Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bountiful backyard - natures gifts

My garden is a jungle! Long awaited summer herbs and vegetables, bursting with freshness, ready for the taking. I love nothing more than "harvesting my crop" each day. These are just a few examples of my outdoor greengrocery.

Summer's first tomatoes....even if they are only baby ones.

Romas to roast

Big reds to just eat, dripping in olive oil

Chillies to spice up our lives

Frilly basil to go with everything

Zucchini to overrun both the garden and my kitchen bench

Beautiful flowers to stuff

This dish called for 4 herbs that were readily available in my garden; parsley, oregano, thyme and bay leaves. I have a bay tree sitting patiently in a pot waiting for it's final resting place, which I have yet to decide on. The recipe is one from Rachel Ray, who unless you have pay TV in Australia, has not adorned our commercial screens as yet, not to my knowledge anyway.

Rachael's Chimichurri Chicken Bites

1 rounded tablespoon sweet paprika
3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, a couple of handfuls
3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 small white onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 3 splashes
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds chicken tenders

Preheat a grill pan over high heat.

In a food processor combine paprika, parsley, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, onion, garlic and cayenne. Finely chop the mixture by pulsing.

Heat oil in a small pan over medium low heat. When oil is warm, stir herb and garlic mixture into oil and heat 3 to 5 minutes, then remove from heat. The oil will become infused with the flavor of the herbs and garlic. Transfer to a bowl and stir in vinegar and salt. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Cut chicken tenders into thirds and place in a shallow dish. Wash hands.

Spoon half of your chimichurri over the chicken and coat completely and evenly. Using tongs, transfer the bites to the hot grill and cook 2 or 3 minutes on each side. Transfer bites to a serving plate. Serve with party picks and reserved chimichurri sauce for dipping.

Marinating in the rich herbal olive oil

Family comment was "this chimchiminy chicken is fantastic". I'm sure Mary Poppins would agree also.

This is my entry for the last Weekend Herb Blogging event for 2007, and is kindly hosted by Astrid of Paulchen's Food Blog.


Kalyn said...

I'm having a serious case of garden envy here! Of course my garden is buried in snow! The chicken sounds wonderful. I've only made this type of sauce once, but for me it will definitely be a repeater!

Pam said...

Thanks Kalyn, I can commiserate with you regarding a winter garden. Although mine is never buried under snow, it may as well be, as I don't bother with winter vegetables, but that may change this coming year. I fried up some sliced potatoes in the left over oily sauce. They were great too.