Chicken in Garlic and Shallots

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INGREDIENTS 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or 10 chicken thighs) 1/2 cup olive oil plus 2 TBSP olive oil 10 peeled garlic cloves 10 shallots, peeled and split Several sprigs of parsley, sage and thyme Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Toss with 2 TBSP oil and brown on both sides in wide frying pan or skillet over high heat. Remove from heat, add garlic, shallots, herbs and remaining olive oil. Do not chop herbs. Bake covered in a dutch oven or covered baking dish for 1-1/2 hours.

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Chicken Saltimbocca

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Serves 4 Traditionally, this classic Italian dish is made with veal, but chicken also works. The sauce will help keep the chicken moist while the Marsala compliments the prosciutto.

INGREDIENTS 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 TBSP Olive Oil 8 oz. mushrooms sliced in half ½ cup beef stock or broth ½ cup marsala or Madeira 2 oz. chopped prosciutto 2 TBSP chopped sage 2 TBSP butter Salt and Pepper

Slice chicken breasts in half length-wise then place in a reseal able plastic bag. Pound each breast with a meat mallet until they are about ¼” thick. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, Sauté 2 pieces of chicken at a time in olive oil until browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate with foil on top to keep warm.

In same pan (do not clean bits out of pan), cook mushrooms until they begin to brown over medium-high heat. Transfer mushrooms to another plate. Add marsala and beef stock to pan, reduce heat to medium-low and reduce liquid to half. Remove liquid in pan from heat, then add sage, prosciutto and butter. Serve chicken with sauce poured over top.

This recipe tends to lean towards the salty side of the taste map. Both the beef stock and prosciutto have a good amount of salty taste, so to offset that with the wine I look to a wine with sweetness. Your basic buttery Chardonnay will have enough vanilla creaminess and sweetness to compliment this recipe. I don't think a Sauvie B would work as it's too bitter. Perhaps an Italian Soave or Pinot Gris would also work as this is an Italian dish. When cooking regional fare, the wines from the same region are often a good place to start.

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One of the Chardonnay's I like with this recipe is the Norman Reserve Chardonnay from Paso Robles. Rich and creamy, and so buttery even Mrs. Buttersworth would say, "Damn! That's buttery!" I like the complex apricot, tangerine, lemon, peach and vanilla toastiness. The intensity of flavors are pretty similar which makes this Reserve (under $20) a great choice. Cheers!

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Top 10 Bacon Recipes of 2008

Uncooked streaky bacon.

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1. Slow-cooked Bacon - that's it, just bacon. The reason plain old bacon makes it to the top 10 is the "slow-cooked" part. This year I discovered a new cooking technique that changed everything. Cooking bacon on, say, medium-low for longer results in a better finished product. Try it and see the difference!

2. Chicken with Rosemary, Bacon and Balsamic - The recipe calls for pancetta, but I use bacon...sweet savory bacon. The bacon laid across the chicken keeps it moist while baking. Towards the end when you are reducing the pan drippings, I like to finish cooking the bacon separately, then dice it up and sauté with some fresh green beans. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicken-with-Rosemary-Pancetta-and-Balsamic-Vinegar-4296

3. Bacon-Wrapped Dates - So simple, yet so tasty. Technically you'd want to wrap dates in Prosciutto, but it costs more and we're in a recession. So wrap some dates with bacon, stuff some manchego cheese in the date, then bake it until that sweet, savory bacon is crisp.

4. Roasted Beef Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon - Do I need to say anything about this? I think it speaks for itself, and it's perfect for a nice bottle of your favorite red wine. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Beef-Tenderloin-Wrapped-in-Bacon-107705

5. Curly Endive and Apple Smoked Bacon Salad - If you're like me, you're trying to lose some pounds, so eat a salad. A salad with bacon in it. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Curly-Endive-and-Apple-Smoked-Bacon-Salad-105099

6. Grill-Roasted Whole Fish Stuff with Fresh Herbs and Wrapped in Bacon - I have to admit, I haven't made this recipe yet so it doesn't have the Bakas Stamp of Approval. But we wanted to have a fish recipe on the list making good use of slow-cooked, crispy, savory bacon. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grill-Roasted-Whole-Fish-Stuffed-with-Fresh-Herbs-and-Wrapped-in-Pancetta

7. Penne Pasta with Spinach and Bacon - One of those simple, yet tasty recipes perfect for after work when you don't have the time to make a sick meal. allrecipes.com/Recipe/Penne-Pasta-with-Spinach-and-Bacon/Detail.aspx

8. Bacon and Potato Soup - What could be better to warm your spirits than a soup made with my favorite friend: savory, yummy bacon. allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bacon-and-Potato-Soup/Detail.aspx

9. Bacon-Wrapped Scallops - Emeril is to bacon what Gary Vaynerchuk is to wine 2.0. In other words, he makes good use of it. planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/emeril-bacon-wrapped-scallops.html

10. Bacon Brownies - Oh God! I think I've found the meaning of it all. Are you kidding me? Brownies with frickin bacon in them!! thehungryengineer.com/cooking/bacon-brownies/

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Asian Orange Chicken

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Orange and orange zest. Photo taken with a Can...
Image via Wikipedia

4 chicken breasts 2 TBSP soy sauce 2 TBSP brown sugar 2 TBSP orange juice concentrate 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 TSP finely grated orange zest 1 TSP minced fresh ginger 1 TSP kosher salt 1/2 TSP pepper

Preheat oven to 500ºF. In medium bowl, combine, soy sauce with brown sugar, orange juice concentrate, garlic, orange zest, ginger, salt and pepper. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat. Transfer to baking dish. Roast chicken for 25 minutes basting occasionally. Turn on broiler and broil chicken for 2-3 minutes, browning on each side.

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