Tag Archives: Chicken

{ Chicken Milanesa }

Based on my observations here in Buenos Aires, there are five staple dishes in the Argentine diet: steak, pizza, pasta, empanadas, and milanesas (they will also consume dulce de leche in any, and every, form possible!). But milanesas are just about as popular in Argentina as hamburgers are in America. Likewise, they are decorated with many different toppings and condiments and served in numerous forms. Originally an Italian creation, Milanesa is a thin slice of meat—veal, chicken, or beef—that is breaded and fried to a golden perfection. Argentines, however, have taken their creative liberties with this simple dish and used it as a blank canvas to invent unfathomable and uncountable flavor combinations. There are even entire restaurants dedicated to the art of milanesas (i.e. Club de Milanesa). Toppings range from four cheeses, to sundried tomatoes and basil, to fried eggs and pancetta. Here is a look to get you inspired:

This is my simple recipe for chicken milanesa, although you can do it with any meat and top it with any ingredients that you like! I prefer mine simple like the Italians, with a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a nice side salad.

{ My Tips for Cooking the Milanesa }

  • Really pound out the chicken so that it is thin and tender.
  • Use panko breadcrumbs if you can, they seem to brown nicer.
  • Bread the chicken one-hour before frying it, allowing it to chill in the refrigerator in the meantime. I find that this helps the breading adhere to the meat, so it doesn’t fall apart when you are turning it.
  • Make sure the oil is hot enough before you start to fry. I test the temperature of my oil by throwing in bits of breadcrumbs, and checking that they sizzle upon submersion. Also, make sure that the oil is not too hot or the breading will burn and the meat won’t cook. You should heat the oil over a medium-high flame, not high.
  • When you remove the fried chicken from the oil, place it on a bed of lettuce leaves, which absorb the oil better than paper towels and brown paper bags!

 { Ingredients }

  • 1 cup all-pupose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a splash of milk
  • 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast, pounded to ¼” thickness
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, if it’s in your budget!)

 { To Make the Milanesa }

Set up three bowls; one with the flour, one with the beaten eggs, and one with the breadcrumbs combined with the parmigiano reggiano cheese. Season the chicken breasts with a little kosher salt and black pepper and then take each piece of chicken through a standard breading procedure: dredge in the flour (shaking off the excess), then through the egg wash, and then through the breadcrumbs.

Make sure that the chicken is well breaded!! Lay the breaded chicken on a baking sheet and allow to sit in the refrigerator for a hour or so.

Pour the oil into a large sautee pan until it reaches a thickness of about half an inch (remember, you want it to cover the chicken). Then heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Once the oil is hot, cook the chicken in batches for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy!

When the chicken is removed from the pan, lay it on a bed of lettuce leaves to absorb the oil and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt.

Serve with fresh lemon wedges or go the Argentina route and top it with whatever your heart desires!

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b-Blue Natural Bar & Deli ****

Armenia 1692
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Palermo SOHO
(+54) 4831.7024

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There are an infinite number of cute sidewalk cafes and restuarants in Buenos Aires. There are little vegetarian spots, tea houses, ice cream parlors, and even places strictly devoted to the sale of coffee and chocolates. The task of choosing just which one to spend your afternoon at can be quite overwhelming, especially in the crowded Palermo area. As I was walking to the gym the other day, I passed by at least 18 adorable cafes, each one begging me to abandon my work out plans and indulge in something delicious and homemade. I tried to fight the urge, but finally caved when I passed by bBlue Natural foods. I could see the salads being served in enormous porclain bowls and almost every table had a brightly colored fruit smoothie on it. I couldn’t resist.

I took a seat and ordered the b-Pollo Salad, which is a bed of mixed greens with shredded chicken marinated in honey, soy sauce, and dijon mustard, topped with sundried tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, carmaleized onions, and croutons, and tossed with your choice of dressing (39 pesos). Personally, I like the bBlue house dressing with olive oil, vinegar, blueberries, lemon, honey, and mustard. It adds a sweet fruity flavor to the salad, which is a nice contrast with the sundried tomatoes. So far, this place serves the best salad in Buenos Aires (in my opinion, of course!). The portions are huge and they aren’t stingy with the meats or the cheeses. Also, the ingredients are incredibly fresh and absolutely everything is homemade. Ohh and finally a place that serves a non-mayonnaise dressing!! Major brownie points for that!

