Archive for May, 2009
Apologies to anyone who may have wondered where my blog entry was last week. Although, it was a 3-day weekend, I found it difficult to stay indoors slaving away behind a computer when I could be taking full advantage of the beautiful weather outside. This is only one excuse. The other excuse is that I really wanted to write a recipe for the Monkey Bread I made for Tom’s Antony & Cleopatra soiree over last Memorial Day weekend. Although it turned out to be a big hit amongst others, the recipe and pictures turn out to be rather disappointing.
This week’s recipe was something I thought was going to be original until I stumbled upon Food & Wine’s version of the pasta dish. I still like my verson more. 🙂
There was plenty left over to put into small tupperware containers for nights when I didn’t have time to cook. It froze surprisingly well.
Orecciette Pasta (full box/pkg)
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup diced pancetta
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 white or yellow medium onion (diced)
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup white wine (your preference)
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Over medium-high heat, cook pancetta and onion together for about 5 minutes. No oil is needed because the pancetta will release its fat during the cooking process. Add frozen green peas, butter, and white wine. Cook until the alcohol has been reduced. Add cooked pasta, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. Mix until properly distributed. Add freshly ground black pepper. Cook until parmesan has melted and serve.
I decided to prepare dinner ahead of time before meeting my friend, Yahayra for brunch today. Yahayra and I met at a firm almost 4 years ago when I was trying to launch a career into the paralegal world. We’ve kept in touch despite our busy schedules, by seeing each other at least once a month to catch up. She always cracks me up because of her no bull-shit attitude on life. I’ve always admired her strength for not taking crap from people. Rule #1 (if you want to move to NY): build a hard outer shell unless, you want to be ripped to shreds. I told her I had made an amazing chicken dish for dinner, and gave her the recipe verbally since it was rather simple to make. I hope it turned out just as well for her.
So for dinner tonight, the recipe turned out to be a perfect example of why I love to cook. I had a moment of true satisfaction after tasting the end result. I think the secret ingredient is the dash of Maggi I put into the sauce. It adds a nice depth of richness that makes the dish complete. Just something I learned from cooking with the family numerous times.
2 chicken breasts (bone-in/skin-on)
2 tsp butter
1/2 white onion (1-in slices)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pinch of baking soda
1 pinch of sugar
1 tsp of Maggi (soy sauce may be used as substitution)
2 cups of white wine (I used Pinot Grigio from Spain. Tip: never use cooking wine)
1 carton of small portobello mushrooms (quartered)
1 bunch of broccoli rabe (cut into 1-in pieces)
1 cup of cooked jasmine rice
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf (optional)
Preheat oven 375 degrees. Toss white onion slices with olive oil and place into baking pan for the chicken. Place chicken in pan as well. Spread 1 tsp of butter onto each chicken breast. Sprinkle w/ salt and pepper. Bake chicken for about 20 minutes. Place pan in broiler for 3 minutes to brown. Place chicken onto separate dish (keep in oven to remain warm, but turn off oven) and transfer juice and onions to a skillet in order to make white wine sauce. Onions can be removed for the sauce depending on personal preference. On high heat, add white wine and bay leaf, stir w/ wooden spoon, and reduce until you cannot smell any alcohol left in the skillet. Add garlic, mushrooms, maggi, and sugar. Freshly ground black pepper is a nice addition, but not necessary. Keep stirring until the sauce is thick enough to coat the wooden spoon. Remove from heat.
In a large soup pot, add pinch of salt and baking soda to boiling water. Baking soda will help keep the broccoli rabe a vibrant green and prevent it from turning brown. Cook broccoli rabe until tender (5 minutes). Then add to ice water in order to stop the cooking process. Place in collander to strain after cooled.
Place cooked rice onto warm plate and add white wine sauce over rice. Add roasted chicken and broccoli rabe on the side.
I thought about making a side of honey glazed baby carrots, but had left over rice in the fridge, so I decided to opt out of the carrots. Maybe, next time…
A BST (Bacon Spinach Tomato) sandwich is my variation of the traditional BLT. I came up with this idea while shopping for groceries at Trader Joe’s one day. I’ve always wanted to try the curry naan bread because it smelled so good in the bread section. Therefore, I couldn’t resist. I felt satisfied eating this sandwich either for lunch or dinner. The flavors and textures between the bacon and the curry naan bread were really delightful! I loved the additional freshness that the baby spinach and tomato slices gave to the dish. I’ve brought this sandwich to the office for lunch and was satisfied for the remainder of the day (unlike traditionally boring turkey or ham sandwiches).
2 slices to Trader Joe’s Curry Naan Bread
4 slices of bacon
3 thin slices of tomato
1 tsp mayo
1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook bacon according to package directions. Sprinkle a small amount of black pepper onto cooked bacon as it drains excess grease onto papertowel. Mix mayo and sriracha sauce together in a small bowl and spread onto one curry naan bread. Place bacon pieces onto mayo spread and then layer on desired amount of spinach. Spread out 3 slices of tomatoes across the spinach. Close sandwich with other piece of curry naan bread.
My best friend was having brunch at her place in Brooklyn Saturday morning and I agreed to bring something healthy to balance out the meat and carbs (Ashley’s succulent baked chicken wings, Kristen’s “crack” mashed potatoes, and Cresha’s flaky, yet moist biscuits, nicely browned sausage links, and bad ass mimosas) we were about to inhale before hitting the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
I was at my favorite grocery destination in the Lower East Side (The Essex Street Market) the night before and discovered ricotta salata in the dairy case. In addition to this mysterious block of cheese, I also bought endive and bibb lettuce. I already had a bag of baby spinach in the fridge at home so I thought how refreshing it would be to create my own “mixed greens”. I also had an heirloom tomato and a bottle of ready-made dressing at home in order to create the perfect salad.
The Food Network peaked my interest after watching a couple of shows that incorporated ricotta salata, but I hesitated at first since there was a presumption of having a sharp cheese flavor. It turned out to be pleasantly mild however, with a feta-like texture.
Candied walnuts or pecans are a great addition to the recipe below. Any mild flavored ingredient such as beets would work great with a salad that contains ricotta salata. Anything pungent such as sliced red onions or green olives may overpower the subtleties of the dish.
1 head bibb lettuce
1/2 cup crumbled ricotta salata
1 medium ripe vine or heirloom tomato (4 wedges)
Handful baby spinach
1/2 head endive (sliced)
Freshly ground black pepper
Favorite dressing – mine happens to be Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar
Toss various salad greens with dressing and add tomato wedges and ricotta salata. Grind fresh black pepper to taste.