Friday, April 20, 2012

chicken piccata

Pretty much what it says on the tin:

As you can see, I over-parsley'ed the sauce a bit, but it was none the worse for wear from it. I was being lazy and just rough chopped the parsley rather than mincing it. It's Friday, sue me.

Chicken piccata is dead easy to make - just split a couple chicken breasts into cutlets (you can pound them thin if you want, but I didn't bother and it came out just fine), brown them up in some butter and oil, then add some more butter, wine, lemon juice, parsley and capers to the pan to make a sauce, and you're ready to roll! It seriously takes longer to prep everything than it does to cook it. I paired the piccata with asparagus because it's in season, and because asparagus plays nicely with the flavors of white wine and lemon. It worked out very nicely.

Chicken Piccata
(serves 3 hungry adults)

3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, split horizontally into cutlets
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil (regular - don't use extra virgin)
4 tablespoons dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
2 tablespoons jarred capers, drained, rinsed well and chopped
1/2 a cup (or so...haha) minced parsley
2 bunches of small-diameter asparagus (mine was mostly pencil-sized), steamed to your liking

Split the chicken breasts horizontally into cutlets and lightly season with salt and pepper. In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and 1 tablespoon of butter until butter stops foaming. Carefully add chicken to pan. Cook, working in batches if necessary, for 1-2 minutes per side until just cooked through. Remove chicken to platter (I put mine in a preheated 200 degree oven with foil over while I finished the rest of the chicken and made the sauce). Pour fat out of skillet, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the wine and the lemon juice. Let come to a boil, stirring to loosen brown bits from bottom of pan. Stir in the capers, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat. Serve chicken over bed of steamed asparagus, with sauce spooned over.

If you're a starch eater, this would be good with pasta, rice pilaf, or even some garlicky mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

thai red curry fish stew

I was thinking about dinner on the way home tonight (as usual), and trying to think up a way to use leftover chicken thighs. Somehow, stir-fried chicken thighs morphed into chicken curry, which morphed further into thai red curry with shrimp.

Shut up, I'm complicated.

By the time I got to the grocery store, I had a plan. I was going for shrimp, and mussels if I could find them. If not, I was going to try fish. The idea of fish curry scared the crap out of me. I've had it before and I knew I liked it, but I'm not generally super good at cooking fish and the idea of it just makes me nervous.

Lo and behold, there were no mussels at the store, so I grabbed a bag of shrimp and lovely big cod fillet, along with some zucchini and cauliflower, coconut milk and red curry paste. When I got home, I thawed the shrimp under cold running water while I sauteed some chopped onion in coconut oil and red curry paste. I added the coconut milk, some fish sauce, chopped zucchini and cauliflower, unsweetened shredded coconut, and some water and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes. When the veggies were basically tender, I added the shrimp and chopped-up cod and let the whole thing fester for about 5 more minutes, then shut the heat off. I scooped some into a bowl and added a bit of fresh basil.

Here are the fruits of frankly not a whole lot of labor on my part:

It was everything I was hoping for. The only criticism I have is that I should have had two cans of coconut milk rather than just one, because more sauce is better!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter dinner

We didn't do much for Easter this year because my husband had to work early in the morning, but I did manage to pick up a small boneless ham and some veggies for roasting, all of which came out quite well.

I had a couple pieces of prosciutto left over from the pork chop project the other night, so I got all fancy and made asparagus bundles wrapped in prosciutto, with a bit of Parmesan on to. The cheese doesn't look very toasty in the picture, but it actually crisped up nicely. The veggies are my usual potato / carrot / radish / onion / Brussels sprouts with a bit of bacon added. So, all in all, we had a pretty pork-tastic Easter!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

prosciutto mushroom stuffed pork chops

As many of my cooking stories begin, so does this one - trawling through the meat department at the grocery store. I encountered a pair of nearly-two-inch-thick boneless pork chops that just begged to be stuffed, so home with me they came! Here's what I did with them:

The stuffing is a quick and simple combination of minced onion, white mushrooms, garlic and thyme, sauteed in a little butter. I cut a deep pocket into each chop, laid a piece of prosciutto into each one along with a piece of fontina cheese, then stuffed the mushroom mixture in. I pan-seared the chops for 2 minutes per side, then put them on a pre-heated pan in a 450 degree oven. The chops baked for 10 minutes while I steamed some asparagus, then it was time to eat.

As you can see, my stuffing started to fall out as I was taking pictures. I usually tie meat up with kitchen twine when I've stuffed it, but I didn't bother this time...and I re-learned my lesson! Other than the stuffing falling out, these came out quite well. I really like fontina cheese - it melts so smoothly, and it has a really nice nutty flavor that, in this dish, mixed nicely with the sweetness of the onions and the saltiness of the prosciutto.