Friday, November 5, 2010

Orange & balsamic chicken

Friday... already!?  This week flew right by me.  Make no mistake -- I'm not complainin', just sayin'.  I'm usually looking forward to and planning every last detail of my days, so when the weekend sneaks up like this, well, it's a pleasant surprise.  Katy - 0, Father Time - 1.  Dare I say it was almost a surprise Friday phenomenon :)  How was your week?

I had grand plans for the truckload of apples I brought home from Trax.  Really!  The first being the so simple and amazingly delicious frittata, which would make a fantastic brunch or lunch dish for the weekend.  The second was going to be this stuffed pork loin.  And then I read the directions and comments more closely.  Other cooks warning that the stuffing wasn't quite right and the meat was dry.  Lots of prep and a minimum of 90 minutes in the oven.  That meant that I'd be sitting down to eat dinner around 8:00, at the earliest, and that wasn't kosher with just-got-home-from-the-gym-ravenous me.  In that 2 hours, I can safely bet that I'd have ingested at least 2 granola bars, some Halloween Oreos with milk, and maybe a bowl of cereal.  The result?  No longer hungry.

So, anxious to silence the growls coming from my mid-section and use a few more apples, I made myself a delicious ham cheese and apple melt!  This was no ordinary grilled cheese, folks.  I used shaved maple ham, grated white cheddar cheese, and thinly sliced apples, piled hiiiiiiigh and grilled stovetop to melt everything together.  You must try it.  The sweet and barely tart apples provided a nice crunch with the melty gooey sharp cheddar and tender ham.  I've heard chefs rave about the benefits of white cheddar, and I'm officially on the bandwagon!  How could I not be looking at this?

Two apple recipes down and more to come... but, you must understand that I had to consume something other than apples for at least one meal.  I guess switching between three varieties of apples wasn't enough change :)  Another dinner this week was a quickie courtesy of the latest issue of Everyday Food -- orange and balsamic chicken.  Inexpensive cut of meat (chicken thighs) - check.  Fewer ingredients than I have fingers on one hand - check.  Less than 20 minutes from start to finish - check!

The ingredients are few but mighty, packing a flavor punch that many more complex dishes sadly lack.  And don't for one second think that the orange wedges are simply for aesthetics.  They are practically dessert, sweet and tangy and so soft they practically melt in your mouth.

One Year Ago: Apple and pear crisp

Orange and Balsamic Chicken
(adapted from Everyday Food, November 2010 issue)
-serves 4

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1.5 lbs total)
Ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 unpeeled orange, cut into 8 wedges
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450F.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  In a large ovenproof skillet (or regular, alternate instructions to follow), heat oil over medium high.  Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until golden and crisp, about 7 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a plate and pour off fat from skillet.  Return chicken to skillet and transfer to oven.  (Or transfer chicken to a foil-lined baking sheet.)  Bake until cooked through, 10 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a plate.

Heat skillet over medium and add vinegar and orange wedges.  Cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until orange begins to soften, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in butter.

To serve, return chicken to skillet and toss with orange and sauce.  What you saved in cooking time you can enjoy savoring your dinner, perhaps with a glass of wine (oh my!), and an extremely cozy and festive tablescape :)  (Thanks again, Mom, for making the tablecloth!)


  1. Grilled cheese and apples is one of my favorite quick dinners.

  2. I can attest, white cheddar makes for one delicious grilled cheese.