I spent a lot of time in Greece while in college, as my Dad was stationed there. The flavors of the roasted chicken we got there still resonate in my mind – garlic, lemon, oregano. While Greek oregano has its own special taste and aroma, using generic dried oregano will work in this dish.
I used a deep cast iron pan instead of a roasting tray. I warmed it the oven while the stove preheated, so it sizzled a little as the potatoes went into the pan. As the chicken cooks, the potatoes will soften and become creamy in the pan juices, so expect your guests to fight over them.
The scent of the house as this chicken roasts must be what Elysium is like!
Greek Style Roast Chicken with Potatoes
1 4 lb whole chicken
1 stick butter, divided
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Zest and juice of one lemon plus one additional lemon, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 to 4 russet potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, use a fork to mix 6 tablespoons of the softened butter with the garlic and lemon zest.
Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the inside of the chicken and stuff in the lemon halves. Gently separate the skin and work the butter garlic mixture under the skin and massage to work into an even layer over the flesh.
Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter with the olive oil. Stir in the lemon juice. Massage this mixture all over the outside of the bird.
Slice the potatoes into rounds and place in bottom of roasting pan. Place chicken on top, tucking the wings under to prevent burning. Pour over any remaining olive oil, butter and lemon juice. Sprinkle salt and oregano over chicken.
Bake for 90 minutes in a 400 degree F oven, basting every thirty minutes with the pan juices. The dish is done when the internal temperature of the bird is 165 degrees F. Let rest for 10 minutes before squeezing the roasted lemon halves over the chicken and slicing for serving.
I had a package of Boursin Gournay Cheese that I found in the back of the fridge and boneless chicken breasts were on sale, so we had basically all we needed for a chicken dinner. Toss in half the package of portobello mushrooms and we upped the deliciousness factor by twelve.
I used the Garlic and Herbs style of Boursin but every kind they have would work in this dish. If you don’t have Boursin, you can approximate your own by whipping half a package of cream cheese and mixing in garlic and herbs and a little salt.
This is a two person dish but can be scaled up for a larger dinner.
Boursin and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts
2 large boneless chicken breasts
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons pecans, toasted and chopped
2.5 ounce package Boursin Gournay cheese, room temperature
⅓ cup flour
1 egg, beaten with a teaspoon of olive oil
½ cup breadcrumbs or crushed corn flakes
In a small skillet, sauté the mushrooms in butter until they’ve released their juices. Set aside to cool slightly while you pound the chicken breasts to about ¼ inch thick.
Stir pecans into the Boursin cheese. Stir the still warm mushroom with the cheese and pecans. Spread in a thick layer over the pounded chicken. Starting at the narrow end, fold up the chicken breast, tucking in the ends. Secure with toothpicks. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to firm up.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the stuffed chicken from the fridge and take off the plastic. Dredge them in flour, coat with egg and roll in breadcrumbs or corn flakes. Place coated chicken on a greased baking dish, seam side down. Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the breast, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F and the chicken is slightly browned.
Slice and serve.
After a long day of prepping my house for termite fumigation, I was craving cornbread. We had a gallon bag of corn on cobs from the freezer that Michelle needed to cut off, so I got her to give me about a cup of the kernels. I then pulled down the cast iron cornbread stick pans and started making cornbread.
Soften some unsalted butter as the cornbread cooks, to make slathering it on super easy.
We ate our fill and plan to use the leftovers in a batch of cornbread dressing – that recipe follows the one for cornbread sticks.
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup corn kernels (from frozen is fine)
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup Crisco shortening
Pinch off pieces of the shortening and place dollops in each slot on the cast iron cornbread stick pans. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F with the pans in the oven, melting the shortening.
Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Beat the egg into the cup of milk. Stir together the corn kernels and milk mixture, then add the dry ingredients and stir until all the dry streaks are gone. Pour the melted shortening into the batter. Stir to combine
Use a spoon to divided the batter into each of the corn sticks slots in the pans and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans midway through cooking. Tops will be golden brown. Immediately remove from pans to cool.
Cornbread dressing is the second best way to eat leftover cornbread. The first way is to crumble it in a glass of cold milk and eat it with a spoon!
I usually put any leftover cornbread in the freezer as it takes a few pans before I have enough for a recipe for dressing.
Very flavorful and colorful.
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons pecans, toasted and chopped fine
6-8 cornbread sticks or 4 cornbread pieces, crumbled
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs like thyme or sage, 4 to 5 sprigs
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil shimmers, add the celery, onions, peppers, garlic and pecans. Cook 5 minutes then crumble cornbread into the skillet and combine with vegetables. Dampen the dressing with stock, you may not need the full cup. Season with fresh herbs, we used thyme. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.
I like crunchy dressing, so after the meal I take any leftovers and form patties. Freeze them and then thaw them for a bit on the counter before warming them in a 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes.
Yummy! A quick side dish for most any protein.
I’m cooking out of the freezer and fridge as my house is about to be fumigated for termites, so in searching around the crisper drawers, I found several slightly bruised Granny Smith apples and medium onion. Instead of sweet applesauce to go with a pork loin I found, I decided to do an apple and onion accompaniment.
