Marinated Chicken Alla Griglia

Several people in my Saturday morning long run group are starting to gear up for the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October. I’m still pretty sure I never want to run a marathon but I do enjoy doing a bit higher mileage to a point. Two weeks ago, four of us gathered bright and early for a hilly and hot 13 mile run. I already had a mile and a half under my belt by the time I met up with my running buddies which made that run a total of 14.5 miles for me, the longest run of 2012. While I was really happy to get into some longer long runs, I wasn’t very smart running wise that week. I had added a mile or two to my usual  Tuesday and Thursday tempo runs, and therefore ended the week having run a little over 47 miles. Due to a little vacation the previous week, I had only run 27 miles and my highest mileage week prior to that was 43 miles. Needless to say my legs weren’t quite ready for that 47 mile week. Despite taking an ice bath and massaging my legs after the long run, I still went through the next day feeling more sluggish than usual and my legs felt like someone had tied 15 pound weights to my quads.

In hopes of putting some pep into my step, both literally and figuratively, I pored through my cookbooks in search of a comforting and protein filled Sunday dinner. Although I thought I had settled on the most perfect to roast chicken several years ago and would never want to make roast chicken any other way, I couldn’t stop coming back to Andrew Carmellini’s Marinated Chicken Alla Griglia in Urban Italian. I really liked the idea of marinating the chicken in a roasted garlic puree, various herbs, and a dash of dried red pepper flakes for some added kick. And despite the amount of time needed to marinate the chicken, the recipe didn’t really seem too complicated or time-consuming. For sides I took Andrew Carmellini up on his suggestion and served the chicken with Zucchini Bagna Calda and Potatoes Girarrosto-Style.

When everything came together, I had one of the best meals I have made in quite a while. After marinating for only five hours, the chicken was juicy and flavorful. The skin was crisp and I really loved the mix of garlic and herbs with a bit of tang from the rice vinegar and spice from the red pepper flakes. I may have found a new favorite roast chicken.

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Seafood Risotto

I first made this seafood risotto several years ago for my friend Shelley. Her then boyfriend (now husband) Tom was in town and I had the two of them over for dinner. Despite the fact that Shelley is a vegetarian, I decided to roast a large piece of meat. Being that I am not a complete monster, I found this simple seafood risotto from Cooking Light that I thought Shelley would enjoy. Plus it was easy enough to make while the roast did its thing in the oven. Needless to say, the side entrée outshone the roast that was supposed to be the centerpiece of the meal. I can’t even remember what meaty animal I served that evening, but I do remember the creaminess and comfort of the risotto, with bites of shrimp, scallops, and tomatoes.

These days, I make the risotto a few times a year, mostly on Fridays because it does not reheat well for lunch the next day and also because it is great fuel for my Saturday long runs. The key to this risotto is the use of clam juice which adds a rich seafood taste to the cooking broth. The mere two tablespoons of cream (or half and half) makes the risotto seem more decadent than it is. The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of butter but I normally use olive oil instead to make the dish more responsible. This recipe serves two, but can be doubled if you’d like. If you want to increase the ratio of seafood to rice, you will also have to decrease the amount of chicken broth or else the risotto will turn out too runny.

Malaysian-style Chicken With Garlic and Lemongrass

Whoa! What the heck happened? There I was blogging along, documenting a life of running, eating, drinking, and sleeping and then life took over and blogging came to a halt. I guess taking the running, eating, and drinking to a new level cuts into the sleeping and the blogging.

I was reminded earlier this week by Major Janine Garner in the middle of a five mile tempo that she and others are waiting for updates on the old blog. As I huffed and puffed through the run, I promised her that REDS would indeed return, and with a vengeance.

I made this Malaysian-style Chicken with Garlic and Lemongrass way back in March(!). Every now and again, I feel the weight of all the feasting and search for healthy meal ideas, preferably those that do not involve giving up a lot of flavor. Instead of pork shoulder, short ribs, and beef, it’s fish, chicken, and vegetables. During a recent streak of health conscious eating, I dug into my e-mail archives and found a recipe sent to me by Tasting Table for chicken thighs packed with tons of flavors including tons of ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. The recipe requires a bit of advanced prep work but was completely worth it.

I put together the marinade in the morning and let the chicken marinate in the fridge while I went to work. When I got home later that evening I made some rice and went to work searing the chicken and putting it in the oven. The chicken turned out delicious and I figured it would also be great grilled if/when the weather cooperates.

