To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pesto Chicken and Sun-dried Tomato Wrap with Roasted Fennel Rings

This is an oven-free recipe. It's a super easy, very tasty little picnic munchable for the upcoming summer months. Take it to the park or an outdoor concert and enjoy feeling full but not stuffed. :) I paired it with a 2007 Rosato di Sangiovese from one of my favorite Napa Valley vineyards - Gargiulo Vineyards.  And brought a side of roasted fennel, which I'll also tell you how to make.

Pesto Chicken and Sun-dried Tomato Wrap
(makes 4)

2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped into bite size pieces
Lavash bread (or pita bread as you prefer)
Sun-dried tomatoes
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup raw cashews (ground to tiny bits)
~ 4 tbsp Simple home-made pesto sauce (see below for directions)

When I'm grilling, I use my George Foreman grill, which really keeps the cooked meat lean, but this will work on any grill. Brush a light layer of olive oil onto the chicken breasts and sprinkle a little salt and pepper to taste on the chicken before putting it on the grill. You'll want to cook it until it's cooked through and not much more. The more tender it is the better, just make sure it really is cooked through.

When it's done, dice it up into bite sized pieces and put it in a large bowl with a few handfuls of arugula, about 4 tbsp of sun-dried tomatoes (more if you like - I like to start with this and then bring more sun-dried tomatoes in tupperware for later), some ground cashews (for a little crunch), and about a tablespoon of lemon juice.

Next you want to add your pesto sauce slowly to the bowl. You want just enough to coat the contents of the bowl, not drown them, approximately 1 tbsp for each serving. Mix it up well, making sure that everything in the bowl is nice and pesto'd up, then layer a few spoonfuls out onto each piece of lavash and roll them up, folding the ends, before wrapping in aluminum foil. Easy peasy. Go on. Have a peace. :)

Simple home-made pesto sauce
3.5 packed cups fresh basil leaves
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup ground pecorino cheese
1/4 cup ground raw cashew

Combine basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, cashews in a blender and blend until smooth. When the mixture is completely smooth, add the pecorino and pulse the blender until it has been incorporated into the mix.

Roasted Fennel Rings
(makes 2 servings)

2 fennel bulbs
extra virgin olive oil

Preset your oven to 400 F. Prepare a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and then set a cookie cooling rack on top of that - preferably one with small squares instead of bars, but bars will do.

Take two fennel bulbs and cut much the same way you would make onion rings (cut off the ends, and then make regular slices). You'll want to peel apart each layer and set them on the cooling rack on top of the cookie sheet so that the individual semi-rings will not fall through. Brush olive oil lightly on both sides of each piece of fennel. Roast for about 20 minutes.

These roasted fennel rings have a sweet, not overly licorice-y flavor, and make a great light side dish or, even, a fun alternative to dessert.