Chicken with Roasted Garlic Truffle Sauce

When I go out to dinner, I don’t generally order the chicken. I mean, why would I? I make plenty of chicken at home. When I go out, I order the dishes that I can’t afford to screw up in my kitchen (fish and seafood). But chicken? Chicken leg quarters go on sale for $.89/pound, and I haven’t messed up chicken in over a decade. Why would I go out just to order the chicken?

That’s how I felt until Handsome Greg took me to dinner at D’Amico Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. Our very knowledgeable server suggested the chicken, so I took a leap of faith and ordered it. The gently pan roasted Amish chicken breast with caramelized Brussels sprouts, toasted hazelnuts, and truffle butter completely turned me around on chicken. I had no idea chicken could be so succulent and flavorful, especially the white meat.

So I used this beautiful dish as inspiration for Mom’s belated birthday dinner. I marinated the chicken, crisped up the skin on the stove top, then transferred the chicken breasts to the oven to cook them through, and served them with a smooth and creamy, intensely flavored sauce of reduced chicken stock, sweet roasted garlic, red pepper flakes, and truffle oil.

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Duck Fat Home Fries

If I weren’t way behind on posting, you’d have had this recipe months ago. I made these delightful potatoes for my Mom’s birthday dinner (her birthday is in November, y’all), and I feel just terrible that I’ve kept the (ridiculously simple) recipe from you for so long.

Duck Fat Home Fries

I like to par-bake the potatoes whole in the oven, then cut them up and pan-fry them quickly in duck fat. This keeps them light and fluffy on the inside, and crispy golden on the outside. A quick toss with chopped parsley brings a perfect bite of freshness.

Potatoes cooking

Better late than never!

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Basic Hearth Bread

I had a very lofty goal of working my way through The Bread Bible, one recipe at a time, but I think I’m stuck. For my very first attempt, I made the basic hearth bread, and I’m just not motivated to move on and make any others.

The basic hearth bread is so good, I want to make a fresh loaf every week. I don’t want to try other recipes, because I’ve discovered the perfect bread recipe. Perfect. I said it.

I’m sure the book is full of delicious recipes, but all I can think about is baking another fresh loaf of the basic hearth bread again next week. It’s an incredibly simple recipe – a chewy, crusty, white sandwich bread, with a tiny bit of honey and just 1/4 cup of wheat flour to warm up the flavor.

Toast a slice and slather with jam for the world’s best breakfast, or carve a coupla thin slices for the perfect turkey sammich.

The book is on loan from my friend Jenny, who dresses better than anyone I know in real life. I’m hoping she doesn’t need it back anytime soon.

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Southwestern Bean and Pasta Salad

Once I conquered my fear of baking a cake without a box mix, I was hooked on making every element of every meal from scratch. Hamburger buns, condiments, crackers, ice cream – I love making it all myself. Really, if I can find a way to needlessly complicate a recipe, I will.

Southwestern Bean and Pasta Salad
At this point, it takes an unbearably hectic week to keep me from churning my own butter, so to speak.

So. It was a week until pay day, which meant protein = beans. I was planning to make my southwestern-spiced pasta and bean salad, when I realized that I had not one, not two, but THREE half-empty, opened bottles of Ranch salad dressing in the door of my fridge. Could I really justify buying buttermilk and sour cream and three different fresh herbs to dress my salad?

I could not. So I tossed my salad with bottled dressing, and it was perfectly lovely.

As much as I love cooking and baking from scratch, my option to do so is a luxury. It requires time, money, energy, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, a place to store both fresh foods and dry goods, reliable transportation to the market, potable water, pots and pans, cupboard space, and cooking skills, just for a start.

Sometimes I have all of those resources to spare, and just like most people, other times I don’t.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

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