Tag Archives: chicken

Lean Waldorf Salad with Canned Chicken (or Leftover Turkey!)

chicken salad 2

I love me a good Waldorf salad, but find all the mayonnaise in the dressing to be too heavy and rich for me. I came up with this healthy twist on the Waldorf that is lighter, but full of flavor and crunch. It has a lot of fiber and is nutrient dense to boot. And for times when life is crazy, but you want to make a heathy lunch without the labor, I give you permission to use canned chicken and bagged shredded cabbage like I did last week!

They have both at Trader Joe’s. ūüôā But you could probably find it at any large supermarket. ¬†And at the end of the week, you’ll have all that leftover turkey that you will want to¬†put¬†to good use, so you could use that instead.

I always have my whipped¬†cottage cheese at the ready, but if you don’t, you could use Greek yogurt instead. I didn’t have grapes on hand that are usually in a Waldorf, so I threw in some dried cranberries for some color and and extra layer of sweetness.

Melissa Iwai 2015

Melissa Iwai 2015

Wishing all you Americans a Happy Thanksgiving this week!

Lean Waldorf Salad

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/2 cup whipped cottage cheese or Greek yogurt

1 12.5 oz. can chicken breast, or 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey

salt and pepper to taste

4 cups chopped cabbage

1 Fuji or Honey Crisp apple, chopped

1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

salad greens

handful of dried cranberries to taste

  1.  Mix mayonnaise and whipped cottage cheese or Greek yogurt together in a medium sized bowl.  Add chicken and salt and pepper and incorporate. Mix in cabbage, chopped apple, walnuts and dried cranberries.
  2. Serve over a bed of salad greens.
  3. Enjoy!

Makes about 4 servings.

chicken salad 3

 

 

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Filed under chicken, Vegetables

Chicken Katsu

chicken katsu

My mom is here visiting again!  When she arrived from a day of traveling, I served Chicken Katsu for dinner (with rice, miso soup, and miso green beans – not a low sodium meal!).  It was comfort food Japanese style.  When I lived in Japan, this was a favorite dish to order at a mom and pop type of restaurant –the equivalent of a nice, hot diner meal here in the U.S.

Basically Chicken Katsu is breaded chicken served with a Japanese savory sauce made up of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.

I like to trim the chicken breasts to make them thinner using kitchen shears.  Then I pound them to an even thickness in a Ziploc bag.

cooked

 

To bread, I simply coat in flour, then egg, then panko (Japanese bread crumbs).

breaded

Then, I fry them up in a skillet and keep warm in the oven while I continue to cook all the chicken pieces.

chicken katsu

Slice the chicken into strips at a diagonal and serve with sauce and hot rice!  Perfect comfort food. ūüôā

Chicken Katsu

 

4 chicken breasts

kosher salt

¬Ĺ cup flour

2 eggs or 1 egg + 1 white, beaten

1 ¬Ĺ cups panko

about 1/3 cup canola oil for frying

 

¬ľ cup ketchup

1 ¬Ĺ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

 

  1. Trim tenderloin from chicken breasts. Place breasts and tenderloin pieces in a large Ziploc bag and lightly pound until each piece of chicken is uniform thickness, about 1/4 ‚Äďinch.
  2. Measure flour and place in shallow dish. Beat eggs in another shallow dish. Measure panko and place in third shallow dish.
  3. Pat chicken dry, place on plate and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt.
  4. Dredge a piece of chicken in flour. Coat in egg. Coat in panko. Set on clean plate. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
  5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
  6. Heat a large skillet with about 1/3 cup canola oil. Test with a few crumbs of panko. When it sizzles, the oil is ready.
  7. Place a few pieces of the coated chicken in the oil being careful not to crowd the pan. Saute on each side until golden, about 1-2 minutes per side. Drain on rack set over a baking sheet. Place chicken in warmed oven and continue to cook remaining chicken in skillet.
  8. To make sauce, stir ketchup and Worcestershire sauce together until fully combined. Serve with chicken.

 

Yield: 4 servings

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Filed under chicken

Oyako-don: Parent-Child Rice Bowl

oyakodon2

With the temperatures beginning to dip as we head into fall, it’s nice to have a steaming bowl of comfort for dinner. ¬†Of course, for me, comfort food often involves food of my childhood, which is usually Japanese or Hawaiian. ¬†But Oyako-don is something I never ate until I went to Japan as an adult. ¬†Literally translated, it means “Parent” (oya)¬†“Child” (ko) “Rice Bowl” (don or donburi). ¬†The name refers to the chicken and egg in the dish. ¬†It’s kind of a cute and not-so-cute image at the same time. ¬†Regardless, this dish is so quick and easy to prepare and so tasty, it’s a nice weeknight choice for our family. ¬†Even my son, who doesn’t usually care for mushrooms, will gobble up the shiitake mushrooms. ¬†I use dried ones. ¬†The hot water used to reconstitute the shiitake is delicious and can be added into the simmering sauce for a heartier flavor.

