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Monday, July 09, 2007

i like pretty food

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Since I started this blog over a year ago, I've noticed that I have an increasing obsession with food that looks good. Food that has colour, shape or something about it that will make it photograph well. Something a little out of the ordinary. I mean, I could take photos of creamed cauliflower on a white plate, but I really don't think it would make for something that's appealing, or something that would make you want to come back and read more.

So I'm obsessed with pretty food. I like it when I can make a meal that's quick, tastes amazing, but that also presents well on the plate.

I recently was given a copy of Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats as a gift. I LOVE getting cookbooks for gifts, so I was pretty excited to have a looky-loo through it. It hasn't disappointed so far! I am a little bit appalled by the ridiculous amounts of calories and fat in some of the recipes, but I've found it to be relatively easy to make some modifications, all the while remaining true to the intent of the recipe.

So here is the first one that I made....I changed it somewhat significantly from the original recipe, but the core elements are the same - ground chicken, phyllo pastry, chipotle and a tasty sauce. This was an awesome weeknight dinner for hubs and I, and though the recipe says it serves four, I believe that hubs ate nearly half of it.... :)

I also nearly ate half of it (note the phrasing difference there....) but managed to restrain myself. Hubs is getting the leftovers tomorrow. But damn.....they were GOOD. I think this would be a great meal to try with picky kids (albeit reducing the chipotles) because it's fun and totally looks and tastes like junk food.

Chipotle Chicken Rolls with Garlic Coriander Dipping Sauce
- stolen, yet heavily modified from Rachael Ray

Chipotle Chicken Rolls
1 1/3 pounds ground chicken (could substitute beef, turkey, pork, or veggie ground round)
2 large green onions, chopped
1 cup grated old cheddar cheese
4-5 chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce), finely chopped*
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 c. coriander, finely chopped
6 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted
4 T melted butter (or oil - I prefer canola oil because you don't have to melt it and it's a much healthier option)

Dipping Sauce
1 cup fat-free plain yogourt
1 clove garlic, minced
zest and juice of one lime
1/2 t salt
1/4 c. minced coriander
1 t hot sauce (chipotle, preferably)

To make:
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. In a bowl, combine the chicken, green onion, garlic, cheese, coriander and chipotles.
chicken and green onion

3. Transfer the mixture to a ziploc bag. Using kitchen scissors, cut one corner off the bag. Reserve while you prepare the phyllo.

4. Arrange 1 sheet of phyllo dough (make sure to keep other sheets of dough covered with a dampened cloth to keep it from drying out) with the long side closest to you on the kitchen counter. Brush liberally with butter/oil.
brushing phyllo with vegetable oil

5. Place another sheet of phyllo on top and brush again with oil. Repeat with the third sheet of phyllo.

6. Place the trimmed end of the ziploc bag 1/2 inch from the left side and 1/2 inch up from the bottom of the phyllo sheet. Squeeze half the mixture from the bag while moving along in a straight line from left to right.
not sure if this is gross or cool?

(feel free to make more than one pass!)
chicken stuffing for chipotle chicken roll

7. Fold the left and right edges of the phyllo pastry over. Roll the front edge of the phyllo sheet away from you, encasing the chicken mixture and continuing until you have complete a long roll. Brush the entire outside of the phyllo log with the oil.

8. Transfer the log to a rimmed cookie sheet that has been greased (THE RIM IS IMPORTANT!), putting the seam side down. Repeat the process to make the second log.
chipotle chicken roll

9. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the logs feel firm to the touch. And the picture below shows ya why it's crucial to use a rimmed cookie sheet. I'm just hoping all that melty cheesy goo means that the fat content was at least a bit reduced...
not as pretty coming out as going in

10. While the chicken is in the oven, combine the yogourt, garlic, coriander, salt, lime zest and juice. This is your dipping sauce.
coriander yogourt sauce with garlic

11. Slice the rolls and serve with dipping sauce. How pretty is this!

this was my dinner tonight

* I found chipotles (in Ottawa) at the Bells Corners Price Chopper - they have a great latin american section!

A few notes:
- hubs has requested special mention as he is the one who sliced my nice tasty dinner. He ended up eating the roll that I butchered, while I cursed, and swore and tried to make it look pretty. :)
- 4 chipotles made a pleasantly spicy roll. If you like really spicy, you could up it to six. If you are a wimp, reduce it to 1, or consider adding some smoky bbq sauce for a similar effect.
- it's midnight and I want to eat this again! It's so good!


Anonymous said...

First of all, I love reading your blog. I wish I were so talented (both with writing, and cooking!)

These rolls look incredible. I'll definitely be adding these to my 'to try' list!

