Friday, December 16, 2011

Snap peas, Chicken, and Strawberry Salad

8 ounces fresh sugar snap peas, stringed/trimmed and rinsed
1 pound thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast, or regular chicken breasts pounded to a thickness of 1/4- to 1/2-inch
About 3/8 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces (1 pint) strawberries, hulled, then cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium carrot, grated (about 1 cup, loosely packed)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Fill a large bowl with water and ice.

Steam or boil the sugar snap peas for 3 to 5 minutes, until just tender. Drain them and transfer to the bowl of ice water. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then drain and let dry. Leave small sugar snaps whole; cut medium ones in half and larger ones into 3 pieces.

Preheat the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them under the cooking area for direct heat. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 or 5 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil and place it on the grill.

Sprinkle chicken with about 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper to taste over the chicken pieces, then use 1 tablespoon of the oil to brush the chicken.

Place the chicken pieces on the grill; close the lid and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, turning over the pieces once, until they are cooked through and lightly browned. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool for 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch strips, then into bite-size pieces, if desired. Transfer to a large bowl and add the sugar snaps, the strawberries and the grated carrot. Sprinkle the balsamic vinegar, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt over the salad; toss gently, making sure to distribute all of the oil and vinegar. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Serve warm, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes: This was awesome. Seriously so good. The peas were cooked to a nice, soft consistency and blended nicely with the strawberries and chicken. And yes, grilling the chicken makes such a difference; I'm sure of it. So good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

2 c. 2% milk
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. peppermint extract
green food coloring
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir together the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract until the sugar has dissolved. Color to your liking with the green food coloring.

Blend the chocolate chips in a blender until mostly chopped.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. After about 10 minutes into the freezing, add the chocolate chips. After the ice cream has thickened, about 30 minutes later, spoon into a container, and freeze for 2 hours.

Notes: Holy moly. Best ice cream we've ever made. Reason enough to get an ice cream maker.