Thursday, September 8, 2011

Asparagus I (p. 249)

I make asparagus all the time because both Josh and I love it. Even so, I haven't made most of the TJOC asparagus recipes (I usually just steam it). I decided to go ahead and make Asparagus I (p. 249).

I steamed the asparagus, like I normally do:



I always just snap off the ends. Josh always snaps off far more than I do (and my mom seems to throw away most of the asparagus!)--where do you guys consider the ends? Do you cut or snap?



I melted butter in a saucepan and added breadcrumbs. I cooked it for about a minute:



I sprinkled the breadcrumbs over the asparagus:



Believe it or not I loved it! The breadcrumbs were delicious on the asparagus! This is definately an extremely easy way to improve an already delicious veggie. The breadcrumbs were pretty much delicious on everything they were sprinkled on.

Story time! Growing up I absolutely hated asparagus. HATED it. This was very unfortuante for my mother because asparagus was her favorite vegetable but I would not eat it. Somehow in the following years my tastes must have changed because when I tried it again at about 21 or so, I love it, and have loved it ever since. Have you ever had a food that you hated as a child but love as an adult?



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Friday, September 2, 2011

Chicken breasts baked on a bed of mushrooms (p. 425)

Some of you are probably wondering why I was at my mother's house for so long (although you are far too polite to ask). I went home to Iowa for a few days to have a simple mechanical error looked at by a trusted mechanic, had my car dramatically break down, and spent well over a month trying to get it figured out. It was terribly stressful because I kept thinking I was going to leave within a week and then something else would go wrong on my car. It's one of the joys of owning an aging car. I also happened to have the puppy with me. You wouldn't think that a small dog like Lestat (who weighs less than 10 pounds) could bring down a screen door but you would be wrong. He's like a little whirling dervish of destruction. I think my mom was glad to see him go.

On the bright side, I was able to cook a whole bunch of things that Josh was not interested in eating or that I suspected I wouldn't like, which is why a lot of chicken recipes and bell pepper recipes have been cooked.

Chicken breasts baked on a bed of mushrooms (p. 425) doesn't fit in either of those categories but mom happened to have chicken. It looked easy but I haven't had great luck with TJOC's chicken recipes.

I cut up cremini and button mushrooms and spread them out on the bottom of a roasting pan. I added white wine, minced garlic, and salt and pepper to the pan:



I placed the chicken breasts (which had been seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme) on top of the mushrooms:



And it was cooked for about twenty minutes:



I removed the chicken and poured the pan juices in to a pot, along with chicken stock and heavy cream, and boiled the sauce until there was only about one cup of juice. It went from this:



To this:



I should have taken a final picture of the whole dish. You will have to use your imagination.

I wasn't in love with this recipe. It was okay. The sauce was tasty but could have used a little more kick (more garlic, more pepper, a little cayenne, something more). The whole thing was a little boring. I think it would have been slightly better if it had been baked in a really tiny pan so the mushrooms could be infused with chicken-y flavor but the pan I used was actually quite small. I would recommend this recipe to people who don't like heavily seasoned food.

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