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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday Dinner

It's been a little over a month since I moved from our old house and into an apartment and today I finally finished unpacking and organizing the kitchen. The counter tops are cleared of the detritus of moving and the boxes are all broken down and put away until I move again. Oddly, my new kitchen is bigger and more functional than the kitchen in my house. What better way to celebrate the new, fully operational kitchen than by making a complete mess of it?

Tonight I made a pan-seared chicken breast with spinach and garlic sauce, puree of roasted root vegetables and caramelized Brussels sprouts, garnished with slices of watermelon radish.

Brussels sprouts take on such an amazing deep smoky flavor when they're sauteed until brown. I used a tablespoon of butter with a little olive oil to bring the smoke point up a bit. They're even better when you do them in a pan in which you just fried up some bacon.

The root vegetable puree is way too labor-intensive to do very often but I felt like going all out since I had a new, clean kitchen. I started out by cutting a couple of parsnips and a couple of medium-sized turnips into small chunks, tossing them in olive oil and roasting them in a 350° oven for about 30 minutes. I put the roasted chunks in my food processor, added a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of light sour cream and a couple tablespoons of milk and processed until smooth. As the chicken breast and sprouts were cooking I formed the puree into a mound, slid it onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and put it under the broiler until the top was browned. Of course, this would have been way better with more butter and heavy cream instead of light sour cream and milk but I was trying to keep things somewhat healthy.

The spinach garlic sauce is part of my experimentation into almost calorie free sauces in the manner of Bernard Loiseau. It's basically a puree of spinach, celery, garlic and a little bit of water. Since there's no cream or oil being used it's important to really concentrate the flavors being used. That also means using more salt than normal and refrigerating it for a few hours before use to let the flavors mingle.

Today felt like a chicken-in-a-crockpot sort of Sunday but I only used one breast tonight. I'll use the rest of the chicken in pasta and as chicken salad as the week goes by.


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