From Dish Danielle:
Last month I had the pleasure of spending a week in Paris with one of my very best girlfriends. Leila has been living in a small studio apartment in the 11th for the last five years, and the week I was visiting, she was finishing up her masters’ thesis. I thought I’d treat her to a home cooked meal for all of her hard work as well as for hosting me.
The challenge: the size of her kitchen (miniscule!) and lack of oven. I had to get creative in her teeny tiny space, but I think all told, I did a pretty bang up job. I chose a simple recipe to get the job done. This is something that can be whipped up in no time when you just need a quick yet decent meal at home.
this is IT. This is her kitchen. teeny tiny.
Chicken Piccata, for three.
3 chicken breasts & drumsticks
3-5 tbsp butter
1-2 c flour
1 lemon (for juicing and for garnish)
½ c dry white wine
¼ c fresh lemon juice
½ c chicken broth
2-3 tbsp drained capers
Rinse and pat chicken dry. Toss 1½ c of flour into a deep plate or shallow bowl with liberal pinches of S&P. Dredge each piece of chicken through flour to coat evenly.
Preheat your oven to 350, or in my case, Leila’s toaster oven. (It worked like a charm!)
Now place a deep frying pan over med-high heat. Toss in ½ of butter. Once it’s melted and pan has come to temperature, arrange chicken in pan and sear. Be sure to turn chicken over and really crisp up its outer edge. After about 4-3 minutes, transfer chicken to oven-safe dish and bake for 20 minutes or so, until cooked through.
Meanwhile, now you can make piccata sauce: Melt remaining butter in the pan and toss in your wine, lemon juice, stock, and bring to a low boil. (at this point some people like to toss in a pinch or two of flour to thicken up the sauce—your call). Now add your capers and parsley. Stir, and give it a taste. Adjust seasonings accordingly or add more lemon juice if needed. Once your satisfied with the flavor, pull it off the heat and wait for your chicken to finish. Arrange chicken on plates with rosemary roasted potatoes and finish with piccata sauce. Garnish with lemon slices.
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From Dish Gwen:
This weekend my boyfriend’s three brothers were visiting and I offered to make them all breakfast. Facing an abundance of raw milk in the fridge that we needed to use up before it turns to cottage cheese, I decided to make pancakes and kill two birds with one stone.
Pancakes are not difficult to make, but there are a few small things that you can do to ensure that they come out great instead of just good:
1. Don’t use too much butter
2. Add fruit
3. Cook in your pajamas
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (I like to think the whole wheat makes them healthier)
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons sugar (or honey)
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 ½ cups milk
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 or 2 apples, sliced into thin wedges
Few tabs of cold butter for your pan
Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl for a minute or so until the powders are evenly blended. Add eggs, milk and butter (and honey if you’re not using sugar), whisking everything together until you get a smooth, lump-free batter. Heat up a skillet on medium and melt a teaspoon or so of butter (less is more with butter here), then spread the butter around so it is evenly spaced across the pan.
Ladle the batter out into the skillet in ½ cup portions, spacing the cakes evenly so they don’t touch (depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to fit about 4 cakes per burner). Lay your apple slices into the cooking cakes, then flip the cakes with a spatula once you start to see air bubbles coming up through the batter.
Check the bottoms of the cakes to make sure they’re golden-brown, and once they are you can pile them in an oven-safe pan and warm them at 250 until you serve them. Serve with maple syrup and butter, a pound of crispy bacon and and hot coffee.
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From Dish Erin:
My saucy lil husband is addicted to red curry. He ate it 4 times last week and requested it again this week. I didn’t protest, because we’ve both been under the weather lately and this dish is perfect for cold weather sniffles. It’s spicy to boost your immune system, it’s got ginger to decongest your nose, and it’s just a nice bone-warming comfort meal when it’s damp and rainy. Also, it’s a one-pot dish (minus the rice), which I’m a sucker for.
Curry dishes have a bad reputation for being complicated. They’re not. They require a lot of ingredients, and some you may not have on hand, but Whole Foods or any type of ethnic grocery store can handle that. And once you have them in house, you or your husband will become addicted to curry and your house will always smell like curry. Like mine.
*One note about lemongrass. It’s not a particularly intuitive spice to work with. It requires a little prep work to get it to ‘open up’ for you and release the right amount of spice into the dish. I recommend reading a little about how to clean, cut and ‘bruise’ it before you get started. About.com has a great resource.
2 tablespoons oil (peanut is best, canola or vegetable oil are fine)
2 chicken breasts, sliced into 1-inch strips and seasoned with a little salt & pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1 large bell pepper (any color), cut into strips
2 heads baby boy choy, sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 stalk lemongrass, sliced lengthwise and ‘bruised’ to release it’s juices*
1 can coconut milk
3 tablespoons chopped Thai basil leaves–regular basil leaves work fine, too
1 whole lime, grated for zest (reserve the actual fruit for juice, too)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 handful of whole basil leaves
Cooked jasmine rice accompaniment
Chopped peanuts for garnish
In a large wok or saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat; when hot, add the chicken strips and cook on both sides until golden brown, until they’re bout about 3/4 of the way cooked through.
Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper to the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes, until everything is softened. Gently keep the pan moving so nothing sticks (if you need to add a little more oil, go ahead). Add the boy choy and cook another 1-2 minutes more. Hopefully you’ll have a saucy lil sous chef to do this stirring for you while you get the curry ingredients ready to go in the pan!
Make a ‘well’ in the middle of the pan and place the curry paste inside the hole. Let it heat through for a minute or two until it smells fragrant.
Add the fish sauce, brown sugar and ginger to the center of the well with the curry paste, and stir the little curry ‘mush’ together. Now add the coconut milk slowly, gently stirring together everything in the pan.
When the curry paste and coconut milk are mostly combined (the milk will turn a reddish pink hue), add the lime zest and lime juice, put the lid on and bring to a boil (about 4-5 minutes).
Stir in the cilantro and basil, and serve over rice with a lime wedge and some chopped peanuts.
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