Tag Archives: chicken

Sometimes things go wrong

I am quite certain you read this blog for recipes that work. Or perhaps my witty commentary. But sometimes things go wrong and I have to admit that I do not always turn out spectacular food.

It seemed like a good idea yesterday to make the Chicken Sofrito from the Jerusalem cookbook, one of the greatest cookbooks ever produced in my opinion. By all appearances, it’s a simple recipe: slowly cook chicken in its own juices and add a nice bed of crispy fried potatoes underneath. Chicken, potatoes, a few spices and an onion. What could be easier? I miscalculated.

The recipe calls for you to put the chicken in a large pan with low sides. I do not have such a pan. So I cram the chicken in a smaller pan with low sides. I know as I am doing this that it’s not going to work. Dang it. Remove chicken from pan, find larger cast iron skillet with high sides and wash previous pan after scraping off encrusted barely cooked chicken parts.

Put chicken on the stove on low. It’s supposed to cook for an hour before the potatoes go in. How hard is it to fry potatoes? Not hard. Just incredibly messy.

Exhibit A:

IMG_4406And I start to realize it will take King Daddy and I until Labor Day to eat all those potatoes. No matter. It is more of a problem that I didn’t have enough oil and have to fry the potatoes in batches of three. It eats up the entire hour.

At this point, I am to add the potatoes to the chicken which, according to the recipe, should be beginning to fall off the bone. I open the lid. Oh, dear.

Exhibit B:

IMG_4397It is not falling off the bone. It is entirely, sadly, intact. I am more than an hour into this recipe and I sense disaster. I briefly consider throwing everything away before King Daddy gets home, but the chicken is organic and it is apparently some kind of International Court violation to throw away anything that once had a beak and and two scratchy legs. So I pause a moment to ponder.

Exhibit C:

IMG_4403The saddest selfie ever recorded. Wine and cigarettes were required. I sit on the deck for a few minutes reviewing my options. I am already so screwed, but I decide to proceed apace and live with the consequences.

Exhibit D: IMG_4398Well, alrighty then. The potatoes and the pan juices look pretty tasty. Only a half hour to go so what the hell. Chicken goes back on top and it simmers covered for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, King Daddy comes home and I warn him that this meal may rival my worst suppers ever made (Fish Jello being at the top of the list). He seems to think I am over-reacting.

Exhibit E:

Chicken SofritoIt is…acceptable. The chicken, as predicted, did not fall off the bone but it was moist. The potatoes were quite tasty. And I learned a few lessons in the process, the most important being that when you make a recipe for the first time follow it exactly. I substituted chicken breasts for a whole cut-up chicken because K.D. and I don’t like dark meat. But the legs and thighs would have added a lot more moisture and juice, thereby getting the chicken to that fall-off-the-bone stage.

And, most important, do NOT equate a less-than-stellar result with Armageddon. Although I always try.

 

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Four pepper chicken

Four pepper chicken

Life used to be so sweet and we didn’t even know it then. Before the recession (which one?). Before the newspaper industry took a nosedive. Back when there was such a thing as an expense account. Which is how I got acquainted with a sassy little dish at Merchant’s restaurant in Nashville called Five Pepper Chicken.

Merchant’s was actually in the middle rung of the expense account ladder. At the tippy top was The Wild Boar, sadly no longer with us. Dinner at The Wild Boar took a minimum of four hours and cost, oh, approximately $500 for a party of four – excluding wine (which was never excluded). Of course, I never paid that. Our kindly Uncle Gan Nett took care of the bill. He had deep pockets back in the day. He once rented out the entire property of Blackberry Farm, a very pricy resort in East Tennessee, for a management retreat.  At which, of course, nothing was accomplished but at which we could fish for our own trout in their stocked pond and have them served to us for breakfast. Oh, yes. Those were the days.

Most of the luxury dinners involved job candidates. In the hinterlands, Uncle Gan Nett squeezed every nickel from the poor wretches who toiled in the shabby small-town newsrooms. But should they get a call from the Mother Ship for a job interview, they saw the promised land – complete with an expensive bottle of French wine and jumbo crab claws.

