Chicken with Tarragon Butter: In the Woods

Tarragon Chicken in the Woods 13

This is a great make-ahead meal for two for a short camping trip from The Camping Cookbook. I froze all the ingredients before we left so they would stay cool and solid until I needed them.  Feel free to increase the recipe if you have more campers. You may have seen a few teaser shots of this from last week, because I was so very clever in my pre-preparation.

Before In the Woods 3

Start with 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Slice those in half, lengthwise, so you have four long strips.  If you think those strips are too big, slice the breasts into three or four, depending on your preference.

Before In the Woods 4

Mix together your marinade of  1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3 teaspoons olive oil.

Before In the Woods 5

Shove your chicken into the marinade for at least 30 minutes(I put mine in a plastic container and froze it).

Before In the Woods 6

Meanwhile, mix up your lovely compound butter.

Before In the Woods 7

Stir together 1/4 cup softened butter with 1/3 cup fresh tarragon, chopped, and a finely minced shallot (use 1/4 of a small onion if that’s all you have).

Before In the Woods 8

I chucked this in the freezer as well.

Before In the Woods 9

When you’re ready to go, pull your (thawed) chicken out of the marinade and grill it on the fire/stove until cooked through, which will depend on how thick you sliced it. This looks sickly because it was gloomy under the tarp where I was cooking and I needed a flashlight to see…

Tarragon Chicken in the Woods 8

Serve hot with dollops of the tarragon butter on top. I actually forgot to pull out the butter until we were all done so I put it in the hot pan to let it melt.

Tarragon Chicken in the Woods 10

We served this with some peas and corn and garlic mashed potatoes.

For the peas and corn, mix together 1 cup frozen peas and 1 cup frozen corn and steam for a minute or so until cooked.

Before In the Woods 10

Toss the cooked vegetables with 1/4 cup finely chopped mint and 2 tablespoons butter.

Before In the Woods 11

Again, I mixed the herbs into the butter ahead of time and froze it.

Before In the Woods 12

Before In the Woods 13

Tarragon Chicken in the Woods 5

Tarragon Chicken in the Woods 9

For the potatoes, boil and mash 2 potatoes of your choosing. I like to leave the skins on.

Tarragon Chicken in the Woods 4

Scoop in 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons cream cheese, 2 teaspoons mixed herbs (fresh or dried, your choice), and 2 teaspoons minced garlic (I made a compound of this ahead of time) and serve.

Before In the Woods 14

Tarragon Chicken in the Woods 7

TADA. Gourmet in the woods.

Tarragon Chicken in the Woods 11

Advertisements

Creamy Ricotta, Mint, and Garlic Pasta with Peas: In the Woods

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 25

This particular dish, from The Camping Cookbook, is supposed to be served hot, but I thought it would make a nice cold lunch for us to eat after setting up camp on the first day.  So I ended up making all of this ahead of time, at home (which means that technically I didn’t make it in the woods).

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 1

Start by boiling up about 150g of your favourite short pasta. The original recipe calls for ziti, but I love fusili so that’s what I used. Cook it according to the package directions, and drain it and return it to the pot when it’s ready.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 9

While that’s cooking, cut yourself about 1 tablespoon fresh mint and chop that up.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 8

Thaw about 1/2 cup frozen peas (or fresh, if you’ve got ’em). I added this element to the recipe for the sake of vitamins. Don’t want to get scurvy while camping.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 4

Mash up as well some roasted garlic (I roasted a few heads of this the week before and it pretty much went into everything).

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 3

While the cooked pasta is still hot, stir in 1/3 cup ricotta cheese and 1/3 cup heavy cream (I wimped out here and used half and half).

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 10

Add in your mint, peas, and garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 11

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 15

We served this cold with a nice toasted garlic bread I prepared in advance: slice up a small baguette so that you have individual pieces but they’re still stuck together at the bottom.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 16

Chop up some fresh herbs: parsley, basil, and oregano (dried is also fine).

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 17

Mush up some roasted garlic.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 18

Smush those all together with some pepper.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 19

Add softened (this is too softened) butter and mix.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 20

Insert the butter between the slices and wrap in tin foil until you’re ready to eat.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 21

You can toast the bread directly on your camp stove, or you can put it in an Outback Oven, or you can roast it directly over the campfire.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 23

Either way, it’s excellent.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 24

A Dilly Dish

Dilly Dish 3

I’m sure you experience this, same as the rest of us: you don’t want to create a fancy side for your weekday meal but you want something slightly more interesting than the merely steamed vegetables sitting on your plate.  Well here is your solution.

One evening I was preparing our evening meal, spiced chicken thighs with frozen corn, frozen peas, and basmati rice on the side.  Rather than serve all those vegetables and grains separate, I had an idea.  Just steps from my parents’ front door are several tall dill plants.

Dilly Dish 4

I cut off some of the leaves, which kind of resemble fennell, and brought them inside.

