7 July 2008

Tried, Tested & True - Two

We all have a few recipes that we consider to be crowdpleasers and never fail to get rave reviews from our guests or family. These are the recipes that we would consider to be tried, tested and true. When I have company I find it to be less stressful to stick to recipes that are fail safe...it is not the time to be experimenting...unless of course that is the purpose of the meal and your guests know they are your Guinea pigs. Hopefully all of our experiments work out well but as we all know not all experiments turn out well!!

Psychgrad and Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen are a mother and daughter team from Eastern Canada...my old stomping grounds in Ontario... that share their love of good food and family on every page. My own daughter shares my love of cooking and you will see the occasional recipe of hers on here as well...albeit posted by me. P & G have come up with an event called Tried, Tested and True which I positively couldn't miss. I can't wait to see the lineup of reliable no fail recipes out there...and this time around lower in fat and calories!!!

For the event there will also be prizes as well as a celebrity judge.... Christine Cushing.

The recipe I have chosen for this event is one that I devised from a simple solution to barbecuing chicken breasts. I adapted this recipe loosely on something I read about in GourMed. They used brined grape vine leaves to wrap the chicken breasts. Not only does this create a neat little parcel but the brined grape leaves impart flavour as well as moisture. My little bundles are then wrapped in aluminum foil and placed on the barbecue. There was no need to adapt this recipe to a healthy or lower calorie substitution because goat cheese is a healthy and calorie wise option already. It is served with a tomato concassees infused with oregano which is also very low in calories as well as rich in flavour.

When compared to cow's milk products such as cream cheese, goat cheese is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol. It also provides more calcium and fewer carbohydrates than cream cheese. Even though goat cheese has fewer calories, it maintains a full, rich and creamy flavor. This is a win win situation!!!!

Goat cheeses are also easier to digest than cow's milk cheeses because the fat cells are smaller, thereby more closely resembling our own human milk. This also allows the fat to be broken down and more easily assimilated. Many people who are lactose intolerant or have other milk-related allergies can eat cheeses made from goat milk. One ounce of goat cheese contains 80- calories, 5 grams of total fat, 15 mg of cholesterol, 0 carbohydrates and 5 grams of protein.

I have made this recipe many times since the beginning of the summer. Judy of No Fear Entertaining has been my taste tester and tried my recipe here for her kids....so this is what makes this recipe Tried, TESTED and True. My own original recipe is here .

This time around the ladies Giz and Psychgrad would also like to raise awareness of a very important issue...ORGAN DONATION....the gift of life. I will always remember the courage of the mom of a young 14 year old friend of my daughter who was struck by a drunk driver near her home. During her "celebration of life" the mom stood up in front of a packed room of family and friends and spoke of her love for daughter who was the shining light of this small community. She also mentioned that 7 of her daughters organs were donated so that someone else could live on in her daughters memory. It brings tears to my eyes even still after 7 years of their families courage.

I will look forward to the roundup of Tried, Tested and True - Two to see what everyone has come up with out there in the blogosphere. If your family and friends love it so will we!!!!

**Barbecued Chicken with Vine Leaves & Goat Cheese**

4 boneless chicken legs or boneless, skinless breasts
200 g goat cheese
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1 teaspoon finely chopped sun dried tomatoes
20 vine leaves (canned in brine)
400 g tomatoes concassees (chopped or crushed)- concassees is seedless, skinless chopped tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar (omit if tomatoes are in season and naturally sweet)
1/2 teaspoon oregano

aluminum foil

In a small bowl combine goat cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, snipped chives and sun dried tomatoes. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the chicken fillets in half but not cutting all the way through to form a pocket for the goat cheese filling. Lay four or five vine leaves (depending on their size)overlapping on a piece of aluminum foil to create a large square. Lay one of the chicken fillets on top of the leaves. Add the goat cheese filling divided into 4 equal portions inside the pocket of the chicken breast. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and proceed to wrap the grape leaves around the chicken breast like an envelope. Then tightly wrap the aluminum foil around the fillet, giving it a candy like shape like a tamale or if you are of British descent like a Christmas cracker. Repeat the process with the rest of the chicken fillets.

If the vine leaves you are using are preserved in brine, avoid adding extra salt to the chicken. The salt from the brine will be more than adequate and it will taste better this way.

Preheat barbecue to 350 F.

Place foil-wrapped chicken in barbecue. Cook for 15 minutes, flip chicken in its package and cook for another 10 minutes if the breasts are large. Let bundles rest for 5 -10 minutes. Carefully remove foil by cutting foil twists off end and exposing grape leaf wrapped chicken.

Meanwhile: To prepare the sauce add the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar and oregano in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow it to cook for 20 minutes.

Serve the chicken rolls with goat cheese smashed potatoes or rice and pour tomato sauce on top. To achieve an even more dazzling garnish, deep-fry a few vine leaves in a skillet and place on top of the potato puree or rice. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of the grape leaves as well for an added zing.

Serves 4
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  1. Wonderful idea, wrapping the chicken breasts in grape leaves. I can just imagine how good this would taste already, with the tomatoes and goat cheese in the middle.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, Valli, that looks too good - where were you when I needed help with my independence day celebration? ;)

  3. This sounds really great. I love goat cheese and feta over cow's cheese for the very reason you suggest - more digestable indeed, plus great flavor. I really want to try using vine leaves with goat cheese..are they available and any grocery store???

  4. Vine leaves give such a wonderful flavour to any kind of meat. I can only imagine the taste. I shall check out the event and see if I have time to prepare something.

  5. I've been camping around those areas - Collingwood, ON. Good relaxing times indeed. Thanks for the tip...I doubt my local store has them, but I know of a greek and lebanese specialty shop that might have them.

  6. Oh, Val, this looks outrageously good! Truly marvelous.

  7. This sounds delicious! It also makes me feel good--I love goat cheese and always saw it as more of a guilty pleasure...I never realized its a healthier option!

  8. That looks like a tasty meal!

  9. I love your vine leave recipes Val...the goats cheese mixture sound so divine.

  10. I like chicken breasts wrapped in anything! :)

  11. Val, thank you so much for not only an unbelievabale submission but also for such heartfelt memories that not only include profound loss but also profound gifting. I know for sure I wouldn't be alive today if not for someone just like your friend.

  12. This most definately looks like a winner to me Val, such a great idea to wrap in grape leaves and, it is "oh, so you"

  13. Wow, this is gourmet grilled chicken! Gosh, I bet the goat cheese in the middle tastes divine! I also loved your post on the vegetable roesti. Now I'm hungry for both of these dishes!

  14. AnonymousJuly 08, 2008

    Ooooh! This sounds amazing, Val! Grape leaves? I'm going to have to give this a try. :)

  15. Sounds and looks amazing! Yes, I agree that Organ Donation is a worthy cause. I myself have pledged my organs...

  16. I can just imagine how good these taste Val! I didn't lknow goat's cheese was more digestible - thanks for the tip.

    (like I needed any other excuse to eat goat's cheese!! ;)

  17. AnonymousJuly 08, 2008

    I need to make some chevre this week..the goats have been producing nicely..I will need to try this..
    great dish, Valli!

  18. Oh my goodness Vali, this is another one that I could just imagine biting into right now!! The cheese and sunripened tomatoes must absorb a wonderful flavor from the grape leaves!

  19. I wish I was invited for dinner. This is a meal I would enjoy.


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