner.

Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, November 2009 – the last issue ever :( )

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound chouriço or linguiça (smoked Portuguese sausages) or kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (uh, I used kielbasa)
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (2-3)
6 cups water or chicken broth (I used half and half)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pound kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves torn into small pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
Hot sauce, like Sriracha, for serving

Directions:

Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add sausage and garlic and continue to cook 2-3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then add potatoes, water or chicken broth, kale, paprika and salt to taste to the pot.

Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until kale and potatoes are tender. Mash up some of the potatoes with the back of a fork to thicken the soup a bit. Taste and do a final season with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of hot sauce.

Yield: 4 main course servings

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