Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Almond- Orange Shortbread and Basil Grilled Chicken



It is so hot. It is so humid. It is so sticky and muggy out and I have just about had it with the constant threat of thunderstorms, so I am going to think of Chrsitmas. Christmas means cold weather and snow. It means hot chocolate and presents, but most importantly it means Christmas cookies. This recipe comes from everyday food and I discovered it, I believe, about 2 years ago and it is a definate keeper to my holiday trays. The orange flavor really shines through and the almonds make them look so pretty, and it is a true buttery, shortbread. It hits on all cylinders in my book.

Let's get started, shall we:


Almond -Orange Shortbread
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar
3/4 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
grated zest of 1 orange
3/4 cup sliced almonds
Directions:
In mixer, beat butter, sugar almond extract until smooth. With mixer on low add flour and zest, until a dough forms.

Gently mix in almonds, by hand.






It should look like this:





Form dough into rectangular log. 12 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. ( keep it clean people, keep it clean. We are talking dough here. lol)

Wrap log in wax paper, I used plastic wrap and freeze.




When you are ready to bake, remove from freezer and let sit for 30 minutes.
Cut dough into 1/4 inch slices. Place on parchmant lined baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes.







Cool 5 minutes, before transferring to rack to cool completely.




They are just gorgeous and I love that the almonds show through so nicely and when you make them, and I know you will, you will see the little bits of zest show through.

A fantastic addition to any holiday tray, or simply wrap some in cellophane with a pretty ribbon and you have a great little gift for someone special, they better be someone special if you make them these babies.




Up next is a recipe my sister Donna, of My Tasty Treasures, just posted the other day, Basil Grilled Chicken. I was looking for something easy for the grill and this is both easy and tasty. I think this is a Paula Deen recipe, so prepare for butter, lots of butter.


Basil Grilled Chicken
3/4 tsp coarsley ground black pepper
4 skinned chicken breast halves
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil leaves, plus 2 tbsp freshly minced basil leaves
5 tbsp butter, melted, plus 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
fresh basil sprigs, optional
Directions:
Prepare your grill
Get out your fresh basil.
Press the coarsley ground pepper into the meaty side of the chicken breast halves. Stir the chopped basil into the melted butter.


Brush the chicken lightly with this mixture.


In a small bowl, combine the softened butter,minced basil,parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix together until smoothly blended. Transfer to a small serving bowl and set aside.


Grill the chicken 8 to 10 minutes on each side, basting frequently with remaining butter mixture.


Easy with the flames, Babe, you are not Donna's FFH, who puts out flames for a living and unfortunately, you cannot arrest a flame for burning your eyebrows off.


Serve the chicken with the basil- butter mixture. Garnish with fresh basil, if you choose.
And I would definately take Donna's suggestion and add a squeeze of lemon or lime over the top, just brightens everything up.
Great summer BBQ dish.

135 days until christmas, but who's counting?

38 comments:

  1. Im always looking for new ways to prepare chicken..this looks great..and dessert too!!!Figtreeapps

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  2. You and your sister two amazing cooks. I am making that basil chicken tonight!

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  3. The chicken looks absolutely superb, Denise. This is the second amazing basil recipe I've seen tonight and I just wish my basil wasn't so crappy!

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  4. 2 great looking recipes! I am looking foward to cooler weather and christmas too :)

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  5. Your basil is so pretty! and that chicken- ooh!
    Your cookies almost look like biscotti, I like them that shape :-)

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  6. I saw the chicken recipe on Donna's site too. It sounds amazing!

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  7. Mmmm, your chicken looks terrific, too! Love the compound butter! Your sister has turned me on to it, too.

    Your cookies sound amazing and I LOVE, seriously LOVE the flavors, almond and orange together. I'm not a cookie baker but I'm gonna have to get over it so I can get some of those bad boys.
    ~ingrid

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  8. Yummm..copying and saving the cookie recipe! They look amazing. I favor citrus over chocolate so these really appeal to me.

    I always appreciate chicken recipes; and basil is such a lovely addition!