Even with all the filet mignon, lobster tails and truffle-studded mashed potatoes, my favorite expense account meal was the Five Pepper Chicken at Merchant’s.  The chicken was studded with a combination of sweet and fiery peppers and bathed in a luxurious lemon cream sauce. It never occurred to me to ask for the recipe because A. I assumed my expense account joy ride would last forever and B. I thought they would never take it off the menu.

I was wrong on both counts. So I have recreated it here. But it’s not exact. I am missing a pepper and I can’t figure out which one. So here is my four pepper version of Five Pepper Chicken. It’s still utterly delicious and even I can afford to make it.

Four pepper chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • BBQ rub
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
  1. Trim the chicken breasts of any fat and season them with the BBQ rub (use your favorite). Heat the vegetable oil on medium high in a large heavy skillet and sauté the chicken breasts on both sides until browned and cooked through (160 degrees internal temperature using a digital probe thermometer). Reserve.
  2. Slice the four peppers into thin strips, removing the seeds and veins. Add a little more oil to the pan and add the peppers. Saute over medium heat until they are tender and beginning to brown. Reserve.
  3. Add the chicken stock to the skillet and boil, reducing it by half. Add the cream and continue to boil until the sauce is reduced by half. Add the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly. Add the chicken and peppers back to the pan to warm them through and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fried apples and what goes together

Fried ApplesI was making supper the other night – pork chops, dressing and fried apples. And it occurred to me there are certain things that just “go together” – food combinations that I return to again and again.

Some of them could be considered odd or quaint. I have always served King Daddy’s favorite mustard chicken with buttered egg noodles. To do otherwise would be unthinkable. It just wouldn’t be right. On Sloppy Joe night, the Joe must be Manwich and it must lean along side Tater Tots. With ketchup. Ditto the ketchup with fried chicken livers.

Braised short ribs require mashed potatoes. Last night I was provisioning the refrigerator for KD because I am heading to Bunny’s tomorrow to help her unpack at her new home. I made the short ribs and mashed potatoes, but stuck some garlic bread in the oven for another meal. KD actually asked for garlic bread with short ribs. I was horrified. They don’t go together. Turkey sandwiches. Just turkey, mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce, salt and pepper. No cheese. Cheese and turkey don’t go together.

Fish and rice go together. Fish does not go with potatoes or pasta. Flat chicken and green noodles. Only a classic in our home, I’m sure. It’s just breaded chicken breasts and thin spaghetti with pesto. But the chicken breasts must be thin and the noodles must be thin, also. The calorie count is not thin. Corned beef hash with English muffins and blackberry jam. The hash must be from a can. And you must fry it with onions until it is crispy. The jam can be seedless or not. That’s where King Daddy and I part ways. He likes the seeds.

A wedge salad demands blue cheese dressing and bacon. Diet Coke must be present with hamburgers and French fries. Iced tea does not go with hamburgers or French fries. Iced tea does, however, go with chicken salad. I don’t know why.

So what foods “go together” for you? What are your odd and quaint combinations? I hope you disagree with me. It’s always more fun when you do.

 

Fried apples
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Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • 4 tart apples, such as Honey Crisp or Granny Smith
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions
  1. Core and cut the apple into wedges. As you cut the apples, put them in a bowl with the lemon juice to keep them from discoloring.
  2. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar and cinnamon. Cook until the apples soften, about 10 minutes.

 

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Chicken a la King

Chicken a la KingThat old Billy King, what a rascal. No one’s ever heard of him save the fact that he invented one of my favorite comfort foods, Chicken a la King.

King was a hotel cook at the Bellevue in Philadelphia. His obituary in New York Tribune in 1915 had this to say:

“The name of William King is not listed among the great ones of the earth. No monuments will ever be erected to his memory, for he was only a cook. Yet what a cook! In him blazed the fire of genius which, at the white heat of inspiration, drove him one day, in the old Bellevue, in Philadelphia, to combine bits of chicken, mushrooms, truffles, red and green peppers and cream in that delight-some mixture which ever after has been known as ‘Chicken a la King.’ “

There wasn’t a restaurant in the greater Chicagoland area that didn’t serve Chicken a la King in the 1960s, but you can barely find it now. What a shame since we have something in 2014 that Billy could never have dreamed about – supermarket rotisserie chicken. Rotisserie chicken comes under the heading of “I can’t make it better.” I am a purist when it comes to Chicken a la King. I only use the white breast meat, saving the legs and thighs for another use. You can also poach chicken breasts for this recipe, but why would you do that? The package of chicken breasts will cost more than the entire rotisserie chicken and they won’t be half as good.