Janet said...

First of all, I commend you for letting your husband anywhere near your lovely creation with a knife, BEFORE you took the pictures!! Second - thanks for the tip on where to buy chipotle's, haven't found them yet and that is close to where I live... and lastly, this recipe ROCKS!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so trying this! I have phyllo dough in the freezer, and some leftover chipotles (those things last quite a while in the fridge) that I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with. ooooo..*cue Homer drool*

Sara said...

Those do look really really good. I've got a rachel ray book, can't think of which one right now, and I've liked almost everything I've made out of it. But, nothing was finished in under 30 minutes.

Deborah said...

This recipe is perfect for us!! It looks fabulous!!

BTW - my husband has on more than one occasion said you me, "you like to make pretty food, don't you?" We do eat with our eyes first, don't we??

Meghan said...

your blog is great...and i love your pictures as you go through stages of a recipe!

Seza said...

I have the RR book you're talking about. I have also tried the recipe and like to use ground turkey instead of chicken. Her recipe calls for an avocado dipping sauce that is soooo tart you wouldn't believe. I have modified it with my own guac-type sauce. It's a great quick meal.

David T. Macknet said...


LOVE that brush! Wish I had one so cool, 'cause I end up using the big fat ones from the hardware store, and that's just ... well, functional.

I've known people to call it "food porn" when you're really worried about the food, absent from the context. But you're not there yet, because...

you actually show the cooking surface with (gasp!) juices & things coming out onto them. I've been recently criticized for how un-photogenic my cookie dish is, and am glad to see someone else who's not ashamed to actually USE their cooking vessels.

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

anonymous - thanks! You should make these, they are so tasty!

janet - he was super proud of his clearly superior knife skills. This recipe is aewsome.

lesley - yes - make it! I'm using the rest of my phyllo dough to make low-fat, lazy samosas

sara - I think this took just a hair over 30 minutes. I think that if you have a kitchen slave who pre-chops and preps everything for ya, you could probably do it a lot quicker. I need a slave, clearly.

deborah - glad to hear! Definitely, visual appeal is important when it comes to food.

meghan - I like to tell it like it is. If it turned out awful, I'll let ya know... :) This is reality writing at its finest...hahahaha.

seza - I would have made some sort of avocado sauce, but my avocadoes were still rock-hard. I figured the yogourt would be a little easier on the waistline, and I could still incorporate a bit of lime too.

davimack - I believe the brush is an Ikea special...probably like $2. :) And yeah, I tell it like it is. My baking sheets will not be winning any awards anytime soon (that said, I would love to invest in a nicer sheet that doesn't distort with the heat). And don't get me started on folks who have gourmet kitchens and don't use them....

Thanks for all the comments guys!

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness. Not only am I hungry for this recipe now, but I love your photos so much that I want to go out and finally pick up a decent camera.

BC said...

The photos make this so much easier to follow the instructions. Gret work!

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is because I am a man, but I find I will eat even the ugliest food if it tastes good. I care about presentation as much as I care about those little garnishes. :-)

Christy said...

I am always looking for new recipes to use ground chicken for, so for that I thank you!

I have to agree also about the nutritional value of Rachael Ray's recipes, to be honest that is why I have steered clear for the most part.

Mandy said...

I have bookmarked this recipe from RR's book too. Glad to hear that it tastes good. Nice blog! I like the photo in which the filling was squeezed from the ziplock bag. What a neat trick!

cathymc said...

... also a fan and frequent lurker of your blog. The rolls look amazing and tasty by the way. I am one who always has phyllo in the freezer, so I am lovin' an other opportunity to use it.

I very much agree about your comments on the visual appeal of food ... I have heard it said by many a chef, you eat with your eyes first!

Anonymous said...

Looks like another winner! I recently printed off a bunch of your recipes and have called it RBM week! My husband thinks I'm off my rocker but did appreciate the quesedillas last night and is very excited about your famous burgers tonight.

Thanks for the blog!

Samantha said...

My husband helps me in the kitchen too. Hes the baker and I am the cooker. Looks yummy! I love getting cookbooks too.

Brilynn said...

I'm definitely with you on the 'pretty food' thing. I get so mad when I make something and it's ugly, even if the taste is amazing...

Anonymous said...

I made this the other day (without the chipotles though) and it was great! It was my very first attempt at using phyllo dough. I used a bit of Pam olive oil cooking spray between the layers.

My husband liked them plain, because he said he could taste the cheese-y-ness better. Actually, I think he would have liked them with more cheese, and then with cheese melted on top too. :)

Anonymous said...

Does the juices from the meat mixture make the phyllo soggy? Or does it remain crispy??

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