Posts Tagged ‘balsamic’

Nothing smells more like autumn than the smell of roasting squash in the oven, especially when it’s basted in olive oil, pressed garlic and herbs. I picked up a beautiful organic 2-pound butternut squash at the market, peeled and de-seeded it, and diced it into 3/4 inch cubes.  Then I tossed in in a mix of olive oil, fresh marjoram, garlic, corriander, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper and salt before roasting for an hour at 350 degrees.

The scent alone is to die for, but the flavors are aromatic and complex, amplified by a half-a-lemon’s worth of juice a little extra olive oil and toasted pecans.  Then toss with some fresh arugula, drizzle with a little aged balsamic and top off with some shavings of peppery pecorino cheese.  Amazing. … Or, just eat the roasted squash alone!


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Having lived in Georgia and South Carolina, I can appreciate the amazing flavors of Southern cuisine. But I’ve never quite been able to stomach all the grease that’s often involved.  So, here’s a healthier take on mashed potatoes and buttermilk fried chicken I tried:  it’s packed with juicy flavor but not dripping in oil. And, using the oven makes it easier to prepare and clean up than frying on the stove: a definite “plus” for work-night cooking.


I marinated my boneless, skinless chicken breasts — which I pounded out to half-inch thickness — in a buttermilk marinade for several hours in a ziplock bag in the fridge.

Buttermilk Marinade

3/4 cup of buttermilk

Juice of one lemon

4 chopped garlic cloves

1 diced yellow onion,

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper

Before encrusting the chicken, be sure to pat each breast dry with a paper towel first. Then, dip in egg — letting excess drip off — and dredge in Panko breadcrumbs mixed with herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Lay the chicken on a wire rack atop a baking sheet before baking in a hot, preheated 375 oven.  Mine took 20-25 minutes — but baking time will vary by oven.  The outer crust should look toasted brown and crispy! (Good news about this marinade is that it keeps the chicken fairly moist even if you slightly over-bake.)


While the chicken is “oven-frying,” prepare the carrots and potatoes on the stove.  In a small sauce pan, saute several cups of carrots in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Once the carrots get tender — about 5 minutes — add two tablespoons of good, aged balsamic vinegar and one tablespoon of light brown sugar. Continue to cook the carrots, coating in the balsamic glaze, until the liquid is reduced by about half.  These are incredibly tangy and tasty on the side!

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Quick-cooking polenta is the key to these perfectly crispy pan-fried organic chicken breasts. The thin layer of ground cornmeal and flour, clinging to the egg-washed chicken, turns golden brown in just 5-6 minutes over medium high heat.

Deglaze the pan with a little olive oil, tomato paste, balsamic and capers to create a tangy sauce that complements the salty, crunchy chicken.  To round out the meal, try some pan-roasted brussel sprouts and carrots, tossed in a little olive oil and cider vinegar and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.


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