Since my first time at bBlue, I have become a regular and I have yet to have a bad meal. Another favorite salad of mine is the b-Deli Salad, which is a bed of baby spinach, lemon-marinated mushrooms, cubes of brie cheese, and toasted almonds, tossed with your choice of dressing (39 pesos) (I like to put the homemade pear dressing on this salad).

In addition to the salads, bBlue also makes incredible gourmet sandwiches!! They have all sorts of spreadable cheeses and aiolis, so the sandwich isn’t dry. My personal favorite so far is the Pollo Sandwich served on French bread with chicken marinated in honey and soy sauce, sliced tomatoes, caramelized onions, portobello mushrooms, melted gruyere cheese, with dijon and mayo (38 pesos). The sandwich is then served with side of incredible herb roasted potatoes and a ramekin of ketchup. The picture really doesn’t do it justice, but imagine a gourmet chicken cheesesteak, and that’s this sandwich.

Ohh, and I almost forgot….the POMEDLADO!!!! It’s like a lemonade, but one hundred times better becasue it is made with grapefruit juice, honey, fresh ginger, and a hint of mint (13 pesos). Seriously? It redefines refreshment.

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Sugar Bar ****

Costa Rica 4619 
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Palermo SOHO
(+54) 11.4831.3276

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Those of you that know me, know that my favorite spot in Miami was a place called Greenstreet. It was a bar by night, an amazing cafe for lunch and dinner, and the best brunch spot in South Florida on the weekends. Today, I am thrilled because I have finally found the Greenstreet of Buenos Aires–Sugar Bar. It is owned by American entrepreneur, Martin Frankel, who has managed to bring a small piece of the US bar/culinary culture to Argentina. And on behalf of all us expats, thank you, Mr. Frankel.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love eating traditional Argentine food (parrilla, milanesa, empanadas, ect…) but man do I miss thick juicy burgers, spicy chicken wings, and club sandwiches sometimes. Sugar Bar offers all of these aforementioned menu items, serving each dish with a glorious variety of American condiments. For example, The Blue Cheese Burger made with 200 grams of freshly ground beef, grilled portobello mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and creamy blue cheese spread served with a side of fried potato wedges (44 pesos). The quality of the beef is absolutely amazing (which goes pretty much without saying in Argentina), but the topping combination takes the burger to the next level. The blue cheese adds a nice bite to the earthy flavor of the portobello mushrooms, and the french fries (which are more like steak fries) are also greasy finger-licking good.

If you’re in the mood to get a little messy, I suggest the chicken wings at Sugar Bar (available in buffalo, spicy buffalo, and terryaki). They compete on the same level as the wings at Casa Bar and The Alamo, although I must admit that I still think Casa Bar takes the prize for the best wings. That being said, these are pretty damn good  too. They just have a thicker, more non-traditional, flour coating on them than Casa Bar and they aren’t as spicy. None-the-less, I enjoy them with my liter of beer almost every night I go there.

If your not into eating wings off the bone but still want the buffalo flavor, I recommend trying the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, which is boneless grilled chicken breast smothered in buffalo sauce, topped with a crispy fried onion ring, lettuce, and tomato, served with a side of creamy blue cheese spread and heaping of fried potato wedges (42 pesos). I have never tried this dish myself, but I saw my friends get it for lunch the other day and they went crazy for it. The onion ring looked divine and the blue cheese was mild and whipped into a very light, spreadable consistency.

Additionally, Sugar Bar serves (drumroll, please) SOUP! All of you expats living here in Argentina know just how big of a deal this is! They have an amazing Chicken Noodle Soup that is packed with large chunks of all-white meat chicken and chopped vegetables (23 pesos). Clear broth soup is a rare find at a restaurant in Buenos Aires, and this one is New Jersey diner style! Delicious…

They also serve a hearty Black Bean Chili (25 pesos) and French Onion Soup topped with oven baked gyuere cheese (20 pesos). Anyone looking for a taste of American comfort food in Buenos Aires, should head to Sugar Bar!

