I almost never order chicken at restaurants. Somehow, chicken has gotten the reputation for being “boring” and usually, I’m more interested in trying fish or some kind of meat. There is one chicken dish that I will always order, however – the chicken Milanese at I Nonni. I worked at I Nonni, a great Italian restaurant just outside of St. Paul, the summer after I graduated college and before I moved to New York. It was a great summer – the last time (probably) that I would live at home with my parents, the last summer I could be “a kid”. (You’re still a kid at 22, right?) I worked two restaurant jobs pretty much every day for those three months to save up money so that I could move to NYC at the end of August, and the nights I toiled away at I Nonni, I would usually end up ordering the chicken for dinner. Something about the lemony-buttery-bitter artichoke combination appealed to me – and of course, the crispy chicken and peppery arugula didn’t hurt either.
Later that fall when I was feeling a little homesick, I attempted to create the chicken dish to bring back little bit of home into my apartment full of hand-me-down furniture and less-than-desirable neighbors. I’ve changed it a bit over the past few years, but every time I make this dish, it reminds me of home.
I can’t say that I’ve ever really been all that into the Super Bowl, but I can of course always get down with the food. This year, however, I will be actually watching the game (and, obviously, the Beyoncé half-time show) in addition to enjoying some delicious snacks. Ari is a die-hard 49ers fan (though perhaps “fan” is somewhat of an understatement) and he’ll be in New Orleans for the game, which means I’ll have to fend for myself here in New York. That said, if I were hosting a Super Bowl party, I pulled together a few recipes from my archives that I would make:
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Ricotta and Honey Crostini
Avocado and Corn Salsa
Turkey & Pork Ricotta Meatballs
And for something a little sweeter…
Lemon Bars, my go-to recipe for parties
Or this quick Orange-Olive Oil Cake, which is easily transportable.
What are you making for the Super Bowl? Are you rooting for either team? (Go Niners!)
In honor of Sunday night’s Mad Men premiere (so great. It’s been far too long!) A. and I went over to my friend Justin’s house for a retro dinner, including deviled eggs, tea sandwiches, and classic iceberg wedge salads (and, of course, Manhattans and martinis). I was in charge of dessert, and decided to make a chiffon cake, a first for me. Chiffon cake is similar in theory to a soufflé, folding egg whites separately into the dough. Mine collapsed — actually not sure if that’s supposed to happen, but I think so? In any case, it did make a nice, light dessert after a ’60′s-inspired dinner. Continue reading
As today’s temperatures are reaching almost 50 degrees, I couldn’t resist making a trip to the farmer’s market at Grand Army Plaza this morning. Of course, I always love the market best in the summer, but there is something very comforting about the apples, root vegetables, and hearty greens that are available now. I also wanted to try out my camera a little more in a setting outside my kitchen. I’m still very much learning about all of the settings and options, but below are a few of my shots from the market.And when I got home…
Alright, finally: the recipe. When I was little, one of my favoite “breakfasts” was the incredibly sweet lemon-poppyseed mini muffins from the supermarket. I’m not quite sure why my mother let us eat these as they were bascially dessert. In any casee, this dessert was inspired by those muffins, but is a slightly more sophisticated take. I made this the other night when I didn’t have my camera, so forgive the instagram photos. This recipe was taken from one of my favorite food blogs, Always With Butter, but I made a few tweaks, including changing the cirtus from orange to lemon. I also was far too excited to eat it when it came out of the oven, which explains why the glaze pretty much melted into the cake. In addition, I would use more powdered sugar next time to make the icing thicker. Still good though.
Lemon Poppyseed Cake (adapted from this recipe on Always With Butter)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8×8 baking pan. Sift first three ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. Best butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix well. Mix in flour mixture and poppy seeds. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for one hour or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely. Whisk powdred sugar and lemon juice until you have a thick glaze, then pour over cooled cake.
My mother brings these lemon bars to almost every party that I can remember, and they are inevitably a hit. They are certainly the best lemon bars I have ever had, and I have started to continue her tradition by bringing them to a holiday party in December. I think my favorite part is the tart lemon glaze, which gives them a really lovely brightness. I’m pretty sure these are originally from a copy of Sunset magazine circa 1991, but I can’t be sure. In any case, they are classic. Be sure to use fresh-squeezed lemon juice for the best results.