Like an idiot, I took Tandy (of “Lavender and Lime”) up on her recent cooking/recipe challenge. There are unfortunately no photos, but I have the recipes here for your perusal.
I was given a list of seven ingredients with which I was to come up with a three course meal (starters, main dish, dessert) utilizing all seven ingredients. In addition to the seven ingredients, there are the standard pantry items that we are allowed to use in coming up with our entries. The seven ingredients I was given with which to create are: Broccoli, Bulgur, Butternut, Capers, Chevre (Goat Cheese), Chicken Breasts, and Watermelon. The pantry items I was allowed to use are: Milk/Cream, Eggs, Flour (or flour substitute), Lemons, Garlic, Ginger, Chilies, Fresh Herbs, Dried Herbs, Dried Spices, Sugar (or sugar substitute), Butter/margarine, Salt, Pepper, Oil (any type), Vinegar, Pasta/Noodles/Rice, Tinned Tomatoes, Tinned Chickpeas, Chocolate/Cocoa/Cacao.
Initially, I was stumped, but finally the wheels started turning and here is the meal that I came up with. Let me know if you would try it all, or any part of it, for yourself!
For starters: Homemade Crackers with Hummus Dip:
(Preheat oven to 400 degrees)
1-1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1-1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. water
salt for topping
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and seasonings. Add the butter and process until the mixture has the texture of large crumbs, each no larger than a pea. Add the water to the mixture and process just as long as it takes to form a ball. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, on a well-floured surface, roll out each piece as thin as possible without tearing. Cut into desired shapes (free form – which is what I do), or squares or rounds. Place crackers on a parchment-lined cookie sheet (best method), or a well-greased cookie sheet. An easier method is to roll out the dough on the parchment paper, cut into shapes and separate each piece slightly, and then slide the paper onto the cookie sheet. Pierce each cracker with a fork several times (looks more “authentic” that way), and sprinkle with a coarse salt. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 5 to 10 minutes. They bake quickly, so watch them carefully, don’t over bake, as they will crisp up some as they cool.
1 can of garbanzo beans (chick peas), well drained
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
handful of chopped fresh parsley (I use Italian flat-leaf)
paprika to taste (optional)
Process the garlic clove in food processor until finely processed. Add the WELL-DRAINED garbanzos, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Process until the hummus is a smooth as you like it. You can add a bit more lemon juice and/or oil for a smoother texture if desired. Add the parsley at the last and process just until parsley is chopped coarsely and blended in. Add salt to taste. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl, and drizzle the top with a little olive oil. Serve with crackers.
Main Dish: Chicken Breasts stuffed with Goat Cheese and Capers:
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves
3/4 cup (6 ozs.) soft goat cheese
1 Tbsp. capers
1 garlic clove, minced fine
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
Flour, salt, pepper
1 egg, beaten well with 1/2 cup water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Pound each chicken breast half with mallet to about 1/4-inch thin
In food processor, blend together the goat cheese, garlic, basil, salt, and white pepper. After well blended, stir in the capers. Spread 1/4 of the goat cheese blend on each chicken breast half. Roll up the halves, starting with the narrower end, and securely tie with kitchen twine, in two or three places, evenly spaced.
Heat 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil in an oven-proof cast iron skillet. While oil is heating, coat chicken breast rolls lightly with seasoned flour. Dip rolls in egg, then dredge in flour again. Put rolls into heated pan, and brown well on all sides. Put skillet with chicken into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn chicken rolls over and bake 20 minutes more or until done (juices no longer run pink, and interior temperature of chicken registers about 165 degrees).
Bulgur and Butternut Squash Risotto:
3 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/4 pounds)
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups uncooked bulgur
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
Preheat oven to 400°. Combine squash and garlic in a shallow roasting pan. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil, tossing gently to coat. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until squash is tender, stirring once. Let cool 10 minutes. Peel garlic; chop. Discard skins. Combine water and salt in a medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add bulgur; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add warm salted water, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of warm salted water is absorbed before adding the next (about 27 minutes total). Stir in squash and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and sage.
Serve chicken with the risotto and steamed broccoli.
Dessert: Watermelon Ice:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup watermelon Jell-O (or mixed berry flavor)
3/4 cup boiling water
5 cups seeded cubed watermelon
Fresh mint leaves
This is the only recipe I cheated with – but just a little! (I needed a box of Jell-O.)
In a bowl, dissolve sugar and gelatin in boiling water; set aside. Place watermelon in a blender; cover and purée. Stir into gelatin mixture. Pour into an ungreased pan. Cover and freeze overnight. Remove from the freezer 1 hour before serving. Spoon into paper cones or serving dishes. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
I hope you might enjoy these dishes. It was fun coming up with something that’s a bit different from my usual fare!
I wish you all enough. . .
(To see what some of the other challengers did – click on the linky below)