Chicken a la King
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Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • 4 puff pastry shells
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large shallots minced
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup Madeira
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Breast meat from a rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • ½ cup frozen peas

Instructions
  1. Prepare the puff pastry shells according to the package directions
  2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms. Saute until the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms are browned. Add the Madeira and deglaze the pan. When all the alcohol has evaporated, add the flour and stir thoroughly.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium and add the chicken stock and heavy cream. Stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the parsley, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Add the chicken and the frozen peas. Heat for 3-4 minutes until the chicken and peas are warmed through. Serve in the puff pastry shells.

 

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Mediterranean Chicken

Mediterrean Chicken

I have no great story to go with Mediterranean Chicken. I started making this years ago because I just happened to have all the ingredients and it sounded like a good idea at the time. Now, it’s a go-to recipe because it just takes minutes. Have a can of whole tomatoes? Just dice them up.   Don’t like kalamata olives? What’s wrong with you?

I will now tell you about my day. So the first thing is that it’s Halloween and the weather forecast is calling for torrential rain and straight-line winds. Trick or treating has been cancelled throughout Middle Tennessee. This is a good thing. I forgot to buy candy. Now, they’ve moved trick or treating to tomorrow night. This is also good because Halloween candy will be 50 percent off. I love it when a plan comes together.

The second thing is that I spent part of the day at work being a low-level personal shopper. I love this about my job. Basically, for those of you who think I just sit in my garage, smoking, drinking wine and writing this blog, I have a day job running a nonprofit that provides basic necessities to people in need. And today I got a call from a social worker about a homeless family that had moved into their first apartment. They had nothing but the clothes on their backs. Did we have anything we could give them? Yes, indeedy. We have lots of things to give them – new clothes, new cookware, super cushy pillows that I wish I had in my own house, personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies, lamps, decorative items. The social worker thanked me profusely. No, sweetie, you don’t understand. It is truly our pleasure.

And then, the most unexpected thing ever. I head to the grocery store to get the ingredients for tonight’s supper and there, in the produce department, is a man wearing a kilt. I mean it is Halloween, but this guy was not heading to a costume party. He was honest-to-goodness, sincerely, a Scottish guy in a cable-knit pullover, kilt and those funny shoes with the patches at the top. He was picking out onions. I wanted to take a photo with my phone, but that would have been rude. I now regret that I didn’t.

So enjoy the chicken. I hope your day was as interesting and fulfilling as mine.

Mediterranean Chicken
Author: 
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Serves: 2-4
 

Chicken, diced tomatoes and kalamata olives combine for a healthy Mediterranean weeknight meal.
Ingredients
  • 4 thin skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Cavender’s All-Purpose Greek Seasoning (or your favorite seasoning)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • ⅓ cup sliced kalamata olives
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Season the chicken breasts with Cavender’s. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy sauté pan to medium heat and add the chicken breasts. Saute for about 4 minutes or until nicely browned on one side. Flip each chicken breast and sauté the other side for another 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate, cover in foil, and reserve.
  2. To the same pan, add the diced tomatoes, olives, chicken stock, garlic, lemon juice and paprika. Cook over medium high heat until the sauce thickens. Taste and add salt and pepper.
  3. Serve over pasta or rice.

 

 

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King Daddy’s love of Mustard Chicken

Mustard Chicken

I cannot discuss Mustard Chicken without giving you a little background on Reno, where I found the recipe. If you want the recipe, just scroll on down. But we are heading down Memory Lane, my friends. Come along, will you?

It was wild living in Reno. I moved there from the Bible Belt to (eventually) marry King Daddy, sort of like a mail-order bride but not. Despite my intense devotion to the South, Reno may be the best place I ever lived. The first week I was there I went into a grocery store and noticed that not only was there a wine section, completely (and to this day) unheard of in parts of the South, but there was a spirits section and a little gray-haired lady was giving out martini samples. Why, yes, I’d love a martini sample!

