9.29.2013

White Wine Steamed Mussels


It's incredible to me that I have yet to post about mussels. I have an obsession with them, in fact, I often judge a restaurant by the way that they prepare their mussels. 

Over the weekend, two of my best friends came to visit me so I brought them to Balthazar in the city. Balthazar is known for its beyond fabulous french fare, so of course they had Moules Frites on their menu. They passed my "Mussel Test" with flying colors, they were absolutely perfect. They were steamed with white wine, shallots, shaved celery, and parsley. This dish is my take on those perfect mussels, they're steamed with butter, garlic, shallots, white wine, and thyme. I served them along with some toasted baguette, I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!

White Wine Steamed Mussels
Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:
1 lb fresh mussels
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, chopped
3/4 cup white wine
1 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:
To prepare the mussels, place them in a large bowl of water for about twenty minutes and then take them individually and pull their beards out and scrub any dirt from their shells. Set them aside in a separate bowl as you clean them. If there are any open mussels, tap them sharply, and if they do not close, throw them away. 

In a large pot over medium heat, add the butter and allow it to melt. Once it's melted, add the minced garlic and chopped shallots. Allow them to cook for 3-4 minutes. Proceed by adding in the white wine, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Bring everything to a simmer and then add the cleaned mussels. Allow the mussels to cook for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Scoop the mussels into a big bowl with the delicious cooking liquid and serve it with some baguette to mop up the sauce. Enjoy!

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9.15.2013

Chicken Piccata & Herbed Jasmine Rice


When I first got to the city, Alex's dad made a delicious dinner for us and the first course was his infamous Mozzarella en Carozza. It was so full of flavor, breaded hot mozzarella in a lemon butter caper sauce, yum! So the other night when I was debating what to make for dinner and I wanted that flavor combination, but for a main course, which as it turns out is just chicken piccata. It was so delicious. I rarely brag about my own food (hard to believe, I know) but this was possibly the best thing I've ever made. 


Chicken Piccata
Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients:
1/2 lb chicken breast, boneless skinless
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 tbsp half and half
1/3 cup panko
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup white wine
1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Directions:
Start by butterflying your chicken breast in half, this will yield two nice thin pieces. Next, set up a little station for yourself with the flour on a large plate, then egg in a bowl (whisked along with the tablespoon of half and half), and another large plate with the panko, salt, and pepper. Start by placing the chicken breasts into the flour until they're completely coated, then into the egg, and finally into the panko. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. After the oil has heated, add the breasts for 3 minutes per side, or until they're no longer pink inside.

Once the chicken's done cooking, wipe out the pan with a paper towel, then place it back over the heat on the stove. Add the butter and the minced garlic, allow them to cook for 2 minutes. Then add in the lemon juice and the white wine, allow them to cook for an additional 3 minutes. Finally, turn off the heat and finish the sauce with the chopped parsley, as well as a dash of salt and pepper.

Spoon this sauce over the chicken breasts, and enjoy!

Herbed Jasmine Rice
Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients:
1 cup Jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp chives, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
Directions:
Start by rinsing the rice a few times and drain it completely, then add it to a small pot over medium heat along with 1 1/2 cups of water. Turn the heat to high and bring it to a boil, this should take about 3 minutes. Next, add the butter and salt and turn the heat as low as possible and cover the sauce pot, allow it to sit for about ten minutes. After ten minutes have passed, open the lid to ensure that all of the water has been absorbed and fluff the rice with a fork. Finally, stir in the chives and parsley.

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9.08.2013

Blue Cheese Fondue & Kettle Chips


A few weeks ago my best friend, Tess, came to the city to celebrate her birthday and we had a fabulous dinner at The Smith in Midtown. We started our meal with hot potato chips and blue cheese fondue, it was a great high-low combination and beyond delicious. I knew that I'd have to add this idea to my recipe repertoire at some point in the near future. 

So yesterday, we were set to host a fantasy football draft at our apartment and the guys had their barbecue favorites taken care of, so I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to recreate that wonderful dish! The effort involved was minimal, I basically just created the same sauce that I use for mac & cheese ("mornay" if we're being fancy) and substituted in blue cheese rather than the typical cheddar. I also chose to forego making potato chips myself and bought a bag of Cape Cod kettle chips. This recipe is definitely at the top of my list now, especially for football season!



Blue Cheese Fondue
& Kettle Chips

Ingredients:
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups half & half
3 oz blue cheese (Gorgonzola)
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
kosher salt
ground black pepper
1 bag of kettle chips 

Directions:
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter and allow it to melt. Once it's melted, add the minced garlic and allow it to cook for a minute. Then add in the flour and whisk it vigorously for two minutes. Then proceed by adding the half and half while whisking, continue to whisk it for another couple of minutes. Next, turn the heat to low and allow it to reduce for 3 minutes. Finally, turn off the heat and add in the blue cheese, 1 tbsp of the chopped parsley, as well as a bit of salt and pepper.

To plate, add your kettle chips to a big bowl and drizzle it with the fondue as well as the remaining chopped parsley. Enjoy!

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