Friday, August 28, 2015

Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Tomato Panzanella

Where to begin?  As you can tell life has been chaotic with very little time to cook new recipes and post about them.  I knew August and September would be my busiest months too with weddings, camping, work travel, and fun travel.  My last blog I was talking about going to a wedding in Silver Falls and it was beautiful and so much fun.  Next came my all girls camping trip up to Clear Lake on Mt. Hood.  Much to my surprise it has been so dry in Oregon that the lake I went swimming in two months prior was almost all dried up!  It was unreal and felt apocalyptic, there was only a little bit of a lake left which you can see in the picture below.  Even with no lake we still had a blast, lots of exploring and an amazing dance party.  Tomorrow I leave for my work trip to Florida for 6 days and there is now a hurricane headed directly to Orlando so I'm sure it will be a very interesting week.  I also get to see one of my best friends because she is driving up to visit me in Orlando for two nights which will be so so fun! I'm sure I will come back with a lot of stories and perhaps I really will get to experience my first hurricane.  Onto the food, I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit and holy crap is it good.  I used tomatoes from my garden and was in heaven; this is my first year growing Marianna's Peace (heirloom tomatoes) and they have the best flavor ever!  Also pictured below is the vinegar I used instead of plain white wine vinegar.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
¼ small red onion, thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used a French herb infused one), divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
1 cup torn country-style bread, (from about ¼ small loaf)
2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (or chicken thighs)
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (half of them sliced in half, and the other half full)
2 small red heirloom tomatoes sliced
Pinch of sugar
¾ cup parsley leaves with tender stems

The Process
1.  Combine onion and 2 Tbsp. vinegar in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

2.  Heat 2 Tbsp. avocado in a large skillet over medium-high. Add bread; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until golden brown, 5–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Wipe out skillet.

3.  Using a thin, sharp knife, cut bones and cartilage from chicken breasts. Pound chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to ¼" thick; season with salt and pepper.

4.  Heat 1 Tbsp. avocado oil in skillet over medium-high. Cook 1 chicken breast, skin side down, until golden brown and nearly cooked through, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until cooked through, about 1 minute more; second side will not brown. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with remaining cutlet and 1 Tbsp. avocado oil (no need to wipe out skillet).

5.  Heat 2 Tbsp. avocado oil in same skillet over medium-high. Add whole tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until lightly blistered and starting to burst, about 5 minutes. Toss in sugar and remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar. Transfer to bowl with croutons. Add pickled onion with pickling liquid, all the cut tomatoes, parsley, and remaining 2 Tbsp. avocado oil and toss. Serve chicken with panzanella spooned over.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tiger Salad with Steak

Work has been so crazy I've barely even had time to take my lunches let alone blog during them.  My company hosts 3 conferences a year and 2 of them are just around the corner, one of which I will be leaving for at the end of this month.  We are all headed to Florida for this conference and there is so much prep work that goes into it, so I don't see my work life slowing down until we leave for Europe.  My garden is finally starting to produce too which makes me very happy, I hope that I don't miss a bunch of the tomatoes while I am away on my trips...but I guess that is just life.  This weekend should be a blast, we are headed to a wedding down in Silver Falls, OR and I just adore the people getting married.  I have known the bride since middle school and she is one of my older brother's best friends so there will be a ton of guests that I know and like which is always a plus!  This week is Burger Week in Portland and there are about 31 restaurants participating this year.  Here is a link to each burger and what restaurant they are at, burger week is just too fun.  I adapted this recipe a couple nights ago and it was the perfect meal for the hot and sticky weather we are having here in PDX.  Happy Friday and enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
4 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon garlic chili paste
1 bunch cilantro leaves with tender stems, cut into 2 inches pieces
6 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
6 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Steak I used this recipe for the marinade (optional)

The Process
1.  Whisk vinegar, oil, sesame seeds, and chili past in a large bowl. Add cilantro, celery, cucumbers, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

2.  Cook meat to preference and serve over the salad.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Collard Greens

So happy it is Friday!  I can't wait for this weekend of mostly relaxation.  Tonight I am hanging out with a dear friend that I haven't seen in too long and we are going to go to HK Cafe, which yes believe it or not I still haven't been too.  Then tomorrow we are attending a house warming party because our lovely friends just purchased their first home which is pretty exciting.  And Sunday I am going to attempt to make my first batch of sauerkraut in my new fermentation crock.  Sailing last night was a blast, there are a couple pictures at the end of this post to show how perfect of an evening it was.  Let's talk about food now, recently I made this delightfully simple and traditional collard greens recipe to pair with pork and they turned out fabulous.  Enjoy. Also happy international beer day!

