Archive for ‘Dinner’

February 24, 2011

Jumps-into-your-mouth Chicken Saltimbocca!

So, I had a major prosciutto craving. I’m not even the slightest bit ashamed either because it’s been a while since the two of us have dined together, so it was only right that I rekindle the flame. Yes, I’m still talking about my love for prosciutto.

I had always liked prosciutto, but it wasn’t until I lived in Italy that I really fell in love with the meat. Over there, it’s never just an ingredient, it’s the star of the dish. You can always find a cured hunk of ham leg, bone and all, hanging from butcher shops or local grocery stores, being delicately sliced by request. My homestay mom, Flora, would bring home the best prosciutto crudo (cured ham) and prosciutto cotto (cooked ham), simply paired with mozzarella di bufala (buffalo mozzarella cheese) and a dash of balsamic and oilo nuovo (which is the very freshest olive oil, vibrant green in color).

One day, she asked me what I would like to eat for dinner: mind you, this was a rarity because she cooked what she felt like that day and never took orders ahead of time. So, as I was put on the spot, I tried so hard to think of a dish I really loved, that had not already been prepared before. Little Yellow Note: Flora was a culinary genius and always had a new recipe up her sleeve.

With a huge smile on my face and with such an air of confidence, I blurted out: “Chicken Saltimbocca.” Why you ask?? Well, I hate to admit it, but this prosciutto-topped chicken dish from Buca di Beppo was really delicious, and I wanted the authentic version, straight out of Italy. The only problem was that she had no idea what I was talking about. I forgot to mention that there was a huge language barrier at first, as I spoke no Italian, and they spoke no English. Oh an also, the word saltimbocca means “jumps in the mouth.” No wonder why I got a blank stare when I asked for “chicken that jumps in my mouth!” Apparently, they have a different name for the dish.

I think that night she ended up making prosciutto and cheese panini’s. Clearly not what I asked for, but it was delicious, regardless. I am fairly sure that Flora figured out what I was asking for later in my stay there, as she provided a feast of prosciutto-topped veal. It was close enough. My belly was happy.

Without further adieu, here is one of the most flavorful Italian dishes!

Chicken Saltimbocca:

Salt and pepper the chicken, then wrap each tender in a cozy blanket of prosciutto. Then top with whole sage leaves, although you may want to tuck them in just a tad, to ensure that they stay in place.

Make a plastic wrap envelope and place the chicken inside, spaced apart so that they have room to be tenderized. Don’t be alarmed, they will grow a bit.

Next, lightly dredge in flour and place in the pan with the melted butter and oil combo, sage-side down.

Afer 3-4 minutes, it’s time to flip the chicken cutlets!

Set cooked chicken aside, and prepare the wine shallot sauce. Then arrange the chicken-prosciutto wonderfullness with pretty little lemon slices, drizzle with sauce and EAT!

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken cutlets (we used 6 chicken tenders)
  • 6 thin slices prosciutto
  • 12 sage leaves, more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, a little extra won’t hurt 🙂
  • 1/2 cup organic chicken broth
  • 1/2 shallot, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Lemon slices

Directions:

1. Pat each tender dry and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around a chicken tender and tuck in two sage leaves, just enough to keep them in place while cooking. Repeat this step for each of the chicken tenders.
2. Place chicken tenders between a long piece of plastic wrap, and with a rolling pin, gently pound cutlets to an even 1/4-inch thickness. You want to pound the chicken after it is nicely wrapped up in prosciutto and sage, in order to help distribute the flavors and pound the ingredients into the chicken.

3.  Shovel the flour onto a plate and dip the pounded chicken in it, lightly coating each side. Heat a tablespoon of butter and the olive oil in a large pan. When the butter is melted and starts foaming, add the chicken cutlets to the pan, sage-side down. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning once, until lightly browned, a little crispy and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm, while making the sauce.

