Monday, September 22, 2008

dinner tonight

was really dinner for us and the proutys cause poor joy is on bedrest with her pregnancy. everyone one send her some good relaxed vibes so she can lay still another month and give baby more time to grow!

i used my day off to cook two fabulous dinners for them and us while i was at it. tonights was chicken fra diavlo, spaghetti squash "mac and cheese" with truffle oil, and greens with bacon. it was super good. i am a spaghetti squash nut but this was the first time i had tried this at it was too die for!!!!!!! YOU HAVE TO TRY IT! the sweetness of the squash makes this so much better than real mac and cheese!

i only followed a recipe for the chicken which is below and you really have to try! so much better than grilled or roasted chicken. and i'll do my best to guess at the measurements of what i threw in the squash.

chicken fra diavlo (courtesy of cooks illustrated)
Chicken and Brine
2 medium heads garlic
3 bay leaves , crumbled
1/2 cup table salt
1 whole chicken , butterflied and pounded
Garlic-Pepper Oil
4 medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil

vegetable oil for grill grate
1 lemon cut into wedges, for serving

1. TO BRINE THE CHICKEN: Combine garlic heads, bay leaves, and salt in gallon-size zipper-lock bag; press out air and seal bag. Using rubber mallet or meat pounder, pound mixture until garlic cloves are crushed; transfer mixture to large container or stockpot and stir in 2 quarts cold water until salt is dissolved. Immerse chicken in brine and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 2 hours.

2. FOR THE GARLIC-PEPPER OIL: While chicken is brining, heat garlic, black pepper, pepper flakes, and oil in small saucepan over medium heat until garlic is fragrant and sizzling and mixture registers about 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes. Measure 2 tablespoons garlic-pepper oil into 2 small bowls and set aside.

3. TO FLAVOR THE CHICKEN: Remove chicken from brine and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Apply 2 tablespoons infused oil beneath skin.

4. TO GRILL THE CHICKEN: Turn all burners on gas grill to high, close lid, and heat until grill is very hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape grill grate clean with wire brush; lightly dip small wad paper towels in vegetable oil and, holding wad in tongs, wipe grill grate. Turn all burners to medium-low, position chicken skin-side down on center of grill grate, cover.

5. Cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting board; let rest 10 minutes. Carve, then drizzle carved chicken with remaining infused oil and serve with lemon wedges.

my spaghetti squash "mac and cheese"
makes one large pan

2 spaghetti squash
1/2 stick butter
12 oz. grated sharp cheddar
6 oz. jack
6 oz. provolone
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. ricotta
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1-2 cups whole milk or half and half
more salt and pepper to taste
truffle oil

preheat oven to 375

cut spaghetti squashes in half and scoop out seeds. sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. roast in a large pan with about 1/2 inch of water so they steam slightly. depending on size this will take 30 min to 1 hour. when they are done pullling the flesh with the tines of a fork will result in noodle like strings. cool then using a fork pull all the "spaghetti" out and into a large bowl. mix in butter, milk, all cheese, mustard, salt and pepper and a good drizzle of truffle oil and mix well until combined.

put into a large casserole or baking dish and bake at 350 for 45min or 1 hour until hot bubbly and browned on top.

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