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  9. I love your cookie recipe...sounds great. Shortbread is so good! The chicken looks fantastic. I'd like to try that. When I saw you mention it's 135 days till Christmas all I could think of was shopping!!!!

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  10. I thought I was crazy for counting down to my fiftieth birthday, lol, and it does make me suddenly feel pressured to start shopping...one nice thing about cooking is my friends get goodies during that time...

    Your food looks great, and don't you love summer with all the fresh herbs like basil for this chicken and corn on the cob I made recently...love the cookie recipe!

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  11. I'm reminded now of how much I wanted that chicken the first time I saw it on Donna's blog! And your orange almond shortbread cookies? Those look so good!

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  12. Two keeper recipes! These look so good. I needed a new recipe for the grill. Thanks!

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  13. I love your yummy cookies! I'm not quite ready for Christmas yet though. I've used up my life's savings on school supplies! :D

    I made Donn'a chicken the other day too. It was fantastic!

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  14. Loving the shortbread - it looks wonderful. I saw this basil chicken on Donna's site...with all that butter, you know it's delicious.

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  15. nothing wrong with these two offerings - I will be attempting your shortbread recipe - it looks and sounds so good....I am not looking forward to christmas because that would mean there is no more fresh basil!

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  16. Love them both! The shortbread look so delicious and the chicken very tasty...yummie!

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  17. Loving the shortbread, the citrus with the buttery shortbread must taste amazing, actually I know it does because youve made these for me before.

    And I am so glad you liked the chicken.. It came out lovely.

    Burning his eyebrows off haha, then it would match his haircut:)

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  18. I love sweet buttery shortbread. This sounds so yummy with the orange flavor and almonds. The chicken looks amazing!

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  19. Are you and Donna sisters, or what? Both cute, both great cooks.. To you ever compete with each other(he said tongue in cheek..) I think you both take cooking food a notch up!

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  20. The shortbread recipe is different; usually it's baked in a square or round, then cut. I like that it's baked in individual pieces, and the flavors are great. I saw the chicken recipe on Donna's blog -- it definitely looks like a keeper.

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  21. almond and orange sounds like a great combination. i don't think i've tried that in a recipe before.

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  22. Love using basil in my cooking, the chicken looks and sounds realy good!

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  23. I love shortbread...and I think these are the perfect Christmas-season cookie...delicious!!! And I thought that chicken looked amazing before...still does...YUMMY :D

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  24. Mmmm, looking at those pictures, I can just taste the buttery shortbread!

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  25. Basil grilled chicken looks fantastic and the shortbread sound really yummy with almond-orange flavor!

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  26. Yum, can't wait to try that chicken!

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  27. mmhhhhhh....delicious,so yummy!

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  28. Complimenti per le ricette e complimenti per il tuo blog ricco di contenuti.
    Ciao Daniela.

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  29. I like the idea of Christmas in August? It's kind of like a Snickers bar - Why Wait? I also think we should eat Thanksgiving food year round. So maybe I'm biased? I love the shortbread cookies they are SO bookmarked!

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  30. Denise,

    Thank you for taking the time to leave such a kind comment on my blog. I appreciate it more than you know.

    xoxo,
    Monixa

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  31. Hi Denise,
    Just dropped in from Pam's For the Love of Cooking. Boy oh boy, everything looks so darn good. I almost hate to admit it because I've been whining about the lack of sunshine all summer. However, Christmas shortbread sure is sounding good today in New York.

    Thanks for sharing...

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  32. Christmas is my favorite season! Love these almond-orange cookies,Denise!

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  33. Mmmmm.... I LOVE those cookies!! And the chicken looks great too!!

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  34. Hmmm not so sure I'm ready for all of this Christmas talk, but I'm all about buttery shortbread goodness!

    Let's just call it Christmas in July... err, August :)

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  35. i'm always counting down to christmas too, it's my favorite. i can't wait to try that shortbread, delish!

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I'd be so happy to hear your thoughts, answer questions, or exchange ideas.