Sunday, August 16, 2009

Greek Omelets, Purple Basil Parmesan Biscuits, Chicken and Roquefort Sandwiches

Yet another installment in my cooking extravaganza over the last weekend of July with my friends Jenni and Nancy.

For breakfast on Saturday, Jenni prepared Greek omelets (next to eating melted bittersweet chocolate out of a bowl with a spoon, this is my idea of heaven on earth). She used feta, kalamata olives, fresh oregano (also tomatoes? Jenni??? I can’t remember!). To accompany this eggy delight, she made purple basil-parmesan biscuits from Cooking Light. Jenni used Italian basil (not purple) from her garden, and subbed asiago for parmesan. She decided to cut the biscuits into squares instead of cutting out the traditional rounds, then re-rolling and re-cutting the dough scraps. Very smart, she is! These definitely did not taste like “light” biscuits, but they were. Tender and flaky, redolent with the aroma of asiago and basil, and delicious.

Purple Basil Parmesan Biscuits

Chopped purple basil flecks these biscuits with color. Standard sweet Italian basil would do, as well. For tender biscuits, stop cutting the butter into the dough when the mixture has pea-size nuggets.

9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup chopped fresh purple basil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2/3 cup fat-free milk
1 large egg
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in basil and cheese. Combine milk and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; pat to 1-inch-thick circle. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter into 12 biscuits. Place biscuits on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool.

Yield: 12 biscuits (serving size: 1 biscuit)

CALORIES 145 ; FAT 5.4g (sat 3.2g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.3g); CHOLESTEROL 31mg; CALCIUM 156mg; CARBOHYDRATE 19.5g; SODIUM 448mg; PROTEIN 4.6g; FIBER 0.7g; IRON 1.3mg

Cooking Light, JULY 2009

Okay, this is my plate. I chose a smaller biscuit because I was trying to “be good” but, alas, I returned for a second one…

The meal was rounded out with a mixed fruit salad courtesy of Nancy’s arm-numbing Chopping Detail.

I had never eaten fresh apricots before, and I’m hooked! Also included were honeydew, cantaloupe, peaches, pineapple, and blueberries. What summer is all about, right?!?!

Next up, lunch!

As her contribution to our cooking weekend, mentioned in previous posts, Nancy planned a picnic-on-the-boat with ­­­­­­­­­­­Chicken & Roquefort Sandwiches from the August issue of Cooking Light.

Holy cow, that sandwich was incredibly delicious! Again, not at all “light” tasting but flavorful enough that I finally stopped eating when I realized that I was in a swim suit and the material might not stretch enough if I had kept on going… ;)

The sandwiches were assembled in advance (grilled chicken, cheese mixture, arugula) and the tomatoes taken along to add just before serving. We ate more of that wonderful mixed fruit salad from breakfast, drank Jenni’s wine contribution to the weekend (a wonderfully chilly moscato), and well, with one thing or another (drinking rum, floating in the river on inflatable chairs, etc.), I neglected to take a single photo. The Cooking Light recipe (and their photograph) follows. And I must mention that the vegetarian in our group, neighbor Karla who kindly took us on her boat that day because I’m afraid to use our boat (don't ask, I'm a weenie..), loved the sandwiches sans chicken as well.

Chicken and Roquefort Sandwiches

One serving of this entrée contains about one-fourth of your daily sodium allotment. We extend salty Roquefort cheese by mixing it with cream cheese as a spread. A 2-ounce portion size for bread also helps control sodium counts.

1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) tub whipped cream cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) baguette
2 small heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup baby arugula leaves

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl.

2. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick strips. Sprinkle evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt.

3. Cut baguette in half lengthwise. Spread cheese mixture over cut sides of baguette. Arrange chicken, tomato slices, and arugula evenly over bottom half of baguette; cover with top half. Cut crosswise into 4 equal pieces.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

CALORIES 392 ; FAT 15.8g (sat 7g,mono 5.2g,poly 1.2g); CHOLESTEROL 84mg; CALCIUM 100mg; CARBOHYDRATE 35.1g; SODIUM 640mg; PROTEIN 27.9g; FIBER 2.2g; IRON 3.1mg

Cooking Light, AUGUST 2009