We lived in an apartment for a year and would do our laundry at the Duds and Suds, complete with a bar and slot machines. These people in Reno have no shame. I just loved that about them. Because we were both in the media, we would get invited to fancy casino parties with obscenely large shrimp cocktails, prime-rib carving stations, unlimited bar privileges and closed circuit boxing matches.

And many of my favorite people lived in Reno. There was the millionaire newspaper magnate who literally lived in a chicken coop as a child, wore the same $10 wedding ring for more than 40 years and essentially paid for our honeymoon in Hawaii just because he knew how broke we were (by the way, I did not ask him to do this – he just walked up to me in the smoking section at the paper and gave me a $2,000 check). He took me around and introduced me to important people, not because he had a need to impress me but because it was the nice thing to do. Rollie Melton was, above all else, a nice guy. He lost a lot of weight at one point and his $10 wedding ring disappeared down a sink drain at one of the casinos. He cried.

There was the newspaper columnist who caused me untold headaches as his boss at the Gazette-Journal. He just pissed off everyone. I liked that. One time, Cory wrote something bad about a hot dog place and the owner angrily demanded a meeting with us. The hot dog guy was a rotund 5-foot-3. Cory was a lean 6-foot-4 or so. Cory sat next to this guy in my closed-door office, his knees grazing the edge of my desk we were in such tight quarters. And he just took it. And I wanted to say to the hot dog guy: “First of all, your hot dogs suck. Second of all, you’re sitting next to a former Green Beret who could – at any moment given the slightest whim – rip your lungs out through your nose.”

There was the district court judge who also refereed many of the high-dollar boxing matches we watched while eating our shrimp cocktail. His name is Mills Lane and his famous sassy instructions to heavy weights was: “Let’s get it on!” He was a Georgia boy who also embraced Reno. He officiated at the wedding of a friend of King Daddy’s in a hotel conference room. After pronouncing the groom and bride as husband and wife, I believe he yelled, “Let’s get it on!” He had no pretense.

People in Reno were and are originals.  It’s a city where – old or new – you are embraced if you just love the city back. Which I did with a great passion that exists to this day. So if any of you are Reno mockers, you just let me know and I’ll set you up a little meeting with Cory.

Mustard chicken King DaddyBut I digress in a major way and I sincerely apologize. Mustard chicken. Far and away King Daddy’s favorite meal. New to Reno, anxious to impress my soon-to-be husband and insanely fearful about never finding a job there, I spent a lot of time checking out free cookbooks at the library. And I found Mustard Chicken in a Bed and Breakfast cookbook. I don’t remember the author but I know it wasn’t called Mustard Chicken. But I have been making it on Oct. 23 for 24 straight years and I will now claim it as my own. Like any good Southern recipe, it has only four ingredients: chicken, sour cream, Dijon mustard and honey. It is imperative that you serve it with buttered egg noodles.

Here’s to the pirates, the renegades and the oddballs – many of whom I met and became friends with in Reno. Life is so much more interesting when you hang out with the right crowd.

 

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Mustard Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 2
 

Ingredients
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 thin chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounce sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Instructions
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and sauté them in the oil until both sides are beginning to brown and the chicken is cooked through. Set aside on a plate.
  2. Drain any excess oil from the pan and add the sour cream, mustard and honey. Blend and add the chicken back in the pan along with any juices that may have accumulated.

 

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Chicken couscous salad

Chicken Couscous Salad

I have consumed far too much funeral food as of late. Sadly, there have been multiple occasions over the last few weeks to provide funeral food and my will power has not been the best. Not only did I make a lot of it, I ate a lot of it and funeral food is seldom slenderizing. Just yesterday, I ate half a pan of blond brownies I was taking to a friend. A few days before that it was a tub of Blue Moon cheese spread (yes, you want the recipe – here it is). Oh, and add to that the bacon cheeseburger on a pretzel bun King Daddy and I just had to try at Wendy’s and the leftover fried chicken from my beloved Publix that we fed the inmates with last week (yes, actual inmates who work for us for free at the Community Resource Center).