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{ Lemon Caper Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes }

One of the most difficult aspects of planning a meal, aside from getting all the groceries together, is deciding what the heck your actually going to make! As is true of most hardcore foodies, I’m no basic meat and potatoes girl. I love elaborate side dishes and I practically live for condiments–the more, the merrier! So after I choose a protein to cook, I usually find myself flipping through the section labeled “side dishes” in my recipe binder (aka my bible), searching for the perfect partner(s) for my main dish. The standard garlic mashed potatoes and roasted veggies just haven’t been tickling my fancy as of lately, and tonight I wanted something different. So I turned to the end all be all recipe collection, the direct source itself, the food network.

After a great deal of searching, I resolved to try making this lemon, garlic, caper pasta created by Giada de Laurentis. My main dish was a simple herb grilled chicken breast (although my mom also paired it with a nice filet of salmon), and it complimented both dishes beautifully. There are very few ingredients used in making the pasta, so the tremendous flavor comes as quite a surprise, but it was more than welcomed by my plate tonight.

{ Ingredients }

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
{ To Make the PastaBring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.
Just before serving, add the basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the spaghetti mixture and toss to combine.

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{ Chicken and Lime Tortilla Soup }

As I walked downstairs to get breakfast this morning, my olfactory was assaulted by the pungent aroma of vinegar. I can’t say that I altogether hated it, because I love vinegar…but why did my home suddenly smell like a bag of Herr’s salt & vinegar chips? I headed towards the kitchen and as I rounded the corner, I was greeted by both of my parents who were standing at the center island, casually canning tomatoes and pickling cucumbers… at 8 am in the morning! And let me tell you, this was no little home-ec “project”—this was a miniature factory. There were at least 75 ripened tomatoes on the windowsill, along with dozens of cucumbers and jalapenos peppers, not to mention the several cases of Mason jars that were being sterilized in cauldron-like pots on the stove. I felt like I had stepped into one of Professor Snape’s potion classes from Harry Potter.

By 10 O’Clock they had canned about 15 jars of tomatoes, pickled 9 jars of cucumbers, and made 10 or so jars of fresh salsa. Needless to say, if you’re coming to our house this month, you’re leaving with a Mason jar in hand…but don’t even think about keeping it and using it as a vase if you want salsa next summer! Anyways, when all was said and done, there were still a decent number of tomatoes and hot peppers left and I decided to look for a recipe that would put them to good use. I took out the Soup for Supper cookbook by William Sonoma and resolved to make this spicy chicken and lime tortilla soup, which turned out fabulous!

I like this recipe because the tortilla strips are used as a garnish rather than an ingredient cooked in with the broth, which keeps the soup a lot lighter and healthier. I absolutely hate when I get tortilla soup at a restaurant, and the consistency is so thickened that it resembles porridge more than broth. I also like that the chicken is cooked in advance and separate from the stock because it keeps the broth clear without all of the necessary straining (for those of you who make homemade chicken noodle soup and stock, you know what I am talking about!). Overall, there are very few ingredients required to make this soup and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to cook—so it’s cheap and fast!

It provides the comfort of traditional chicken noodle soup, but the jalapeno pepper adds a nice unique twist. If you don’t feel like making the homemade tortilla strips (which are a little messy with the frying oil), then serve this soup over rice…or do both, as I did! When serving, I like to garnish my soup with the tortilla crisps, cubed avocado, and chopped cilantro.

Ingredients }

  • 9 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large spanish onion., chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2-3 jalapenos, sliced (remove and discard the seeds to make soup less spicy)
  • 1 1/2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes (I use fresh, you can use canned)
  • 6 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 6 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (do according to taste though, because amount varies if you use low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 12 very thin slices of lime, cut into quarters
**If you are making the tortilla crisps then you will also need vegetable oil for frying and 3 corn tortillas cut into 2″ strips!

 

Directions for Soup } In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a low simmer. Add the chicken breast and allow to cook through (about 8 minutes), doing so in batches if needed. Note: I like to add a little salt and pepper to my chicken for additional flavor (see photo), but the recipe does not call for this and you don’t have to.

Once the chicken has cooked through, transfer to a cutting board and once cool enough to handle, cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces (I cube my chicken, but you can also shred it!). Set aside and discard the stock.

