Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Halloween Post

There are so many Halloweeny things to blog about, I don't really know where to begin! I guess with the appetizer :-)

The Happy Sorceress hosts virtual cocktail parties every month. I made this appetizer for the October Halloween Party, but because life ran away with me this month, I never got around to blogging about it. Basically, the idea is to make a hors d'ouevre for the virtual cocktail party, based on the theme of the month, then blog about it. The Cocktail party happens when the Happy Sorceress rounds up all the entries and posts them on her blog. For the Halloween Party, I wanted to think of something that was Halloweeny, but didn't involve pumpkin. Somehow, I thought about vampires and fangs and this super easy yet delish appetizer was born.

Goat Cheese & Garlic Pitas with Marinara

Marinara sauce of your choice (I used a version of this)
1 4 oz log of goat cheese
1/2 head of garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 pitas

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Drizzle garlic with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil, and roast at 425 for about 30-45 minutes, until soft and fragrant
3. Place goat cheese in a small bowl and squeeze garlic pulp into it. Season with salt and pepper and mix until garlic is well incorporated into the cheese
4. Spread goat cheese mixture on pitas and toast in oven for about 4-6 minutes.

To serve, cut pitas into triangular pieces and arrange on a tray surrounding bowl of marinara. Dip the wedges in the sauce and enjoy!

Now on to dinner. I wanted to make a dinner in the spirit of Halloween, but given how busy I've been recently, it had to be 1.) easy and 2.) not require a trip to the grocery store. I came across this pumpkin soup. Since I had everything on hand, I decided to go for it.

As I was browsing soup recipes, I saw one that garnished with popcorn and fresh sage, so I decided I would steal that idea for a more festive presentation. The soup was good, but if I make it again, I will add more spice to it.

I also did a Halloween Goodie Tray for the grad students in Psycling's lab.

I made tarantula cookies and spiderweb cookies (though I used this cookie recipe). Then there were caramel popcorn balls, pumpkin spice bread (with a few modifications), and sugar cookies decorated as ghosts, pumpkins, and bats. Of course there was a bowl of candy, because is it really Halloween without a big bowl of assorted candy? Psycling said this weeks food was a big hit, and that everyone loved the fun of the Halloween goodies. The empty trays at the end of the day are also a good sign.

And, being the dog-lover that I am, I couldn't let Halloween go by without making a treat for Thea!

Pumpkin Dog treats

1 1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 c. regular flour (plus lots of extra for kneading and rolling)
1 c. powdered milk
1 egg
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. vegetable broth
3/4 c. canned pumpkin

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. It will be kind of gooey and pasty. Add flour and mix until mixture forms a shaggy dough. Dump out onto floured surface and roll out to about 1/4" - 1/2" thick (depending on the size of your cookie cutter). Cut out treats and arrange on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until firm. Reduce oven temperature to 225 degrees and leave cookies in for 1-2 hours to dry out and crisp up.

Of all the Halloween treats I make, these are Thea's favorites!!

So that's my Halloween round up. I've been spending lots of time in the kitchen getting all this stuff ready, so I'm looking forward to some nice relaxing evenings the rest of the week.

I hope all of you had wonderful and spooky Halloweens!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Daring Bakers Cocktail Hour

I really enjoyed this month's Daring Baker's Challenge, mainly because I learned so much from it. This month, Mary at Alpineberry hosted the challenge, and the recipe was a Bostini Cream Pie, one of her favorite desserts from a local Bay Area restaurant. The recipe is a nice vanilla custard topped with an orange chiffon cake and finished off with a wonderful chocolate glaze. While there were a few modifications allowed (we could alter the flavoring of the chiffon cake as long as it was light colored and did not affect the coloring of the cake), we could get as creative as we wanted with presentation. I decided that Bostini Martini had a nice ring to it, and thought that martini glasses would make for a wonderful presenation!