Slicing the onions thin allows them to become sweetly caramelized in a fairly short cooking time. They are a perfect way to tone down the sour apples without adding sugar. Michelle thought a sprinkle of pepper would be a good taste and I think she’s right, so I added pepper to the to taste seasonings.
Pork Loin with Apple and Onions
1 – 3 lb pork loin
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2-3 Granny Smith apples, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
Make a marinade by mixing together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic, honey, lime juice, Creole seasoning and rosemary. Put loin in zip top bag and pour marinade over pork. Seal and marinate for at least an hour and as long as 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Discard marinade. Brown all side of pork in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Place pork in roasting pan and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until meat thermometer registers 140 degrees F.
Deglaze the skillet with with 1 cup of water. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the apples to the pan and cook over medium heat until apples soften and onions are golden and all the water has steamed away. Add 2 tablespoons butter and stir until melted. Continue to cook until apples are fork tender. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.
Remove loin from oven when done and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Spoon apple and onion mixture over top.
My friends Mickie and Carol took me to lunch to talk politics and early voting (Geaux Vote!) and I surprised them by having never been to R&O’s Restaurant in the Bucktown neighborhood. It was one of their favorites and, after dining, they drove me around all the new changes to the waterfront out there.
We started with the shrimp salad tossed with remoulade sauce instead of dressing. Lots of big, whole boiled shrimp and recognizable hunks of bell pepper, tomato, onion and iceberg lettuce.
The roast beef sandwich was piled high with well cooked roast beef. It tasted like a pot roast on a bun, which we ordered well toasted so it didn’t get too soggy with the brown gravy. Came with lots of pickles for that cool, sharp crunch. As I still count the number of napkins required as to how good the poboy is, I can tell you it came in at 4 paper towels!
Fried oyster sandwich had large fried oysters piled on. Good flavor to the oysters. It needed a crunch, so I added some pickles and it was perfect.
Our server was quick with refills on our ice tea and to check in to make sure we had all we needed. She even brought extra of the good mints!
I’m always looking for a good spot for lunch, and this fits the bill of lots of food, good prices, friendly staff and lots of parking! I think my folks are going to love their sandwiches, too.
216 Metairie-Hammond Highway
Metairie, LA 70005
Brian, Jennie and I ended our cross country odyssey in St. Louis, Missouri. Of course, I couldn’t leave the city without seeing the arch:
And I definitely couldn’t leave until I tasted some of their local treats. We started by going to Ted Drewes for a frozen custard concoction known as concrete. The place is a small house with several windows to order from along the street side.
They list out their menu on the side wall but along the front are other hand written signs about other offerings, all of which tempt you to change your mind. So I did. Several times.
I ordered the turtle with caramel and hot fudge sauce and pecans. Very, very tasty. Jennie got hers with Reeses peanut butter cups mixed in. Also, delish.
I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture of the server turning it upside down to show me how thick it is but she did flip them.
The custards were quite refreshing on a warmish afternoon and they’ve got benches along the edge of the parking lot, under some trees so we sat with many others to enjoy our treat.
We next needed to find some Gooey Butter Cake. We wanted to go to Gooey Louie but they were on vacation so we tried another version near where we were staying in Fenton.
Russell’s Cafe and Bakery does a shortbread crust on theirs plus several different options like chocolate chip and cinnamon and orange as well as the original gooey butter cake. I really liked the soft, gooey and creamy top over the crunchy shortbread and the hint of citrus in their cinnamon version helped cut the sweetness. It may not be true to the original but it was very good.
What started as a baker’s mistake (switching the proportions of flour and sugar) is quite delicious indeed.
St. Louis has many fine qualities and its desserts rank among them. I hope to return soon to explore more.
Our cross country drive took us through Kansas City. What would a visit to the home of its own style of BBQ be complete without a stop at Arthur Bryant’s place?
I got the burnt ends sandwich. Loads of tender meat over white bread and a huge portion of fries. The only problem was I couldn’t taste the char or smoke on the meat through all the sauce. The brisket was fall apart tender; I just don’t usually put so much sauce on good meat.
The baby back ribs were tender to the tooth, with a beautiful smoke line. Very good ribs so I’d definitely go for the larger slabs, especially if other members of your table insist on sampling them.
Of course, there is a big emphasis here on their sauces – they’ve even got a framed cartoon about it:
And the sauce was tasty. It is the epitome of what I think of when I think of Kansas City Style. The sandwich came with the original sauce. There are three types on the tables. Brian liked the Hot and Spicy best – he thought it was a perfect combination of flavors and that it made even the white bread sing.
I can tell you the best time to visit seems to be during a Kansas City Chiefs game. The staff might be a little distracted but there was no line. Even distracted, they were friendly to newbies and quick with getting the food onto our plates so we could dig in.
The interior could use a bit of a cleaning but all in all, I’d return to sample more of their menu.
Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque
1727 Brooklyn Avenue
Kansas City, Missouri