Dilly Dish 6

I combined the rice, peas, and corn, added some butter and salt and pepper, and stirred in the dill, chopped, and served it hot.  It made a nice little base for the chicken and a slight refresher on what could have been a ho-hum meal.

Dilly Dish 2

Chicken Orzo Salad

Chicken Orzo Salad 10

The Pie’s parents, Mrs. Nice and Papa John, are in town on a visit for the Pie’s graduation (B.Sc. Honours in Geography and Computer Science, booyah), so I get a good number of opportunities to cook new things that I think might appeal to them.  This one I made with Mrs. Nice in mind, and reminds me somewhat of that amazing orzo salad we had at Ferryland a few years ago.

Chicken Orzo Salad 5

Chicken Orzo Salad 2

Prep your vegetables.  Dice up half a large red onion, 1 red pepper, and half a large cucumber (I cut out the seeds).  I also halved 250g grape tomatoes and defrosted 1 cup each frozen corn and frozen peas.

Chicken Orzo Salad 3

Prep your dressing.  In a small jar (or other container with a lid), dump 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons dried savoury (or basil, or oregano, or whatever you want), 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons honey, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, and 3 tablespoons vegetable oil.

Chicken Orzo Salad 7

Close the lid tightly and give that a shake.  Let it sit for a while.

Chicken Orzo Salad 8

Fill a large saucepan with about 4L of water and salt it generously.  Put it on to boil.  When it’s boiling, remove the lid, turn the heat down a bit, and pour in 450g orzo pasta.

Chicken Orzo Salad 6

While that’s on the go, cut up about 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts into small cubes and  pitch those in a frying pan or skillet with a bit of vegetable oil.

Chicken Orzo Salad 9

Sauté those until fully cooked and browned on the outside.  Remove from the heat.

Chicken Orzo Salad 14

Drain your orzo and plop it in a big bowl. This bowl was not big enough.

Chicken Orzo Salad 20

My peas and corn were still a little frozen so I added them to the still-hot chicken pan to let them thaw properly.

Chicken Orzo Salad 17

Then I chucked in the rest of the vegetables and stirred that around.

Chicken Orzo Salad 18

Then you just add your veg to your pasta.  Give that a good stir.

Chicken Orzo Salad 21

Give your dressing another shake and toss that with all the rest of your salad (don’t worry about the amount — it will be absorbed into the pasta) and serve warm or cold.

Chicken Orzo Salad 22

Farmer’s Market Potato Salad

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

This recipe comes from Potato Salad: 65 Recipes from Classic to Cool.  At one point in this book the authors note that potato salad is as American as apple pie.  Thankfully they leave it at that.  Because I am a sports researcher, it drives me absolutely bonkers when I read somewhere that something is “as American as baseball and apple pie.”  In case you didn’t know (and on the slight off-chance that you actually care), baseball actually originated in Canada.  So while it may be the great American pastime (and gridiron football will start hemming and hawing to be noticed at this point), it ain’t American.

I don’t, on the other hand, know anything about the origins of potato salad.  Sorry ’bout that.  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that potato salad came from wherever it is that potatoes are indigenous.

Okay enough blather.  You want a recipe.  Of course I left the recipe book at home and I’m at school so I’m guessing on the measurements from my photographs.  It’s not like potato salad is an exact science.

Start with 2 pounds new potatoes.  Plop those babies in a pot, cover them with water, and boil them until they are nice and yielding when you stab them with a sharp knife.  Not that most squishy things don’t yield when you stab them with a sharp knife.  And I don’t really like the turn this post is taking … So on that note, drain the cooked potatoes and let them cool until you can handle them without burning yourself.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

Chop the potatoes up into halves or quarters or thirds (whatever works for the size of your potato) and plop those in a bowl.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

Take 1 stalk celery, with all the objectionable bits cut off, and chop that up for the bowl.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

Then take a TINY onion.  You can see the scale.  I have tiny munchkin/carnie hands, so objects in photo are smaller than they appear.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

Because the recipe calls for only 1/4 cup chopped onion and that’s a very small amount.    Stick that in the bowl as well.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

You’re going to need 1/2 cup green peas.  I thawed these from the freezer.  So much for market fresh!

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

You’re going to need 1 hardboiled egg, as well.  I don’t care how you get it, but once you have it, peel it and chop it up and add the bits to the bowl.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

Chop up some fresh herbs, about 1 tablespoon chives and 2 tablespoons parsley.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

How I love chopping herbs!  Well except thyme.  That sucker’s a real pain.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

So that’s all the bits, in the bowl.  Except the herbs.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

Now the dressing is something unnecessarily confabulated, like 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon greek yogurt, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Or whatever the stuff in that wee bowl looks like to you.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

Now, toss everything together and store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few hours   (or overnight) to let the flavours blend.  Then eat your face off!

Farmer's Market Potato Salad