In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chopped onion and sauté until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and jalapeno pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes to soften. Add the chicken stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Once the stock boils, reduce the heat and add the chicken, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the chicken is heated through, about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve in warmed bowls with garnishes.

To Make the Tortilla Strips } Cut the flour tortillas into 2″ strips, using a pizza cutter. Heat vegetable oil (2″ deep) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, until it reaches about 375 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, then test the oil by throwing bread crumbs into the oil….if it doesn’t begin to fry immediately, then the oil isn’t yet hot enough!Once the oil is hot and ready, add the tortilla strips, working in small batches. Fry them for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and allow them to dry on paper towels to absorb the oil!

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Flip the tortilla strips with slotted spoon, if they begin to cook too much on one side

Let the paper towel absorb the grease, and sprinkle with Kosher salt

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Domani Star *****


Chocolate Pudding Pots

215.230.9100
57 West State Street
Doylestown, Pa 18901

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Spring break—it is the time of year where college students across the country descend upon vacation resorts such as Cabo, San Juan, Miami, Cancun, and other sunny locales to partake in much debauchery, which usually results in wicked hangovers, unsafe sex practices, interesting photographs (which usually inhibit ones ability to obtain employment post-college), peeling and splotchy skin, a burning sensation when urinating, post-spring break alcohol withdrawal, and of course, great memories! Everybody does the aforementioned spring break at least once while in college, but only the crazies desire to do it twice. Instead, I decided to head home for spring break this year, back to freezing cold Philadelphia. Rather than packing swimsuits and tanning oil, I packed my wool sweaters and suede boots. It sounds a little miserable to most, but you have to remember that I go to school in Miami…I’m on spring break all year!! I need this time to relax and recover, and that’s exactly what I have been doing. I got home a few days ago and my schedule since has been sleeping, waking to eat moms home cooking, napping due to food coma, mid-day cocktails with my best friend, napping due to mid-day drinking, blogging, and eating out at my favorite restaurants. I am living the dream, while most other college kids are being served watered down sugary drinks at all inclusive resorts where they can’t drink the water or eat the food due to sanitation problems. Not jealous one bit!

Not only am I eating while at home, I am eating like a queen! After a few martinis yesterday, my friend Jennifer and I decided to go out for dinner. We were a tipsy and decided to splurge on a good meal, as food is never too expensive when you’re drunk! We headed over to Domani Star located right in the center of Doylestown. It is an Italian restaurant that has been one of my favorites for years. They serve both lunch and dinner, and now more recently even brunch (although, I think dinner is their specialty!). They have a small indoor dinning room, with bar seating available, as well as outdoor side-walk seating for when the weather is nice (which it is not yet!).

In light of the recession, Domani Star now offers a pre-fixe dinner menu on weeknights, which includes your choice of an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Unfortunately, the pre-fixe menu items are not the same as the regular menu, but there is a very decent selection. Jen and I both ordered from the pre-fixe menu, which has a set price of just $24 (thank you Domani for the recession prices!). We both ordered the Bruschetta, which is grilled Tuscan bread rubbed with fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil topped with fresh diced tomatoes and herbs. The portion is enormous, more like half a loaf of Tuscan bread and the flavors are incredible. My only suggestion is do not order this if you are on a date because the garlic will repeat on you for the rest of the evening. Even if you brush your teeth? Yes. Not even Listerene will get rid of the taste. But it is delicious and worth eating if you are spending a night alone or just with friends watching a movie, as I did.

Bruschetta – grilled Tuscan bread rubbed with fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil topped with fresh diced tomatoes and herbs

For the entrée we also ordered the same thing—we are best friends so we are a lot alike. We got the Chicken Francese, which is boneless chicken breast dipped in egg batter and then cooked in a white wine lemon sauce, served over top golden Yukon whipped potatoes and grilled asparagus. The portion was just perfect and the food was piping hot, even the plate was burning hot! The chicken was tender and juicy and the sauce was fairly light on butter, which was a refreshing change for franchese. The asparagus were super delicious and all the stems were already cut off and the Yukon potatoes were to die for. Domani Star has by far my favorite mashed potatoes. They are incredibly rich and laden with butter and calories, but they are simply delicious and worth the calorie splurge. I actually order my entrees here based on whether or not they come with the potatoes. Sadly, it is generally the deciding factor!