Serves 5

The Ingredients
2 tablespoon bacon fat
1 large white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 bunches fresh collard greens

The Process
1.  Prepare the collard greens by first removing the stems. Pull them off by hand or cut them out with a knife. Wash the leaves and stack the leaves and cut across into about 1- inch sized ribbons.

2.  In a large pot over medium high heat, add bacon fat and onions. Saute onions for 5 minutes over medium high heat until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and saute quickly for an additional 30 seconds or so, just until golden and fragrant.  Then add stock, greens, and the salt and pepper and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, until the greens are tender.

3.  Stir the vinegar into the greens just prior to serving or serve on the side.  And serve!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Beef Lok Lak

I have been continuing my accounting training at work and while last week made me want to pull out my hair, this week everything is really starting to make sense which makes me very happy.  It is a field I never thought I would enter but again it is just one more skill that I now have.  Happy Farmers Market week! Make sure and get out to support your favorite farmers market because they have really evolved to meet our needs which is highlighted in this article.  I am pretty excited for this evening because I will be hanging out with one of my good friends and we are going to go sailing with my parents and picnic on the dock.  Let's hope for wind!  I adapted this recipe and it was fabulous, filling and refreshing.  Not my garden tomatoes yet but the Persian cucumbers were courtesy of my wonderful coworker's garden.  Also I don't normally make food with this much sugar but it sure was good, plus most of the sugar is left behind in the marinade.  Enjoy!

Serves 2

The Ingredients

Beef and marinade:
1 lb beef sirloin, cut into bite size chunks
1⁄4 cup tamari
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil

To serve:
2 small tomatoes, sliced
1 cucumber, peeled and finely sliced
1⁄2 small red onion, finely sliced
Green cabbage, leaves torn off to use as wrappers

Dipping sauce:
Juice of a lime
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon water

The Process
1.  In a large bowl, mix beef with tamari, oyster sauce, ketchup, sugar, fish sauce, ground black pepper and garlic. Marinate at least 20 minutes or up to one hour.

2.  Make dipping sauce, combine ingredients in a small bowl-set aside.

3.  Decorate two dinner plates with sliced tomatoes, cucumber and onion. Set aside.  Place the cabbage leaves on a separate platter.

4.  Heat oil in a wok over a high heat and stir-fry beef until cooked about 5-7 minutes.  Divide between the two dinner plates.

5.  You eat it by wrapping portions of the meat and salad ingredients in a cabbage leaf, then dipping that in the dipping sauce.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wine Braised Leeks with Mushrooms, Polenta, and Gorgonzola

Summertime is just so busy, so many events, weekend getaways, and dinner making with lovely friends that I can't believe it is all coming to the end!  But that end also means we are that much closer to our Europe trip!!!  This also means that all of our gardens are producing lots of yummy vegetables, and speaking of eating things we grow here is a cool little guide on edibles easily found in most neighborhoods.  This part of the summer is so wonderful because the peaches are out in full force and my mother just gave me some delicious ones from Hood River.  Tonight I plan on having some good old fashioned peaches in cream!  Onto the food, last night I adapted this recipe and made it for my wonderful parents who both recently got back from a long trip in Hawaii.  They loved this meal.

Serves 3-4

The Ingredients
2 leeks, trimmed of their greens
2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced, no stems
1 cup red wine
2 tsp fresh marjoram
3 tbsp butter
2 cups water
1 cup corn meal
2 tbsp soy sauce
a splash of white wine
Gorgonzola, for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

The Process
1.  Over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp butter in a large sauce pan. As it is heating, trim the leeks into a log shape. Slice in half lengthwise and briefly rinse under running water to remove any dirt that may be trapped between the layers.

2.  To the butter, add the mushrooms, soy sauce, white wine and cook until done (about 8 minutes). Remove from pan, set aside and keep warm.

3.  In the same sauce pan, place the leeks cut side down in the remaining with 1 tbsp butter. Gently saute until the leeks start to get nice and golden brown. Add the marjoram, wine, and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and cover. Gently cook until leeks are cooked through and wine has reduced to a few tablespoons. (This takes a while, I believe it was about 25 minutes).

4.  Meanwhile, in another pot, bring the water up to a boil. Add last tbsp of butter and a healthy pinch of salt. When the water is at a full boil, quickly whisk in corn meal. Reduce heat and cook until the cornmeal has absorbed all the liquid, stirring occasionally.

5.  Assemble by plating the polenta and then the mushrooms. Spoon the reduction over the mushrooms and top with a few leeks. Garnish with Gorgonzola and black pepper.