Dried shiitake mushrooms can be found in Asian or health food stores.

Dried shiitake mushrooms can be found in Asian or health food stores.

After soaking in boiling water for about 10 minutes.

After soaking in boiling water for about 10 minutes.

We are big onion eaters, so I use a lot – 2 1/2 to 3 cups of sliced onions. ¬†But you don’t have to use that much. ¬†Also, we like a lot of sauce so that it becomes almost soup-like at the end to eat with the rice. ¬†That too, you can adjust to your liking.

It all comes together in about 10-15 minutes!

It all comes together in about 10-15 minutes!

See recipe below.

************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

princeton poster

This Saturday, we three will be at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival¬†in Princeton, NJ. ¬†If you are in the area, please stop by! ¬†I will be signing TRUCK STOP with Anne Rockwell, and HUSH LITTLE MONSTER with my husband, Denis. The festival is from 11-4 at the Princeton Public Library. ¬†There will be a HUGE array of amazing authors and illustrators (Avi, Sophie Blackall, Brett Hilquist, Roxie Munroe, Paul O. Zelinsky are among the 80 there) signing books. ¬†Check it out here.

I’m hoping to make another batch of mini donuts. ¬†Remember these?
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oyako-don

4 dried shiitake mushrooms

1 chicken breast (about 10-ounces), sliced diagonally into thin strips

1 onion, sliced thinly (1 1/2 – 3 cups depending on your preference)

4 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons mirin

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup water

4 eggs

hot cooked white rice

1.  Bring a kettle of water to boil.  Place dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with hot water.  Place a smaller bowl on top to weight the mushrooms down.

2.  Meanwhile,  prep chicken and onions.

3.  Heat the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and water in a large skillet on the stove and dissolve sugar.  Bring to a boil and add chicken and onions.  At this point, the mushrooms are probably softened.  Drain and reserve liquid.  Slice the shiitake caps into thin slices and add to skillet.  Depending on how soup-y you want your sauce, add 1/4 Р1/2 cup of the shiitake liquid to the skillet.  Turn heat down and simmer for about 3-5 minutes until chicken is cooked through and onions are softened.

4. ¬†Beat eggs in a bowl with a fork. ¬†Pour over skillet. ¬†Cover and turn down to low. ¬†Let cook a bit until the eggs are set — about 1-2 minutes.

To serve, mound piles of rice into deep bowls.  Divide the skillet contents into fourths, and top each bowl with a portion of the chicken, onion, mushroom, egg mixture.  Spoon extra sauce on top to your liking.

5.

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Filed under Books, chicken, Dinner, Eggs

Asian Quinoa Salad

quinoa salad


Though it’s been oppressively hot and humid in NYC recently, we’ve still found opportunities to grill.  Well, Denis does the grilling.  ūüôā  I just do the prep!

Along with the requisite hamburgers and hotdogs, we often make our Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken — an old favorite.

focus-on-the-chicken

French Potato Salad is also always a crowd pleaser.

potato-saladLast week I came up with a new recipe to add to the summer barbecue line up:  Asian Quinoa Salad.

I bought this bag of red quinoa awhile ago at Trader Joe’s and wanted to make something with it.

quinoaAny quinoa would work though.  This salad is simple:  Just cook the quinoa in liquid (I like using homemade chicken stock for the rich flavor).  Then add seasonings.  Voila! You have a refreshing summer salad side dish!  This recipe could easily be doubled.

Stay cool and enjoy!

Asian Quinoa Salad

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed

1 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Kosher salt to taste

1 scallion, minced

1/4 to 1/3 cooked edamame

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1.  Place quinoa in stock in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked (try tasting a bit).

2.  Whisk sesame oil and vinegar together.  Toss with quinoa and other ingredients.

Makes about 6 small side servings.

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Filed under chicken, Dinner, Grains, Sides

Chicken Karaage

karaage chicken 2

Chicken Karaage (pronounced approximately: kada ahgE) is basically Fried Chicken, Japanese style. It’s often found in dinner “sets” in restaurants along with miso and salad, and in bento lunches in Hawaii and Japan.