Chicken Francese – Boneless Chicken Breast Cooked in White Wine Lemon Sauce, Served with Yukon Whipped Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus

For dessert, we ordered the Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Homemade Whipped Cream and the Warm Bread Pudding served with Bourbon Sauce and Fresh Berries. Jen and I both agreed that the bread pudding was the star of the two, but it was certainly rich and the two of us didn’t even finish the one small piece. Of course, this is because we were also sharing the chocolate cake, which was good but not exceptional. If you are luck enough to go on a day when they are serving the Chocolate Pudding, you must order it because it is the most incredible dessert ever for a chocolate lover!

Warm Bread Pudding served with Bourbon Sauce and Fresh Berries

Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Homemade Whipped Cream

Although the menu changes seasonally and frequently at Domani Star, the one item that never comes off the menu is their Polpettine dei Bacaro di Venezia, which are their famous homemade meatballs made with beef and veal meat, served lightly breaded and fried golden brown with lemons, herbs, and Parmigiano cheese. This is the menu item to try at Domani Star and it gets it’s name because it is served the same way that meatballs are prepared in the wine bars of Venice.

Polpettine dei Bacaro di Venezia – Homemade Meatballs made with Beef and Veal, served Lightly Breaded and Fried Golden Brown with Lemons, Herbs, and Parmigiano cheese

 

My other favorite appetizer from the regular menu is the Polenta e Gorgonzola, which is an oven roasted polenta cake with creamy Gorgonzola sauce, and fresh rosemary. It is a little bite of heaven. It is rich but the portion is small so it is not overwhelming or too filling to have with an entrée. My mom and I usually order one to share before our meal!

If you do go for lunch, I recommend ordering one of Domani’s sandwiches, which are always served on grilled Tuscan bread and accompanied by with either pasta salad, mixed greens, or french fries. I usually order the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich or the Pork Tenderloin Sandwich. If you are in the Doylestown or Bucks County area, I would highly recommend Domani Star for a great Italian restaurant, which is also BYOB!

Breaded Pork Sandwich served on Grilled Tuscan Bread with French Fries

 

 

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{ Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette }

Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken, Corn, Avocado, and Chickpeas tossed in a Dijon Balsamic VInaigrette

Tonight for dinner, I kept it simple with a Spinach salad. The author of the 4 Hour Body, Tim Ferris, lists spinach as one of the most important foods to eat while on the slow-carb diet. It is super high in anto-oxidants and provides a rich source of Vitamin A, C, E, K, iron, protein, folic acid, niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, and folate. Spinach is super filling because it expands in your belly, and it has substantially more nutrients than regular lettuce so it makes for a better salad base than Romaine (which makes you retain water by the way!!). The darker your greens and the more raw they are, the better!

I added half a cup of chickpeas, some canned corn, half of an avocado cut into pieces, and some grilled chicken. Since I don’t have a grill in my apartment, I buy chicken cutlets and pound them out real thin so that I can just cook them on the George Forman. I marinade the chicken for a few hours in a mojo sauce (pre-made compliments of Goya!) and then I just cook it out when I am ready to eat. It is super simple as long as you remember to marinade your chicken for at least a few hours, or it won’t properly absorb the flavors. You can choose any marinade that you want, I just like the citrus and garlic flavors of the mojo sauce, personally.

Ohhh, and when using a mojo marinade, which is very acidic, do not be alarmed if the chicken turns white! This is just the acid poaching the chicken….it has not gone bad!

Once the chicken is cooked through, chop into pieces and toss into salad with some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. Pre-made dressings tend to pack a lot of hidden calories, so I prefer to make my own. Here is a quick and delicious recipe for easy balsamic vinaigrette:

{ Ingredients }

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (I like pomegranate balsamic)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon resh oregano leaves, chopped (or a light sprinkling of dried oregano leaves)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

{ To Make the Dressing }Whisk together all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Toss with salad or store in airtight container and refrigerate.

Nutritional Information

This salad, which I made with 3 cups of baby spinach, 4 oz. of chicken, ½ cup chickpeas, ½ avocado, and ¼ cup corn kernels, came out to a total of 455 calories. The nutritional break down was: 27g of fat, 36g of protein, 17g of fiber, 38g carbohydrates.