This dessert was an all day affair. I started by baking the cake:

Since I knew I would be serving the cake in martini glasses, I decided that rather than baking the cakes in molds, I would bake it in a regular cake pan and cut circles to fit the martini glass. I thought everything was going very well...until I took the cake out of the oven! I noticed that my cake had two distinct layers: A wonderful light fluffy layer on top and a dense rubbery layer on the bottom. I tried again, and the same thing happened! However, I was able to separate the good layer from the rubber layer and come up with enough cake to make my desserts, and when I served them later that night, no one was any the wiser :-)

Next up was the custard:

Fortunately, I had much better luck with the custard. I followed the recipe as written, and it came out perfectly. Then it was time to assemble.

I filled each martini glass with custard, added my de-rubbered cake circles, and topped with glaze...

I added a little orange garnish and...Voila! I had a wonderful Bostini Martini!

Epilogue: After consulting the wonderful DBs, I came to the conclusion that my rubber layer was a result of not correctly folding in the egg whites. So, I did a little research and tried again, and my chiffon cake turned out perfectly! it's time for the recipe:

Bostini Cream Pie
(from Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni and Scala's Bistro)
Makes 8 generous servings



3/4 cup whole milk
2 3/4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 whole egg, beaten
9 egg yolks, beaten
3 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean (EDITED: vanilla extract is okay)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar

Chiffon Cake

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 1/3 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup beaten egg yolks (3 to 4 yolks)
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Chocolate Glaze

8 ounces semi or bittersweet chocolate
8 ounces unsalted butter


To prepare the custard:

Combine the milk and cornstarch in a bowl; blend until smooth. Whisk in the whole egg and yolks, beating until smooth. Combine the cream, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan and carefully bring to a boil. When the mixture just boils, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture to temper it, then whisk this back into the cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard and pour into 8 large custard cups. Refrigerate to chill.

To prepare the chiffon cakes:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray 8 molds with nonstick cooking spray. You may use 7-ounce custard cups, ovenproof wide mugs or even large foil cups. Whatever you use should be the same size as the custard cups.

Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, zest and vanilla. Stir until smooth, but do not overbeat.

Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold the beaten whites into the orange batter. Fill the sprayed molds nearly to the top with the batter.

Bake approximately 25 minutes, until the cakes bounce back when lightly pressed with your fingertip. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, remove the cakes from the molds. Cover the cakes to keep them moist.

To prepare the glaze:

Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it is just about to bubble. Remove from the heat; add the chocolate and stir to melt. Pour through a strainer and keep warm.

To assemble:

Cut a thin slice from the top of each cake to create a flat surface. Place a cake flat-side down on top of each custard. Cover the tops with warm chocolate glaze. Serve immediately.

And, don't forget to check out what the other daring bakers did with this month's challenge.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thankful Thursdays

So, I haven't been keeping up with Thankful Thursdays the way I'd like...but better to do it occasionally than not at all, right?

Today I am thankful for:

Five wonderful years with Psycling! The past five years have been wonderful, and I can't imagine having spent them with anyone else. We have had romantic vacations, spontaneous adventures, gourmet meals, frozen pizza, crazy fun dates, and Fridays cuddled together on the couch. Every second we're together is wonderful just because we're together. I'm looking forward to the many years we have before us, the adventures life has in store for us, and seeing where the path takes us as we wander through life hand in hand.

The opportunity to be involved with The Visit at work. We were encouraged to volunteer as much as possible to help make The Visit the success that it was. It meant several long days, but having the opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama speak three times over the course of two days was wonderful. He was insightful, funny, profound, and simple all at once. He truly is an amazing human being who radiates peace and compassion. I was left with many things to ponder, and inspired to try to live a life of loving kindness and compassion.

