Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 at 9:53 pm

The Cooking Chronicles: Well-Rounded Meals

I’ve mentioned in the past my penchant for one-pot meals, but over the summer, we tried to deviate from our usual formula with suppers made up of several different components.

Roast Chicken, Green Beans with Bacon and Mushroom Pilaf

I don’t know why the idea of roasting a chicken seemed so intimidating to me. Granted, it’s not something my Mum did often when I was growing up, but that’s no excuse. Over the summer, Mack and I bit the bullet: we bought a whole chicken from Dreamin’ Green Farm and just did it.

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Whole chicken from Dreamin’ Green (home of the happy chicken!)

We rubbed the chicken with a mixture of butter, sage from a coworker’s garden, and lemon. We didn’t truss the chicken (something we’d definitely try next time), but it still turned out fine, and was really not a big deal at all! Like most roasts, it ended up being quite a passive recipe, something thrown into the oven to be forgotten about. The skin crisped up nicely (thank you, butter!), and the meat was deliciously juicy. We had enough leftovers for days – shredded meat we seamlessly incorporated into salads and soups. It is something we will definitely make again.

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Crispy chicken!

For the sides I made a salad consisting of Sundog Organic green beans, Irvings bacon and a honey vinaigrette – Marilyn had made this side for dinner when we visited a few months ago, and the recipe stayed with me. The mushroom pilaf was easy to throw together, combining leftover rice with MoNa mushrooms and some chicken stock.

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Roast chicken with green beans and mushroom pilaf

Of course, it tasted even better eaten outside.

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Patio nights

Beef Tenderloin, Curried Couscous Salad and Grilled Corn

We had picked up some beef tenderloin steaks from Nature’s Green Acres. They were smaller in size than what one would normally think of for a “steak dinner”, but for us, it was perfect – the last time we had steaks (also from Nature’s Green Acres), we could barely finish the meat, let alone any accompanying sides!

While Mack readied the barbecue, I put together a curried couscous salad, featuring roasted Riverbend Gardens cauliflower, cucumber from Doef’s, dried cranberries and a dressing made from Bles-Wold yogurt. It was actually surprisingly tasty, with just enough heat balanced nicely with fresh vegetables, the sweetness of the fruit and a variety of textures. I replicated this dish for a potluck at work in the fall (made with vegetable stock so the vegetarians could enjoy it as well) and it was a hit!

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Beef tenderloin, curried couscous salad and grilled corn

We also roasted corn (also from Riverbend Gardens) for the first time. Bobby Flay’s instructions (minus the flavourings) seemed simple enough, but possibly due to an inconsistent barbecue temperature, the corn didn’t cook through. We’ll have to try roasting corn again next year when it returns to the market.

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Grilled corn

Although these well-rounded meals were a nice change, I will admit it is not something I am likely to do often; we’re not cut out for the “extra” dishes and effort on a nightly basis!