4. Add wine to the hot pan and stir with a wooden spoon to de-glaze the pan. Add in the shallots and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let the wine reduce by half, then add the chicken broth and reduce by half again. Turn off the heat and stir in remaining tablespoon of butter (we used a little less than a Tbsp). Pour over the plated cooked chicken cutlets and it’s ready to serve with lemon wedges.

*Little Yellow Note: we crisped up a little more sage to add to the tops of the chicken…we love the extra flavor!

Lemon Garlic Asparagus:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb asparagus
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus. This is easy to to by hand, by snapping off the bottom portion.

2. Heat the oil in a medium pan, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the asparagus and stir it up. Squeeze in the lemon and add a dash of salt and pepper, to taste, and you got yourself a simple side-dish!

Multigrain Garlic Crostini:

Ingredients:

  • multigrain loaf–we got ours from TJ’s
  • fresh parmeggiano reggiano cheese, shredded or shaved
  • rosemary, dried or fresh
  • garlic, for rubbing
  • olive oil

Directions:

1. Cut bread into 1 inch thick slices. Drizzle each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped rosemary.

2. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until they look golden and crispy… Keep an eye out for these puppies! They can burn quickly, so stay near the oven to constantly check on them.

3. Take slices of bread out and rub vigorously with garlic. Top with a few shreds of cheese and place back under the broiler for another minute or two, or until desired melted-ness is reached.

4. Serve with meal!

Look! It's quite the balanced meal! Buon appetito!

 

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

-Chrissy



February 18, 2011

Chicken & Shrimp Stir Fry

Yesterday we had a surprise visit from our favorite neighbor and ultimate LYK fan, Russell. He waltzed into the Little Yellow Kitchen with a gigantic smile exclaiming that he held in his hand what was soon to be our new favorite evening activity, Julia. No, not the recent film Julie and Julia, but the real Julia — The French Chef with Julia Child: Disc 1. Never have I ever been a fan of black and white films, but Julia my friends, can entertain with the best of them.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
Julia Child

We immediately began watching Julia create her classic Bouillabaisse Marseillaise with the head of a giant cod sitting front and center on the screen the entire time. This woman has no fear. She chops hacks fish in half like it’s an everyday activity – maybe it was? She is so much more real than what we see today on cooking shows. She cooks on a electric stove with switches for goodness sake! Needless to say, if you get the chance watch some of her infamous episodes, do it, and take copious notes.

julia

Onto the stir fry…

We cheated a little on this recipe because of time constraints but it gives me the chance to tell you about more great products from Trader Joe’s – I promise they don’t pay us to use their name so much, we just basically live there grocery shopping and love it.

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If you want a quick and delicious stir fry then this is the way to do it. Use Trader Joe’s Ginger Soy Marinade and their bag of fresh stir fry vegetables. If you can’t get to a Trader Joes, then use the vegetables listed in the ingredients of our recipe below.

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Stir Fry

(4 servings)

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast

8-10 shrimp

1 bag of Trader Joe’s stir fry vegetables (snow peas, bok choy, cabbage, carrots, celery, broccoli)

1/2 cup ginger soy marinade

1 zucchini, thick slices

1/2 onion, sliced

1/2 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions

Marinate the chicken and shrimp in the ginger soy marinade for 30 minutes. Pour oil into a fry pan with fresh ginger and add the vegetables, sauté about 15 minutes or until cooked down. Add the chicken and shrimp with the marinade and cook through.

Remove from heat and mix in the soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.

Serve with brown rice.

Buon Appetit!

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From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Lauren

February 17, 2011

Enoteca Adriano: the Burrata and the Pope’s Pillow

Pope's Pillow dessert

I know that we probably cannot rave about this place enough, but Enoteca Adriano, never ceases to amaze; which is why we swooped up the last 7 o’clock reservation on Valentine’s night at this adorably romantic Italian spot. It’s really too bad that the boys were preoccupied that night, but fear not, we just took each other out for the occasion!