Ok, so this is Thea's Halloween costume, but I really do think she's a SuperDog! When I'm not feeling well, she curls up next to me and rests her head on my leg. Every night, she falls asleep at our feet. And every day, she greets me with kisses and tail wags. She's great with all the other dogs in the neighborhood, and very adaptable all around. All that matters to her is being with her people, and as long as Psycling and I are around, she's happy. She's a great companion for us, and makes are life so much more fulfilled and happy.

So those are the things I'm feeling thankful for today. Though I apologize for the lack of blogging recently...between working a lot, cooking a lot, wonderful celebrations, and the cold that's knocked me out the past few days, I haven't quite been up to it. But more to come, I promise!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The First Five of Many to Come

This weekend Psycling and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. We decided to celebrate by "re-creating" our wedding night. We started the evening by having dinner at the restaurant where we had our wedding reception. It's an antebellum southern mansion that was transplanted to Atlanta, and has been renovated and become a wonderful restaurant and event venue. Though they are primarily known for their events, which are held downstairs, there are a few small rooms upstairs that serve as a dining room for dinner customers. I tried to be a good food blogger and remember to take pictures, but I was only half successful.

We started with a baked brie appetizer with pita wedges, apple slices, and drizzled with a strawberry sauce.

Next, Psycing had a mixed green salad with raspberry vinnaigrette, and I had an iceberg wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and bacon. I forgot to take pictures before we dug in. Ooops!

My entree was a crab meat stuffed grouper with hollandaise sauce,

while Psycling had the lamb.

They brought us a special anniversary dessert of a chocolate mousse torte sort of thing that was super-delicious. But I forgot to take a picture of that too...

After a fabulous dinner, we went to the Westin Peachtree Plaza downtown, which is the hotel where we spent our wedding night. This is what I found when we got back to the room:

The next morning, this was our breakfast:

And this was the view from our room:

The evening was as magical and perfect as our wedding night. Psycing and I had a wonderful time enjoying time together and conversation and reveling in our joy at growing together and sharing our life and love. We look forward to many many more years together!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Taste & Create II

When I started blogging, I never imagined how wonderful, fun, and creative the food blogging world could be. Nicole at For the Love of Food has decided to host a monthly food blogging event called "Taste & Create." For this event, two different food bloggers are paired up with each other. They each pick a recipe from the other's blog, cook it, eat it, and then blog about it. For this Taste & Create event, I was paired up with Val from More Than Burnt Toast. She has lots of yummy looking recipes to choose from, and Psycling and I browsed through them together. It was difficult to pick just one. But, after some browsing, the recipe that jumped out at me was the Spiced Chicken Skewers with Raita. Psycling and I both LOVE Indian food, but I don't have much experience making it, so this was a fun experiment. I was also excited about finding a recipe that would allow me to use the Iranian Saffron that my mom brought back for me when she went to Turkey last year. :-)

Psycling and I both really enjoyed this recipe. I served the skewers over rice with a side of spinach sauteed with ginger, garlic, and coriander. The yogurt marinade kept the chicken quite moist, and was wonderfully spiced. And the Raita sauce (not pictured) was the perfect complement to the skewers! Psycling and I both mixed together the meat and veggies from the skewer with the rice and raita to make a delicious (though admitedly not photogenic) mixture.

This is definitely a dish I would make again, though it is a bit time and labor intensive. Because the meat and veggies need to marinate overnight, I had to prepare that one night, in addition to that night's dinner (better menu planning on my part might have avoided that problem). But, one bite, and we realized that it was worth it the time and effort. It's a meal I would not hesitate to serve to guests.

Here's Val's recipe. Give it a try sometime!

Spiced Chicken Skewers with Raita
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 T peeled fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
cooking spray
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To prepare kebabs, combine the first 12 ingredients through to red bell pepper in a large zip-top plastic bag, seal and marinate in refrigerator overnight, turning bag occasionally.
Prepare grill.
Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade. Thread chicken, onion and bell peppers alternately on each of 8 (12-inch) bamboo skewers (having soaked them immersed in water for hours). Coat kebabs with cooking spray, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place kebabs on a grill rack coated with cooking spray or oil. Grill 25 minutes or until chicken is done, turning occasionally. Remove from grill, keep warm.