Malaysian-style Chicken with Garlic and Lemongrass (adapted from Tasting Table)

INGREDIENTS:

Marinade
½ cup canola oil
4 stalks lemongrass, tough outer layer removed and stalk finely chopped
16 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
Four-inch piece fresh ginger, scraped and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons sambal chile paste
¼ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Juice of ½ lime
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

Chicken
Four 6-ounce bone-in skin-on chicken breasts
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

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Cod with Tomato and Mushroom Wine Sauce

Several Fridays ago, I had resigned myself to a fairly low key evening. It was the Friday before the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler and I wanted to rest up for the big race. That week, I had come across a recipe in the Washington Post’s food section for Cod with Tomato and Mushroom Wine Sauce that really caught my eye. As it was still Lent at the time, I was super excited to find a meatless and healthy meal that was tasty to boot. I e-mailed roommate Alex to let her know I would be making this for dinner in case she wanted to partake as well and she suggested I serve the fish with some quinoa we had in the apartment. What started out as a healthy Friday dinner turned into a very healthy Friday dinner.

I have always enjoyed a good mushroom and wine sauce, and there is even one I pair with chicken thighs. The addition of tomatoes gave the sauce more depth and texture. As for the fish, the mildness of the cod really lent itself well to the tomato and mushroom wine sauce. The sauce didn’t overwhelm the fish and vice versa. With many ingredients, the dish might sound complicated but overall was really easy to put together.  To complete a funfilled Friday night, Emily stopped by after getting her bangs trimmed and ended up staying for dinner. Along with roommate Alex, we opened a bottle of wine, ate dinner, and settled onto the couch to watch Crazy, Stupid Love a not completely terrible romcom.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Honey, Lemon, and Thyme Dressing

As I have mentioned several times before, my cousin Cathy is an amazing food blogger leading a life of indulgent meals at restaurants and equally delicious but much healthier meals at home. Not equally known is that her husband, Vernon, has his own food blog, Stellar Recipes. From what I can tell, Vernon, goes through the dozens of cookbooks in the couple’s collection and makes those recipes that interest him to much success. Let it be known, Vernon Chaplin is a very good cook. One of the recipes Vernon made earlier this year was roasted brussels sprouts with a dressing that was both sweet and tart. As I love brussels sprouts and am always looking for different ways to make them, I filed this recipe away in my head. I don’t need Pinterest, I have a photographic memory.

The recipe sat in my brain until Alex suggested making brussels sprouts to accompany the post-race brined pork tenderloin. Immediately I asked her to make Vernon’s recipe and she happily agreed. The brussels sprouts came out perfectly roasted and the dressing really brightened up the vegetable. Best of all, they accompanied the pork perfectly, but really I would make these brussels sprouts any time.

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Stir Fried Green Beans with Shrimp and Garlic

After an exhausting week at work, I had no desire to cook and no appetite. I just wanted to go home, pour myself a glass of bourbon, drink it, and go to bed. However, with a long run the next morning I knew going to bed with an empty stomach (or a bourbon-filled stomach) would not work out in my favor. I decided on a compromise of a fast and light dinner with the goal of getting something healthy in my stomach quickly so I could hit the hay on the early side.

After some perusing on the interwebs, I settled on making a stir fry with green beans, shrimp, and garlic. The recipe, on foodandwine.com, was provided by Eric and Sophie Banh who also provided the magazine with their lemongrass chicken recipe that I rely on heavily for a quick weekday meal. The Banh siblings know their Vietnamese food and I am happy they provided a handful of delicious and easy recipes to Food and Wine for the general public.

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Salmon Cakes with Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf

The Super Bowl fell on the Sunday after my birthday this year and while most Americans enjoyed wings, hoagies, chili, and hopefully one of these concoctions, I was ready for something light and healthy after several days of indulging in terrines, foie gras, red meat and cake. After consulting with roommate Alex, we decided to make salmon cakes as well as a quinoa and vegetable pilaf. Unfortunately the local Safeway was missing a few key ingredients for the vegetable pilaf so I had to improvise by substituting snow peas for asparagus and leaving out the mint completely. While the meal turned out really well, Alex commented that the quinoa and vegetable pilaf would have more depth and be tastier if we had made it according to the recipe.

A few weeks later, I decided it was time to make this meal again for a meatless Friday Lenten meal. This time, I was able to find the needed ingredients at Safeway. In addition, I took Friday morning off of work in order to let maintenance men into the apartment to fix the kitchen sink. I had a lot of plans for the morning off, but the only thing I really managed to accomplish was to get some extra shuteye and put together this delicious lunch which also turned into a delicious dinner. All in all, roommate Alex was right, the quinoa and vegetable pilaf was even better with asparagus and mint. The salmon cakes were light and flavorful with little filler and a burst of flavor coming from the capers. I couldn’t stop talking about this filling, meat-free, healthy, and tasty meal.


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