Friday, August 27, 2010

Ready, Steady, Cook Challenge: Main Course ...with far too long a title to list

Now on to the Main Course of my menu for the Ready, Steady, Cook! Challenge...this was the part of the meal that seemed to flow from my mind the easiest. I posted my starter yesterday in case you missed it...where you can also see my list of pantry and free items and the seven items that I was allowed when planning my menu.  I almost feel like a shmuck for using the chicken breast.  I mean...how can you screw up a breast?  BUT, I did.  I used the breast.  Can I get bonus points for at least contemplating using the livers?  Seriously, I almost made a paté...but in interest of using all of my ingredients somewhat wisely, I ended up choosing the breast.  I actually ended up adoring the presentation of the dish...so colorful...so vibrant...just beckoning to be eaten outdoors on a patio here in the thick of summer.  I did wonder, though if it would be a bit too frou-frou for a manly man to feel like he could dig into.  Mexi put my mind at ease when, after setting his plate in front of him, he said MmMmm. That looks great!  Aw.  Then he proceeded to eat it.  With manly-like gusto.  And go back for seconds.  Nice.  Well, I do know my man and his tastes, so...  Since chile powder is on my list of pantry items, I decided to combine the smokey heat of chipotle chile powder with the natural sweetness of apricots.  I'm thinking this is one of my new favorite taste sensations! (All of the recipes on this page are set to serve three.)  I made a half recipe of apricot jam and divided it amongst this course and my dessert course...no nail-biting here...it uses all regulation ingredients.  Let's not even talk about those pesky green beans...

Grilled Chipotle Apricot Glazed Chicken Breast

3 boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
~1/2 c. Apricot Jam started a night in advance using this recipe (apricots, sugar, juice of a lemon)
1/2 of a small Sweet Onion, grated
1 Tbs. Chipotle Chile Powder
salt & freshly ground pepper

Start the coals on a charcoal grill (or alternately preheat a gas grill or even a grill pan).  With the jam still warm from the stove, stir in the grated onion and chile powder.  Set aside.
Once the grill is hot and ready, season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.  You will probably want to spray the grates of the grill with a cooking spray or brush them with a bit of oil to prevent sticking and make for good grill marks.  Lay the chicken breasts down and let cook until nice grill marks form on bottom.  Flip over and brush the cooked side with a very heavy slathering of the spiced jam.  Continue to cook until the inside temperature reaches ~155° F. Flip once more and brush the tops with another good slathering of the spiced jam.  Watch closely, because the sugars in the jam will burn quickly...it'll just take another couple minutes for the breast to reach ~160° inside...at which point you want to remove the chicken from the grill and let it sit for another 5 minutes or so, to let the temperature come up to about 165°.
Serve whole or sliced.
Grilled Chipotle-Apricot Glazed Chicken Breast
Smokey Apricot Salsa

3 Apricots, diced
~¼ ea. three different colors of Sweet Peppers, diced small
2 green Onions,chopped
juice of ½ a lemon
salt
chipotle Chile powder
few leaves of fresh Basil, chiffonade or chopped

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl, using a big pinch of salt and a bigger pinch of chile powder, to taste.  Tastes best at room temperature.
Smokey Apricot Salsa
Lemon and Basil scented Couscous w/ Dried Apricots

¾ c. dry uncooked Couscous
1 c. water
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
6 dried Apricots, diced small
leaves from a sprig of basil, chopped
zest of ½ a lemon
salt & freshly ground pepper

 Bring the water and olive oil to a boil. Stir in couscous, cover, turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes.  Gently stir in the apricots, basil and lemon zest.  Season to taste w/ salt & pepper.  Serve hot.
Lemon and Basil scented Couscous w/ Dried Apricots
Sautéed Green Bean and Sweet Pepper Strips

big handful of fresh Green Beans, ends snapped, cut in ¼'s lengthwise
3 different colors Sweet Peppers (~ ½ pepper ea.), julienned
olive oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat a sauté pan over med-high heat.  Add a good drizzle of olive oil, then toss in the beans and peppers.  Sauté quickly until just tender.  Season to taste w/ salt & pepper.  Serve hot.
Sautéed Green Bean & Sweet Pepper strips
That's that!  To serve, plate everything together and viola!
My Ready, Steady, Cook! Main Course
...coming soon- DESSERT!

readysteadycook



Other portions of my Ready, Steady, Cook! menu:
*Dessert
 ...to see other contestants dishes, check this page