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/3 cup diced seeded tomato
1/4 cup cu, peeled, seeded, grated and squeezed dry
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
1 T minced jalapeno pepper
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt

Combine 1/2 cup yogurt with remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with kebabs.
Serves 8

Surf over to Val's blog and check out her yummy recipes. And while you're there, check out her take on my chicken breasts with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Kitchen Math

I'm hoping that a time will come when I will be able to make my living through my cooking. Probably won't be any time soon, but it's still a goal I have. One way I would love to do this is teaching children's cooking classes aimed at reinforcing the basic skills learned in school. This month's Daring Bakers Challenge provided a great example of a cooking math lesson (and no, I will not be giving any clues about this month's challenge in this'll just have to wait until 10/29 to find out about it).

The recipe called for 2 3/4 Tbs. of cornstarch. I'm not sure about you, but I don't have a 1/4 Tbs. measure. So how to get the precise amount? Eyeballing it just wouldn't do.

So, I pulled out my handy-dandy kitchen scale, placed a small ramekin on it and zeroed it out. Then, I measured out my tablespoon of cornstarch.

I then weighed my tablespoon of cornstarch. Apparently, 1 Tbs. of cornstarch is 8 g.

Then I used math, algebra even, to figure out how much 2 3/4 Tbs. of cornstarch would weigh. Apparently, the answer is 22 g. This is when I hope I did the math right so the entire blogging world doesn't see that I'm an idiot. :-) But since the recipe worked, I think I'm ok.

I then weight out my 22 g of cornstarch and went on with my baking :-)

I love it that there are so many things you can teach (and learn) through cooking. Math is a very obvious one. But science and chemistry are important. And reading. You have to be able to read to follow a recipe and. And I like the idea of using food to learn about other cultures. I can see myself teaching geography and culture through food. Understanding the cuisines of the world and why they are what they are. There's so much there. And by using food and cooking to teach these lessons to kids, you are able to open their eyes to new things, and help them build a skill that will serve them well the rest of their lives. I know my kids (when the time comes) will do lots of learning in the kitchen with me.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Pizza Pizza Pizza

My mom's birthday is coming up. Because I love cooking for the people I love, I invited her to dinner, along with my dad and my brother. In trying to formulate a menu that wouldn't involve too many added ingredients, I decided to make pita pizzas.

I made a pizza with roasted garlic and eggplant with fresh mozzarella, one with fennel, goat cheese and oranges, (both recipes found here), and one with roasted figs and prosciutto with aged provolone and a balsamic reduction.

The fig pizza was very yummy. I don't even really like red meat, and I liked this. Roasting the figs brought out the sweetness that was so well complemented by the saltiness of the prosciutto. The aged provolone had a nice but understated bite to it that really tied everything together nicely, and the balsamic reduction add a depth of flavor that took this pizza from good to amazing! Of course, it also meant we had appetizers made out of the pizza left overs: a blob of goat cheese on top of a roasted fig and wrapped in a paper-thin slice of prosciutto. Of the three, this was Psycling's favorite pizza.

Pita Pizza with Roasted Figs, Prosciutto, and Balsamic Reduction
(Makes 2 pizzas)
7-10 figs, quartered
2 pocketless pitas
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 oz. aged provolone, shaved (a pecorino or good parmesan would also work here)
1/4 c. thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1-2 Tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Place quartered figs (cut side up) in roasting pan, and roast at 425 for abot 12 minutes, until juicy.
3. Brush pitas with 1 Tbs. each of olive oil. Sprinkle heavily with shaved cheese. Sprinkle about 1 Tbs. of chopped prosciutto over each pita. Arrange figs (cut side up) on pita, and sprinkle with remaining prosciutto. Sprinkle with herbs.
4. Heat balsamic vinegar in small saucepan. Boil until reduced to about 1/4 c. Drizzle 2 Tbs. of reduction over each pizza.
5. Bake pizzas at 425F for about 8-10 minutes.

