I am going to do another date night post, but I figured I would include the recipes that I cooked as part of a separate challenge post. Both recipes I had my doubts about, but turned out superstar! fabulous (think the Molly Shannon skit and movie–I feel like doing that superstar! move after eating both).
I will explain the rationale behind each tomorrow in my date night post, but here is the lusciousness (as it seems date night is in two parts):
Adapted from Wired.com’s Geek Mom
6 chicken legs (but this recipe would rock the clock of any chicken parts–yes! it’s that good)
fresh rosemary leaves/needles, minced
freshly ground black pepper
(I am not listing amounts for the seasonings because I put a random–nearly equal–amount of each in a bowl and sprinkled and rubbed my heart out)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Give the chicken legs a shower in the sink and path them dry with paper towels. You want them as dry as possible at this point. Think kale leaf dry. On second thought, forget the kale chip disaster all together.
Rub the chicken legs with a light coating of olive oil and sprinkle with the seasoning mixture (I did roughly a teaspoon of each). You want them to be really seasoned.
Line your half-sheet pan with foil. Spray it with non-stick cooking spray. For an aromatic touch of whimsy, I placed a spring of rosemary in the center of the pan. Place the drumsticks in the pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes (or longer), turning halfway through so that more sides become golden brown and delicious. The chicken is done logistically when the juices run clear. Remember that dark meat is cheaper and more forgiving heat-wise than chicken breasts that tend to dry out fairly quickly.
Serve warm or cold.
Verdict: This chicken was loved by all. I would love to try it with thighs (my favorite selection of chicken) next time. Date night spoiler: this tasted VASTLY BETTER than the chicken I had that time at Medieval Times (although Josh insists we need to take Muffin).
Red Wine Poached Pears
Adapted from: About.com
5 peeled, cored, and sliced pears (I used Anjou), fairly ripe (but not necessarily to the point of eating out of hand)
1 1/2 cups red wine (I used an Australian Shiraz that I purchased on clearance at Albertson’s for $2.99–a $10 wine! Yay!)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
zest of one lemon (small)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used two small Sunkist lemons)
2 teaspoons vanilla (although I wonder what a vanilla bean would have done to this)
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
Combine all ingredients, except pears, and bring to a boil. Once the wine mixture is boiling, turn heat down to a simmer and add the pears (two pears at a time). Simmer until they turn a shade of red that makes you happy (10-12 minutes before turning them and cooking for an additional 8010 minutes). Remove pears and let them cool. Boil the wine sauce until the liquid is reduced by half. Avoid the overwhelming dictate by your taste buds to down the entire contents of the wine sauce. Take a taste (to make sure it’s yummy). Take another taste. Ignore the voices telling you to down it all. Pour sauce over pears and serve over ice cream. Make sure that you spoon extra sauce on the ice cream and pears because that’s the best part.
Verdict: I want to bathe in the sauce. Seriously. Or make sorbet from it. Its siren’s song is calling me now. Josh liked it over ice cream, but he felt that the taste of the poaching liquid was too strong by itself. Whereas I could guzzle the sauce all down. It might be good as a soda. Or as a topping for the Frenchy Toasty Bread Pudding in a Mug. Or by itself. Really it’s worthy of anything. I think it could do wonderful things to ham, in fact. Did I mention that I ❤ the sauce? It makes me happy.
So, date night spawned two great, repeatable dishes (even in different contexts). I consider that a success!