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Archive for October, 2010

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
S&P
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
parsley

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.

Bon Appetit!

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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


Ingredients:
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
3 eggs
2 ½ cups milk
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 or 2 apples, sliced into thin wedges
Few tabs of cold butter for your pan

Directions:
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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Red Curry

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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Guest Dish Jackie is a Boston native (and Vegas aficionado) who writes the healthy food blog Not Your Bubbe’s Kitchen, and the super stylish Find Your Fashionista. Let’s welcome her!


****Waves frantically****

Hi everyone!

When I was asked by Dish Rachelle to come and share a fun recipe to make with you, I asked myself, “What should I make?”I learned to make my mother’s 8 hour slow cooked brisket recipe pretty darn well (just ask Dish Erin), and can bake a super tasty Kugelhopf (that’s coffee cake FYI) but it takes about 4 hours from start to finish, and I can even prepare some luscious libations in shot form (because I like to drink while I cook). But usually us normal folk don’t have time for that type of slow cooking on a daily basis. So it just seemed natural to share with you my healthier chicken piccata.

A long, long time ago, I watched a Giada DiLaurentis cooking show on the Food Network, and she made Chicken Piccata. It looked absolutely mouth watering. But it also looked like my rear end would grow 5 inches in a sitting; she added 5 tablespoons of olive oil and 6 tablespoons of butter for a recipe that serves 4 (if my math is correct, that is an added 300 calories to this dish PER PERSON). Clearly Giada isn’t eating her own cooking.

So I challenged myself to creating a healthier alternative. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Chicken Piccata served with Whole Wheat Angel Hair and Roasted Broccoli, Tomatoes, Shallots, and Capers
What you need:
About 1.5 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3 breasts); flattened with a meat tenderizer (this is how I take out my aggression).
About ¼ Cup all purpose flour mixed with about a teaspoon of kosher salt and some black pepper – this is for dredging the chicken in.
2 Tbsp of butter; I use light style butter; like Smart Balance Light or Land o’ Lakes Light.
About 1.5 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

In a bowl, combine the following:
• 1/3 cup lemon juice (to taste)
• 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
• 1/4 cup Chardonnay (or whatever white wine you’re having with dinner)
• 1/4 cup of capers
Whole Wheat Angel Hair Pasta, cooked per package directions, minus 2 minutes.
Bag of Broccoli florets, some pearl tomatoes, 1 shallot, 2 Tbsp of capers, drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for the veggies.

How you do it:
For the Veggies:
• Preheat oven on 425.
• Place all ingredients on a non stick sprayed pan.
• Veggies, Tomatoes, Capers, Shallots, Drizzles of oil, and sprinkle of cheese.
• Cook for 20 minutes.

For the Chicken and Pasta:

Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour/salt/chicken mixture.
When the skillet is ready, add about ½ Tbsp of butter & 1 Tbsp of the oil to heat. Add the Chicken. Cook the chicken on both sides, approximately 4 minutes each side, until golden brown. The time depends on how thick the chicken is. Flip the bird, add another ½ Tbsp of butter & the remaining ½ Tbsp of oil and repeat.
Remove the bird from the skillet and place the liquids (juice, broth, wine, capers) into the pan over medium heat. Add the other Tbsp of butter. Let the sauce boil for a minute.

Add the chicken back in to the mix, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.

Leaving the sauce in the skillet, add the pasta; Note on the pasta- Cook about 2 minutes shy of package directions and throw in the sauce to cook for the final minutes. You won’t be sorry.

Serve with abovementioned chardonnay and voila, you have an entire home cooked meal for under 500 calories*

*serving size is 1 4-ounce chicken breast, 2 ounces of cooked pasta, and ½ of the vegetables.
Well, Saucy Little Dish, grab your wine and get cooking!

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From Dish Rachelle:

I could make chicken cutlets with my eyes closed.

My Grandma was a housewife who cooked almost every night, and she took great pleasure in feeding people. When I came to visit, she’d bring me to the grocery store in the morning, letting me pick out the best in danishes/fried chicken fingers/ramen noodles (or “oodles of noodles,” as they were then called). She let me break all of the good habits that my Mom tried to instill, like not watching 10 straight hours of TV (they had all of the channels!) and not counting “pastry” and “fry” as vital food groups. Though I certainly appreciate my mother’s health-food lovin’ ways now – I write this as I eat the arugula and leftover roast chicken salad I tossed together for lunch – at the time, Grandma’s house, just 20 minutes away, felt like vacation.

