Tuesday, February 14, 2012

valentines day is for... eating

     One of my favorite lines from the movie, Julie and Julia is when during a Valentine's dinner party, Paul Child says, "Julia, you are the butter to my bread, you are the breath to my life. I love you, Darling Girl. Happy Valentine's." 
     I'm planning a quiet little dinner right now for my own Valentine. We're saving our celebrating for the weekend, but the day has to be recognized somehow... and as you can surmise, food is an obvious choice for me.
     Our local grocer has lobsters on sale and will steam them for you... no muss, no fuss! What could be simpler?
     I bought some Meyer lemons the other day, so I'm making Meyer Lemon Pasta as well, from a recipe I found on The Church Cook's blog. Here is the link. I think I'll omit the sundried tomatoes. I'm not a fan.
     I will, however chop a few fresh ones to sprinkle over the finished dish before serving. I have some lovely lemon thyme in my garden... I'm including it as well. Yum!
Happy Valentines Day, my daahhlings :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

let's review: garibaldi's cafe'

     We joined a few friends for dinner at Garibaldi's Cafe the other night. Since there were eight of us, we were escorted to a table upstairs. Much of the downstairs area seemed to be smaller, more intimate tables for two or four.
upstairs dining room. photo courtesy of garibaldi's
     The first thing I noticed, after the high ceilings and beautiful chandelier, was the noise. The room was very loud, making it difficult for us to hear our server tell us about the specials. 
     The night we chose to attend was part of Savannah Restaurant Week. During this time a three-course, prix-fixe meal is offered for diners to try. Several of our group chose not to participate. 
     Two, including my husband did order from the special menu. They chose Lamb Lasagne, reporting it to be delicious and meaty. I decided to go with the veal piccata, substituting the roasted potatoes for the parmesan risotto... big mistake. I should have stuck with the potatoes.
     The piccata was delicious, but the risotto suspiciously resembled long grain rice. It had no bite and no flavor on it's own, unlike starchy, short-grained arborio which has a chewy texture and gets it's rich flavor from being simmered in stock.
     My main disappointment was the service. After waiting for quite a long time, they brought only six entrees to the table, omitting two... mine and the birthday boy's. 
     Our server profusely apologized. He should have stopped there. He went on to explain in great detail that the mistake wasn't his fault. Ugh. How awkward.
     Someone with some sort of authority stopped by to apologize again and offer to pay for my dinner. With the noise level still high, I simply nodded my head, resigned to finish the evening quickly. They offered a complimentary dessert to me, but snubbed the birthday boy altogether.
     To be a fair reviewer, I guess I'll need to dine at this establishment again. In order to compare the visits, I'll most likely go in a smaller group and attempt to sit downstairs. I'll let you know how it goes.
Garibaldi's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 2, 2012

grilled lemon-rosemary chicken

     Happy Groundhog's Day, ya'll. It is a lovely, sunny day in coastal Georgia. In honor of General Beauregard Lee, the South's most famous groundhog, NOT seeing his shadow, I'm sharing a spring-like recipe... great any time of year.
     I can't guarantee that Beau is right, but even if a late-season blizzard strikes, this chicken will warm your soul! I occasionally make this for my church family. It increases easily from serving six to a hundred or so.
     By searing the chicken briefly on the grill to impart flavor and visual appeal, then finishing in the oven, you will ensure a moist piece of meat every time. Why don't you try it at your next dinner party?
     Lemon Rosemary Chicken looks pretty and fancy. Place it on your best platter. Drizzle a bit of sauce over. Add a whole sprig of rosemary and a sliced lemon for garnish.
     Be sure to stick a piece of lemon zest in your hair on the way to the dining room and viola! Your guests will think you slaved for days. Only you and I will know the truth... And I'll never tell.
Ingredients
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 T. olive oil
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 large onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
several sprigs of rosemary, stripped off stem and finely chopped
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 c. white wine
juice of 2 lemons
1 c. chicken stock
salt
freshly ground black pepper
Directions
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Grill on both sides to sear. When chicken is caramelized and nicely marked on the outside, remove from grill and place in baking dish.
Meanwhile, in flat saute pan, heat oil and cook red pepper flakes, onion and garlic until they begin to brown. Toss in rosemary, lemon zest and white wine. Simmer for a couple of minutes, then pour in lemon juice and stock. Taste for salt and add sparingly. Add pepper liberally.
Pour the sauce over chicken in baking dish. Bake for around 30 minutes at 325 degrees, or until breasts are done.
While chicken is resting, pour off juices into a small saucepan and reduce on medium high for ten or fifteen minutes, or until sauce is reduced by half. Serve with chicken.
     I like to serve this over orzo or farfalle pasta, using the reduced sauce to toss with pasta. It is equally delicious with roasted new potatoes. And most importantly, don't forget a colorful green veggie! Pretty food is SO important:)