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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Another Chicken Dinner Recipe to Die For and the Garden is Finally Planted!

So after painstakingly weeding the garden beds last week, I went to get the plants yesterday. The garden centre was closing Wednesday next week, so everything was on sale. Steph and I had decided that despite the fact that the garden is not a full sun garden in some places, that we would try to plant vegetables and herbs. We researched online what would grow in the shadier spots of the garden, and it turns out that the leafier herbs and vegetables will grow in partial shade. It seems that the only vegetables that absolutely require full sun are those that bear actual vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

So despite the 40 degree heat with the humidity, we broke up the soil, raked out the dead weeds and added 2 bags to each bed of topsoil and laid out the plants:

In this bed we have. clockwise from the top left corner, Swiss chard, green lettuce, rosemary, violet basil, carrots, a dusty miller (not edible), strawberry mint, dill, tarragon and green basil. It's hard to see them because they are just seedlings right now. 

In this bed we have from top to bottom, tomato plants, English cucumber, rapini, regular cucumber, parsley and thyme (which was already there). This bed usually gets close to full sun, which is why we planed the tomatoes and cucumbers there. 

This brings me to today's chicken meal recipe: Devilled Chicken Breasts and Dee's Corn and Tomato Salad. Both come from my favourite cookbook, the Joy of Cooking. The chicken breasts are marinated in a combination of soy sauce and sherry and then coated in breadcrumbs before being baked in the oven and are served with a Bernaise sauce. The salad is a wonderfully crunchy and fresh tasting salad, the key being to not fully cook the corn, but to just blanch it. 

To make the marinade for the chicken, combine 1/2 cup each of soy sauce and sherry in a bowl and then add 3 tablespoons of dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 8-12 hours. If you can, turn the chicken every 2-3 hours to ensure that the marinade penetrates the chicken thoroughly. 

When you are half an hour from having to serve dinner or lunch, if you want to have this for lunch, preheat the oven to 375F. Take 1 cup of breadcrumbs (I like Panko, but regular will do) and combine in a bowl with 2 tablespoons melted butter and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Place each chicken breast in the breadcrumbs and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and bake uncovered in the oven for 25 minutes or until the chicken is firm and the breadcrumbs browned. 

While this is baking, you can make the salad. Boil a pot of water on the stove, and when it is boiling, carefully drop 6 ears of sweet corn in the water for approximately 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. 

While you are waiting for the water to boil, combine the other ingredients in a large salad bowl:

1 large tomato diced
2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
1 small onion diced
1/4 cup of fresh vinagrette.

To make the vinagrette, mash 1 cove of garlic with two pinches each of salt and pepper to make a paste in a jar. Then squeeze into the jar the juice of 2 lemons. If the lemons are thin skinned and juicy, you should get 1/3 cup of lemon juice. Then use a garlic press to mince an entire shallot into the jar. Add a bit more salt and pepper to taste and then add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. The recipes call for much more oil than this, but I don't like a lot of oil in my dressings so I cut it back considerably. Close the jar and shake vigourously. 

To finish the salad, turn each ear over into the bowl and holding from the top cut the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife. It should come off eaasily if you have turned the cobs upside down. Repeat with each ear until all the corn is in the bowl. Then toss all the ingredients and taste, adjusting the salt and pepper or vinagrette as needed. 

Just after you have finished this, make the Bernaise sauce. I have not yet learned how to make Bernaise from scratch, so I just use the Knorr or McCormack's packaged sauce. It usually takes about 5 minutes to prepare and uses 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup of milk. 

By the time you are done, the chicken should be ready. This is a really fabulous meal, enjoy!


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