It so happened that this week my bro in law Tim shared some of his catch of corn kernels and slacked lime (a.k.a cal), from his meandering in Mexican grocery stores. I saw Alton Brown’s episode on how to make corn tortilla from scratch so I went on and tried it out. People – why on Earth are you still buying corn tortillas as the store? Don’t give me the “convenience” story. You will have to try this at least once – you’ll make yourself a favor. Please!
» Archive for the 'Fast' Category
Looks like I’ve been having my fill of BBQ this summer. Every Friday I pull it out and start improvising with whatever I have at hand that day. So the other day I opened an almost empty, un-inspiring fridge, to discover that I sill have a couple frozen chicken breasts, cream and blue cheese, olives, lemons, parsley and garlic and butter. “Garlic and butter!” I thought to myself… I am saved!
The Art of Slitting
Use this recipe as a guideline for stuffed chicken breasts. You can use whatever you have available to stuff, from spinach to pesto, dried fruit (like figs or apricots), artichoke hearts or asparagus tips. If it comes down to anything that you might have to pay attention to is how to slit the breast to make a nice pocket without ripping it.
The way I found it works is by placing the breast half horizontally on a cutting board and making an incision on the plumpier side of the breast not wider than say 1 inch then carefully making the inside pocket wider, working with the tip of your knife, going as close as possible to the edges without ripping.Once you stuff the breast, seal it with a wooden toothpick and off you go!
The ones here were stuffed with a mix of cream, Parmesan, blue cheese butter and garlic mix, sun dried tomato halves, olives and parsley
I marinated my stuffed chicken breasts in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley and garlic for about 1 hour before they went on a hot charcoal grill. There I had to babysit them pretty often by turning every 5 minutes or so, I got a nice crust and color.
So, really, try your hand at this — you will impress yourself and those around you!
So we have this new thing going on when I have to take care of dinner three days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday to be precise. It is something I enjoy, and it’s a way to wind down after a busy day. The problem is that I am a terrible meal planner. I do grocery shopping, and usually get what’s on sale, or what might inspire me to do a certain meal, but I don’t remember ever going with a pre-planned ingredient list for an upcoming meal. And usually what happens is that I wake up, open the fridge to sort of assess the situation of what I have or don’t have or what needs to be gotten rid of, then frantically search the Internet, cooking magazines or cookbooks for something that might resemble a decent dinner. For some strange reason, I always find that I have excessive mushrooms from the previous grocery shopping day. Don’t ask me why.
But I have my staples. I’m not that hopeless. For instance I make sure there are always a couple lemons and limes in the bottom fridge drawer. When skinless, boneless chicken is on sale, I pile up, and divide them up into portions and freeze them. Butter? I need that like gas in our car, okay? And, look! I have all I need for Chicken Piccata, a sublime marriage between sauteed floured chicken breast cut into thin cutlets and a lemony-buttery-garlicky sauce topped with lemon slices, capers and parsley. To be honest, I inherited this recipe from Steph, since she does the best Chicken Piccata in town. And it’s a big town.
In hot and humid Chicago summer days, when the AC is almost always on, (don’t remind me of the electricity bill), the last thing I want to do is spend the afternoon in the kitchen having the oven or stove on. I admit, I need an effort to become creative at whipping out dishes (decent ones, mind you) under one hour. I usually take refuge doing something on the grill, but there are days when I couldn’t bear the sight or smell of barbecued meat (as much as I love it!). So then, what do I do? Start by opening the fridge veggie bins for some inspiration. That quickly turns me off since sometimes all I find are some pathetic wilted scallions or forgotten half bell peppers. I am a very clumsy meal planner, so most of the time I have to improvise with what’s at hand. And oh look! What’s on our counter!! A beautiful bouquet of fresh basil that my brother in law brought over from his garden! My creative wheels start to turn. I open the freezer, there lies a package of walnuts. A jar of sun dried tomatoes in the fridge. Enough garlic to feed an army. I look at the clock – it’s 5:15 p.m. Heck, I might be able to pull it off too feed them for our religious 6 o’clock-dinner-on-the-table time. It’s Pesto!