Katie is getting married next month. Poor, poor Katie. I feel for her. I really do. That last month was killer for me. Of course, Katie seems to have everything all together. AND her wedding is 3 times the size of mine and includes multiple ceremonies, scene changes, and wardrobe changes. We invited Katie and her fiance over to give them a night off from wedding planning. (To tell the truth though, I have a feeling Katie doesn't need time off and was just humoring me)
Dinner was citrus roasted chicken and a chinese chicken salad. Of course, since its Saturday I also made homemade bread - this time in the form of whole wheat rolls. The chicken was great. I adapted a Cooking Light recipe just because I thought it would be easy and tasty. Turns out I was right. In another "looks can be deceiving" type moment, Jon took a bite and made an "mmmm" noise. Curious, we all turned to await his pronouncement.
J: It doesn't taste how I would expect it to taste.
K: How would you expect it to taste?
J: It looks like it would be a spicy, Mexican dish.
K: But its sweet, huh?
J: Yeah, but with just enough kick to make it interesting.
Jon liked it so much that he suggested I keep the leftover sauce to use again. He felt even stronger about the Chinese chicken salad. "Anything with soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil is okay in my book" and "This is really good dressing." I'm not sure, but I think he might have licked his bowl. He really liked the fried wonton strips. Everytime he walked by he would steal some, until I had to hide them so there'd be enough left for the salad. He also had me save the extra dressing. I'm afraid he's going to drink it. Luckily its in the fridge and he hasn't quite figured out how to find things in the fridge yet.
As for the rolls.....I wanted them to be hot from the oven at dinner, but quickly realized that both the chicken and the rolls needed the oven and decided that hot chicken was more important than hot rolls. Still, the rolls were only out of the oven for 15 minutes before being served so they were almost hot from the oven. I do have to say I LOVE the Alton Brown method of bread making, everything comes out so well. And I'll let you in on one of my bread making secrets and one of Alton's.
Alton's bread making secret: After mixing the dough, let it sit for 20-30 minutes before kneading it. This rest, which is called autolyse, gives the starches and proteins in the flour time to hydrate. That will make the dough a lot easier to knead and will result in better gluten structure.
My bread making secret: Know how recipes always tell you to let the dough rise in a warm place free from drafts? I put my dough in the oven. And not just any oven. I preheat my oven to 150 and then turn it off. Then I put the dough in. The oven retains enough heat to be a warm environment, and that oven door keeps those pesky drafts away.
Citrus Roasted Chicken1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp honey
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 can thawed orange juice concentrate
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1) Preheat oven to 400
2) Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl. Brush both sides of chicken with orange mixture. Reserve remaining orange mixture. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
3) Place remaining orange mixture in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup. Serve with chicken.
Chinese Chicken Salad1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp crushed ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup peanut oil
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced (I coated my chicken with yellow mustard, cayenne pepper, and garlic and baked it)
8 wonton wrappers, cut into 1/2 strips and deep fried
1) In a small bowl combine first 6 ingredients. Whisk in peanut oil and set aside.
2) In large bowl lightly toss greens with 1/3 cup dressing.
3) Top with cooked chicken and wonton strips.
4) Serve remaining dressing on the side.
Whole Wheat Rolls2 tsp sugar
1 pckg dry yeast
1 can evaporated fat free milk, warmed
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cornmeal
2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1) Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm milk in a large bowl, let stand 5 minutes.
2) Add egg to mixture
3) Stir in 1 1/2 cups AP flour and 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat flour.
4) Cover and let stand 20-30 minutes (Autolyse Autolyse Autolyse)
5) Add 3/4 cup AP flour and salt. Stir until soft dough forms. Turn doigh out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size (Remember, the oven is your friend).
6) Form dough into a rectangle and flatten to redistribute gases. Fold into thirds. Repeat 3 times. Cover and let rest 5 minutes.
7) Shape dough into ball and cut into 16 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time, shape dough into balls by folding dough in on itself, pinching the bottom to create a smooth top, and lightly rolling ball on counter. Place shaped dough on 2 baking sheets, each lightly sprinkled with 1/2 tsp cornmeal. Lightly coat shaped dough portions with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in size.
8) Preheat oven to 400
9) Brush dough portions with butter. Place one baking sheet on bottom oven rack and one baking sheet on middle oven rack. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, rotate backing sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Place on wire racks. Serve warm, or cool on wire racks.