Cost of Ingredients

The total cost of making this salad was $9.89, but keep in mind that the ingredients will last for a few more days because I bought the spinach in bulk and did not go through all the canned ingredients.

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Chicken Marsala *****

Chicken Marsala with Baby Button Mushrooms

At the age of 5, I became a pseudo-vegetarian. Not because I didn’t like meat, or because I was joining the campaign for animal rights at an early age. I temporarily stopped eating meat simply because I finally made the connection that the food served on my plate came from an actual animal. This concept had somehow eluded me until Thanksgiving of 1995, when my mom asked my grandmother, “where is the bird?”

Being the naive little girl that I was, I thought that I was getting a new pet parrot, or a cockatoo, perhaps (I was already in the process of picking out names—Polly, Birdie, Betty…). You can probably imagine my confusion and hysteric disappointment as my mom explained that “the bird” was not in reference to a new house pet but instead, the main course of our SUPPER! To say the very least, I did not take this news easily. I put on the waterworks and when dinnertime finally came around, I could not bring myself to eat the turkey—not that year or the 10 years following! I am not kidding, such a simple question had a spiral of effects that put me off to turkey until I was in high school. I had resumed eating other meats (I mean, how long could I possibly go without bacon?! Bacon seems to crack even the toughest of vegetarians), but I was traumatized by my turkey experience. The words, “the bird” haunted me.

I finally manned up at age 15, and began eating delicious gravy-soaked turkey again (till this day, consuming obscene amounts to make up for lost time!), but handling meat still bothered me. I didn’t want to be involved in the process of turning an animal into a plated meal…it just seemed wrong. But, men love meat and women that cook it, so when I finally fell in love sophomore summer of college, I decided it was time to conquer my fear. The very first meat dish that I ever prepared was this Chicken Marsala with baby button mushrooms. I cooked it for my boyfriend at the time and 3 of his friends (spoiled boy…right?). I never disclosed that it was my first attempt at meat, and no one detected that it was either. This flavorful meal is super easy for anyone to make, so I suggest it for any level of cooking experience. I like to pair it with Garlic Roasted Mashed Potatoes and a nice side salad such as Goat Fiesta with Shallot-Thyme Vinaigrette. This is a guaranteed hit among any crowd, and better than any chicken marsala that I have ever ordered out. It is very important that you use the proscuitto though because it gives the dish a hearty flavor and a nice dark brown color.

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) or cutlets
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging chicken
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces of prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces of baby button mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, minced
  • 1/2 cup sweet marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • (Optional) parsley for finishing

Directions:

Pound out chicken with flat meat mallet so that it is 1/4 inch thick (I put the chicken in a plastic baggie or between two pieces of plastic wrap to pound out). Cut into desirable sized pieces and then season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium-high flame. Once the oil is nice and hot, dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Slip the cutlets into the pan and allow to cook for 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. (Cut into center to make sure cooked through). Do this in batches until all of the chicken is cooked, and if you need to add more oil to prevent sticking, do so. Place the cooked chicken on a large platter and cover to keep warm.

Lower the heat to medium and add the proscuitto to the same pan that the chicken was cooked in. Sauté the proscuitto for 1 minute in the drippings to render out some of the fat. Now, add the mushrooms and thyme and sauté until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Pour the marsala in the pan and allow the alcohol to boil down for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan. Simmer gently to warm the chicken and then serve. Garnish with parsley if desired!

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{ Roman-Style Chicken Fettuccine }

Roman-Style Chicken Fettuccine with Parmesan and Basil

(Adapted from Giada De Laurentis)

