This past week, both of my son’s lacrosse games interfered with karate, so I wanted to ensure that I had some time for myself to practice on my own. I selected a meal that would require minimal effort, and with snow flurries randomly appearing through the day I also wanted to stay inside – it’s May this is crazy!
Roasted chicken is certainly one of the easist meals to make, while it can be as simple as salt, pepper, and butter, I selected one with artichokes and lemon and updated it with some cremini mushrooms.
As usual, my first task was dessert, Strawberry Pazzo Cake With Herbed Crème Fraîche. The topping is best if you let the rosemary meld with the Crème Fraîche for at least 4 hours in the fridge; the sugar is the other ingredient for the topping, but it isn’t used until you whip it.
Mix it all together and let it chill in the fridge.
And then onto the dinner drink – my husband made sangria.
I hope you’re fans of my favorite school, but if not you are forgiven. The ingredients we show here are more suggestions than. Any sort of a fixed recipe. I don’t think it’s ever the same…
We always strain the juice when adding it to the pitcher on top of the sliced fruit.
Some simple syrup and cranberry juice add some sweetness. (We do normally make our own simple syrup; I really wanted a margarita on Cinco de Mayo and he said he didn’t have time).
Everything goes into the pitcher, and again, this is best if you prepare it at least a few hours in advance.
Final, after my practice I moved onto dinner. The first thing to make is the Gremolata (in layman’s terms: lemon garlic herb butter) and for that I had softened my butter earlier.
Note the pictures have double what the ingredients call for in the recipe below; I am using the extra chicken to make sandwiches later in the week.
This is my standard tool for zesting a lemon, the important thing is not to get the white pith, which is bitter, in your zest. The garlic and the zest go on top of the butter.
To really flavor a chicken, it is good to get your mix above and below the skin; for best results dry the skin with paper towels. I placed both chickens in my large cast iron skillet.
For the butter that will go on the chicken, I put it in a separate bowl so that I could repeatedly stick my hands in it and not get any of us sick.
And then I thoroughly salted and peppered the skin.
I used canned artichoke hearts which need to be rinsed well, and I cut them in half.
I surrounded the chicken with the artichoke hearts and set it in the oven.
I also prepped the cremini mushrooms and the rest of the parsley to add later.
Back to dessert…I cleaned and halved a pound of strawberries.
As with many cakes, you first mix the dry ingredients.
And cream soft butter with two kinds of sugar.
And then add the wet ingredients.
Finally, mix in the dry ingredients.
The batter is poured into the pan and then you press the halved strawberries down into the batter and then it goes into the oven.
While it baked, I prepped my asparagus and basted the chicken.
With only 20 minutes left on the chicken, I added the mushrooms and the parsley and stirred them into the artichokes.
As it continued to cook, I made the balsamic glaze for the cake; still simple, it has three ingredients boiled together.
And immediately after the cake comes out of the oven, 2/3 of the glaze goes directly onto the cake (do not over bake it!).
Time for dinner and a glass of the sangria. Serve over ice (especially in the summer).
My mother-in-law made another beautiful salad.
And dinner is served.
Just before serving dessert I whipped the Rosemary crème fraîche with a heaping teaspoon of sugar. It. Will still be very thick, just beat it to stiff peaks to avoid making butter. To serve, drizzle with the remaining glaze.
Roast Chicken with Artichokes and Gremolata Butter
Entrées, Poultry, Tested and Approved!
Prep 20 minutes ∙ Cook 1 hour 30 minutes ∙ Makes Yield 6 servings ∙ Source Bon Appétit | April 2005
- 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, chopped, divided
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 4-5 pound chicken
- 1½-2 cans artichoke hearts, halved
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix butter, ¼ cup chopped parsley, lemon peel, and pressed garlic in small bowl to blend. Season butter mixture with salt and pepper.
Place chicken on heavy large rimmed baking sheet; pat dry with paper towels. Gently slide hand under chicken breast skin to loosen from meat. Spread 2 tablespoons seasoned butter under skin and 1 tablespoon over chicken; sprinkle skin with salt and pepper. Arrange artichokes around chicken and transfer to oven; roast chicken 40 minutes, basting halfway through.
Add mushrooms and ¼ cup parsley to artichokes around chicken; baste with drippings. Continue roasting until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180°F, about 25 minutes longer. Remove chicken to a cutting board for carving and stir in remaining butter and lemon juice into the artichokes and mushrooms. Carve chicken and top artichoke mushroom mix.
Strawberry Pazzo Cake With Herbed Crème Fraîche
Cakes, Cheesecakes, Desserts, Tested and Approved!
Makes Serves 8 ∙ Difficulty Hard ∙ Source Epicurious | June 2013
- 1¾ cups Crème Fraîche
- 1 Tbsp rosemary, freshly minced
- 1-2 tsp. suar
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more to grease the pan
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp coarse sea salt, preferably gray salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pound strawberries, fresh, hulled and halved
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 tsp granulated sugar
- black pepper, a few grinds of fresh
For the Crème Fraîche:
Stir together the crème fraîche and the herbs. Refrigerate and let sit for 30 minutes or overnight.
For the Cake:
Butter a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or 8-by-8-inch enameled cast-iron baking pan (if cooking in the grill) or standard 8-by-8-inch baking pan (if baking in your oven). (Don’t put a standard baking pan inside your grill or over a fire.) Ignite the coals, turn a gas grill to high, or preheat an oven to 350°F.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until the mixture looks creamy, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix just until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until smooth with a creamy texture.
Pour the batter into the buttered pan. Arrange the strawberry halves, cut-side down, on top of the cake batter. Don’t overlap the berries; use just enough strawberries for one layer and set aside the rest to use as garnish
TO BAKE IN A GRILL: When the grill reaches 350°F, slide in the cake, resting the pan on the grill rack, close the grill’s lid and let it bake for at least 20 minutes with the grill lid closed. Test the cake: It’s done when a skewer inserted into the center (but not in a strawberry) comes out clean and the cake is golden brown on top.
TO BAKE IN AN OVEN: Bake for 10 minutes and then decrease the heat to 325°F and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes. The cake is done when a skewer inserted into the center (but not in a strawberry) comes out clean and the cake is golden brown on top.
For the Glaze: While the cake is baking, in a small pan combine the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat and remove from the heat right away. Set it aside until the cake has baked. It should be the consistency of maple syrup; if it thickens too much before the cake comes out of the oven, stir in a few more spoonfuls of vinegar. As soon as the cake comes off the heat, drizzle the top with about two-thirds of the balsamic glaze.
Whip the Crème Fraîche with the sugar, making sure not to over beat.
When the cake has cooled, cut it into wedges if baked in a skillet; if baked in a standard baking pan, cut it into squares. Drizzle more balsamic glaze over the cake if you like. Top the cake with a spoonful of Herbed Crème Fraîche. Spoon any remaining crème fraîche into a bowl and set on a platter with leftover halved strawberries to pass so guests can add extra if they like.