California dreamin…

June 15th, 2008

On such a summer day? It is finally summer and I find myself craving avocados alot. Last night as I was roaming the aisles of the grocery store, pondering what to make and searching for inspiration…I kept coming back to this comfort food sandwich that my mother makes quite frequently. The combination of the creamy avocado with the juicy grilled chicken breast is delicious. So I made it last night for dinner and again for lunch today. Problem is…I still want more avocado…

A couple weeks ago, Lore of Culinarty tagged me to write a 6 word memoir. Even as I sit here poised to write it, I am uncertain of what to say….

Critical (mostly of myself)

I am not going to tag anyone but if you are interested…consider yourself tagged!

Mom’s California Sandwich

1 chicken breast
2 tablespoons of white worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 of an avocado, sliced
1 poppy seed bun
mayo to taste and preference

1. Marinate chicken breast for at least an hour with the worcestershire sauce and rosemary.
2. Grill chicken breast.
3. Toast bun.
4. Spread bun with mayo and place slices of avocado.
5.Top with Chicken Breast and top of bun.
6. Slice and eat!

P.S. As the summer takes off, so does my life. I am finishing my job, going to Ireland on vacation, moving to Chicago and starting law school…all the while trying to find as much time to spend with my friends and family as possible. This will limit my blogging but I will post when I have a chance…just a warning, if I go quiet, it is not for lack of thinking of you all…but life is getting busy. Of course, I will continue to read your posts because really nothing goes better with my morning coffee than a slew of tempting and mouthwatering dishes…

Two Hot Women and a Quickish Dinner

March 3rd, 2008

Yes, this post is about two hot women with a delicious dinner thrown in to keep your interest. The first hot woman is me, as LyB of And then I do the dishes tagged me with a meme and so I must tell you 7 things about myself. I say hot because after cooking I am normally sweltering. Coming up with seven things is alot harder than I would have thought, so here goes (they are very random):

1. I love art! I tend to crave art exhibits almost as badly as I do chocolate. Thankfully, I live in DC and can see many wonderful exhibits downtown. After my JD, I hope to get my Masters in Art History.
2. I hate Ketchup, which makes me feel very un-American. But I love peanut butter on hot dog buns, so that slightly redeems me.
3. I bite my nails. It is a horrible habit that is only stopped if I get regular manicures, which you know my wallet and time allow frequently. haha!
4. I am not very big into reality tv (although, I will watch it occasionally) but I will not miss Project Runway or Top Chef. They are both fabulous. I love the creativity and ideas to come out of them
5. I cartwheel and do handstands often! Cartwheels express my excitement and happiness, while handstands calm me.
6. I am desperately afraid of serving undercooked chicken and so I am very anal when cooking it. Regardless of the meat temperature, I must always slice it open to check it and cover the cut with lots of sauce.
7. I love making souffles, as in, it is quite the obsession. I prefer chocolate ones, which I eat with a glass of champagne…there is something about the bubbles of the champagne and the fluff of the souffle that I just love. (My roommate added this one when I was struggling to come up with more).

“7 Things” Meme How To:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their Blogs
5. Have fun!

Laura of Lazy Susin
Kevin of Closet Cooking
Mandy of Fresh from the Oven
Ilva of Lucullian Delights
Deborah of Taste and Tell

And now for that good dinner and the other hot woman. Santa brought me Padma Lakshmi’s Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day. In honor of Top Chef starting next week, as she is the host of the show, I decided it was time to tackle a recipe from her. I tried Chicken A La Nueces De La India. It was delicious! I substituted peanuts for cashews and made it for two people. It only took about 45 minutes to make and served with rice and wilted spinach made an excellent meal. The cookbook is beautifully written, the recipes are easy to follow and her cooking philosophy is very similar to my own. She also gives tips, which are helpful (for example, see step 1). I cannot wait to try something else from her cookbook like, Curried Butternut Squash Soup.

