Saturday, June 25, 2011

early birthday celebration and simple roast chicken

on wednesday our lovely seattle friend ms july stopped in on her way to spend the summer in SF with her fiance. not only did we want to make her an amazing meal that would fuel her solo road trip that she was taking the next day, but also because july is her birth month!

we started with roasted garlic, butter cheese and truffle salt crostini. popped open a bottle of bubbly, of course. (sorry, no pictures of this guy but you may remember these.)

the main was thomas keller's simple roast chicken with rogue creamery oregon blue and asparagus risotto

iphone picture by july

for dessert we had strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream. the california strawberries have been AMAZING! so sweet and ripe. i've eaten a pint a day for the past week. thank goodness they aren't super spendy, i'm not sure could stop eating them.

iphone picture by july

we always have a wonderful time when ms july comes to visit. it's always bittersweet when she leaves. and to be honest, i was a bit envious of her solo road trip, i wish i could have joined her. i do love a good road trip.

roasted garlic for the crostini:
cut off 1/4/ to 1/2 of the cloves of 2 or 3 heads of garlic. you want all of the cloves showing.
place on a sheet of foil, drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.
scrunch up the foil and create a seal.
bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 min until the cloves are golden brown and soft.

blue cheese and asparagus risotto:
3 cups homemade or canned chicken stock - heated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion finely diced
1/2 cup dry white wine (or dry vermouth)
1 cup arborio rice
1 medium wedge blue cheese (about 1/2 cup, give or take)
1 bunch pencil asparagus cut into 1/4 inch discs
salt & pepper

in a heavy bottomed sauce pan or skillet, heat the butter over medium heat, add the onion and sauté till soft. add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until all the butter is absorbed and the rice starts to toast just a little.

add the wine (or vermouth) and stir until completely absorbed. add a ladle of heated stock and stir until all the stock is absorbed into the rice. continue this process until the rice is creamy and has just a little bite to it (like pasta cooked al dente). should take about 20 minutes.

stir in the asparagus, cook for about 1-2 minutes. add the cheese, stir until completely melted into the rice. season well with salt and pepper. serve hot.

thomas keller's simple roast chicken
watch this

rolled biscuits for strawberry shortcake:
adapted from the joy of cooking
1 3/4 cups AP flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons cold butter cut into small cubes
2/3 to 3/4 cup milk (i used 1%)

preheat oven to 450.
combine flour, salt, sugar and baking power. add butter. cut shortening into dry ingredients with a pastry blender, 2 knives or your hands until the mixture is of the consistency of coarse corn meal. make a well in the center, add the milk, (i start with half the amount and add more if the dough is looking dry) stir until the dough is almost free from the sids of the bowl. this should only take less than a minute.
turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. knead gently for about 1/2 minute. form the dough into a disc shape into desired thickness - about 1.5 inches. using a biscuit cutter or similar, cut out desired amount of biscuits. place on a baking sheet*, brush with melted butter or milk. sprinkle with sugar if you'd like. bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

*the joy of cooking says bake on a non-greased baking sheet, but some of my biscuits stuck. next time i will lightly grease the baking sheet.

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