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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tarragon Chicken & Pesto Potatoes

Have entered to win the candy giveaway yet?  No?  Head back to Tuesdays post and be sure to get in on the action!  I'll wait...

Okay, welcome back!  I'm still off in the Caribbean, sailing around on a floating city.  This is actually my fourth cruise, third one with boyfriend.  The remaining cruise?  I took that one with WildeMom! 

A few years back, WildeMom and I descended on Florida from our northern locations of Buffalo and Madison.  We sailed out of the port of Fort Lauderdale to celebrate WildeMoms 50th birthday!  The plan was just two crazy girls, living it up on the high seas!  And that's just what happened.

We walked around Old San Juan and dodged random cloudbursts in the fort.  Trolling through the city we enjoyed creamy gelato and warm weather.  We faced the ocean on St Maarten and someone was smarter than I and stayed in the shallow end.  Truth be told, I'm pretty sure the ocean was trying to drown me.  We kayaked through a mangrove forest on St Thomas and cheered on a hermit crab during a race.  We even managed to hit the ships gym every morning and I made friends with the fitness coordinator onboard.

It was a fantastic trip for both my mom and I.  We never had, and haven't since, had so much time to spend together.  A whole week of mother-daughter bonding time.  Lots of time to relax together. 

Travelling with boyfriend is nothing like travelling with WildeMom (as you could have guessed from Tuesdays post!), but tomorrow I can have a direct comparison.  Tomorrow our ship docks in St Thomas after a full day at sea.  How will my day on St Thomas compare with the day spent with WildeMom?  I'll let you know next week, along with the winner of the candy giveaway!

One Year Ago: French Baguettes

Tarragon Chicken
Adapted from Weeknights with Giada

I made this meal just before leaving for our cruise vacation.  It was an incredibly fast meal to prepare.  The Dijon mustard pairing with the white wine to give an amazing, intense dish that was full of flavor.  The fresh tarragon melding into the sauce and giving it a mild earthy hint.  The next time I make this, I plan on serving it over a bed of couscous.  That way I won't lose any of the tasty sauce!

Extra virgin olive oil
1 lb chicken breast, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
4 tbsp flour, divided
Kosher salt & pepper
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock plus 2 tbsp, divided
1/4 cup fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet with high edges.  Toss chicken breast with flour, salt and pepper.  Add chicken to the skillet and cook chicken for 5 minutes on each side.  Get a good brown on each side.  Remove chicken from the pan and place on a plate.

Add a little bit of oil to the pan and add onion.  Stirring occasionally, cook onions until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Add white wine and turn the temperature up to high.  Add chicken back to the pan and add 1 cup chicken stock and tarragon.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low.  Place the lid on the skillet and allow to simmer for 5 minutes and cook the chicken completely.

Remove chicken from the pan and cover with foil.  In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp chicken stock and 2 remaining tablespoons flour.  Add flour liquid and Dijon mustard and whisk until smooth.  Turn the heat up to medium-high  and allow sauce to reduce for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour sauce over chicken and serve.  Mmmm, delicious.

Pesto Potatoes
A Wilde Simple

1 lb new potatoes
1/4 cup pesto (freshly made or storebought)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add potatoes.  Boil potatoes until a fork easily pierces to the center of the potato.  Drain and put potatoes in a large bowl with pesto.  Toss to coat potatoes completely in pesto.  Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Homemade Pesto
A Wilde Original

Honestly, I think you can throw just about any amount fresh basil in a blender with pine nuts and garlic and you'll get an amazing pesto.  Don't be too strict to the measurments in this recipe below.  Give your pesto a taste every so often to be sure it is coming along correctly!

3 cups basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the basil leaves in a blender.  Pulse until they are mostly broken down.  Add pine nuts, garlic cloves and cheese and pulse to combine.  With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, adding only enough to give a smooth pesto.  Either use within two weeks or freeze in an ice cube tray to give frozen single serve portions.
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