As for our dessert...well, you'll just have to wait until the October Darin Bakers post on the 29th.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thankful Thursdays

I've been thinking about gratefulness since reading an article in Reader's Digest on scientific studies that have been done on the power of taking time to count your blessings. The article talks about the results of a study using three groups of people: one group kept a daily record of things they were thankful for; one group was asked to focus on the negative things that happened; and the third control group did nothing at all. The study found that members of the group that focused on being thankful was happier, more optimistic, healthier, and more likely to help others.

Some college girlfriends and I have a Yahoo group that we use to keep in touch. Since graduating, the group has grown, and I've become friends with with several women I've never met. I've deepened friendships with friends I've had for years. It's a wonderful and inspiring group of women to be able to count as my friends. Sometime a few years ago, someone decided to send a post outlining things they were thankful for. Before long, our "Monday Thanks" became a regular topic. It's faded in frequency a bit, recently, and it's not always on Monday anymore, but every once in a while, one of us will send an email with Thanks.

I love Monday Thanks. Not only is it a great way to keep up with what's going on in each other's lives, but the sense of thankfulness and optimism is contagious. I found it impossible to read other ladies' lists of thanks and not start to mentally make my own list of things I am thankful for. Another wonderful thing about our Monday thanks is that many of the most profound and poignant offers of thanks came during times of trouble. It was a way to keep life in perspective.

We all live busy lives, sometimes wondering how we even find time to eat or breathe or just remember to say "I love you" to the important people in our lives. I don't want to live a life that's too busy and stressful to recognize all the blessings I have, all the things I have to be thankful for. So I hope to have one post a week that will be about the good things in life. And just like the Monday Thanks emails did for me, I hope that reading my list of thanks will inspire you to look at your own life and see all there is to be thankful for.

So without further ado, today I am thankful for:

1. Puppy Kisses: Every day when I get home from work, I am greeted by 95 lbs. of energetic, tail-wagging excitement. If Thea is at the park outside, all I have to do is call her name, and she comes running at full speed to give me lots of love and kisses. In fact, if I take the trash out, when I walk back in the door, I'm greeted like a long-lost friend who has been gone way too long!

2. Phone calls from far-away friends. HLG was my college roommate, and one of the best friends a person could have. We always have so much fun together. She's the one who taught me to knit and how to eat crabs. She is the embodiment of fun and adventure, and lives life to its fullest more than almost anyone else I know. She's in vet school now at Virginia Tech, which meas we don't get to see each other or talk to each other nearly enough. So a phone call from H can always brighten my day.

3. The Office: I love this show! It never fails to make me laugh hysterically. The cast is amazing and the writing top notch. I can't wait to head upstairs and watch it tonight. Silly, I know, but it makes me happy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I love having dinner guests. It gives me an excuse to go all-out and cook meals way beyond what we would normally have for dinner. So when Psycling said that he wanted to invite a friend for dinner so they could talk shop, I was all for it. I've been wanting to blog about my Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken breasts, and this was the perfect opportunity to make it! I have to admit, it was really good, and the Zinfandel Psycling chose to have with it was the perfect complement!

This was one of my first original recipes. I came up with it when I went to visit a friend in Boston. She had just moved into her condo and had limited things in the kitchen. I wanted to make her dinner to thank her for hosting me, and looked around her kitchen to see what inspired me. After a quick trip to the grocery store, this is what came together. It's gone through several iterations and revisions since that first time, and I've finally gotten it to a version I'm happy with.

Goat Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breasts
(Serves 4)
1/2 head garlic
4 oz log of goat cheese
2 Tbs. minced sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil (divided)
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. marjoram
salt & pepper to taste
1 small onion
1 red bell pepper
2-3 Tbs. olive oil
4 chicken breasts
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Several strands of kitchen twine or toothpicks for holding rolls together.

