I love eating, cooking and especially reading about all different types of food. Every month I'll try recipes from some of my favorite culinary magazines and cook books, review restaurants and even share some of my own creations. I'll post pictures and let you know what works, how they taste and tips to make them better. I'll also enlist some friends around the country to tell you about some great food finds where they live.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Menu for Sunday January 31st

This Sunday I invited my girlfriend Shannon over to not only have dinner with me, but also help out.  She's an amazing cook and really knowledgeable about food and nutrition.  She's a registered nutritionist and has her own website.  Make sure you check it out!

Dishin Nutrition

For tonight's meal, Mr. Steele picked the Pickle Brined Chicken from the February 2010 issue of Food & Wine (pg. 96).  We also made a really great snack that I'm hooked on, Crispy Chickpeas, also from the February 2010 issue of Food & Wine (pg. 102).  For dessert, we went with the Milk Chocolate-Caramel Tart with Hazelnuts and Espresso from the February 2010 issue of Bon Appétit (pg. 85).

Let's start with the Crispy Chickpeas.  This is super easy.  The combination of the cumin and coriander is really delicious.  I don't think you need all the flour, so just eyeball it.  Make sure when you fry them up, don't crowd them or they won't get nice and crispy.  Season when they come out the oil with some fine salt.  These are really addictive.

Let's talk about this Pickle Brined Chicken.  I don't think this is worth the time and effort.  The chicken gets brined in pickle juice overnight, ok not a big deal.  But the process you go through for the minuscule amount of dark meat it's served over is too complicated.  I would have rather stopped at that point and just made soup from the stock and the dark meat.  Anyway after the dark meat cooled down, I had Shannon pull the meat off the bone.  Meanwhile, I pulled the chicken out the brine.  The key here is to get the pan nice and hot and really get a nice crust on the skin.   Let it get really brown or you won't get the right flavor.  About 5 minutes before I took the chicken out the oven, I started the chard.  It was perfect timing, the chard came out great!

Flavor wise, it was good.  You could tell the chicken was in the pickle brine.  Wasn't the best chicken I ever made flavor wise, but it was decent.

To finish off the meal, we had the Milk Chocolate-Caramel Tart with Hazelnuts and Espresso.  Mr. Steele isn't a fan of hazelnuts, so we substituted with pecans.  I also couldn't find the cocoa nibs, although Shannon picked some up for me today, thanks girl!  I used more pecans to replace the nibs for the top of the tart.  There are 3 steps for the tart that require chilling in the fridge, so make sure you start early or the day before.  I did the crust and the caramel before Shannon came over. 

She then helped me with the chocolate topping.  It came out beautifully!  The buttery crust and the chewy caramel was such a great compliment with the chocolate.  I brought the rest to work today, I think everyone liked it.

So thanks to Shannon for all her help.  I'm sure this won't be the last time she's a part of The Foodie Trials.  See you next week, I'll be doing another Foodie Trial installment from Long Island, NY.
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