Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Helping Hand

While this is rather shameful I must admit that I did not participate in the Daring Bakers Challenge this month. Of course I intended to and bought all the ingredients ahead of time. Unfortunately I waited until the last minute to do the baking and it just happened to coincide with the heat wave in the Pacific Northwest right now. Bummer. Who would turn on an oven right now? Ugh.

So I thought I would share some things that I have previously made.

Neither of these are family recipes. I got them both from Ina Garten. I often pour over cookbooks but don't like the recipes or they simply don't come out that well. If I see something that I like I usually make small adjustments to get what I want. In a lot of cases I replace sugar with honey or maple syrup, and I replace whole eggs with more egg whites. I really do try to cut back on the fat and especially the sugar if at all possible.
However, if I could recommend any one's recipes for use as they are, it would have to be hers. Absolutely everything that I have tried making from her books has come out perfect. Above is a chicken thigh baked with basil and herbed goat cheese under the skin, served with polenta and a vege medley I made up. Her recipe was actually for chicken breast with herbed goat cheese and basil under the skin, but hey thighs are cheaper and richer in flavor. It was wonderful and super easy.
Below that is her version of soda bread that has a nice zesty orange flavor. It came out beautiful and delicious and was so perfect with a cup of Earl Grey. Thank you Ina.

I try to watch Food Network when I can, but for the most part I find it disappointing. The "chefs" have been reduced to silly catch phrases and pompous reality tv judges. Terrible. Many of them are practically famous for making paninis or risotto or anything with pounds of butter. Pathetic. I can tell you that Ina's recipes are simple but inspired and give you ideas that you probably haven't thought to try before. I admire this woman. I wouldn't mind having dinner with her one bit.

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