Do you feel like chicken tonight?

Well, you will with this Sautéed Chicken with Olives, Capers and Roasted Lemons from the gentle Italian lamb and talented Chef Lidia Bastianich.  This hails from the same great line-up of female chef recipes I tried last week and was so lovely in every way. The lemons were muted a bit due to roasting them in olive oil and were contrasted by the briny olives and capers. I also loved the crispy breadcrumbs and arugula (it calls for spinach but I wanted a bit of spiciness to this) that made it feel like a substantial but not too filling meal. The one thing that really gave a “zing” to the chicken was the simple light dusting with flour before sautéing. A simple but effective step that made the chicken slightly crispy while still retaining its moisture.  I felt the simplicity and bright, clean flavors of the dish is what really made this a winner for us. Serve this to your loved ones or at a dinner party, trust me, their will be licked plates.

 

Sauteed Chicken with Olives, Capers and Roasted Lemons (Photo by Tina Rupp)

Top Chef

I adore Richard Blais and don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy he won Top Chef All-Stars, and yes I might have had something in my eye when he won…sniffle! However, Chef Tre Wilcox is now Top Chef (besides me…hahhhahahahaha, I made a funny) in this house with his Spice-Rubbed Chicken Thighs.  Bless. Wow this was phenomenal and has earned a spot as an Emily and David favorite. Yep, I don’t need to say much else do I?

The recipe is a little bit of work with a long recipe list but it works. I think if you served this at a dinner party you might get fist bumps and hugs. The sauce on this is sweet, tangy with just a hint of spice. And with it smothered all over the chicken thighs with their awesome rub..bless.

Spice-Rubbed Chicken Thighs...from Heaven (Photo by Fredrika Stjärne)

David made this killer side of Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Chive Pesto from Bon Appetit. This complemented the chicken dish quite well with both using chive and parsley. YUMMY David! So we didn’t have to wait, we roasted the potatoes at the 325 degree temperature that the chicken recipe called for but just for a bit longer. Easy, breezy lambs!

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Chive Pesto (Photo by Ditte Isager)

 

 

 

This Week’s (Overly Ambitous) Menu Plan

So, I decided to give ALL of the food magazines in the universe love this week.  I’m so lying, not really all because all would be crazy but I did manage to encompass Food  and Wine, Cooking Light, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Everyday Food and one of my favorite recipes from the National Mango Board (my former client!).  That’s a lot of different food magazines and recipes in less than one week and I think  our kitchen is already tip toeing away from me as I type this… it knows what’s coming.

I’m so excited about the pizza tonight that I wish tonight would get here right now.  It’s 10:00 a.m., this is going to be a long day isn’t it?

Happy Friday everyone!

Friday: Sweet Potato, Balsamic Onion and Soppressata Pizza

Saturday: Vegetable Enchiladas with Spanish Rice

Sunday: Pan-Fried Chicken, Grilled Hearts of Romaine with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette and Pickled Red Onions

Monday: Tortilla Soup with Dried Chile, Fresh Cheese, and Avocado, Jalapeño Corn Bread

Tuesday:  Sausage and Caramelized Onion Bread Pudding and Hotel Russel Erskine Salad

Wednesday:  Cider-Vinegar Braised Chicken Thighs with Rice

Thursday: Mango and Bacon BBQ Pizza

Put a Little Pep in Your Parm!

For their January issue, Food and Wine focused on the top food trends for 2011 with complementary recipes per month such as gourmet ice-pops in July and and DIY sodas in August. One trend is the General Store Redux which is a good old fashioned general store with a locavore focus. A recipe featured from one of these new types of stores, Seattle’s Take 5 Urban Market, was the Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni.  I followed this to a “T” and I said to David after we were done eating that it’s the easiest and best chicken parm crust I can recall making in quite some time. The crust is PERFECT and the chicken was still moist and delicious. We loved the sauce, pepperoni and cheese on top and I served this with their superfast salad idea which is simply mixing roasted bell peppers (I used jarred) with fresh basil and toasted pinenuts and then dressed with red wine or we used white balsamic (David’s idea!) vinegar and olive oil, plus a little salt and pepper.

Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni (Photo by Quentin Bacon)

I cut the chicken breasts in half and baked off two halves in the oven without any cheese, sauce or pepperoni. For some schuper sandwiches today I brolied the leftover breaded chicken halves, cheese, sauce and pepperoni until the cheese was bubbly and melted on whole wheat rolls.

There was one point of confusion as I made the dish. Check out the recipe picture and then read the instructions for cooking the chicken. Doesn’t it look like they plated it backwards from the instructions? I followed the recipe instead of how the picture looks i.e. chicken, with pepperoni, then sauce then the cheese but hey, if you want it to look like the beauty shot for your guests I think it would still turn out delicious no matter how you stack it! Tonight is the Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Chicken with Green Sauce, I can’t wait to try it lambs. UPDATE I made the Puerto Rican chicken last night and let me tell you, you can pass this one up – meh.

Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni

Food and Wine magazine, January 2011

Ingredients

2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs), finely crushed in a food processor

Four 8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded 3/4 inch thick

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella

2 ounces sliced pepperoni

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a pie plate, beat the eggs with the milk. Spread the flour and panko in 2 separate pie plates. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and dust in the flour. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and then in the panko; press to help the crumbs adhere.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Drain the chicken on paper towels, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Top the chicken with the tomato sauce, Parmigiano, mozzarella and pepperoni.

3. Bake the chicken for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Transfer the chicken to plates, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Holiday Week Menu Plan

Well well well Christmas 2010, you definitely have snuck upon me that’s for sure. I can’t believe it’s already here! After a super gentle reunion weekend with my family here in Austin, it was time to finalize my menu plan for this week and next. As I’m sure yours might be too, the next few weeks are going to be a little wonky but I do hope this serves as inspiration for you no matter what your plans are. I’m so excited about some of these that I will be counting down the days until I make them!

Monday: Roasted Pork Chops and Butternut Squash with Kale

Tuesday:  Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni and Mixed Bell Pepper Salad

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Chicken in Green Sauce and Grilled Plantains

Thursday – Saturday: Christmas with friends and family in Austin…Happy Holidays to all of you!!

Sunday: Slow Cooker Ham Hock and Chickpea Stew and Crusty Bread

Monday: Chicken Liver Tostadas with Chipotle Sauce

Tuesday: Breakfast Biscuit Sandwiches and Fruit Salad

Wednesday: Lamb Shanks with Lemon, Dill and Feta and Sautéed Spinach

Ratatouille and Goat Cheese Subs with a Side of ACL

I earmarked these subs a while ago in the September issue of Food & Wine because I adore Ratatouille (sans eggplant) and I love the idea of this timeless dish combined with tangy goat cheese all on toasty bread. More on the recipe’s creator Chef Matt Neal in Food & Wine:

Matt Neal had never made ratatouille before he opened Neal’s Deli. He took the recipe from his father, the legendary Southern chef Bill Neal, and used it as the basis for his own version. Neal cooks the key ingredients—eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and onion—separately. “That way, I can make sure each vegetable cooks exactly how I want it; plus they won’t steam in a big group all together,” he says. “Customers request this sandwich all summer long, but we wait until the ingredients are available at the farmers’ market before we serve it.”

Ratatouille and Goat Cheese Subs (Photo: John Kernick)

I omitted the eggplant because we both think it’s disgusting – yes disgusting and it’s quite nice to have someone share that same disgust with you since so many people love eggplant. Otherwise, I followed the recipe’s instructions to the letter and it went by much, much quicker than I thought given you have to cook all of the vegetables individually.

I really can’t say much more about these except that they were absolutely delicious, full of flavor and as a bonus perfect for a meatless Monday meal. After ACL Festival weekend, this was a great transition dish to move back into a healthy diet.

