October 22, 2009

Anniversary Dinner Menu

For our 2nd anniversary celebration, I made us a nice homey dinner. We toasted 2 wonderful years with our new favorite wine, a rich and mellow Burgundy from Renault Winery in NJ. I know, Jersey wine? What? Trust me, it's delish!

Alex requested a simple roast chicken and I played around with some new side dishes. This roasted chicken recipe is my go-to choice, easy enough to throw together last minute on any type of chicken and it really highlights the natural flavors.

One side dish choice was inspired by a CSA gift from a friend - swiss chard! I had not had good swiss chard in a while, so I was looking forward to this. It's a nice and buttery green, with a unique flavor. It can be cooked in the same manner as spinach or kale, easy enough to saute up with some garlic and red pepper flakes.

Lastly, I tried a new potato dish that wasn't a 100% success, but I'm willing to try again because it has potential. Hasselback potatoes should be sliced veeeeeery thinly, but I was in a hurry and I think that impacted cooking time. Okay, I know that impacted cooking time! Overall, though, good flavor and easy enough to play around with!

Simple Roast Chicken
8 pc chicken, rinsed and patted dry
Olive oil (about 1/4 cup, maybe less)
Dried rosemary, thyme, poultry seasoning (about 1-2 TBS each)
Garlic powder (optional)
Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 425 and lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish. Place the chicken pieces inside, skin side down, making sure they are in a single layer.
Pour the olive oil and spices into a small bowl and mix well. Using a basting brush, coat each piece of chicken with the oil mixture, and then flip and repeat. They should be skin side up when they go into the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, basting once or twice, or until chicken is 165 degrees inside.
Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

Hasselback Potatoes

Baking potatoes (one per person)
Olive oil, to coat potatoes (about 2 tsp per potato)
Garlic cloves, sliced very thinly
Salt & pepper
Other spices optional (rosemary, thyme, etc)

Preheat oven to 450. Lay two wooden spoons down next to each other on a cutting board and place the potato in between the handles. Using a knife, cut thin slices into the potato, but use the spoon handles as a guide to make sure you don't cut all the way through.
Place a slice of garlic in between each potato layer and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Pour olive oil over each potato, rubbing it in well. Put potatoes into a shallow baking dish and bake for about 35-45 minutes, until they are done. Might take longer, depending on your oven.

Sauteed Swiss Chard
adapted from Simply Recipes

1 large bunch of fresh Swiss chard
1 small clove garlic, sliced
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS water
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper (really, no more! It's pretty spicy with just a pinch!)

Rinse out the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly. Remove the toughest third of the stalk, discard or save for another recipe. Roughly chop the leaves into inch-wide strips.

Heat a saucepan on a medium heat setting, add olive oil, a few small slices of garlic and the crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves. Cover.
Check after about 5 minutes. If it looks dry, add a couple tablespoons of water. Flip the leaves over in the pan, so that what was on the bottom, is now on the top. Cover again.

Check for doneness after another 5 minutes (remove a piece and taste it). Add salt to taste and serve.


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hope you had a great anniversary! : )