Monthly Archives: July 2010

Chicken Caprese w/ Capellini & Pepperoncinis

This may be one of my favorite things that I have cooked in a very long time. It is sooo easy, but the flavors are amazing and so fresh. Yes, you have to turn on your oven–I know it is summertime, but believe me, it is worth it.

You can cook this for one or for as many people as you would like. It would be a really easy, inexpensive and fast thing to cook for a dinner party. Tonight, however, I was just cooking for myself. I used two organic, free range, chicken breasts to start with. Spray a little bit of olive oil (spray–or use a paper towel to lightly coat the bottom of the glass cooking dish). You don’t need a lot.

Then, brush the chicken with olive oil on the top.

Add a little sea salt and cracked black pepper, and that is all of the seasoning you need!

Then, slice one or two (depending on the size) Roma tomatoes into slices and layer the top of the chicken with them.

After the tomatoes, choose 4 – 6 whole fresh organic basil leaves and place them on top of the tomatoes.

Set your oven to about 400 degrees and then cook the chicken for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until it reaches 170 degrees inside. I simply sliced the side of one of the chicken breasts to make sure that there wasn’t any pink to make sure they were done. After the chicken had been in for about 20 minutes, I put the capellini over boiling water. It is a good rule of thumb that for each person you need about a nickle size of pasta. I let this boil for the last 10 minutes or so that the chicken was cooking.

When the chicken is nearly done, take it out and add the fresh mozzarella (did I mention that I have been craving tomatoes and mozzarella all summer??). After adding it to the top of the chicken, cook it for about another 3 – 5 minutes while your pasta is cooking.

I didn’t want to use a sauce for the pasta, but I knew it would need some flavor. This artichoke petso is one of my favorite items to buy from the organic section. It is great on crackers or bread…and also awesome to toss in pasta. It runs about $7, and doesn’t last long, but it is one of the best things that you will ever eat. I can’t get enough of it. The good news is, that when you use it on pasta, you don’t need a lot of it.

I also added about 2 tablespoons of sour cream into the pasta and then tossed that with the artichoke pesto. It made for a perfect and very light pasta sauce. And, when the chicken comes out of the oven, it looks and smells wonderful!

Add the chicken to the pasta…and that is about it. I had some pepperoncinis, and I have been craving them since a friend mentioned them a few weeks ago. I thought that the flavors would compliment each other well, so I added a few to the mix. They were the most amazing bit of flavor and spice and a perfect addition to this dish. I nibbled on them as I was eating the chicken and pasta, and it was pretty much an explosion of perfect flavor fireworks. I am pretty sure, even alone, I was “yumming” out loud.

This is a MUST try!

Other things to try? I think cooking the chicken with stewed tomatoes would make for a good sauce for the pasta. You wouldn’t need to add anything to the capellini if that was the case. Also, a cream sauce would have been rich, but amazing with the chicken and mozzarella. Try a few different things and give it your own spin…but TRY this one at home soon!

Easy Brushetta

If it has mozzarella and tomatoes, then I will probably love it. This summer I have been craving brushetta and I have made it a few different ways. It is such a great snack and/or meal that also has my most favorite ingredients ever. And I promise, if you buy the cheese and produce from an organic market, you will taste the difference.

Here is what you start with:
6 Roma Tomatoes
Organic Mozzarella Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Organic Basil
Cracked Pepper, Sea Salt and Garlic
Multi-Grain or Sourdough Banquette (fresh)

First, dice the Roma Tomatoes and toss with a bit of sea salt. Then use the entire bit of mozzarella cheese, cut into smaller squares. And please, eat a few while you are doing it. It is hard to beat the amazing flavor of fresh mozzarella. You don’t want to keep this cheese in your fridge for more than a week, so it is best to use it all at once. I also like a lot of fresh basil (dried can also be used, but you lose a lot of flavor that way). Cut the sections of leaves into thin ribbons and add to the mixture. Add about 1/4 cup of olive oil (please try to find a really good organic olive oil, as this enhances the flavor; a cheap olive oil can really be tasted over the flavors of the tomatoes and cheese). Then, salt and pepper to taste, adding some garlic and even a bit of onion salt or powder if you so desire.

On this occasion, I used a sourdough baguette, which was perfect. However, I really like using multi-grain fresh baguette as well when I make brushetta. Add a little balsamic vinager to the bread before filling it up with the yummy stuff, and you will be in heaven. You can toast the bread and brush will olive oil as well, and here I have also added some salt and pepper to the bread. Use a whole basil leaf for garnish, and this is a great and easy dish for yourself or to take to a party. It is also healthy!

