Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Whipped Feta and Pepper Dip, Chicken Mojito with Mint and Lime over Couscous & Strawberry Margarita Sorbet

Last Friday night we had a couple of friends over for dinner. It was a beautiful warm, spring night in Boston so I kept that in mind while I planned our meal. I ended up picking Whipped Feta and Pepper Dip from Martha Stewart's Blueprint, March/April 2007 (I wish they still published that magazine!), Chicken Mojito with Mint and Lime over Couscous from Women's Health, and Strawberry Margarita Sorbet from Cooking Light, June 2006. I picked our appetizer because it had a little heat to match the day's temperature which helped me pick the entree and dessert recipes. There is nothing better than a mojito or a margarita on a warm day! It was a great menu and a great dinner party!

I served the dip with Kashi's TLC Crackers, Original 7 Grain. I unfortunately couldn't find peppadew's at any of my grocery stores so after doing some googling I decided to use my hot cherry peppers and a couple slices of jarred jalapenos. I made this dip the night before which let the flavors intensify while it chilled. Everyone thought the dip was great! It was such a huge success that I didn't remember to take a picture until the bowl was empty. An empty bowl is always a good sign though. The recipe is a keeper!

I made dinner right after we polished off the dip. It didn't take very long and was easy enough for me to read the recipe, cook, and talk with our friends which is usually a difficult task for me to do. I thought the flavors were great. The only flaw with the dish was how I prepared the couscous. I used the leftover chicken stock for the fluid, which gave it great flavor, but I let it sit longer than the box recommended so we ended up with overcooked, clumpy couscous. In the end everyone thought the dish was delicious except for Matt. He thought it was good but apparently doesn't like couscous. He told me that when I picked the recipe but I thought he must have had couscous confused with something else. Who doesn't like couscous?! I was wrong. I decided I'm going to keep the recipe and see if he likes the dinner better over brown rice the next time I make it.

Last but definitely not least was the Strawberry Margarita Sorbet. It was delicious! A perfect summer sorbet! For some reason I forgot to take a picture of this beautiful dessert?! Probably because I made Matt serve it while I sat back and relaxed. Everyone loved this dessert. It definitely earned a spot in the recipe box! Just be aware that the sorbet recipe takes awhile to make. I started making the dessert Thursday night at 9:00PM and I wasn't going to get to put the mix into the ice cream mixer until 12:30AM. I quickly decided to take Matt's advice and leave it in the fridge overnight and put it in my mixer first thing in the morning so that I could go to bed. Also, after it mixes it needs to be in the freezer for 8 hours. Definitely need to keep the timing in mind next time I make any ice cream or sorbet!

Enjoy the recipes!

Whipped Feta and Pepper Dip


4 ounces cream cheese
6 ounces feta cheese
10 small (or 5 large, about 1 1/4 ounces) peppadew peppers, removed from brine
1 teaspoon brine from peppers
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon water

Combine the cream cheese, half of the feta, half of the peppers, and all of the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Blend them until smooth. Add the rest of the feta cheese and peppers and pulse until chunky. Chill.

Makes 1.25 cups

Chicken Mojito with Mint and Lime over Couscous


1 cup couscous
24 spears asparagus
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp sugar
4 chicken breasts (or one per person), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup light rum
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Cook couscous according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 400. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Chop asparagus into bite-sized pieces, arrange on cooking sheet, and coat with cooking spray (we used olive oil in a diffuser bottle). Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Roast 15 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and sugar. Saute about 3 minutes.
Add chicken and saute 3-5 minutes until golden brown on all sides. Add rum and broth and simmer 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Put a bed of couscous on each plate, top with chicken mixture and asparagus. Garnish with mint.

Serves 4

Strawberry Margarita Sorbet


1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
1/2 cup tequila
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/3 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
2 cups hulled strawberries

Combine 1 cup sugar and water in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Pour sugar mixture into a medium bowl; stir in lime rind and next 4 ingredients (through orange juice).

Place strawberries in a food processor; process until smooth. Add strawberry puree to sugar mixture; stir well. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or until chilled.

Pour strawberry mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Spoon the mixture into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze for 8 hours or until almost firm.

Makes 4 cups

1 comment:

  1. I agree with Matt on the couscous. I am not a fan! I don't know why, Ii keep trying it and keep remembering that I don't like it.