Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mama G's Chicken Dore

Mama G's Chicken Dore
Serves 4

2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
4 chicken breasts, beaten thinly with a mallet

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the eggs and the parmesan and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the the flour with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Dredge each chicken breast first in flour, then in egg mixture, and add to the heated oil. Fry chicken about 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove chicken breast to paper towel in order to drain excess oil.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Cheesy Risotto

*Not the prettiest picture, but really very good!

Cheesy Risotto
Serves 4

2 T Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup arboria rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-4 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup tiny frozen peas
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and garlic and onion and saute, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes. Add rice and season with salt and pepper. Cook another minute or so, then add wine and let it completely absorb, about 30 seconds. Add about 1 cup chicken stock and stir. Reduce heat a bit to medium. Stir often and continue adding a half cup of liquid each time liquid becomes completely absorbed. Cook 22 minutes, using as much stock as is necessary to result in creamy-consistency rice.

When rice is cooked to desired consistency, remove from heat and stir in cheese, parsley and peas, and stir to combine and heat peas.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hearts of Palm Salad

The first time that I tried hearts of palm was in my third year of law school. I was working for a solo-practitioner at the time. At lunch time every day, she would gather me and her daughter, who was the receptionist, and we would sit in the conference room and have our lunches. We would chat about all sorts of things during this hour – family, cases, and law school. But mostly we talked about food. She adored raw tomatoes, would eat them like they were fruit. I was skeptical of this practice of eating whole tomatoes like they were apples, but I enjoyed watching her indulge in something she truly loved. One day, she brought in a can of hearts of palm, put them in a bowl with some ripe tomatoes, and added a little salad dressing. She asked me to try – she said that I would love it. And I did. The texture of the hearts of palm was so different than anything I had really eaten before. A little crunchy, a little soft, a little artichoke-ish. But overall, just good.

Hearts of Palm Salad
Serves 2-3

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp. dried basil
2 T white wine vinegar
1 1b. plum tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 14 oz. can Hearts of Palm, drained, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk oil, basil, and vinegar in a bowl to blend. Add the other ingredients and toss to blend. Season with salt and pepper.


Recipe adapted from Epicurious.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Believe it or not, I do have other passions besides cooking and food. One of those passions is reading. I am a self-declared bibliophile. I love books. All sorts of books – (except maybe Self-Help books, whatever those are). My favorite book of all time is not a cookbook. In fact, it is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. It’s a book about the trials and tribulations of a group of residents in India. And it’s beautifully written. (If you care, my second favorite is Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Just in case you care)

Anyways, I obviously love perusing through cook books, as well. But what’s more fun than reading a cook book is actually buying a book about food or an author’s specific experience with food. I don’t just mean Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential – that is, of course, an excellent book, but there other less noticeable, or hyped-up, authors out there who write amazing stories of their experiences with food. Recently, I read Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. It’s about a woman’s quest to make every recipe in Julia Child’s Joy of Cooking. It’s a fun read. I also love Michael Ruhlman and his books about the eccentricities and genius of professional chefs. But recently I read a book that doesn’t have anything to do with actual cooking. It has to do with food – real food. Simple food. Local food. It’s called Plenty One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally. It’s written by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon, who also happen to be life partners. You might have heard of this book in relation to what is now known as the 100-Mile Diet. The 100-Mile Diet requires people to eat only foods that have been grown within a hundred mile radius of where they live. They have to do it for one year. Yes – ONE YEAR. That would be 365 days of eating LOCALLY. While the benefits of doing this are obvious, the downside…it is frickin’ hard!!! I mean, can you imagine having to find wheat within 100 miles of where you live so that you can simply bake some bread? Or locally grown coffee…hmmm…no thanks. I suppose people who live in more rural parts of the country can do this, but I don’t know anywhere within 100 miles of D.C. where I could get some quality coffee beans, except for Starbucks.

In any event, reading about the authors’ challenges with the 100-Mile diet is really fascinating. It makes you feel like you just want to start plowing the earth and eating what you grow. Unfortunately, for us city dwellers, the plowing can only mean planting some herbs in your garden box or buying locally grown organic foods from Whole Foods. But guess what…even Whole Foods doesn’t have locally grown coffee beans. Which basically means that I’m going to have to skip this diet.