Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WCC#32: Garlic

This month's Challenge is hosted by Carla of Chocolate Moosey and the theme is Garlic. It was a toss up between Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic and 44-Clove Garlic Soup. Can't go wrong either way, in my opinion. I've been trying to work my way through my Del.icio.us recipe bookmarks - I now have 198 - so I checked out what I had tagged under garlic. The soup sounded good, too, but Brian (no longer bf and hi, I'm Lisa, by the way) loves chicken, so I went with the classic Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. I had been wanting to try this recipe since seeing Ina Garten make it on her Barefoot Contessa show. This one I found from smitttenkitchen, who in turn got it from the NY Times.

The recipe is pretty simple, especially if you can find those already-peeled garlic cloves. This was the first time I tried them, and I am officially a fan. These we picked up at Fred Meyer near the bagged salads and mushrooms.

I used my Lodge Dutch Oven for this with good results. I made some changes, though - I didn't use the chicken stock called for in the last step because I didn't have any made. It seemed to have enough liquid - and what's the point of browning chicken, creating perfectly crispy skin, and then sogging it up with too much liquid? I used chicken thighs instead of a whole cut-up chicken as well. Next time I make this I won't start with the heat on high like the recipe suggests as my garlic got a little browner than I wanted. It was still good, though. The recipe's a winner, especially served with Brian's mashed potatoes.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

from "Bistro Cooking" by Patricial Wells via the NY Times and Smitten Kitchen

1 3- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
About 40 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or canned broth (optional)

1. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Place a deep, nonreactive skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add oil and butter. When fats are hot but not smoking, add chicken pieces skin side down and cook until skin turns an even, golden brown, about 5 minutes. Work in batches, if necessary, and carefully regulate heat to avoid scorching skin. Turn pieces and brown them on other side for an additional 5 minutes.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Bury garlic cloves under chicken to make sure they settle in one layer at bottom of skillet. Saute, shaking or stirring pan frequently, until garlic is lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add wine and stock (if using), scraping bottom of pan.

3. Cover and continue cooking until juices run clear when a thigh is pricked, 10 to 15 minutes more. Check this after 10 minutes, because mine was definitely done then. Serve chicken with garlic and pan juices and, if desired, rice or potatoes.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Belly Timber

Seems like most of the brou-ha-ha over Belly Timber has to do with the name. For all y'all who don't know, it is "Victorian slang for all sorts of food". I get it. You stoke a fire with timber, you stoke your body with food. I kind of like it, even. So there.

Belly Timber resides in a big Victorian house on Hawthorne. This place popped to the top of my must-go-to list with the mention of pork belly eggs benedict. So you might say I knew what I was going to order right from the get-go. However, I had a hard time passing up the roasted mushroom & herb omelette with sheeps milk feta, the smoked sausage and potato scramble with chive sour cream, the fried chicken & waffle with bacon butter and maple syrup, the potato frittata sandwich with romesco and arugula on toasted sourdough, and the BT burger with housemade fries and bone marrow aioli. Yes, all of those sounded divine (and still do), but I ultimately decided to go with my original choice, the Belly Benedict - poached eggs, roasted pork belly and hollandaise. The decision was made even easier by the recommendation from the only other occupied table in our room. "You must get the benedict. The hollandaise is the best I've ever had." You had me at hollandaise. I'm a big fan.

And it lived up to its promise. Thick slices of delicately roasted pork belly sat atop a nicely crisp English muffin topped with perfectly poached eggs in a slip of hollandaise. I was feeling extra decadent and ordered an extra side of hollandaise. Once or twice a year isn't going to kill me... An interesting thing to note: the benedict came with a salad on the side. Very nice. The tangy dressed greens were a nice foil for the richness of the benedict and that luscious hollandaise.

My friend ordered the bacon and banana stuffed french toast with honey mascarpone and pecans. Not my thing, sweet breakfasts, but she seemed to like it just fine. I had a bite and liked the bacon in it.
The next time I go, I think I may have to go for that mushroom omelette and try a side of grits with it.

Belly Timber
3257 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 235-3277