Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day Wrap Up

We had a fantastic Mother's Day at our new house. My parents drove in from Detroit area to spend the afternoon with us. And we had a visit from one of Matt's groomsmen and his fiance, Jen and Jeremy, who were in town from Indianapolis for the weekend.

For the menu, I prepared (with help from my mommy!) Sicilian Grilled Cornish Hens with Basil Aioli, Risotto with Grilled Eggplant and Artichokes and a Creamy Cucumber Salad. Matt's mom brought her famous cookies for dessert (Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Chip, this time). We all went for a nice walk around the pond after dinner and then gave our moms plants for their gardens as gifts. All in all, it was a wonderful day. To top it off, the Red Wings won 4-1 against Anaheim.
Sicilian Grilled Cornish Hens (recipe adapted from epicurious.com)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 rock cornish hens, defrosted

Whisk lemon juice, parsley, olive oil, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Place 2 cornish hens in each of 2 resealable plastic bags. Divide lemon marinade between bags. Seal bags, releasing excess air. Turn to coat hens with marinade. Chill overnight if possible, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare barbecue on medium heat.Remove the cornish hens from the marinade. On a cutting board, with the breast side up, gently push on the breastbone of the bird to slightly flatten it, creating a larger surface area for grilling.

Place hens, breast side down, on the grill. Cover for 4 minutes. Turn the chickens, cover and grill for an additional 4 minutes. Turn hens again and reduce heat to medium-low. After 10 minutes, turn again. Grill until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180°F (per the instructions on the package of the cornish hens).

Transfer chickens to work surface; let rest 10 minutes. We cut the hens into four pieces. First down the breastbone and then again in half, leaving half of the breast and the leg as one portion and the other half of the breast and the wing as another portion.

Basil Aioli
3/4 C lite mayonnaise
1/3 C finely chopped basil
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavors to develop. Can be made up to two days in advance.

Risotto with Grilled Eggplant and Artichokes (using Mary Ellen's perfected risotto recipe)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 C arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine
8 cups chicken broth, heated
1 eggplant, grilled and diced
1 can artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1/2 C grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Heat olive oil and butter in a large saute pan. Add shallots and garlic; stir until tender, about 2 minutes.

Add arborio rice and stir until coated. Add the white wine and stir until absorbed.

Add the chicken broth, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Add more broth only when all of the broth in the pan has been absorbed by the rice. This process of adding broth takes anywhere from 17 to 25 minutes. Taste as you go along so you don't over or under cook the rice. When you add your final ladle of broth, add the eggplant, artichoke and cheese, and stir until broth is completely absorbed. Serve immediately.

Creamy Cucumber Salad (adapted from cdkitchen.com)
4 seedless cucumbers
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 C lite Miracle Whip

1/4 C half and half cream
4 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. dried dill weed

Peel the cucumbers and then use the vegetable peeler to slice the whole cucumber very thin. Basically, discard the peels and then "peel" the whole cucumbers until you havea bunch of cucumber ribbons. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers with the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Chill or at least one hour before serving to allow flavors to combine.

Everyone said they enjoyed everything. Here's our parents, eating at our makeshift dinner table (aka inlaws' card table) while our real table gets refinished. Happy Mother's Day!!

1 comment:

  1. What a great meal, even better served and enjoyed with family! Glad to see you had a delicious celebration! :)