Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Super-fancy chicken

It's always been hit or miss when it comes to chicken breast; not any more!  I was never sure how long to cook it, and it would always either end up under-cooked, or dried out.  As usual, bacon to the rescue!  Stuffing the chicken and wrapping it in bacon keeps the chicken moist, and makes it non-boring, of course.

 This recipe can be great for when you have company- it looks impressive but ir surprisingly easy, and to top it off, it's pretty un-mess-up-able.   It's also versatile- you can try it with different leafy greens, different cheeses (if you do cheese), you could wrap it in pancetta, you get the idea.

4 chicken breasts
2 oz Kerrygold Blarney Castle cheese, cut into 4 pieces
1 bag (12 oz?) baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8-12 slices of bacon, depending on how large your chicken breasts are

-Start by sauteeing the spinach with the garlic until it wilts; set aside on a piece of paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
-Butterfly the chicken breasts so they open up flat, season with a little salt & pepper
-Divide spinach and cheese between the chicken breasts, and close them back up
-Wrap each piece of chicken in bacon.  Usually 2 slices per chicken breast works for me
-Lay chicken seam side down on a baking sheet, and bake at 375 for about 25 minutes
-If you want to crisp up the bacon, stick the pan under the broiler for a few minutes after baking
-Serve with a sexy side dish, or cold over salad

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Anchovy+Raw Egg= Crazy Delicious

Everyone loves a Caesar salad, but I wonder how many people have ever had one with homemade dressing.  Well, I can assure you it's pretty dang tasty!  Just get over the heebie-jeebies, think of it as a sum of its parts, get your ass to the store, and buy some anchovies.

As often as I eat salads, I can't justify buying most bottled dressings from the store; they are almost always made with soybean and/or canola oil.  If I find the rare "safe" dressing, I'll buy it, and I like to make my own as well.  I found the recipe for this Caesar dressing on Free The Animal; I love the uncomplicated meal ideas, and I really love Richard's rants!  For my salad, I tossed the dressing with a few handfuls of salad mix from my fave local farm, some Caesar cheese mix from BJs, and topped it with some chicken tenders that had been marinated a couple hours in equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, and baked at 425 for about ten minutes. 



A few weeks ago, I found that one of my local farms is selling small portions of grassfed beef, woohoo!  Well, I was really saddened this weekend to learn that they have stopped.  Apparently, they were encountering too many roadblocks with the county government, and it got to be too much of a hassle.  I'm not surprised- I always hear about small family operations like that running into difficulties because of government wanting to control the wrong things; now I'm seeing it in my own backyard.  Maybe because of my German-ness, I've never seen much of an issue with a strong government, but this stuff really grinds my gears! 
A couple weekends back, I finally watched the documentary King Corn, and it was really excellent.  I'd been putting it off because, well, corn is kinda boring.  The film was really informative, and was actually quite entertaining.  I'm a big believer in voting with your dollars, now more than ever.  Not only do I want to eat the healthiest foods possible, I want to be a compassionate consumer.  I do this by trying to support businesses that treat their workers, lands and animals well, instead of supporting the industrial farming machine and government subsidies I don't believe in.  Let's be part of the solution!

Would you rather support this farm?

Or this one?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sidelined, and more salad!

My Meetup group (SoMD Wild) had our first Meetup this past Saturday!  We did a hike/run around a lake in the county, and had some food after; good times had by all.  It was about half runners and half hikers (plus our incorrigible Vizsla, Baxter); I'm guessing I probably jogged about 2 miles and walked the other 5.5.  Well, I have totally not been running lately- my right ankle was getting pretty hurty during my running spurts; it just felt like pretty normal running discomfort, so I ran as much as I could.  I was in my Vibrams and I think maybe I overdid it.  I've pretty much just been doing barbell stuff the last couple of months, and while the old shin pain didn't return, I may have been a little overambitious in doing 7.5 miles practically barefoot.  Anyhoo, as soon as I got home, my left foot started hurting.  Over the next couple hours, it started feeling like I sprained my ankle, even though I didn't do anything to it!  I stubbed my right toe and the right ankle was the one hurting on the trail, but it's two days later, and I'm still limping around.  So, I'm off to the doc tomorrow, hopefully to figure out what is going on.

In other news, got some more awesome local produce on Friday.  More organic salad mix, a couple dozen pastured eggs from our local Amish friends, baby arugula, asparagus, tomatoes, and rosemary.  All for fifteen bucks!  Ergo, today's lunch was another glorious salad!  It's with boiled egg, tomato, avocado, and some awesome peppery bacon, topped with Tessemae's lemon salad dressing.  Mmmm...  Thanks to my sweet new iPhone, here's a non-terrible cell pic.