Burrata Enoteca

Apparently, we were the only friends who faced this minor dilemma, because everyone else in the entire restaurant was happily coupled, romantically gazing at each other, comfortably positioned hand in hand. It might be an understatement to say that, yep, it was awkward and we sure felt out of place, but the food and service was nothing but the best.

Tonight, we decided to try the Burrata Enoteca as an appetizer, which is my new favorite thing. Basically, it is a big hunk of delicious creamy  fresh mozzarella. It’s more solid on the outside, but when you cut into the center, the consistency is soft and creamy. This hunk of glory was placed on top of a large slice of wonderfully cured prosciutto, accompanied by some roasted heirloom tomatoes and wilted garlic spinach, and tied together with a simple balsamic-olive oil drizzle.

We. nearly. died. It was THAT good.

Then we split the Spaghetti Polpette (translated: spaghetti and meatballs), which was just what we were looking for, after finishing such a rich and decadent appetizer.

Just as we were winding the evening down (and finishing the great bottle of wine we brought along…gotta love no-corkage Monday’s), Chef Franco came out to greet us! After expressing a mutual adoration for the Enoteca and the Little Yellow Kitchen, he came equipped with two glasses of the tastiest dessert wine, Lungarotti, and a much anticipated Pope’s Pillow. This dessert, presentation and flavor profile, is unparalleled. It is big enough to use as a pillow to catch a snooze on…and the mascarpone cream filling would sure be able to provide adequate neck support. YUM.

Needless to say, Enoteca Adriano is such a jewel in Pacific Beach (a place mostly known for its rowdy bars and influx of young college kids), quietly perched a few blocks away from the madness, on Cass Street. If you live in or ever visit San Diego, you must stop by. The amazing Chef Franco will surely greet you with open arms and will send you off with a happy tummy and a “Grazie Mille”. What more could you ask for.

This is the “neck support” I was talking about. That puff pastry square is jam-packed with mascarpone goodness.

This dessert wine brings me back to the time I  spent living in Siena.

Lungarotti, Vino Dolce from the Umbria Region, Italy

I think this is the point we had to stop eating, to prevent immediate food coma… we still had to ride our bikes a few blocks home.

Fresh berries, everywhere!

The End. We got home just in time to pass out to the Bachelor. Perfect.

FYI– Here is:  Enoteca Adriano’s Facebook fan page, and here is From The Little Yellow Kitchen’s Facebook fan page... we are friends you should be too!

 

From the Little Yellow Kitchen

-Chrissy

 

February 16, 2011

Mac n’ Cheese n’ Salami

Chris and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day together on Sunday by having a lovely picnic/Element tailgate at Cabrillo National Monument. The afternoon’s menu consisted of vintage cheddar cheese (by far my new fav Trader Joe’s  cheese), Sopressa salami, crackers and a breathtaking view of San Diego and beyond.

Later that evening I used the left over vintage cheddar cheese (I can’t say how good this was enough times) and Sopressa salami to make Mac & Cheese & Salami. Do I know the way to a man’s heart or what? They can never say no to mac n’ cheese — especially if you add meat to it.

The golden crispy top gets me every time. The creamy cheese and salty salami combo was slammin’! Slammin’? I haven’t used that word since 1997 or so…I should bring it back.

Want a bite?? Open up…

This recipe was much easier this time than it has been in the past. I usually complicate things by using 3-4 different cheeses. This was also my fifth or six time doing it so I guess it should be easier now, right?

Oh, and Chris shredded all the cheese for me. Be sure you hand a man the grater. If you let him watch TV at the same time he won’t even know he’s doing all the work for you.

First step is to make your cheese sauce and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Dump your heart shaped pasta into the sauce.

Top with a sprinkle of bread crumbs and bake until the top is golden and crispy.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb elbow macaroni (or heart shaped pasta)

1/2 cup Sopressa salami, diced — I recommend sauteing your salami a little bit before hand so that it can crisp up!

