Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kitchen gadget

A great kitchen gadget is something that you can use for any meal, no matter what time of day. I have been looking to get an indoor grill/griddle for quite some time. I nearly purchased one from Crate & Barrel only to find when I got to the cash register that it didn't work on my glass-top stove.

I kind of forgot about the quest for a while until I was flipping through my Costco coupon book and came across the Cuisinart Gourmet Griddler 4-in-1 grill/griddle. At $79.99 with coupon it was a little more than I'd wanted to spend, but after using the new gadget 3 times in one day I was convinced that it will be a good investment in the long run.

Meal: Breakfast
Setting: open griddle

I LOVE banana pancakes and was so excited that all of my pancakes turned out perfectly golden brown on my new griddle. I set the temperature at high, as recommended by the instruction manual.

Meal: lunch
Setting: closed grill/panini press

I didn't have any artisanal bread so I just used some of the whole grain sandwich bread I had in the refrigerator. On my panini I put turkey, Gouda cheese, mushrooms and avocado. I lightly spread some butter on top of the bread before putting it on the grill.

Meal: dinner
Setting: open grill/closed grill

A few weeks ago a friend of mine passed along a bag full of lemons. With those lemons I made a fantastic lemon & asparagus pasta dish. Since it was such a light and delicious meal I decided to add a few ingredients, including grilled chicken and zucchini.

2 small to medium sized chicken breasts
1 medium sized zucchini, cut in rounds then in half again (half-moons)
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 pound bow-tie pasta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (from about 3 lemons)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Accompaniment: freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Grill or bake chicken. Season with pepper and lemon juice.
Grill zucchini or add it with asparagus in steamer. In a steamer set over boiling water steam asparagus, covered, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer asparagus to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Drain asparagus well.

In a 6-quart kettle bring 5 quarts salted water to a boil for pasta.

In a deep 12-inch skillet heat butter and cream over moderately low heat until butter is melted and stir in zest, lemon juice, and salt. Remove skillet from heat and keep sauce warm, covered.
Add pasta to boiling water and boil, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Ladle 1/4 cup pasta water into sauce and drain pasta in colander.

Immediately add pasta and asparagus to sauce and cook over moderate heat, tossing, 1 minute, or until heated through. Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste and toss well.

Sprinkle pasta with a little Parmesan and serve more Parmesan on the side.