I'm so excited to finally be writing this post because it means I get to share with you a project near and dear to Matt's heart (and our stomachs): an edible garden!
For the past two months, he's been growing, nurturing, and downright babying a few herbs and vegetables. The cherry tomato seedlings and lettuce plant have been moved outside to the roof to benefit from the 10+ hours of sun that side of the building receives daily. Meanwhile, the herbs, which he will proudly tell you he started from seed, still have an indoor home on the window sill that overlooks said outdoor plants.
Like an animal stalking its prey, I've been watching the dill, chives, and basil like a hawk, waiting for the day when I could pluck some fresh green herbs to chop up and use. Seemed like for-ev-er!
Much like a stereotypical road trip with parents and young children, who whine, "Are we there yet?" I've been pestering Matt, "Is the basil ready yet? Come on, it looks big enough! Can I have just one leaf? Okay, maybe two or three?"
"No! Not yet. It's not ready. Can't you tell?" he'd coo. Lesson learned: never get between a man and his basil plants! ...unless you are smart enough to prey on one of his weaknesses. Goat cheese to the rescue!
When I floated the first (of many) plan I had for the basil to Matt, I may have pretended to be nervously awaiting his approval, but I secretly knew I already had it. I wasn't officially cleared until he'd instructed me on the proper way to snip a basil leaf (yes, there is a right and a wrong way).
Tender, juicy chicken coated in panko bread crumbs, stuffed with goat cheese blended with garlic and freshly chopped basil. I made sure to include three of the most widely-pleasing culinary deescriptors: breaded, stuffed, and cheesy! Check, check, and check.
(If the oatmeal raisin cookies hadn't already sealed the deal, this would've been my next Cupid's arrow meal.)
Between bites, there was little conversation (a sign of an especially good meal!) But, when we did speak, it was in single words. "So... crunchy. Creamy. Fresh. Love. This. Basil!"
basil husband of mine. How I love you dearly! I'm so grateful for your green thumb and our little harvest. It's only a matter of time before I'm plucking handfuls of basil from your beloved plants to make pesto and caprese salads. But, for now, this will do. Maybe... TBD.
Two years ago: Baked cinnamon French toast
Goat Cheese and Basil Stuffed Chicken
(an original recipe!)
2 6-ounce boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded 1/4" thin
Ground black pepper
4-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ounces goat cheese
1 egg white
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
Olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add basil, garlic, and goat cheese, and blend with a fork until well combined. In one small shallow bowl, beat egg white. In a second bowl, add panko. Meanwhile, season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Spread half of goat cheese mixture on half of top side of a chicken breast (see photo above for example). Fold and secure with kitchen twine or a toothpick. Repeat with second chicken breast and remaining cheese.
Dip each chicken breast first in egg white mixture, then panko to coat all sides evenly. Place on lined baking sheet or in small baking dish and drizzle tops of chicken with olive oil. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove and serve immediately -- I know it's delicious, but remember not to eat the toothpick, please :)