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Drizzle garlic with a little bit of olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast at 425 for 45 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Allow to cool then separate cloves.
3. While garlic is roasting, chop onion and red bell pepper, and place in a small roasting pan. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of basil and toss together.
4. Combine goat cheese, tomatoes, oregano, remaining 3/4 tsp. basil, thyme, marjoram, and salt and pepper. Add garlic when ready, and mix together until smooth.
5. Chop onion and red bell pepper, and place in a small roasting pan. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. of basil and toss.

6. Place chicken breasts between layers of heavy duty plastic wrap, and use meat mallet or small pan to pound breasts to about 1/4" thickness. Spread 1/4 of the goat cheese mixture on each breast. Roll up chicken breasts (as seen on the right) and use kitchen twine or toothpicks to hold together.
7. Heat 1-2 Tbs. olive oil in a medium to large skillet. While oil is heating, place pan of vegetables in 425F degree oven. Place chicken rolls in skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes, rotating rolls until browned all over. Remove chicken from skillet and place over vegetables in roasting pan. Cook until chicken is cooked through (about 25 minutes), and thermometer inserted into thickest portion reads at least 155F.
8. Remove vegetables from pan, and toss together with balsamic vinegar.

To serve, place chicken roll on plate, remove kitchen twine or toothpick, and top with about 1/4 c. of vegetable mixture.

Add a green salad and some Italian Bread, and you have a wonderful meal!

A few notes about this recipe: I usually use the oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, but you can also use the dried ones. Just be sure to reconstitute them by soaking in hot water for about 30 minutes before adding them to the goat cheese. I also find that my hands tend to be the best kitchen tool for mixing the goat cheese. It makes it much easier to really ensure that everything gets mixed together well.

I have made this recipe now several times, and it never fails to get rave reviews.

We finished the meal with a fabulous, rich, flourless Chocolate Cake, but you'll just have to check back later to get that recipe.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Everything Tastes Better on a Grill

This year we finally got the grill we've been talking about getting for the past several years. Something about getting volunteered to host a cook-out forces you into it...not that we're complaining, because we LOVE our grill. We love it so much, I kinda wonder how we got along so long with out it. And now that we're moving toward fall and it's not so frickin' hot down here, grilling is even more enjoyable. This weekend, I got inspired and made a grilled dinner for us. It was one of those "use up stuff in the fridge" dinners, and I was really pleased with it!

The chicken was great and the vegetables were done perfectly. I marinated the chicken and veggies in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and some fresh herbs before throwing them on the grill. The rice was something that just kind of happened as I cooked it. This was such a great meal, I wanted to share it with you!

Combine the following in each of two zip-top plastic bags:
3-4 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2-3 Tbs. of fresh chopped herbs (I used oregano, thyme, and basil)

In bag one, add two chicken breasts and toss to coat.
In bag two, add the following:
2 small zucchini,halved
1 small summer squash, halved
1 onion cut into 3/4" - 1" slices

Toss to coat. Let these bags of marinade sit and work their magic while you go get the grill started and warmed (about 25-30 minutes). While grill is warming, start on the rice pilaf.

Once grill is warmed, cook chicken and vegetables until done. For chicken, juices should run clear and internal temperature should reach at least 155 degrees, F. Grill veggies until tender and slightly charred.

Chop grilled veggies and toss them together. To serve, place chicken breast atop a bed of the rice pilaf and sever the tossed veggies on the side.

Rice Pilaf:

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white rice
1 cup water
2 Tbs. pine nuts, toasted
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley.
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

In a medium sauce pan, sauté shallots in oil until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another 30-45 seconds. Add rice, and stir until rice is coated in oil and slightly toasted. Add water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer rice until all water is absorbed and rice is tender. In a bowl, toss rice with pine nuts, parsely, and lemon juice.

Happy Grilling!