Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Well...That Was Easy!

Good evening everyone! It's Wednesday, which means the week is halfway complete. Or, for you pessimistic types, the week has only half begun. it the other way around? Hmm- I'm confusing myself. Either way, Wednesday means one more thing; It's Maggie's night to cook!

Maggie took to the kitchen tonight with another of Rachel Ray's recipes. The recipe, titled "Too-Easy Chicken With Leeks" was very straight forward and simple. Great for anyone looking to fix dinner quickly. However, I know my other half can tackle a challenge a little tougher than this - so after the meal I posed a challenge to her. "One of these nights, I'm going to throw a tough recipe at you." I know she's ready for some of the recipes I've been taking on, she just hasn't jumped out to do so yet. What do you think dear readers, would you like to see Maggie tackle a tough recipe, or should Maggie Wednesdays be dedicated to simpler recipes? I'll put up a poll up on the side of the blog. Be sure to cast your vote and in a week, we'll tally all the votes and decide what type of recipe Maggie will do the following week. Enough about future plans, here's the details on what Maggie was cooking tonight:

The Recipe: Too-Easy Chicken WIth Leeks
Original Recipe Found In: Classic 30-Minute Meals: The All-Occasion Cookbook

What You'll Need:

2 Leeks
4 Pieces Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breast
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Dry White Wine
Salt & Pepper To Taste

Hi everyone! And yes, I have been given the ultimate challenge...A challenging recipe! I'm going to try my darndest to find a recipe or gulp down one Tyler gives me. Nonetheless, I shall be victorious in my conquest ahead.

Besides the chicken this evening, I made sweet corn, another simple task to complete. I must be a bad Iowan, because I had never made sweet corn before. Granted I've had it every summer for as long as I can remember, I had never cooked it during the times I ate it. I had to confer my two local experts on picking the right ears of corn and cooking it. My mom told me to look for large, light yellow kernels when I picked the ears. Tyler said bring a pot of water to a boil, drop the ears in, let it come back to a boil, and cook for two minutes. 

As I went to shuck the corn, I saw that most of the ears were a nice yellow color - Maggie: 1, Corn: 0 I followed the cooking instructions diligently, hoping the corn would turn out like sweet corn always turns out: cooked to a soft consistency, piping hot, and a good sweet taste to it. I started the pot of water when I started the chicken...following all instructions to a tee, about five minutes before the chicken was finished, my corn was ready to eat. I drained my water and kept a lid on my pot o' corn. It stayed warm until I finished my corn...thankfully! Maggie: 2, Corn 0. Victory!!

Whilst my corn was cooking, I prepared my chicken. I started my slicing my leeks, from white root to the start of the dark green leaves. I cut this chunk lengthwise then sliced every quarter inch or so. I put these in a bowl and rinsed with water. The water helps any sand/dirt/gunk get out of the leeks so it's an edible product. After rinsing and draining my leeks, I set aside.

I warmed a skillet with evoo and gently placed my two seasoned chicken breasts in the skillet. Afraid they would stick to the pan, I lifted the chicken once or twice to ensure nonstickage. I cooked the first side three minutes and flipped to the other side and cooked that for three minutes. CAREFUL! The flying oil will catch your wrist and leave little sting marks. Unfortunately, the chicken cooks so fast, that you are unable to put a splatter screen on. Cook the chicken until it they are a nice golden color. Remove from heat and set aside for now.

After the chicken has been removed from the skillet, pour a little more evoo in the same pan and add your drained leeks and saute them until they are soft - five minutes, or in my case, a little brown. Pour the wine in the same skillet and add the chicken back. Lower the heat to a low simmer, making sure all the ingredients are nestled in with each other. Give the chicken a flip or two, to make there they coat everything evenly and can continue to cook.

The End Result:

What ended up being a simple chicken recipe, ended up being really flavorful. The chicken really takes on the wine and the leeks towards the end and all those flavors join together. The sweet corn really added to the simpleness of the dish, making these an easy cooking evening.

And therein lies the downfall. Sometimes recipes can be too easy and leaving the meal somewhat bland. As I was cooking the chicken, I was thinking about adding some more spices to add more of a kick, but I was rather nervous deviating from the original recipe. I hope to one day know what spices to add to a dish and make it great, rather than being good. But for now, I'll just be up for a challenge that Tyler throws my way.

Thank you Maggie. She hit the nail right on the head there - this dish did have a simple, clean flavor. A nice touch of white wine with a hint of leek made this dish feel very basic (not necessarily in a bad way) and clean.  Adding a dash of tarragon to the chicken would have made this dish. Perhaps a tarragon parsley blend would be the best combination. It is amazing how a little dash of herbs here and there can morph something from simple and clean to out of this world. Maggie thought about adding these herbs - it would have been a great call. As it stands, her recipe was delicious, but a little bold move here and there would have really knocked this one out of the park. If you're going to try this one for yourself - get bold and throw some tarragon on top of the chicken too. I promise, it'll taste great.

There is nothing wrong with a simple dish, however - especially if you are short on time and want something delicious in a hurry. Tonight's recipe is certainly worth a shot due to the great end flavor and the overall simplicity of everything.

Perhaps, that's what our great readers have come to expect and enjoy from Maggie's Wednesday recipes. So, that's why we're putting the next recipe up to you. (This would be the week of August 9th's recipe - that way we give the poll a solid week for good results). Do you enjoy Maggie's quick and easy recipes, or would you like to see her step out once in a while and get bold? I'll put it up to vote. Let us know.

That's all we have for you tonight. I apologize for the overly simple presentation. Once again, the Google blogger tool is busted. We can't upload pictures (Edit: that part is now fixed) or do much editing. Sadly, this problem has been persisting over the past few days. I haven't been able to edit old posts (thus some of the typos that made it through to the 'final cut' over the past two days.) Hopefully everything will be back in order soon. I'm back in the kitchen tomorrow, so stop back tomorrow night to see what I'm cooking up. Until then,


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