Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dark Days Challenge: Teamwork is the Best

It was almost a year ago that my friend Jeff and I took a cooking class together – a gift to me for my birthday. It was a one-evening, one-meal class on the theme of cooking with locally grown foods in the winter (several months before I actually read about Laura’s challenge). Even since, we have been planning to make this meal for Grady. Finally got to it this weekend at the coast with Jeff’s daughter and family joining us. The original menu included:
Baked Stuffed Chicken with Chevre and Red Kale
Belgian Endive Risotto with Taleggio and Walnuts
Slow Roasted Beet Salad with Parsely, Celery and Fennel
Peppery Gingerbread with Brandied Whipped Cream
Our meal last night did not include that salad because the number of beet and fennel lovers in the crowd was pretty small. So, we had a salad that included some lettuce and veggies from afar along with local arugula, and red onions.

The other modification I made was in the risotto. I didn’t find any Belgian endive at all, let alone locally grown. So, I used shitakes, leeks, and chard from the farmer’s market this past week instead. And I substituted a cheese called “Ancient Heritage Rosa” from Canby, Oregon. The cake and chicken were made pretty much as is, with the exception of using Russian red kale and adding a little chard to bring it up to the amount we needed for two chickens.

These are the before and after picture of the chicken. The stuffing (chevre, wilted kale, bread crumbs, egg, parsley, garlic and nutmeg) is placed between the skin and the flesh of the chicken which has been split so it lays flat. Then the bird gets rubbed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and roasted for about 40 minutes.

With Jeff taking the lead on the chicken and salad, and me on the risotto and gingerbread, the result was a lovely meal without either of us losing too much time from our weekend beach relaxation. The chicken and risotto were pretty much all local and the salad and cake about half and half.

The class that inspired this meal was offered by “In Good Taste” which offers a terrific selection and variety of courses here in Portland. Jeff and I are about to sign up for another one sometime in February. This kind of birthday present makes the having of birthdays something to look forward to. Thanks, Jeff!

But, now it is time to watch the Packers again and see if they can get themselves into the Super Bowl.


ckw said...

WOW - that looked great- I especially like the BEFORE--and after pictures of the chickies. I am so gald you had a relaxing time at the coast--you deserve it - and --sorry 'bout them packers --ah well-
cooling class sounds fun!

ckw said...

edit- cooking --that's cooking and cool together- oops--
i'm trying to cook a little more - although no where near what y'all do- but living so close now to great places to get food-well - i have to try a little bit - since today is a day off- iam going to try a stuffed flank steak -with pancetta and spinach and goat cheese from pastaworks- wish me luck!

Green Bean said...

Yum! Risotto looks delicious. I may have to give that a go in my neck of the woods. :)