Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lettuce Chicken. Yeah, that’s right. Lettuce Chicken.

With food, as with fashion, some things are timeless...and some are fads that instantly evoke the era that spawned them. Like, while steak frites is the culinary equivalent of a little black dress and pearls, pesto with sun-dried tomatoes is the equivalent of a pink Izod shirt with a turned-up collar.

Recently, I found myself with a strange nostalgic compulsion to make a circa-late-1970s dish that could be considered the equivalent of a Mrs. Roper print muumuu. And let me tell you, gentle reader, it was damn good.

My aunt—ironically, I'm her namesake—was not much of a cook. She was one of those people that had one “company-friendly” recipe down pat and would make it at every occasion she hosted through the years. In this case, her signature dish was Lettuce Chicken, composed of sautéed chicken, bacon, and—how weird is this?!—iceberg lettuce, with some lemon juice bringing it all together. And it was actually AWESOME—a perfect balance of rich and clean/tart flavors. For some reason, a craving for this popped into my head recently…but when I googled “lettuce chicken” I got a bunch of crap about “wraps” and “cups” calling for lettuce leaves in lieu of the tortillas God intended.

So I texted my mom to ask if she recalled the gist of the original recipe for Lettuce Chicken, and, happily, she did. (Apparently it originated in Gourmet back in the day. If anyone can track down this O.G. recipe I’d be most grateful, and would sleep better at night linking to it as the source of this post. I did do due Google diligence in an effort to cite my source properly…but it’s not my fault that ’Merickan women are obese but aspire not to be, and hence searching for lettuce chicken yields 87 pages of variations on the same freaking “wraps” and “cups”!)

Anyhoo. I originally thought of substituting escarole for the iceberg lettuce as a modern update of the dish, since I just didn’t trust my memory that iceberg could go in a cooked dish. But the Met Foods, much to my lack of shock, did not have escarole in stock, and when I texted my mom to confirm that it was indeed iceberg in the original recipe, she responded, “Yep. That’s all we had back then. AND WE LIKED IT!” Clearly, I had to keep it real and go with the iceberg. (I mean, I didn’t have an option. You caught the part about how the market had no escarole, right?) So, to make a long story short (too late), here’s how I made the awesome lost-in-history dish that is Lettuce Chicken.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's fall, let's roast!

Dearest Readers,
Today starts the most beautiful of seasons. Yes, I know it's still summer, and the glorious "Autumn in New York" season hasn't really started yet as we're all crossing our fingers for more indian summer. What I'm talking about, my cooking gurus, is football season.
Just like you, friends, as the end of August rolls up, I get sad, melancholy that the number of immediate beach days is dwindling... Ok, I'm being melodramatic, all I'm trying to say is that generally, my end-of-summer angst is easily cast aside when the first official Sunday of Football Season comes around! And that's today! I am excited!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sayadia (Saya-whata?)

Hey y'all!
Hope everyone is having a rip-roaring birthday celebration for good old 'Murica. Being the increcibly lucky lady that I am, I headed up to Cape Cod a few days ago to spend some time with my family, and got to participate in one of my favorite past times- Fishing! Not sure if fishing is the most patriotic activity, but it's Cape Cod and it's a day on a boat, who can say no to that? It wasn't the most productive day of fishing, but we caught 1 big one, and when it comes to dinner, that's all that matters, amiright?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Roasted Broccoli With Panko and Parmesan

Yay for Memorial Day weekend, the start of the summer season!

Now, everyone knows that if you go out in the sun at the start of the summer season, you’ve got to build up your sun tolerance and gradually establish a base tan—if you go from an entire winter indoors to an entire day in the sun, you will get badly burned. Well, gentle reader, this fail happened to me over Memorial Day weekend, except with meat. Basically, I got carried away by grilled-meat excitement at the start of BBQ season (including one of Miss Alyce’s lovely rooftop affairs) and did not consume a single other food group (unless you count beer) for two days. It turns out that’s a bit much even for a carnivore like me. This is why I, of all people, came to prepare roasted broccoli as a one-dish meal.

I brought home a nice bunch of broccoli purchased from my new boyfriend Mr. Melon, and preheated the oven to 425°. (This would be the silver lining of the temperature vacillating 20 degrees every other day lately—it most certainly doesn’t feel like the start of summer right now.) I trimmed the bottoms off 4 of the broccoli stems, peeled the fibrous outer layer of skin off the stalks, and sliced each into quarters.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A weekend to celebrate! (with soup)

Chicken Khao Soi
bon appetit March, 2013
Hi all, how was your weekend? Mine was quiet, but still felt somewhat celebratory, as the Fairway down in Red Hook reopened on Friday for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. It was lovely to go back to my local grocery store, and start to get to know it again. In rebuilding, they've changed the layout a bit, I think for the better, but it will take a little getting used to.
Other exciting news includes my father and sister completing the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon! It was a tough race, but they both did it, and I'm really proud of them!
So even though there have been rumors of spring coming (I'm looking at you, Punxsutawney Phil) this weekend has been cold, with snow flurries, so I took refuge in the March 2013 issue of bon appetit, which very nicely encouraged me to make some soup by putting a really tasty looking Thai curry soup on its cover. That looks good, right?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Don't Throw That Away!

Hi all,
In case you didn't hear, a blizzard hit the east coast!
We didn't get hit too hard in NYC. less than a foot of snow down in Red Hook, but as I was waiting for the bus on my way home from work yesterday, I was on the corner of Court St. and Atlantic Avenue, watching around 30 people standing across the street, waiting in a line, to get into Trader Joe's.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Regular gentle readers may recall that while I have zero interest in football, I absolutely LOVE SuperBowl Sunday, ’Mericker's second-eating-est day of the year after Thanksgiving. Every year I look forward to preparing a hot, cheesy, gooey, delicious dip. And whereas on Thanksgiving you don't really want to take too many risks with trying a new recipe, it's really kind of hard to go wrong with any hot-gooey-cheese-and-mayonnaise-based concoction, so I like to switch it up and try a new one every year. The 2013 SuperBowl champion, as far as I'm concerned, is Buffalo Chicken Dip.

This is a delicious mix of all the flavors in buffalo wings, without any of the extra physical exertion of having to tear the meat off the bones with your teeth. Plus you get to skip the empty calories that come with those pesky carrot and celery sticks. Perfect for SuperBowl Sunday, obvi!

There are a lot of recipes for it online, of varying degrees of ewww-ness (who knew chicken even came in a can?). As I often do, I perused several and then came up with my own based on my research. This is SUPER easy to throw together. I guess you could make it even easier by buying pre-shredded cooked chicken instead of cooking and shredding it yourself, but I would totally judge you if you did that.