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Posts Tagged ‘capers’

This may be one of the easiest, yet elegant chicken-for-a-party dishes.  The olives add a hint of saltiness, while the prunes add a touch of sweetness.  These distinctive Mediterranean flavours complement the chicken beautifully — its a rare occasion when you serve this at a potluck that at least one person does not ask for the recipe.

Marinating the chicken overnight is key – it helps keep the chicken moist and allows the flavours to deepen. And yes, you read correctly, the recipe calls for one head of garlic. Serve it with a baguette or some rice to mop up the pan juices (essential).  I only wish I had a few more excuses to cook this chicken recipe from Silver Palate on a more regular basis…

Chicken Marbella

16 pieces, 10 or more portions

Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup pitted prunes

1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives

1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice

6 bay leaves

1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed

1/4 cup dried oregano

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 chicken (2 1/2 pounds each), quartered

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Directions

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add the chicken and stir to coat.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly.  Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.

Bake the chicken, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the thigh pieces yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice when pricked with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter.  Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley or cilantro.  Pass the remaining pan juices in a sauceboat. Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Cooking for one still manages to stump me, and I often end up with at least an extra meal if not more in left-overs even if I try to keep things small. While many people would love this, I prefer the freedom of cooking something new almost every day. If what I make is freezable, it’s not a problem, because I can re-visit it after a break.  I now have even more appreciation for my wonderful left-over loving partner. Alas, for me all these left-overs represent an issue – I love to cook so much but my stomach simply is incapable of handling the quantities of food I make on any given day and so I have had to get used to eating left-overs several days in a row.

Well, since I’ll be living in Senegal for 6 months, I had better get used to repetition. It’s sort of like training, I guess. That, and the fact I probably won’t have access to a kitchen anything like I’m used to. I can’t wait to learn to cook Senegalese food!

Luckily, by the second week in Montréal I discovered it’s not quite as monotonous if I try to re-invent the left-overs. This is one of those recipes – one you can make with any left-over chicken or other meat/tofu.

Ingredients – 2 wraps

-1 leftover chicken breast or 3 drumsticks, cooked, meat sliced
-2 Tbsp capers
-6 slices sharp cheddar
-2 large soft wheat or corn wraps
-lemon juice
-salt and pepper
-veggies to eat on the side
-1 tsp olive oil

Directions

Slice the meat and cheese. Arrange the wrap on a counter, then place 2 slices of cheese across the wrap. Place the meat on top, along with the capers and a spritz of lemon juice. Top with the remaining cheese and salt and pepper, then close the wrap tightly. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook wrap on both top and bottom until the wrap is warm and has begun to turn golden.

Wash and cut up assorted veggies to eat on the side. I love carrots and tomatoes with this particular combination! You could also add some fresh spinach to the wrap before warming it if you like.

-Sitelle

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I first fell in love with tapenade when I was travelling through France years ago. At the time, olives were something I ate if I had to, but not something I especially sought out. But with one bite of tapenade from a French market, I was truly in love.

Since then, I have sought out tapenade in every French market I have visited (the winner is Voltaire, France along the Swiss border). Be it black olive, green olive, or a surprise mix with artichokes – this black gold simply vanishes in my presence. A few years back, I discovered how easy it was to make tapenade. The trick is allowing enough time for the spread to mellow – overnight will suffice.

The recipe below is my go-to fast tapenade recipe. It’s the one I’ve perfected over the last five years through trial and error, and while it may not be as authentic as tapenade found in a French marketplace (it lacks the anchovies!), it certainly never fails to please 🙂

Tapenade

Ingredients:
One can black or green olives
Capers in juice (about 2 tablespoons)
Garlic to taste (1/2 to 1 clove)
Juice from one-third to half a lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil

Directions:
In a food processor, blend the garlic, olives, and capers until coarse. Squeeze in the lemon juice and season with the salt and pepper. Continue blending, slowly drizzling the olive oil until your desired texture is reached.

Tapenade becomes tastier the longer it matures, so preferably chill overnight (although it can be served immediately!). Enjoy with a crusty baguette or fancy crackers!

– Catherine

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With spring just around the corner, snow drops popping up out of the thawing ground, I can’t help but feel optimistic these days.  As I walk though the streets, people smile and take their time outside.  I love this change in attitude.

As spring rolls in, my tuber-rich, squash and cabbage-filled winter menu starts feeling repetitive.  The only issue here in Toronto is there’s a mismatch between spring and the first veggies (Toronto warms up faster than the surrounding agricultural land due to the urban heat-island effect).  This mismatch means I have extreme cravings for asparagus that I have to control for a whole other month before I can find some from around here.  Why do you tempt me so, asparagus from another continent?  Ontario produces more asparagus than it can handle (perhaps that is a challenge), and I am keeping all the space I have for it when it arrives in bursting bunches.  Bring it on.

All that is to say the light spring air is turning my cravings towards simple and light dishes.  This one can be made in less than 10 minutes, and is well worth it.  The gnocci, which can at times be on the heavy side, are well complemented with a light summery dressing.

Ingredients – 4 lunch servings

-1 package potato gnocci
-1/2 a shallot, really finely sliced
-basil leaves from 4-5 stalks, minced
-juice from 1/2 a lemon
-zest from 1/2 a lemon
-1 Tbsp capers, rinced
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-grated parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Meanwhile, chop the shallot, mince the basil leaves, and zest the washed lemon.  Combine all the ingredients except the parmesan cheese and gnocci in a bowl and mix.  When the water is boiling, drop the gnocci in, and boil until they float.  This takes around 2 minutes.  Drain the gnocci, and toss in the dressing.  Serve with grated cheese.  Bon appétit!

-Sitelle

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