So I am going to have to do some penance. I am going to have to pretend it’s Lent right now and give up something – like fattening food. I have already stocked the refrigerator with hummus and carrot sticks. I have homemade granola. And I am making chicken couscous salad because it’s good for me and I actually like it. Even King Daddy will eat it and he is not a salad kind of guy.

Chicken couscous salad
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2
 

Ingredients
  • 1 5.4-ounce box of couscous, prepared according to the package directions
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 small cucumber, skin and seeds removed, and diced
  • ½ orange pepper, seeded and diced
  • Half a container of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
  • ⅓ cup diced Monterey Jack cheese
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Combine everything in a mixing bowl. Taste and add more lemon juice if you think the salad needs more acidity.

 

 

 

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Grilled lemon chicken

Grilled lemon chicken

Sometimes, simple is really more than okay. My friend, Chef Christo Gonzales, asked me one day how I come up with all these recipes. Well, my friend, I told him, what I write about is what I’m actually cooking. I don’t have a test kitchen. I have a real kitchen. And I don’t like cooking the same five things over and over again.

Trust me, I don’t pass along the failures. You will never read about my fish Jello or my rotting corned beef in a slow cooker. Why would you want to do that? But I’ve been at this for quite awhile now and, humbly, I don’t have many failures. You can ask King Daddy about that and he will be brutally honest because he’s a lawyer and lawyers have to undergo some blood ritual that ensures they will always tell the truth. No jokes about sharks here, please.

So after I feed King Daddy something slightly complicated or rich, it’s nice to return to something simple. This recipe has no fat and negligible calories, which is what we needed after consuming the entire pan of blackberry cobbler the other night. Moderation in all things. Or at least a balancing act.

 

Grilled lemon chicken
Author: 
 

A nice alternative to super sweet BBQ sauces
Ingredients
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 chicken breasts

Instructions
  1. Whisk the marinade ingredients together.
  2. Put the chicken into a plastic bag, add the marinade and refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium high.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill 4 minutes on one side. Flip and continue grilling until the internal temperature of the chicken breast reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part.

Notes
Get an instant read digital thermometer. It will change your life.

 

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Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

Stay with me, here. It’s just chicken on a stick! With a few spices. Not difficult!

So King Daddy and I have been on an Asian kick lately. We’re so happy that the Asian people of various lands have found their way to the greater Nashville metropolitan area. When we moved here 20 years ago, it was a dry and dusty land with a Red Lobster here and there, and a Shoney’s on every corner. Yea, breakfast buffet! Not.

But now. Oh, joy! The peoples of China, Japan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam have all found their way down I-65 and set up shop in various parts of town. This week, KD and I have enjoyed Pho, the famous Vietnamese soup; Pad Thai, a noodle dish that I weep with gratitude over every time I eat it; banh mi, the Vietnamese pork sandwiches and Pad See Yew, another Vietnamese dish that involves these totally delicious wide chewy noodles with beef and something green I can’t identify, but which is pretty darn tasty.

I love the food of the Southern people and am giddy with excitement over tomato season, but let’s be honest. Most of the food of the Southern people is fattening. You will not be able to stomach heading into the McDonald’s here and gazing upon the fine specimens of Southern gentility. Hogs at the trough. Not a pretty sight.

But the peoples of Asia are, by and not-so-large, slim. Something we can all aspire to, I’m sure you agree.

So last night, in celebration of our Asian brothers and sisters, I made Chicken Satay. Chicken Satay is the Asian equivalent of Jalapeno Poppers in that it is widely served as an appetizer.  I did not use my own recipe, of course, as I have been far too busy developing a new version of Chicken and Waffles. But I found a terrific one on the internet that tasted better, actually, than the satay I’ve had in numerous Thai restaurants. Here’s the link. Be sure to make the peanut dipping sauce that goes with it. I took a photo of that, too, but quite honestly it looks like baby poop and I didn’t think that would entice you to try it. Some things don’t photograph well, including me.

