Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spice-rubbed Chicken & Gratin Dauphinois

It's officially summer around here and it finally feels like it!  We've been hovering right around ninety degrees here in the tri-state area all week.  And I love it.  Love!  Of course my hair has been all sorts of crazy in this high humidity, but since I don't have a job right now, who cares! 

I've fallen into a pretty good routine through my unemployed weeks.  Generally Monday is my cleaning house day.  I'll do the laundry, vacuum and dust the apartment, run boring errands and cook the fanciest meal of the week.  By Tuesday I've run out of task-oriented things to do and tackle projects that have been sitting around for a while.  I'm talking scrapbooking, closet organizing, de-cluttering.

When Wednesday rolls around I don't really have much to do around the house, so I text some OSI friends and get together for brunch or lunch.  (This week we're heading to Clinton Street Bakery for brunch and then shopping for interview clothes in SOHO!)  Wednesday night used to be Boyfriends night to cook, but since I'm home already and he doesn't really like to cook, I've taken it back.

By the time Thursday comes, I'm starting to get a little bored at home.  I usually will jump on my bike and head to the local park for relaxing and reading in the sun.  Thursday usually also means I've run out of fruits and vegetables and a Whole Foods run is necessary. 

Friday is Treat Yourself! day.  This week that consists of an orthodontist appointment!  Thrilling.  Generally it means I hang out at Starbucks then head across the street to the nail salon.  Mostly I'm just excited for Friday because it means the weekend is here and I get to spend time with BF.  It's his job to entertain me through the weekend!

Here is one of the dinners I made on a Monday night.  Monday is 'fancy dinner' night and requires a little more prep and planning.  This spice-rubbed chicken takes a lot of spices from your pantry.  You'll wind up making more spice rub than you actually use.  Just store it in an air-tight jar and make this chicken again!

Spice-Rubbed Chicken with Dijon vinaigrette
Adapted from several sources
For Vinaigrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a screw-top container and shake it up!

For Chicken

1/2 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 chicken breasts, skin on, boneless
Olive oil

Combine all the spices in a small bowl.  Brush chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with a little kosher salt.  Rub about 1 tablespoon spice mixture onto the top of each chicken breast.  Grill chicken for 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.  (I had really fat chickens, so I grilled them for 5 minutes on each side, then tossed them in the 400 F oven for 15 minutes).

Remove chicken from the grill (or oven) and drizzle with some of the Dijon vinaigrette.  Tent the chicken with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Gratin Dauphinois
Adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen

2 pounds russet potatoes
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
Dash of nutmeg
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Peel potatoes and slice to 1/8-inch thickness.  Combine milk, cream, nutmeg and mustard in a large pot and add potatoes.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and let bubble for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Cut the clove of garlic in half and rub an 8x8-inch baking dish with the clove of garlic.  Coat the dish with the softened butter and transfer the potatoes and cream to the baking dish.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.  Top with chopped parsley and serve!
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