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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Garlic Confit

It was quite awhile ago that I made a recipe for a sauce that called for garlic confit. So long ago, in fact, that I can't recall the original recipe. The garlic confit, however, I most definitely remember. 

My husband is a big garlic fan, he will even eat the cloves raw sometimes. I like it roasted, or chopped finely and used in recipes. This confit garlic is almost like candy. You can eat it alone, or in recipes, but it also has this amazing by-product. You get a nice batch of garlic infused olive oil, which I have used for grilling vegetables or even to start an omelet, in place of butter. 

And it's super simple to make. I can almost guarantee, if you like garlic, you will wind up doubling or tripling this batch ! 

Garlic Confit 
2 cups good quality olive oil 
30 cloves of garlic, peeled 

In a medium sauce pan, combine olive oil and garlic. Simmer over low heat, being careful not to boil, until the garlic is soft and golden brown. Remove garlic from oil and let both cool. Store garlic in the refrigerator, and oil is fine in a bottle on the counter.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lemon Chicken with Tortellini and Spinach

I almost always find there is a "roundabout" way to my best recipes. This was one of those... 

My husband saw a recipe on a friend's Facebook page, and asked if I could make it. So I purchased the ingredients needed, then set about making it. Then I started thinking...he loves tortellini, so why not use that as the pasta ? And since it was originally a lemon chicken recipe, why not marinate the chicken with lemon pepper ? I love mushrooms, I should add those as well ! Oh, wait...and onions, and a fresh tomato from the garden... 

You can see where this is going. All that really remained from the original recipe was lemon, and chicken. It maybe had spinach, but at this point I had already veered away so far, what else could I do to it ? Substitute a hard goat cheese for parmesan, of course ! And this was the result: 

I promised my husband I would post the recipe, so he can make this when I am not here. It may seem like a lot of steps, but it was really not hard at all ! 

Lemon Chicken with Tortellini and Spinach 
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts 
Marinate with: 
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 tablespoon agave or honey 
2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper 
1 teaspoon salt 
Marinate at least 3 hours or overnight 

For the rest of the dish: 
1 small onion, diced finely 
8 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, sliced 
1 medium tomato, diced 
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used garlic infused, but any good olive oil is fine here)
2 packages cheese tortellini ( I used dry, but fresh will work as well) 
3 cups fresh spinach 
3 lemons, zested then juiced 
1/2 cup salted butter 
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper 
4 ounces hard goat cheese, grated (or parmesan, if you prefer) 

Start a large pot of boiling water for the pasta (whatever kind you choose, following package directions). In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, remove chicken breasts from marinade and place in the pan. Cook on one side approximately 5 minutes, then turn and cook and additional 5 minutes. When chicken is lightly browned on each side, and cooked through, remove from pan. Place on a plate to cool, then cut into bite sized pieces.

Check your pasta water, you should be ready to add dried pasta at this point. If using fresh, wait...

In the same saute pan as the chicken, add the diced onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add mushrooms and tomatoes. Saute this mixture until everything is soft and combined, remove from heat.  If you are making fresh pasta, add this to the pot of boiling water, and cook while you dice the chicken breast.

At this point your pasta should be cooked. Drain it, reserving about 1/2 cup of liquid. Saute spinach in the liquid until it reduces down, then stir in the mushroom, onion and tomato mixture. Add the tortellini back to the pot, along with the chicken. Stir in the lemon juice, butter and pepper. Make sure it is all well combined, then top with lemon zest and grated cheese.