Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summer Chicken and Basil Soup

“Soup?!?! But it’s 75 degrees outside!” M says. I said trust me, this will be a nice light brothy soup with a lilt of herbal delight. We had grilled up several split chicken breasts the other night and had plenty of tender white meat leftover. Chilling out in the crisper were 3 little zucchinis that would also star in the show.

Half a thinly sliced onion went into the pan to sautee with some olive oil for a few minutes. I quartered the zucchini, chopped up about 10 baby carrots and then threw them all in for a quick sautee with the onion. After that went in 2 cloves of minced garlic, and shortly thereafter 5-6 cups of chicken stock. After that came up to a slow boil, I added in my chopped up chicken from the other day along with some black pepper.

After letting that get happy for 20 minutes, I took out about ¾ cup of the zucchini with some stock and pureed that in my blender. CAUTION! When putting hot stuff in a blender, take care to hold down the lid as it expands and splatters! Pour blend back into the pot. I really wish I would have pureed twice that amount to give the soup more of a potage feel, but that will be for next time!

After another 5 minutes, I added about 15 basil leaves that I had chopped up, let that simmer for another 5 minutes, et voila, a light chicken soup avec zucchini et basil!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Grilled Pork Chops and Roasted Asparagus

This plate of meat dedicated to Martin!

We made a marinade (not a brine) for these bone-in shoulder blade pork chops consisting of: olive oil, white wine, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, dried oregano, smoked paprika, kosher salt, and cracked black pepper. Into the freezer bag and squished around to evenly distribute that delicious sauce, then the pork chops spent a relaxing day in the fridge getting to know their new flavor.

When we were ready to go, we preheated the grill to medium-high AND the oven to 425. We chopped a bunch of asparagus (asparagi?) into 2-inch long pieces, added them to a baking dish, and combined them with the juice of an orange, soy sauce, chopped scallions, garlic powder, salt, and some crushed red pepper. Those asparagi would take a total of 15 minutes roasting time...

These pork chops were maybe 3/4" thick, so we pre-set a time of 6 minutes on the first side, 5 on the other. Chops on, 1/4 spin after 3 minutes, flipped after another 3, and back off after 5. Sit and rest, done and done.

And they came out wonderfully... a very flavorful marinade that - for once - didn't impart "too much!" of anything (salt, pepper, hot sauce are the usual culprits). Very tender - perfectly cooked. And that meat right on the bone??? Yum!

Tangy, still-slightly-crunchy asparagus and some whole wheat mac-and-cheese made for great accompaniment. Plus.... leftovers!