Saturday, April 25, 2009

Greek Chicken

I'm on a bit of a Greek kick this week it seems. Tonight on the Egg, Greek Chicken- a whole chicken marinated in olive oil, fresh lemon juice, oregano, rosemary & thyme. Amazing. Simply amazing. Simple and amazing! Falling apart, but still good.

So, warning- raw chicken shot ahead...not something I usually do (I'm a bit squeamish), but you really have to see how it all starts. Right? I love these little chicken roasting racks- helps the bird roast evenly and there's the added benefit of being able to add some liquid, like wine or beer, to the drip pan to help the flavour along.

I like to use my Foodsaver to marinate things- it allows you to squish the marinade in good and close and keep it there. Removing most or all of the air, speeds up and intensifies the marinating process. I usually remove most of the air, then seal, allowing some room to toss the meat around in the bag. I let these guys marinate a full 24 hours, and lemon & herb flavour was really really nice. If you don't have a Foodsaver, a large Ziploc bag works well too.

Here's the marinade I used:

Greek Chicken (makes enough for 2 - 4lb chickens)

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 tbsp fresh organo, chopped
4 lemons, juiced- approximately 1 cup of juice

Roast the chicken for 45 minutes at 375F, check to see if it's done. You may have to cook it for another 15-20 minutes- this isn't really an exact science! I pull it off when the chicken's leg is almost falling off when I 'shake' it. If you're using pieces, cooking for 15-20 minutes should do it.

While the chicken is roasting, make your salad and any other accompaniments....



This is one of my all time favourite dishes- full of fresh herbs, green onions (or leeks) & yummy cheeses. And, well, it just looks so good. I've served this as a meal, hot out of the oven, accompanied by a big greek salad, or as an appetizer at room temperature. It's easy, you can make it ahead, and it's even good for breakfast!

From The Family Circle Encyclopaedia of Cooking

1 cup butter or margarine (I always use butter and only as much as I need, usually 1/2 cup)
1 bunch green onions (sometimes I substitute leeks here)
2 packages (10oz each) frozen chopped spinach
6 eggs, lightly beaten
8oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 container (8oz) cottage cheese
2 tablespoons farina / cream of wheat (I've left this out with no noticeable effect)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper (I use more and usually white pepper)
1 package (16oz) frozen phyllo pastry

1. Melt butter in small saucepan. Butter a 13x9 baking dish.
2. Sauté green onions / leeks in 2 tbsp of butter in a large skillet until tender.
3. Drain spinach, pressing out as much liquid as possible.
4. Combine onions,spinach, eggs, feta cheese, cottage cheese, farina, parsley, dill, salt & pepper in a large bowl.
5. Preheat oven to 375F. Unfold phyllo sheets and place between damp towels to keep from drying. Remove sheets one at a time and place in baking dish; brush each with melted butter. (Cut sheets to fit dish if necessary). Repeat until there are 6 layers of buttered sheets in dish.
6. Spread spinach mixture evenly over the layers.
7. Butter and stack 8 more phyllo sheets on top of the spinach mixture. Mark top sheet lightly in squares with a sharp knife. Cut partially through in square pattern. (I do triangle for hor d'oevres- it's easier to cut before baking).
8. Place spanakopita in pre heated oven and immediately lower temperature to 350F. Bake about 1 hour or until golden brown and puffed. Cool slightly; cut into squares / triangles all the way through.

Notes: I've assembled this a day ahead and baked before serving and it worked fine.


Friday, April 24, 2009

A bite of sunshine... celebrate the fabulous weather we're expecting this weekend! I got this recipe for Good Morning Muffins, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and had to make them, like, immediately. Some recipes touch me that way. They involve a lot of sugar and marmalade, but suprisingly (if you read PW Cooks regularly), not a lot of fat. I didn't have shortening in the house, used all butter, and they turned out just fine. And, since they're more like a treat/cake, I used my mini muffin pan, which worked out perfectly. Next time I think I'll try them with apricot jam and maybe incorprate some slivered almonds in the topping.

Get the recipe here. Enjoy!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend

It's been a busy couple of months, with no time for posting, and now spring is upon us. This weekend flew by, with family gatherings, garden clean up, bike riding and cooking.

The hot cross buns above looked pretty but weren't so great. I'm on the hunt for a better recipe!
The front yard has been overun with voles, which have so far eaten a bunch of lawn, 2 weigelas and a fair amount of a juniper. This has all rubbed Colin the wrong way and he's now become a vole hunter. The front yard is now 'The Killing Fields'. But that's a story for another day....

E is up and running on his new bike (not pictured) and is happily being towed using a TrailGator. We can now resume our regular bike rides, which makes both Colin & I very happy!
Happy Spring!