All week my mother has been pestering me to cook dinner for the family. She knows how often I cook for my boyfriend in Miami, and she gets jealous that I don’t cook as often here at home. Whatshe doesn’t seem to realize is that she is the reason I don’t cook at home. Why should I have any motivation to make a meal when she makes some of the most incredible food that I have ever tasted? If she was serving up Kraft Mac&Cheese every night, I might be more inclined to offer up my culinary services. But when her idea of a Greek dinner includes Kafta, tabouli, hummus, tahini sauce, cucumber salad, tzatziki, and fresh pita all made from scratch…well, I just step aside and play taste tester. However, tonight I was in the mood to cook and so I decided to make one of my favorite pasta dishes, which is Roman-Style Chicken Fettuccini. I got the original recipe from Giada De Laurentis, but I made many of my own modifications to simplify the recipe without compromising the flavor (the recipe below is my version). This dish is incredible and tastes even better on the second day, so if you are making it for company then I would make it the night before. It is very similar in flavor to a chicken cacciatore, but without all the time and work. I don’t like working with chicken on the bone so I used chicken breasts in my version, but for extra flavor you could use a couple of chicken thighs, as the original recipe calls for. If you are eating this the same day that you make it, one of my favorite aspects of this meal is that it is so quick yet tastes like it has been cooking for hours. Everyone can’t help but love this dish, so definitely try it….it’s one of my all time favorites.

Ingredients }

  • 1 ¼ pound chicken (I use chicken breasts)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons capers

{ To Make the PastaSeason the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is ot, cook the chicken until golden on both sides; about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the prosciutto and the peppers and cook until the prosciutto is crisp and the peppers browned (about 5 minutes). Then add the garlic and continue to cook for an additional minute, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the wine, and herbs, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Shred the chicken using two forks, and return the shredded chicken to the pan. Then add the chicken stock and capers and bring mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over fettuccini pasta and sprinkle with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

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Le Bilboquet *****

212.751.3036
25 East 63rd Street, New York 10021
(Between Madison and Park Ave)
 
 

CHECK OUT THE MENU!

[food coma (n): the feeling of listlessness, bordering on sleep, that one feels after eating a large meal, often caused by a rush of blood to the stomach and intestines during food digestion.]

Ohh Le Bilboquet…There is just so much to say about this tiny French Bistro, which is packed with a big French attitude.  We all know that a certain level of animosity exists between the French and, as they would say, “Filthy Americans,” but Le Bilboquet proves that you don’t have to be in France to experience it!  The wait staff (all French…of course) are a group of beautiful (and arrogant) young men, who seem inconvenienced that they even have to take your order.  Essentially, you have to call them over for everything and this past time my boyfriend even caught himself saying, “Excuse me sir, can we place our order?”  That’s right, the customer asking the waiter if they can be served!!! A little backwards, no? Of course the supermodel looking man then put down his Sunday paper and came out from behind the bar to take our order, but it just feels weird.  Ohh and if you have questions about the menu, which of course is all in French, don’t expect much help from the wait staff…I asked if they had tuna tartar and he was like “of course, don’t you see it right here on the menu?!” (pointing to something in French, while making me feel uncultured at the same time).

At this point, you’re probably thinking that I messed up my star rating because all that I have done is complain…but Le Bilboquet does in fact deserve five stars because the FOOD IS INCREDIBLE!  The reality is that this place would not be packed with American patrons if it did not serve delicious food.  I always order the Cajun Chicken, which is actually orgasmic.  It is served in a delicious peppery butter sauce and is sliced down into small pieces, making it easy to eat.  Ohh and there are no bones, which is a major plus in my opinion. It is served with a small mixed green salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and some of the most amazing french fries I have ever tasted.  The fries at the bottom of the pile soak up some of the buttery Cajun sauce and WOW, eating those is an experience!  I have also had the ceasar salad, which is very delicious.  However, the Cajun Chicken is a must have and even better, it is a huge portion!!

So, if you walk into this place and find yourself annoyed by the arrogant wait staff and the difficult to read menu, DON’T LEAVE!!  Just order the Poulet Cajun and I promise you won’t even be able to put down your fork to complain.  When the food comes at Le Bilboquet, the table (no matter what size) goes quiet until everyone has finished their plates.  Then to pull yourself out of the inevitable food coma, order a cappuccino or espresso (the cappuccino is amazing!!) and resume your table talk.

The prices are high (Cajun Chicken is $27), but the food quality can demand such a price in my opinion.

I have only ever been to Le Bilboquet for lunch, and the crowd ranges from youthful to elderly.  Lots of people getting dropped off in character town cars and as New York Magazine says, tons of “trust fund women with their little dogs.”  However, I have heard that the dinner scene is quite different and much more youthful because the restaurant plays loud “club music,” which makes conversations difficult. I’m young and that doesn’t appeal to me, so I will probably stick to lunches there!

Bon Appetitte!

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