Thursday, August 16, 2007

Finally Cooking at Home - Keeping it Simple

It's wonderful to be organized enough to invite people over for dinner finally. I'm still unpacking and still wondering where I put the things I HAVE unpacked so when I invited the in laws over for dinner I decided to keep it simple.

Rather than try something new, the stars of the meal were some favorites from the past. Recipes I didn't have to think too much about. In fact the Rosemary Chicken recipe is my Auntie Rae's. She made it when I was growing up and I loved it...bone in chicken breasts roasted with fresh rosemary in white wine and chicken broth. It only takes a few minutes to put together and.... very excellent feature of living where we do - when I realized (after already having done the grocery shopping for the day) that I forgot chicken broth (no time to make my own yet, plus I need to buy a new Stock Pot) and white wine, it took 10 minutes from the time I noticed until the time I returned home from the Altantic Super Store and attached NSLC (Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation) shop. Just in time to turn down the oven from 425°F/220°C to 325°F/165°C, add the liquids and move on to the salad.

It's blueberry season here (and I'll be writing about the Wild Blueberry Festival for Food for Thought next week) so what could be better than a salad a of Mixed Greens & Berries. This time I used both strawberries (because they were so sweet, I couldn't resist) and blueberries along with honey soy nuts (I couldn't find caramelized walnuts or pecans and no time to make my own). I used Vilux Blackcurrant Vinegar to bring out the flavors of the blueberries and strawberries. The black currant vinegar is new to me, but the brand is an old favorite. I particularly like their champagne vinegar...the sherry vinegar is great too.

Since the chicken has such a tasty sauce, I mashed some sweet potatoes...just roasted them separately in the oven with the chicken (each one cut in half with a sprig of fresh thyme sandwiched between and wrapped in foil so all the sugary juices don't destroy your oven, although I should have put them on a baking sheet -oops, thank goodness for the self-cleaning feature of the oven)'s the perfect side to sop up the juices.

And while I was mashing...I was roasting some tender asparagus spears. They only take a couple of minutes. Okay...the picture and recipe are of grilled asparagus, but it's the same process in a hot oven. At least it's one dish that transfers well from the BBQ - just set the temperature to 425°F/220°C.

Dessert was as simple as can be, thanks to the season. Fresh Fruit Salad with Mint. I used plums, blueberries, strawberries and peaches this time around. What did surprise me was that the peaches come from Ontario and I would imagine that there would be local peaches from the Annapolis Valley since I was there for the Apple Blossom Festival in June. I guess all those trees really do just bear apples. Obviously I'll have to head out that way to investigate.

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Deborah said...

Looks like quite a wonderful feast!!

Kevin said...

Looks like a great dinner. I really enjoy fruit salads like that. I will have to try adding mint to the next one that I make.