Saturday, June 22, 2013

BASIL! Bruschetta and Grilled Basil Chicken

I did the olive oil and garlic thing and toasted the bread, then spread on some farmer's cheese mixed with basil, topped it with a salted tomato and heated it all up for another 5 minutes. So fresh and hot and delicious!
What's for dinner tonight? Hmmm...I have a loaf of sourdough sliced bread and some chicken breasts in the freezer, I have cheese (provolone slices), and I have TOMATOES and fresh BASIL! That'll work. Yeah Baby!

Okay, so I planned to make the recipe below, but then I discovered the provolone had disappeared! (That happens...) So I found my recipe for Tomato-Basil Bruschetta with a farmer's cheese mix from Bobby Flay's collection. I have several binders full of recipes I really like that I have found online and this is one I always go to. I will share both recipes, Bobby's and SLO Veg's. Oh, and I didn't really have any farmer's cheese on hand, but I did have some Mexican Ranchero cheese. Kind of soft and a little will work!

We munched on this appetizer while enjoying a beer and talking out the day. Then I cooked the chicken and steamed the vegetables. They were simply cut up vegies (broccoli, carrots, sweet peppers, green onion) with a sprig of lemon basil on top, steamed in the microwave in Lee's steamer thingy and topped with some butter and coarse salt. I think we ate dinner around 9 pm....sigh! The chicken was really, really good, by the way.

Note: Lee and I met in 2005. When I got him, he had some cooking utensils: a garlic press, a microwave steamer, a crock pot, an Oster Kitchen Center and four...count 'em, four! pizza cutters. Also a bunch of dull knives. I still want a new set of kitchen knives. I love that he had the Oster thing, because I had one in years past and burnt the motor up...twice, or maybe three times.


Recipes from SLO Veg

Baked Caprese Salad (Roma Tomatoes/Basil ) 
Servings: 10-12 Appetizer's Level: Easy  Cook Time: 25 Min
1 loaf baguette, cut into 1/2-inch 
  thick slices (about 30 to 36 slices) 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
5 Roma tomatoes, sliced 
1 1/4 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced 
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, stemmed 
Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Arrange the sliced baguette bread on a baking sheet. Brush with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until the bread is pale golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Top each slice of bread with a slice of tomato and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each slice of tomato with a slice of mozzarella and sprinkle with salt. Return the baking sheet to the oven until the cheese and tomato are warmed, about 5 minutes. Arrange the toasts on a serving platter. Top each toast with a basil leaf. Using the brush, drizzle the remaining olive oil over the basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.


Basil Grilled Chicken (Basil) 

Servings: 4 Level: Easy  Cook Time: 20 Minutes

3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper 
4 skinned chicken breast halves 
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil leaves, plus 2 tablespoons freshly minced basil leaves 
1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) butter, melted, plus 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature 
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
1/8 teaspoon pepper 
Fresh basil springs, optional 
Directions: Prepare charcoal grill. Press the coarsely ground pepper into the meaty side of the chicken breast halves. Stir the chopped basil into the melted butter. Brush the chicken lightly with this mixture. In a small bowl, combine the softened butter, minced basil, Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until smoothly blended. Transfer to a small serving bowl; set aside. Grill the chicken over medium coals for 8 to 10 minutes on each side, basting frequently with the remaining melted butter mixture. Serve the grilled chicken with the basil-butter mixture. Garnish with fresh basil springs, if desired.  
I decided to pound the chicken breasts into a flatter filet so they would cook faster and more evenly. Turned out good!

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