Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Chicken Piccata

Ever since I was a little girl my favorite Italian dish has been chicken piccata. There's something so comforting about breaded chicken in a thick lemon and caper sauce. It always send's me right back to my childhood dining with my family at the Chase restaurant in Santa Barbara. So when I saw a chicken piccata recipe on Jocooks.com, I thought I would try whipping it up at home. Let me tell you, the dish was just as good as any restaurant, divine. The secret is using Meyer lemons, they have that extreme lemony flavor and produce so much juice.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise, organic if possible
  • Flour for dredging chicken 
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1/3 C fresh lemon juice (Myer if possible), requires about 4 medium sized lemons total, 3 for juice, one for garnish
  • 1/2 C dry white wine or chicken stock (I prefer wine)
  • 1/4 C brined capers
  • 1/3 C fresh parsley, chopped

Here's what you do:
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour.
  • In large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp of butter with olive oil over medium to high heat
  • Add chicken pieces to skillet and cook on both sides for about 3-4 minutes until a bit browned. Remove chicken from pan.

  • Remove skillet from heat and add the lemon juice, capers, chicken stock/ white wine and scrape up the bits from the pan for extra flavor and stir. 
  • Return skillet to heat and bring to a boil.

  • Return chicken to skillet and simmer for about 5 mins.
  • Remove chicken from skillet and add the other 2 Tbsp butter to pan and whisk for a minute or so while the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
  • Return chicken to skillet and garnish with parsley and lemon slices. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Snickerdoodle Apple Bread

Anyone who knows me would tell you I am not much of a baker (other than pies which I cover in a previous entry). But since I'm training for a half marathon I seem to have acquired an insatiable appetite. I saw this recipe on Cookiesandcups.com, check out the site if you're a baker or like looking at sweet treats. Most of the ingredients for the bread are pantry staples and it's a very simple recipe. And your house will never smell better while the bread is cooking. It's a perfect Sunday morning treat for you and yours. Here's what you will need:

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 C flower
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 C light brown sugar
  • 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 sour apple, diced and peeled
Cinnamon sugar topping:
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Here's what you do:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grease 9x5 loaf pan
  • whisk together salt, baking powder and flour, set aside.
  • In a bowl of stand mixer or bowl large enough to accommodate all ingredients to mix with hand blender, beat butter, both sugars and cinnamon for 2 mins on medium speed and add in both eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth, scrape sides if needed. 
  • Turn mixer to low and add in flower mixture and milk until combined. Set mixer aside.
  • Add the diced apple to mixture and stir until combined. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan.

  • Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the batter

Finally, bake for 50-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for ten minutes and then transfer to warming rack and then -- GET. IN. THERE. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Chicken in Red Curry

In an effort to cook in more often I decided to try making my own version of one of my go-to Sunday night Seamless delivery orders, chicken in Thai red curry. The inspiration for this recipe came from one of my favorite bloggers, Cupcakes and Cashmere who sang the praises of TJ's red curry sauce. This dish is super easy, tasty and healthy. Trader Joe's does most of the work for you so you can simply drop all the ingredients into your slow cooker and go about your day. All the components in the recipe come from TJ's so not only is it one stop shopping but it's on the cheap as well. Here's what you will need (serves 4):
  • Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (organic if possible)
  • 1 container TJ's red curry sauce 
  • 1 C shredded carrots
  • 1 C peas (I prefer English peas from the fresh section) 
  • 1 C brown basmati rice (follow directions on package)
Set your slow cooker on high and add the curry sauce and two chicken breasts. Cook for one hour. Then add the carrots and peas and cook for an additional hour. Prepare the rice 40 minutes before serving. For an added twist, I tried subbing orzo for rice and it was equally tasty and a little bit more filling. I've also done a vegetarian version and simply added bell peppers and snow peas and omitted chicken. I like to cook up a whole batch on a Sunday afternoon and have prepped for weeknight dinners. 

Friday, March 4, 2016


Cassia Interior

Cassia had been at the top of my dining list for months. My first visit had me returning within the same week, it was that good. Can the team at Rustic Canyon do anything wrong? You take the farm to table eloquence of Rustic Canyon/ Milo and Olive/ Huckleberry and marry it with Bryan Ng's (of now shuttered Spice Table) Vietnamese flare and you have something truly unique. The cuisine is unlike anything on the west side. I should also mention that the aesthetics alone would draw me back in an instant: the white marble, sea glass tile and open airiness makes me want to settle in for hours with friends sipping cocktails whilst sharing plates of wonderful seafood and Vietnamese soups and small plates. Cassia is that impressive, in fact, that Jonathan Gold included it in his infamous 101 best LA restaurants list even though it's brand new. Here is what he wrote:

A Vietnamese charcuterie plate? Sure, why not? Delicate terrines, whipped lardo with slivered herbs, smoked duck, air-dried lamb, candied pork belly, ruddy salami flavored with Vietnamese spices — it could make up the filling of the best bánh mì you've ever tasted. Pot-au-feu shares roots with pho, and when the clear beef broth is scented with burnt onion, cinnamon and star anise, the resemblance is obvious. A crock of snails may take on even more resonance when the garlic butter is zapped with lemongrass and it is served with naan-like flatbread fresh from a wood-burning oven. What former Spice Table chef Bryant Ng has done here is to reimagine the populist California bistro as Vietnamese the way that Campanile reimagined it as Italian a generation ago, and the results are thrilling: plum salad with wild arugula, egg custard with uni, a mayonnaisey jellyfish salad you could imagine encountering on the Left Bank and what is undoubtedly the best Singapore-style white pepper Dungeness crab in town. Better than any other local restaurant at the moment, Cassia encapsulates the erasure of boundaries between expense-account dining and street food.

It's a tough reservation so I suggest going early and snagging a patio table. The bar is lovely as well.