I went to the store with absolutely no ideas for Friday Night Dinner. I always have some kind of idea, I thought I'd probably make something good but not "blog-worthy". I looked at the meat counter at Whole Foods and it was all the same stuff... chicken... steaks... pork chops... what will I make??? Just before the butcher asked what he could get for me I saw something a little different, Cornish Hens, hummmm "I will take two of the Cornish hens"... He gave them to me and I found a spot off to the side and looked up foodnetwork.com on my phone. One of the first recipes to pop up with 5 stars was cornbread stuffed Cornish game hens. I got the ingredients the recipe called for and sides that sounded like they might go well with the main dish. The strawberries looked good so I will do something with them... I will figure out the rest later...
French Black Olive and Crouton Skewers
This idea just popped into my head when I looked in the refrigerator for an appetizer idea. The olives were left over from the pissaladiere from last Friday night's menu and there was some leftover Sourdough bread from a couple days earlier. I thought I would cube up the bread and brown it in garlic flavored olive oil until it got some nice golden brown color on them and put them onto a small skewer with the very tasty Herbs De Provence black olives. I thought the saltiness of the olives and the crunchy, chewy and garlicky croutons would be a nice snack to have with drinks. They were easy and great with drinks, not too filling, really good.
Cornbread and Apple Stuffed Chicken Breast
So if you read the introduction you are saying..."I thought she got Cornish game hens"... well I did but when I opened them up one looked OK but the other one's skin was very thick looking and torn and there was an unpleasant odor coming from them. I read on-line about what they should look like and I saw that it said to stay away from torn skin and the breasts should be plump. Well these breasts weren't plump and the skin torn and the smell, I couldn't do it. "I will return them and use chicken from the freezer". So that's what I did. I defrosted two chicken breasts and pounded them out to about 1/2 inch thickness. I put a big scoop of the cornbread and apple stuffing in the center and just closed the chicken around the filling as best I could. OK now there is no skin so this is going to dry out..."Tony on your way home can you stop for some bacon or prosciutto?" So I pounded out the thick cut bacon Tony got for me and wrapped it around the chicken to protect it from drying out and come to find out it went really good with the filling and sides. I would have baked them in a 350 oven but I was roasting the sides in a 400 degree oven so I just went with that. I baked them for about 35 minutes uncovered, until an instant read thermometer registers 155-160. I never thought I'd make stuffed chicken breast for Tony because when he worked in the kitchen at Quidnessett Country Club he had to stuff hundreds of chicken breast, but he ended up loving this dish.
Celeriac and Sweet Potato Smash
I have combined celeriac with regular potato a few times, I have had celeriac on it's own but I thought what else can I combine with celeriac just to be different?? I thought sweet potatoes would work and they did. A couple days ago I par-boiled 1 inch cubed Yukon gold potatoes and then tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes or so and they were really good. So I thought I would do the celeriac and sweet potatoes the same way then smash them together so some bits are smooth and some are chunky and some spots you'd get those roasted crispy edges. I didn't put it in the title but I also served green beans simply steamed and tossed with butter, salt and pepper.
I was trying to think of something not too heavy and not too caloric. Egg whites are not fatty... I remembered this dessert I have seen Jamie Oliver do this and The Barefoot Contessa also. I loved these and will do them again. I should have started the meringue earlier but it worked out OK. The heading of the recipe said it would take 1 and 1/2 hours to make but there was a misprint. Where it said inactive prep time, it said 4 minutes but it should have said 4 hours. You really have to let them slowly cool down by shutting off the oven and just leaving them in there then remove them. They will crack if you don't let them cool slowly. It even says to let them cool in the oven overnight if you have the time. Not only did I start them late but I pre-heated the oven for the root vegetables (forgetting that the meringues were still in the oven) thank god I remembered before they were completely ruined.