Friday, September 14, 2012

Un-Recipe Files - Farmers Market Chicken


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One of my favorite things about living in a city like Chicago are the random adventures that you just fall into without any planning or research.  Whether it is going for a walk and stopping at a bar for a drink that turns into dinner and a new favorite hangout, or ending up on the end of Navy Pier listening to a live salsa band.  Those are the moments that remind me why I love this city and why I put up with the traffic, costs, and hassle of urban living.
I had one of those experiences a few weeks ago on a Sunday morning.  I was looking for a new brunch spot and saw Jam in Logan Square listed on Yelp.   It had good reviews so we gave it a shot.  The restaurant was a modern gem on a historic boulevard.  It was an amazingly beautiful summer morning and we got a table outside on the sidewalk.  While we enjoyed our mouth-watering brunch we watched vendors setting up a farmers market across the street.  I had already mentally purchased two bags of produce before stepping foot in the market.
We wandered around checking out the stalls and chatting with the vendors.  Everyone was friendly and totally eclectic.  The displays were beautiful.
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I walked out with a crazy assortment of treasures including beets, tomatoes, peaches, green beans, herbed cheese, and walnut bread.  I had absolutely no plans for any of it but was pretty pleased with my purchases.
The resulting dinner was fresh and delicious and the chicken was a definite repeat.  This is what I did.
  • I marinated chicken breasts in a mixture of Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar (the cheap stuff), garlic, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper.  I use these ingredients all the time for chicken marinades and it always comes out great.  Someday I will write down exact measurements but that just has not happened yet.
  • I brushed thick slices of red onion with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I grilled the slices until softened and slightly charred.
  • While the chicken and onions were grilling I halved multi-colored grape tomatoes, seasoned with salt and pepper and stirred in sliced fresh basil.  Once the onions were done I chopped them up and added them to the tomatoes.
  • Serve the chicken with a healthy spoonful of tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic (the really good stuff).
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