Saturday, January 17, 2009

Impromptu Dinner Party

I was supposed to go see Phantom of The Opera tonight. One little problem - the show is next week :)

I called friends of ours, the older monkey's good friends family, and invited them to dinner. Then I was talking to another family friend with sons my monkey's ages. And then finally I texted my single friend and told her to come over. At first she said no, but then decided to come.

My favorite quote all night was said by family friend number 1. She told my single friend, "When Julia calls you and invites you to dinner, why would you ever say no??"

It was really nice to hear.

I only had about 30 minutes to start making dinner before everyone came over so I didn't have time to take pictures. Also, every one finished every last morsel, so I couldn't take pictures of the food afterwords.

I hope you make the recipes, especially the potato one! Yum!!! Oh, and the chicken! The chicken was so un-believably moist!!!

Salt-Baked Chicken

Traditionally, this recipe uses a whole chicken, marinated, wrapped in lotus leaves, immersed in a bed of hot rock salt in a wok, and cooked on a stovetop. The modern convenience of an oven makes it much easier to control the cooking temperature. Allowing the chicken to stand at room temperature for an hour before cooking creates succulent results. The golden color of the roasted bird also represents wealth, and serving a whole chicken is thought to ensure good luck for the coming year. Garlic chives make a memorable garnish.

2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 (1 x 2–inch) strip dried tangerine peel
1 (4.5- to 5-pound) roasting chicken
5 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
Cooking spray

1. Combine 2 1/2 cups boiling water and tangerine peel in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid.
2. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub 1 tablespoon salt under skin; let stand 5 minutes. Rinse chicken under cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken on the rack of a roasting pan; let stand 1 hour at room temperature.
3. Preheat oven to 425°.
4. Transfer chicken to a work surface. Combine remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, shallots, ginger, wine, soy sauce, oil, and honey in a small bowl. Rub 3 tablespoons shallot mixture inside cavity of chicken. Place onions and tangerine peel inside cavity. Rub remaining shallot mixture under loosened skin.
5. Place chicken, breast side up, on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Pour reserved tangerine soaking liquid into a shallow roasting pan; place rack in pan. Bake at 425° for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer registers 165° and skin has turned a dark golden brown color. Let stand 15 minutes. Discard skin, and slice.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)

CALORIES 171 ; FAT 4.4g (sat 1g,mono 1.4g,poly 1.2g); CHOLESTEROL 85mg; CALCIUM 21mg; CARBOHYDRATE 2.5g; SODIUM 885mg; PROTEIN 26.8g; FIBER 0.3g; IRON 1.6mg

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2009

Shoestring Fries with Garlicky Dijon Mayo

Cutting potatoes into thin strips, soaking them in hot water, and cooking at high heat makes for a crisp texture without much fat. Instead of ketchup, we enjoyed dipping the fries in this tangy sauce, a riff on aioli.

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 1/4 pounds baking potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Combine vinegar and garlic in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, and parsley.
3. Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices; stack slices and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Place in a large bowl; cover with hot water. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain potatoes; pat dry with paper towels. Combine potatoes, oil, and salt in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 35 minutes; carefully turn over and bake an additional 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve with sauce.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup fries and about 1 tablespoon sauce)

CALORIES 180 ; FAT 7g (sat 0.5g,mono 4.3g,poly 1.5g); CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 21mg; CARBOHYDRATE 26.2g; SODIUM 233mg; PROTEIN 3.2g; FIBER 1.9g; IRON 1.3mg

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2009


Under the Influence said...

I know I can swing the potatoes. And I was just going to shit myself if you said you happened to have a lotus leaf laying around to cook your chicken in!

Looks good. I couldn't do the chicken though, because I don't like meat, especially chicken, if I have to take it off the bone. Weird, but true. Maybe I could try it with boneless chicken breasts.

dizzblnd said...

I wish I could do an impromptu dinner like that! You are very good at finding yummy recipes. You have terrific friends for complimenting you like that!

kel said...


Lee the MWOB Queen said...

Oh wow Julia - there you go again with these super yummy impromptu dinners!! This sounds SOOOOO yummy - maybe I'll try it. Just maybe....

Keri and Jason said...

Dang, I could go for some of them Shoestring Fries with Garlicky Dijon Mayo right about now. Sounds finger lickin' good.

Lana said...

This is making me hungry!
It sounds so good!