Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Extra, Extra, Read All About It

I had the opportunity to extend my 15 minutes of fame this week. The local newspaper, The Winner Advocate, contacted me and asked if I would like to contribute to their "Cook of the Week" feature. Some would think that this would be a piece of cake after being interviewed on camera for the Eye on Keloland piece, but I was still horribly nervous. I don't know that fame and fortune are in the cards for me. My stomach ties up in knots, my mouth goes dry, my palms sweat, and hives threaten to break through the surface of my skin and make me itch. Probably the worst symptom of my nerves is my babbling mouth. I think that the local editor and reporter, Dan Bechtold, was glad to be free of my chatter (and my crazy, barking pups) at the end of his visit to my house.

I also think that he was glad to have a doggy bag of My Favorite Cheesy Garlic Bread tucked under his arm as he swung his camera bag over his shoulder and folded away his notes. It is good stuff, and I thought that the readers of the "Cook of the Week" article would like to check it out. Along with the garlic bread, I pulled together a full menu for a summer dinner. I think that planning an entire meal often stumps people, especially putting together side dishes. This is a casual summer dinner menu that would work equally well for hosting guests, or just for any night of the week. The side dishes could be incorporated into many other menu plans, as well. All recipes are effortless, and I hope that you don't just read all about them, but do give them a whirl. I know that I really enjoy them On My Plate.

Simple Summer Dinner Menu
Chopped Salad with Spice Buttermilk Dressing
Main Course
Pollo en Mojo (Chicken in Spicy Garlic Sauce)
Side Dishes
Onion and Garlic Rice
Steamed Green Beans *no recipe
My Favorite Cheesy Garlic Bread
Blueberry Gallette

Chopped Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing

½ teaspoon dried chipotle powder
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 green onions, sliced thinly (and whites & greens separated)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 ounces Monterrey Jack Pepper cheese, cubed

Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, white portion of green onions, and garlic.
Combine chile powder, salt, and pepper and add to mixture.
Add romaine, tomatoes, corn, cheese, green portion of the green onions to a salad bowl.
Toss and combine. (Serves 4)

Pollo en Mojo (Chicken in Spicy Garlic Sauce)

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
5 cloves garlic
coarse salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Combine garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, cumin seed, smoked paprika, olive oil, and red wine vinegar in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Pour into a Ziplock bag with chicken and seal.
Marinate at least 1 hour, but as long as overnight.
(I have also added the marinade to the frozen chicken breasts and allowed to marinate all day as the chicken defrosted in the fridge.)
Grill over hot coals until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. (Serves 4)

Onion and Garlic Rice

1-2 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup uncooked rice (NOT instant)
2 cups chicken stock

Heat olive oil in small sauce pan with a tight fitting lid.
Add the garlic and onion, stir and cook until onion becomes translucent. Be careful not to burn garlic.
Add rice and continue to stir until all the grains are coated with the olive oil.
Add the chicken stock, reduce heat to low and cover with the lid.
Cook for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from heat, but do not remove lid.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Fluff with fork and serve. (Serves 4)


  1. I just read your piece in the paper. Good job. Those are recipes we will try at our house. Great pictures here on the blog. I'm like you, in that I have loads of cookbooks and magazines I would love to have time to cook with.

    Between you and the Power Ball, Colome and Winner have been very popular these last several weeks.
    Take care.............
    Sandy in Winner

  2. Just found salad with buttermilk dressing photo on FoodPhotoBlog and couldn't resist taking a look at the dressing recipe. Needless to say this is a different kind of buttermile dressing and very interesting. Printed both the dressing and the chicken recipes. Thanks for posting. They look like a couple of winners.

  3. That is so exciting! Congratz!


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