Prosciutto Chicken

ProsciuttoChicken_IMG_7185We just got home, this was a fly by the seat of my pants kind of meal. Shane loved the prosciutto chicken. Rose did not, but that’s because she no longer likes chicken… until next week when chicken is her new favorite food. Ah, the joys of a fickle five year old.

We also had, simple pasta with pecorino, olive oil, butter, pepper and a dash of cream. And an arugula salad with roasted sweet corn and creamy mustard dressing.

• Prosciutto Chicken •
adapted from this Bon Appetit recipe
2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
8 slices prosciutto
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

Place the chicken breasts on a plastic-wrap covered cutting board, smooth side up. Lay four prosciutto slices on top of each chicken breast, making sure to cover the entire breast and leaving a bit hanging off the edge. Cover with another sheet of plastic and pound until the breasts are about 1/2 to 3/4 thick. Remove plastic, flip breasts over and season opposite (non-prosciutto) side with salt & pepper, then sprinkle each breast with 1 teaspoon of flour. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter has melted, add chicken, prosciutto side up. Cook for about 5 minutes and flip, cook for another 5 minutes until cooked through. Serve with pasta.

Easter Saturday!

(click on the photos for slide show view, and description)

For the past several years, our family has celebrated Easter on Saturday instead of Sunday. We’re not particularly religious. When it occurred to us that Saturday might be a more convenient day to celebrate than Sunday, there were no objections. It even resolved scheduling conflicts for the Jews in our family who are married to Easter-observing gentiles.

Before dinner, which is more of a late-lunch, my aunt Gail makes Hot Cross Buns with the kids (see recipe below). The little ones adore rolling the dough and frosting the buns once they’re cooked. Then we have an egg hunt, this year there were 107 eggs to find!

Our tradition, for as long as I can remember, has been to have savory pies for Easter. Geraldine Ferraro’s Easter Pie, which is filled with ricotta cheese & Italian sausage, is a staple. My dad makes the pies with the help from my aunt Gail (or vice-versa). He says to use two pounds of sausage instead of one, it’s much better that way.

The Torta Verde was sorely missed this year. Instead, we had lamb pies which were reported to be underwhelming, but were very pretty, and disappeared anyhow.

To up the meat ante, there were Garlicky Pork Burgers with Red Wine, Prunes & Rosemary, from this recipe, but prepared as burgers instead of sausages, and made in the oven. Everyone raved about them, even the kids.

The Escarole & White Bean Salad with Fennel & Gruyere (see my post about it here), and Cilantro, Celery & Almond Salad, were both excellent. My parent’s neighbor Peggy, made her famous Eggplant dish, which I don’t have the recipe for. We also had roasted Cubanelle pepers.

Dessert was an assortment of candy and cookies, Strawberry  Shortcake, and my favorite, a Three-Tier Candied-Pecan Cake with Brown-Butter Pears, from Martha Stewart. (Note: it doesn’t come out looking like the photo in the recipe but is utterly delicious.)

Happy early Easter everyone!

Shrimp and polenta

Shrimp&Polenta_IMG_7041Several things went wrong in the making of this dish, but it came out nicely in the end.

I’m not convinced that the oven-roasted tomatoes were worth the time, in this particular case. I think you could just as easily broil the tomatoes with the shrimp and get a better result. Or you could skip the tomatoes.

I began by broiling the shrimp on a bed of spinach. The spinach burned immediately and smelled like a rotten half-smoked joint (or something like that). I promptly removed the spinach to the trash.

Which leaves us with the shrimp and polenta… which came out great! If you skip all the nonsense above, both recipes are also quick and easy.

• Easy Broiled Shrimp •
9 jumbo shrimp (16-20/lb) peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for pan
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped, flat-leaf parsley

Heat broiler. Lightly coat a baking tray with olive oil. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, paprika and salt in a medium bowl. Add shrimp to oil mixture and stir to coat well. Lay shrimp on baking tray with some space between them. Broil for 1-2 minutes, flip and broil the second side until done. Remove cooked shrimp to a bowl, add parsley, stir to combine, and serve over soft polenta.

• Soft Polenta •
adapted from Lidia Bastianich
3 cups water
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fine cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine water, Better Than Bouillon, salt and olive oil in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to very low. Add corn meal to water, very slowly, sprinkling it in with your hand while whisking constantly with the other hand. Adding the corn meal should take a full minute or two. Once all of the corn meal is added, continue cooking over very low heat for five minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Serve right away.

San Francisco!

We’re just back from a delightful mom and daughter trip to San Francisco. We visited with dear friends and even got to see Rose’s aunt and cousin who happened to be over from Ireland.

Most of our time was spent with my friend Rachel, who I’ve known since first grade, her husband Rob and their son Frankie, and my friend Elana of the dairy and nut-free food blog Unbelieveable And Yet, her husband Dayved & son Quinton.

The best part of the trip was the company, we had some pretty good meals too.

Among the highlights are: Gaspare’s Pizza, pretty good pie and great classic Italian-American decor. Elana’s baked eggplant, perfectly tender and brown. Shredded and massaged kale salad, which we had more than once (recipe soon). Rachel’s amazing garlic bread (so buttery), I’m not even a garlic bread person but I was sold. Dungeness crab (cakes and sandwiches) & oysters (raw and po-boy) and amazing old-school ambiance, at Nick’s Rockaway Beach.

(click on the photos for slide show view, and description)

 

 

Going away dinner

GoingAway_IMG_6522In the midst of last-minute errands and packing & parking stress, I managed to pull together a decent meal. Chicken with White Wine & Lemon and a loose interpretation of this wonderful salad. Rose made a sandwich with her chicken and some butter. Whatever works.

I won’t be posting while away. Check back in a week or so to hear all about our ‘ladies’ trip to San Francisco!

GoingAway_IMG_6527

Steak & cake

Steak&Cake_IMG_6515Today is my favorite husband’s birthday. Alright, my only husband, but still.

We had the smallest of parties, with his favorite meal, steak frites, followed by his favorite cake, Inside-Out German Chocolate. Rose was excited as can be for her dad’s big day, and helped out by decorating the cake with loads of sprinkles and a “2” candle, and fancifying the table with paper snowflakes.

The oven fries were from this recipe (as usual). For veggies, we had simple brussels sprouts (Rose’s favorite), and an arugula and pea frond salad with cilantro and Rita’s dressing.

I haven’t made Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake* for several years. It’s ridiculously decadent and wonderful. A sticky-sweet, gooey coconut & pecan filling  is sandwiched between two thin brownies and covered in thick, rich ganache. It’s almost more of a torte than a cake, but we’re not complaining.

Steak&Cake_IMG_6518

*Cake Note: The recipe doesn’t tell you that you need to coat the cake in several layers of ganache, letting each one set in between coats. Put the cake on a rack set in a baking tray, pour over just enough ganache to coat the top and sides, let it sit for half an hour or so and repeat until the ganache is all used up. There will be a lot left in the baking tray, which you can scoop up and store to eat later, over ice cream or with a spoon.

Family conference night

PizzaPark_IMG_0688We had our family conference tonight, which is our school’s version of a parent-teacher conference. Afterwards we grabbed a few slices at Pizza Park, where they make a very decent pie.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for cake & steak!

St. Patrick’s Day

St.Pats_IMG_6495My mom always made an all-green meal on St. Patricks Day. I’m pretty sure her objective was to annoy my dad. I like to keep up the tradition because it’s fun (and not really to annoy my husband, or my dad).

On the menu tonight: Spinach ravioli with pesto, a green salad with pea shoots (because they look a bit like shamrocks), green seltzer and Guiness.