Saturday, August 11, 2012

Week 9 Donna Hay: Summer Lunch


Donna Hay: Summer Lunch

I did a count and I am on meal 9 of 30 of my cook through "Instant Entertaining" by my favorite food author Donna Hay.  So I am a little behind schedule as it is past mid-year already. I was waiting for summer for a good portion of the recipes as most of the meals are conducive to that temperature/weather so I am going with that excuse.

Now on to the fun stuff, the actual meal.  If you remember last week I made The Classics  which was beautifully made in only an hour, if I do say so myself.  That is one thing I love about this cookbook is that it is called "Instant Entertaining" and really does live up to the title.  This meal I made this past week was called Summer Lunch, but of course I made it for dinner.  It also took less than an hour to make and since practically ever dish was grilled, the clean up a bit easier as well (thanks E).  Here was the menu:

Starter:
Mushroom and Ricotta Bruschetta
(mushrooms used were baby portobello, fresh thyme from the garden)
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Main:
Balsamic and Lemon Chicken 
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Side:
Summer Potato Salad
(with wilted arugula/rocket)
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Dessert:
Seared Nectarines with Caramelized Yogurt
(used peaches as the nectarines were not quite ripe, used white sugar and molasses as I did not have brown sugar)
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 Photo credit: everyAugust

My sister brought over a lamp for pictures as the lighting in my dining area is horrible. Aren't the pictures great?

Best parts: The starter. How can you go wrong with the combination of ricotta, mushrooms, and thyme (pronounced "time", mom)? Loved it. Simple and delicious and not too heavy. Surprisingly, I really loved dessert.  Yes, of course I knew that grilled peaches were delicious, but paired with the Greek yogurt and molasses it took on another level.  Again, not heavy, but packed with flavor.  I will definitely make this again and claim the glory. Plus, using fruit when it is in season is like cheating on the flavor.

Things I would change: The chicken. I though could have done with a longer marinade to get a little more infused flavor and the fillets definitely needed to be thicker.  I like my chicken a little juicer as well so I am going to be more cognoscente  of cooking temperatures and time.  The recipe called for 4 chicken breast fillets which is what I bought, but I am guessing the fillets in Australia (where the author is from) are a little thicker (and better).  I am thinking next time I will just get the chicken breasts and pound them with a meat mallet for perfect thickness.  The potato salad.  While there were compliments on it, I think I cooked the potatoes too long.  Next time I need to skip the suggested cooking time and just pay attention to the texture I like and when I deem it should be.  Also, the potato salad tasted much like a Parisian potato salad which is fine, just not my taste as I dislike mustard and would rather vinegar or lemon. I can't see making this again for my own liking, but apparently others still enjoyed it.

In all, there were some hits and some do-overs, but by the end of the meal I was stuffed and happy.  I wonder if I could get a job being a recipe tester?  Wouldn't that just be the best?  I think I would do an excellent job.  After all, "Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life."

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