Friday, January 30, 2009

Cooking with Michael and Friends

I love to cook and the Food Network is the inspiration for many of my meals. I have always wanted to take one episode and try to recreate it. This week I did it! The plan was to use Michael Chiarello's Let the Sunshine In episode and prepare the menu in my kitchen. Susan and I shopped for the ingredients locally with much success. The only thing missing was watercress. Dale joined us in the kitchen and we created an absolutely delicious meal.

I started the day before preparing the Frozen Ruby Reds. One word of caution, make sure you are going to be around for several hours so you can rake the frozen juice every hour or so. I made the mistake of leaving and called Kenny to do the raking. Unfortunately, it wasn't soon enough and I had to scrape out the ice crystals and put them in another container while the juice that was frozen solid thawed on the counter. After a while I was able to "rake" the juice and get the snow cone-like crystals.

After our shopping trip, we began the preparation. Susan started preparing the fruit for the Triple Orange Dessert Soup while I worked on the Lemon Braised Artichokes over Pasta. It took Susan quite some time to peel and section the oranges, grapefruit and tangerines. My task was to clean and quarter the artichokes. Thanks, Alessandra, for showing me how to prepare fresh artichokes in your Italian kitchen. This was a fairly simple and quick prep. I used fresh thyme from the garden for the braising. Once braised, they were set aside while Dale and I worked on the salad.
With the help of a mandoline, the fennel, carrots and onion were thinly sliced. Since we couldn't find any good watercress, we used spinach. The salad becomes better after sitting for a while so the vegetables can soak up the dressing. Kenny arrived in time to oversee the preparation of the Chicken with Roasted Lemon and Rosemary Sauce. The roasted lemons were amazing. By now, the kitchen was full of wonderful smells. The chicken and potatoes were browned and baked for 15 minutes.
Next time we will add to the baking time. The potatoes were still a little crunchy. During the baking, Kenny got started on mixing the drinks. We rimmed the glasses with salt and enjoyed the frozen drinks while the chicken and potatoes baked and the pasta was cooked.
Once the chicken and potatoes were baked, we made the sauce and finished the pasta. We decided to use only half of the lemon juice. The food smelled and looked wonderful. Everyone's favorite was the pasta – it could easily be served as the main dish with a salad and bread for a delicious meal. The Triple Orange Dessert Soup was much like our ambrosia without the coconut. It was a light finish to a meal that was all about citrus. Thanks to Michael, we had a wonderful meal and a great time in the kitchen!


  1. What a lovely post! And I enjoyed every minute of the real thing! Total yummmmmmm!

  2. I was lucky enought to try the Chicken with Roasted Lemon. The lemon was the star of the show!!! How could I resist with a combination of 3 of my favourites.... lemon, chicken and potatoes rolled into one.