My Grandpa got home from the office around 7 and we’d start cooking before then to have dinner on the table. More often than not, we made chicken cutlets – probably because Grandma knew how much I liked the ritual of tossing the chicken first in flour, then in egg, then in Italian breadcrumbs, getting the breading stuck under my fingernails.

When the Boy came back from Tokyo after 9 days away, he wanted something saucy and decidedly American for dinner. I baked Grandma’s chicken cutlets with parmagiana fixin’s, while Old Jet Lag snoozed on the couch.

Ingredients:

For easy sauce:
½ medium onion, white or yellow, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, sliced thin
1 lg. can plain crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. oregano
grated parmagiana cheese, to taste
red pepper flakes
fresh basil & parsley, washed, cleaned and chopped
S&P

For cutlets:
2 chicken breasts, or ~1 lb., butterflied and sliced into cutlets (you can also buy cutlets pre-cut)
a few tblsp. flour
1-2 eggs
a few tbsp. Italian breadcrumbs

1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds

In a large, flat-bottomed saucepan, sauté onion, garlic and carrots in some olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour crushed tomatoes into the pan and season with oregano, grated parm, S&P. I like to use about a palm full of cheese, which adds saltiness to the sauce so be sure to taste it before you season. I also like to toss in a few red pepper flakes – enough for flavor but not enough to bring in real bite. Stir the sauce and let stand, covered, over low heat until it thickens, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.

Set up your cutlet station. In a mixing bowl or something of a similar size, pour out enough flour that you can coat your cutlets. In another mixing bowl, do the same thing with breadcrumbs. Beat 1 or 2 eggs (depending on their size) in a third bowl, like you’re making an omelet. Have a clean landing plate nearby.

Now, the fun part:

Plop a trimmed cutlet in the flour and then flip it over, so that both sides are coated. With either a fork or your hands, lift it out and dip it in the eggs, coating it again. Drop it into the breadcrumbs and flip it, so that it’s dusted on both sides. Flour, egg, breadcrumbs: the order that you do this is important. The egg makes the breadcrumbs stick but you need a flour base so that the crust doesn’t just flake off the chicken when you drop it into hot oil.

Once all of your cutlets are breaded, heat about 2 tblsp. of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken in batches, so that the pan is never overcrowded. Feel free to add more oil to the pan if it starts getting dry. Cook each cutlet about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until breading is golden brown. You don’t want the chicken to be raw (poke it with your tongs to check the doneness: firmer = more cooked) but you don’t have to worry about getting it cooked 100% because these suckers are going straight into the oven.

Uncover your sauce and stir in those fresh herbs. Remove from heat.

Drizzle a ladle full of sauce in a clean baking pan, and layer the chicken. Pour the rest of your sauce over the cutlets and finish with rounds of fresh mozzarella on top.

Bake for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and the cheese is nicely browned. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving and then cut into squares.

A dinner guest who hasn’t slept in over 24 hours and whose body thinks it’s breakfast time is optional.

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Um, DUH, we could have told you that.

Also, we think the home chef with the tie bar and full Windsor is pretty cute, too.

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From Dish Paige!:

IDK about you guys, but it seems like everywhere I go these days people are offering up extra apples – so-and-so brought some over, they were just too good to not get a bushel, etc. I thought I had seen it all until I went over to Guest Dish Jessica’s house Monday night to help make apple sauce and apple pie. Thinking that would be enough to help get rid of her abundance, I was sorely mistaken; there were apples EVERYWHERE!!!!! I went over again last night and helped her use up a few more from her bounty.

For the pork:
Ingredients
1 leek, sliced
1/2 coarsley chopped onion
1 coarsley chopped apple
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
3-lb pork loin roast

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a food processor, combine the leek, onion, apple, pumpkin seeds, thyme, salt and fennel seeds and pulse a few times until the ingredients are chopped. Continue grinding the mixture and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Wash the pork loin and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a roasting pan and salt the pork loin. Spread the leek/apple mixture on top of the meat and then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of that.
Place in the oven and roast for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until your meat thermometer reads 140 degrees.

For the salad:
Whatever kind of lettuce you like in whatever combination (I used about half a bag of Spring Mix and half a bag of Italian Blend (whatever what is))
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Heat the butter in a large skillet and then add the apples and sugar, cooking on medium heat until the apples just start to soften. Turn the heat up to high and continue cooking until the apples become really soft and golden brown but before they turn to absolute mush. Meanwhile, in the bottom of a salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and thyme. Add in the toasted walnuts and toss to coat. Add in the lettuces and again toss to coat. Add the blue cheese & cooked apples and one more time…toss!

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