Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Vanilla Fever

My husband brought me home some Tahitian vanilla beans, flown in fresh from Tahiti, from some friend of a friend of a friend (I love the investment world...) which has had me dreaming of vanilla bean everything. We also have had an incredible food experiences lately that piqued my interest in vanilla essence lately with vanilla bean panna cotta with mandarin oranges and lime kiwi collee (more on those experiences later). While I was at my parents, I made dinner twice, and this is one of the recipes that turned up well. I have to say that I am always inspired at my parents, where I can raid their well-stocked pantry with all sorts of incredible, fresh ingredients without once thinking of my food budget :) Thanks Dad!

Vanilla-Balsamic Grilled Chicken over Spinach Salad with Balsamic Pears
serves 6

8 cups fresh baby spinach
3 semi-ripe pears, sliced
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts marinated for 3 hours in:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (from Trader Joes)

Honey Whole Grain Mustard Dressing (make your own or purchase)

Heat grill to medium-high. Grill chicken breast 6 minutes to a side until cook through but where the meat is still slightly pink. Let rest for 10 minutes under foil.
Meanwhile, slice pears and marinate in balsamic vinegar with salt and pepper. Add spinach and walnuts and Parmesan cheese. Toss together to coat.
Slice chicken diagonally and place strips on top of portioned salad on a plate. Drizzle with dressing and serve. Fresh ground pepper to taste.

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