 

Chicken Satay
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

These slender skewers of joy will make you weep with happiness.
Ingredients
  • 8-12 skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
  • 1 package wooden skewers
SATAY MARINADE:
  • ¼ cup minced lemongrass, fresh or frozen
  • 2 shallots or 1 small onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, sliced, or ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh turmeric or ½ teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce (available at Asian food stores)
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 5-6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Instructions
  1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water while you prepare the meat (to prevent burning). The kitchen sink works well for this.
  2. Cut chicken into thin strips and place in a bowl.
  3. Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor or chopper. Process well.
  4. Taste-test the marinade – you will taste sweet, spicy, and salty. The strongest tastes should be SWEET and SALTY in order for the finished satay to taste its best. Add more sugar or more fish sauce (in place of salt) to adjust the taste. You can also add more chili if you want it spicier.
  5. Pour the marinade over the meat and stir well to combine. Allow at least 1 hour for marinating, or longer (up to 24 hours).
  6. When ready to cook, thread meat onto the skewers. Tip: Fill up to ¾ of the skewer, leaving the lower half empty so that the person grilling has a “handle” to easily turn the satay during cooking.
  7. Grill the satay on your outdoor grill (medium high heat) or on an indoor grill, basting with a little of the leftover marinade. You can also broil the satay in the oven on a broiling pan or baking sheet. Place satay close beneath the heating element and turn the meat every 5 minutes until cooked (be sure to soak your wooden satay sticks in water before skewering). Depending on how thin your meat is, the satay should cook in 10 to 20 minutes.

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Chicken Piccata

 

Noah's Chicken PiccataI was about to say “my work here is done,” but that would imply that I don’t have any more advice or wisdom to pass on to my 21-year-old son. However, the photo above is not my Chicken Piccata. It’s his. At some point, I will be wearing a bib with a drool cup in my bony hands so it’s a good thing to know I’ll be well-fed as I reach for my box wine in the San Francisco mansion Noah assures me he’ll buy for our extended family in the not-too-distant future when he becomes rich and famous . It’s these small things that comfort me as I head into my twilight years.

“Mom,” Noah said when he came home for his birthday. “I want to cook you dinner.” Well, alrighty then. Not so very long ago that would have meant a skillet of Little Smokies or a quesadilla with the approximate ratio of 1 cup of oil to every tortilla. But that’s all changed now. And it’s changed, in part, because I caved in to a notion I did not originally embrace: I agreed to let Noah get his own apartment.

Noah 21The apartment included a kitchen. And the kitchen became Noah’s own culinary laboratory.  I just love modern technology. Now, he creates something in his kitchen and texts me a photo. Heck, he texted me a photo of an elegant caviar service he enjoyed for birthday dinner with his grandmother. I was pretty jealous about that. This is the same grandmother, Bunny, who introduced him to Little Smokies. I’d say the leap has been mighty.

Occasionally, he calls for cooking advice, but I got him a Fannie Farmer cookbook when he got the apartment. If it’s not in Fannie Farmer, you don’t need to know about it.

So, here’s the thing. The Chicken Piccata was perfect. No qualifiers. He also made mashed potatoes and corn, and while I would not choose white-on-white as a combination of sides, they were both delicious. He adds beef stock to his corn, kind of like making a risotto. Who thinks of that? Why would you do that? From now on, I will do that.

Here’s my recipe for Chicken Piccata. It’s at least as good as Noah’s. I think…

Chicken Piccata
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Recipe type: 
Cuisine: 
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Serves: 4
 

Lemon, wine, chicken stock, capers = Chicken Piccata. If you don’t like capers, I’m sorry for you.
Ingredients
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice (juice from two medium lemons)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ⅓ cup capers
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions
  1. Pound chicken breasts until they are thin between two sheets of plastic wrap. Put flour, salt and pepper into a large plastic bag. Shake to combine. Add chicken a few pieces at a time to coat. Shake off excess flour.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and sauté until browned on both sides. Remove to a plate and keep warm in a 170-degree oven.
  3. Pour out any excess oil from the skillet and add the wine and garlic. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the lemon juice, chicken stock and capers. Continue cooking until that mixture has reduced by half. Add the butter and swirl to combine. Add the chicken back to the pan and coat with the sauce

 

 

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