As a sidenote, ACL? Wow. I had an absolute BLAST. While Muse was mind-blowingly good my choice for best show was definitely Deadmau5. Lambs, he was a super poodle, put on a fantastic show and the crowd was waaaaay into it. I highly recommend checking him out if you haven’t yet. Oh, and The National, one of my all-time favorites, was exactly how I thought they would be…absolutely incredible. Thank goodness I finally got to see them live!

Midnight Tortas – Updated

As one reader pointed out in my previous post this recipe was missing a few key items such as rolls, cilantro, cotija and tomatoes in its ingredient line-up – always read the instructions before heading to the store poodles. Regardless, I had pork belly sliders last weekend at the always-fantastic Odd Duck food trailer here in Austin and was dying to try and make pork belly on my own. Plus, this Midnight Tortas recipe featuring delicous pork belly had been calling my name for sometime anyway.  I mean how can you beat a recipe from the food truck in Los Angeles, Kogi, from Best New Chef Roy Choi? He just looks like a muy badass doesn’t he? The only hitch was I would need to make the gentle belly in the convection oven/microwave that I already have a huge crush on, but was a little hesitant since we are only a few dates into our culinary relationship.

Chef Roy Choi

We stopped by our local HEB off of Oltorf and Congress and I assumed they would have pork belly given they have trotters, feet and cow tongue, but they had just run out of pork belly…sigh. I grabbed short ribs instead as I thought it would make a nice stand-in. Who am I kidding, I love short ribs but nothing replaces pork belly. David then recommended we go to Whole Foods Market to see if they might have the delicious pork product. I was loving David’s commitment to the mission at hand. Whole Foods did have some and then I suggested why not do the sandwich with pork belly and the short ribs - we both started drooling at the same time. Once again, you’ve got to love dating a fellow food lover.

I seasoned the pork belly and short ribs with smoked paprika, pepper and Herbes de Provence to follow along the lines of  this recipe. I placed in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour and then cooked for another two or so at 200 degrees all on the high mix roast setting.

Pork Belly and Short Ribs Prior to Their Trip to the Convection Oven

After letting the short ribs and pork belly rest, I went on to split the bolillo rolls (love the local HEB so, so much for having these) and decided that since I had put my pinky toe outside the cooking lines why not just go all out lambs? I broiled the jalapenos and a hatch chile (’tis the season and nice call by David to add in!), let them cool, peeled and cut into thin strips. I decided instead of just mayonaisse to blend the juice of one lime, a pinch of cumin and mashed one avocado into the mayonnaise and then sprinkled in the cotija cheese – that way the bits of the crumbly cheese would stay on your sandwich and not on your plate. I also decided to keep the spinach fresh to provide a bit more texture to the sandwich and sliced the tomatoes. For the eggs, we don’t have a an application to cook the eggs stove top so I oiled a few ramekins, cracked an egg in each and placed one tablespoon of heavy cream to bake instead.  I baked at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, which was a bit longer than we wanted but due to the cream in the eggs the whites looked not cooked through yet…they were and the eggs turned out creamy and delicious but the yolks were a little overdone. Key learnings with the new oven!

I shredded the pork belly and short ribs together and placed the jalapeno/hatch chile strips in with the meat. I smeared one half of the roll with the avocado mayonnaise then topped with the meat mixture. Next came the sliced tomato, fresh spinach, creamy eggs, a dollop of my cilantro salsa and then topped with the other half of the roll. Needless to say this sandwich was EPIC folks.

Midnight Tortas - Courtesy of Food & Wine (Anna Williams)

Another key learning from the convection oven, the pork belly turned out a little too crispy because I think I did it for too long, but the short ribs were perfect. Overall, I really liked this sandwich and would like to troubleshoot my mistakes for next time since the flavor combinations were delicious together and I could see this being a perfect tortas recipe to enjoy…well, maybe once in a blue moon given the decadence of it all.

If you have any tips or recommendations let me know and I’ll give this tortas recipe a try again. Oh, I almost forgot! I served this sandwich with this very simple but quite tasty Orange and Red Onion Salad and Red Pepper from Cooking Light. Great little side dish if I so say so myself.

Orange and Red Onion Salad with Red Pepper - Courtesy of Cooking Light (Randy Mayor)