Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pre-holiday kitchen insanity!


Even though the holidays are not "officially" here yet, the kitchen has been like command central! We've had friends and family popping by, experimentation for Christmas gift-baking, and just general cooking insanity! The kids have loved every minute of it too, and I can honestly tell you that an 8 year old was almost entirely responsible for the chicken piccata shown below...






One of our family's favorite dishes of all time, is this roast chicken recipe by Ina Garten. It is poultry heaven! If you have never tried fennel, don't be thrown by it. While produce worker or gardener will tell you that fennel (anise) has a licorice type flavor, have no fear, your chicken will not taste like a hunk of the twisted black candy. The addition of fennel is the perfect touch to this dish, adding a flavor similar to that of a very mild, flavorful, sweet onion, so if you're wary, give it a try, and start with a half of a bulb or so!

Chicken piccata is one of our other standby dishes. I wish I could say I have a recipe to share, but it's all in my head and we just wing it. Here's some coaching, lol!

Take 4 chicken breasts and place a piece of plastic wrap over them, one at a time. With a rolling pin, hammer them flat until they are approx 1/4 inch thick. This helps to ensure they will cook quickly and through. Pat them dry with a paper towel, dip them in an egg wash, generously coat them in salt and pepper, and then dredge them in flour. Press the flour into the skin and lightly shake them off.

Grab a small sauce pan, add the juice of 2 or 3 lemons, 1/4 cup of good white wine, and a tablespoon of capers, allow to simmer and reduce by half, set aside.

Heat a large skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add your chicken breasts, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. You may sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley if you wish. Remove the chicken from the pan, and serve with the piccata sauce. Some people really like to coat the chicken with bread crumbs as well, but I find the simplicity of the egg wash and light flour coating to be devine, and not too bready. Simple, and a little bit elegant.

The red peppermint whoopie pies will need a makeover before posting the recipe. While they tasted devine, I'm not loving the red dye in the recipe, and the batter was just too difficult to work with. I'll keep you posted!


steph said...

chicken piccata (sp?) is one of my favorite dishes of all time. i must try that recipe.

AJ said...

Agreed! It's such a simple classic.