Chicken A La Nueces De La India
(adapted from Padma Lakshmi’s Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet: A World of Recipe for Every Day)

5 tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup flour for dusting on a dinner plate
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, pureed into powder
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme (I used dry not fresh)
1 cup chicken stock (we ran out and a chicken bouillon dissolved in water worked well)
1 1/2 tablespoon honey

1. Pound chicken breast flat and thin into cutlets, to about 1 inch thickness. Do this by using plastic wrap to cover the chicken and pound with a mallet or meat tenderizer, even the back of a heavy metal ladle or large serving spoon will work.
2. Lightly sprinkle each side of the cutlets with salt and pepper.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat in a skillet.
4. Lightly dredge each side of all chicken pieces in flour to coat with just a light dusting. Shake off any excess.
5. When oil is hot, sauté chicken single file, don’t crowd the pan until lightly browned on both sides and cook through. When chicken is done, transfer to a large platter, and keep warm and covered.
6. Puree peanuts in a blender or processor to form a powder and set aside.
7. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil on medium heat in another skillet. When oil is hot, sauté garlic and shallots for 2 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and thyme and cook for 1-2 more minutes, just until shallots are glassy.
8. Pour in chicken stock. Add honey and stir until this comes to a gentle bubbling boil.
9. Turn heat to a medium low and carefully stir in powdered peanuts, stirring vigorously so no clumps are formed. Now turn heat to low, and let the sauce become a gravy-like consistency. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper if needed. Keep the sauce warm on low heat, adding a bit more stock if needed so it doesn’t become too thick.

10. Return chicken to skillet on medium low just until meat is heated through. Now pour sauce over the chicken and serve hot. The chicken can also be plated and the sauce can be poured over that just before serving.

P.S. This is such a long post, I have nothing more to say. Enjoy!

Ginny makes…toast

February 6th, 2008

I have trouble with toast. Toast is very difficult. You have to watch it all the time or it burns up.

-Julia Child

When I was in kindergarten, after school one day, I really wanted toast. My mother, busy with my 3 year old sister and newborn brother, told me to put the bread in the toaster and push down the button. When it popped up, it would be ready. I listened to her instructions but when the bread came up it was not toasted enough for me (I like my bread toasted to the point of almost being burnt). I asked my mom about what to do and she said to change the dial to a higher setting. So I tried again. The next thing I knew, black smoke was billowing out of our house, our neighbor was running across the street wanting to know if he needed to call the fire department, and my poor toast had turned into ashes. I had committed one of my first culinary mistakes by toasting the same bread twice.

Although, I still like my bread toasted to the verge of burnt. I haven’t burnt bread quite that bad since. One of my favorite new sandwiches, Chicken-Thyme-Pear-Brie, I made up one day on a whim because I had some pears about to go bad and some chicken. My roommate keeps asking when I am going to make it again and when it will appear on the blog. So here we go… Although, to be truthful, this one is made with swiss because it is what I have at home. I like it with Brie more but Swiss is a decent substitute.

Chicken-Thyme-Pear-Brie Sandwich

Makes two sandwiches.

4 slices of bread
1 chicken breast
3 tablespoon white worcestershire sauce
1 pear
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoon butter
brie (or swiss), sliced

1. Marinate the chicken in the worcestershire sauce for a least 2 hours and up to a day beforehand.
2. Grill the chicken until cooked through.
3. Slice the pear into strips around the core.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a frying pan over medium heat until melted.
5. Cook the pear in the butter until softened and beginning to brown.
6. Sprinkle with thyme and mix to cover. Season with salt and pepper.

In a toaster oven:
7. Place the slices of bread in the toaster oven. Put slices of cheese on two of the slices of bread. Toast the bread to your desired toastedness and the cheese melts.

On the stove:
7. Heat the other tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and tilt the pan to move the butter over the frying pan. Place the bread on the frying pan. Put slices of cheese on two of the slices of bread. Toast the bread to your desired toastedness and the cheese melts.

8. Remove from the toaster oven/frying pan. Place slices of chicken on the bread with the cheese, top with the pears and then cover with the other piece of bread.
9. Slice and eat! yummy!

P.S. Don’t have/like Brie or Swiss? Add any cheese that you like or have around. Play with new combinations and see what you come up with