1 1/2 very sharp cheddar, shredded

1 1/2 cups white cheddar (or Gruyere), shredded

2 cups milk

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the macaroni (or heart shaped pasta) according to the directions on the package. Drain well. If they stick together, drizzle some oil into them and toss it around.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan, be careful not to let it boil. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pot (you will be adding the pasta to it later on) and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Continue whisking as you slowly add the hot milk. Cook until it becomes thick and all the clumps are smoothed. Stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper.Turn off the heat and add the cheeses of your choice and the salami. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a medium sized baking dish or ramekins.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoons of butter and mix in the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes if in a baking dish, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top. Ramekins only need 10 to 15 minutes.

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Lauren

February 11, 2011

Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup

Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Cracker.

It’s a great time to indulge in some soup for the soul! I hope this Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup wins!

 

If you haven’t seen already, we have a new header on the home page! Yes, these are all our own foodie pics, as well as our own featured Little Yellow Kitchen! We decided that it’s about time to let the world see the real LYK!

Oh and also, thanks for being such great readers! Today our Lemon Herb Dutch Oven Chicken is  featured on the wordpress homepage! It’s been so exciting!

So, now that we spent all that time cooking a chicken from scratch, its time to really reap the benefits of labor. From what I learned from my mother, a chicken (or Thanksgiving turkey) is the gift that keeps on giving. Leftovers are always delicious, and it is the perfect addition to a sourdough bread sandwich. But when the meats of your labor are all gone, and all that is left are the skin and bones, there is still so much more flavor to harvest. Yes, we are talking about homemade lemon chicken noodle soup.

Our rosemary plant outside was growing wild. Check out these flowers! We plucked them off before chopping the rosemary, but i bet they would taste fine…?

Veggies. Add lots and lots of veggies. Our theory: the more, the merrier!

This lemon-y homemade delight is definitely some soup for the soul. All that love and extra toiling, really pays off!

If you haven’t already been curious as to why we didn’t go crazy with pictures this time, well, it’s largely due to the simple fact that a chicken carcass isn’t the most photo friendly piece of food. The process may not be pretty, but the result sure is! Happy cooking!

Ingredients:

1 chicken frame

fresh rosemary, finely chopped

fresh thyme, finely chopped

juice of 2 lemons, peel of 1 lemon

1 onion, chopped

4-5 stalks of celery, chopped

4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 16 oz package of sliced crimini mushrooms

3 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa

3/4 lb piccolini farfalle pasta (baby bow ties)

Salt to taste

1 tsp Pepper

Directions:

1. Pick through the chicken frame (that’s just a fancy way to say “carcass”), to glean as much leftover meat as you can. Usually, there is still so much left on the bone, it’s just hidden.  Normally, I leave just a little breast meat on the frame so that there is a nice mixture of dark and white meat in the soup. Put meat aside.

2. Fill up your biggest pot with water and start the heat. When it is almost boiling, drop in the chicken frame, along with some salt and a sprig of rosemary. Let simmer on medium or medium-low for at least an hour and a half. The longer you can withstand the tantalizing aromatics, the richer the broth will be.

3. Strain the broth. This is so important to do, because it strains out any small bones or unwanted skin and fat.

4. Pour the strained broth back into the pot, and bring back up to a simmer. Toss in the carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, chopped herbs, pepper, salt, lemon juice and lemon peel, and cover. Let simmer for another 15 minutes. Add in the uncooked red quinoa and cover, but remember to stir occasionally.

5. Toss in the cooked chicken that was set aside earlier. In the last 7-8 minutes of cooking, add in the pasta. Once the noodles are cooked through, it’s ready to serve!

Little Yellow Note: If there wasn’t enough chicken picked off the frame, feel free to quickly cook up a few chicken breasts/tenderloins to pump up the protein!

 

From the Little Yellow Kitchen

-Chrissy