Also, try this recipe with an avocado! The flavors work really well together and it is delicious with warm corn tortillas.

Eva–My Current Favorite SLC Restaurant

Right now, for me, it doesn’t get better than Eva in Salt Lake City. After several dinner and brunch trips to this small, quaint, intimate Mediterranean tapas restaurant, I can safely say, that it doesn’t get much better for the price and atmosphere. There also seems to be an endless selection of amazing dishes and specials that rotate enough, but not so often that you can’t ever get the same dish if you had it on special.

On this particular evening, I tried a few dishes that I had previously had and a few new ones. The service at Eva has always been fantastic and they are great at recommending things and answering questions. I would highly recommend asking your server to give you some highlights for that evening. Remember, if the staff is eating a certain dish, you can almost guarantee that it is one of the best things on the menu. And usually, a server won’t lie about not particularly enjoying a certain item. Never feel strange about aking your server questions. After 10 years waiting tables, I will tell you that being able to talk about the food being served was a highlight.

First off, the Brussel Sprouts are a must at Eva. They are shredded and then cooked with toasted hazelnuts and cider vinegar. They have a marvelous and surprising flavor. The vinegar creates just enough zing to notice and the hazelnuts really round off the full flavor. Don’t forget to order this dish.

After the Brussel Sprouts, another one of my favorite dishes made its way to the table; the Butter Lettuce Salad and Goat Cheese Crustini. Anything with goat cheese is my dear friend. This creamy and potent cheese is one of my favorite things to eat. The dish comes with two crustini topped with goat cheese and a beautiful butter leaf lettuce salad in the center with a wine reduction for dressing. Usually this dish comes with a tasty and fresh pear relish on the side, but this evening, it came out with a cranberry relish that was good–but not as awesome as the pears. I could eat this dish every day–no joke.

Along with the Crustini, the Calamari also came out. Calamari can be difficult to do well, I think. Actually, I think that most fried food can get messed up pretty fast. It is a balance between not enough and too much batter–or if the batter is too light or still soaking in oil. The calamri at Eva is near perfection. The breading isn’t overwhelming so you can really taste the squid and also enjoy the texture. I figure for those readers who actually like calamari, they really do enjoy the texture–which is why I mention it. The aioli is made with sherry and cayanne and is pretty intense, so you don’t need much of it. I also like this, because with such fresh calamari, you don’t want to drown it in sauce. This also is presented with greens and topped with sea salt. Such a great dish.

Next on the list was something I had not tried before, the Spanakopita with spicy feta and balsamic. This was my favorite of the evening. First off, look at it. Have you ever seen Spanakopita presented this way? It was beautiful. The spicy feta was a great asset to the spinach filled filo dough and the balsamic was a nice sweet afterthought. This dish truely wowed me.

In fact, all of these dishes wowed me. This is why I really enjoy eating at a tapas restaurant; you can order several different dishes and taste so many flavors at one time. And you can’t forget dessert. Eva is famous for these delectable donut holes that come with strawberries and whip cream, but instead we got the chocolate cake. This was the only thing I didn’t love. It looked pretty and tasted ok, but we should have gone with the donut holes for sure. Always go with the house specialty!

And, what kind of meal would this have been without wine? I normally don’t order $60 bottles of wine, but my date on this night lived near the Adelsheim winery in Willamette Valley Oregon and wanted to order this amazing bottle of Pinot Noir. It was, hands down, the best wine I have had in months. If you can spring for it, you must enjoy this bottle of cherry accented Pinot Noir. This wine is rich with fruit flavors, but mild at the same time. It went with our menu choices perfectly and I wish I could afford to drink bottles of this caliber regularly. The difference between this $60 bottle and the $15 or $20 I usually buy was very appreciated.

If you live in Utah, even if you don’t live in the city, I recommend you get to main street as soon as possible and check out this divine restaurant. Make a reservation if it is weekend, as this is a small restaurant and can not accommodate many tables at once. Oh, and if you are a big bruncher, like I am–don’t miss their Eva’s Eggs Benedict with the chicken sausage. Wow. I have yet to taste anything at Eva that didn’t sit pretty well on my taste buds!

Check out Eva on 317 South Main in Downtown Salt Lake City. Brunch, Lunch and Dinner. GOOOO!!!!

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