I had never made Chicken Karaage until last week when my mom was in town celebrating her 83rd birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

We had planned to grill chicken our favorite way — and make Huli Huli Chicken. But alas, Mother Nature wasn’t be cooperative. I had already marinated 5 pounds of chicken thighs and I wasn’t about to not cook it for my mom’s celebration.  I remembered that the nice guy, Eric, who had given me the Huli Huli Chicken recipe, had told me he cooks it by dredging in corn starch or flour and frying it.  So I decided to give it a try.  I skinned the marinated chicken and cut into 1-inch pieces.  I tossed it in flour because I was out of corn starch.  The traditional way is to use potato starch if you have it.  I then fried it in a skillet in about 1/2-inch to 1-inch of oil.  You could also easily deep fry it.

The chicken was superb!  You would think that marinating for 24 hours would be overkill, but it is perfect.  The lightly fried chicken was tasty and had a thin delicate crust.  I served  it with hot white rice and Miso Green Beans.  My mom loves when I cook for her rather than going out, so I was happy to be able to pull it together even though it wasn’t exactly what we had planned.

Have you ever had Chicken Karaage in a Japanese restaurant?  Try it out — or better yet — make it yourself! ūüôā

karaage chicken 3

Chicken Karaage

¬Ĺ cup soy sauce

¬ľ cup sugar

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sake

10 slices ginger

5 large garlic cloves, smashed

1 tablespoon sesame oil

4-5 lbs. chicken thighs, de-boned, skin on

About 1 cup of flour, corn starch, or potato flour

1.  Mix soy, sugar, vinegar, sake, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil together until sugar dissolves.   Marinate chicken in mixture for 24 hours in refrigerator, turning once or twice.

2.  When ready to cook, skin chicken thighs and chop into 1-inch pieces.  Toss in flour until completely coated.

3.  Heat about 1 inch oil in skillet (or more if deep frying).  Fry chicken on each side for about 2 minutes each or until golden brown.  Drain on a rack over a baking sheet.  Serve immediately.

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Filed under chicken, Dinner, Vegetables

Enchilada Remix

close up enchilada

Oh my gosh, people, I do believe, I am back!  Thank you all so much for your words of support and encouragement!  It’s been a long haul…

In my last post, I mentioned a wonderful way to cook chicken and make delicious broth at the same time.  This is one of the meals I made with the fruits of those labors:  Chicken Enchiladas.  So easy and yummy.  I did a post a couple of years back on Chicken Enchiladas that I made with my mom (I grew up with this dish), and I think I’ve improved it (sorry, mom!)!  My friend, Judy, of Bebe Loves Okazu (check out her beautiful, beautiful blog!) had mentioned she had made it but sauteed the onions.  Also, she wanted a thicker sauce.  I was keeping this in mind when I redid this recipe.  I also streamlined it a bit and instead of spraying and softening the tortillas in the oven, I just covered 6 at a time with a damp paper towel and heated in the microwave.

Sauteing the onions gave the dish a sweeter, milder flavor, and made the sauce tastier.  I reduced the amount of broth and increased the tomato sauce, which made the resulting sauce thicker — perfect for serving at the table.

Hope all of you have a wonderful Saint Patrick’s Day this Sunday!  I plan to relax with my family and just enjoy being. ūüôā  Here is an image I did for the occasion with the same kids from Valentine’s Day.

May good luck flow your way!

May good luck flow your way!

Chicken Enchiladas (revised)

1 medium onion, diced

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

3 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon (or to taste) chili powder

kosher salt to taste

12 corn tortillas

About 4 cups shredded cooked chicken

About 8 oz. or more (to taste) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Saute diced onion in oil on stove in a large pot.

3.  When onions are softened and translucent, transfer about 80% of them to a bowl and set aside.  To the remaining cooked onions in pot add tomato sauce, chicken broth, chili powder, and salt to taste.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until thickened.

4.  Heat 6 tortillas at a time, covering with a damp paper towel, in the microwave for 45- 50 seconds, until warm and pliable.

5.  Pour some sauce into a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan to coat bottom.  Lay one of the warmed tortillas in dish and coat both sides with sauce.  Then fill with  a handful of chicken, sprinkle of sauteed onions, and a bit of shredded cheese.  Roll up into a tube seam-side down.  Continue with five more warmed tortillas.  Then warm the remaining 6 tortillas and fill these in the dish, adding sauce to coat, as needed.  For the last two enchiladas, you may want to coat, fill and roll in another dish because there isn’t much space left.  I find that doing the bulk of the filling and rolling in the backing dish itself helpful though, because you don’t have to worry about the tortilla breaking and spilling mid-transfer!

6.  When all twelve enchiladas are arranged in baking dish, cover with cooked sauce, and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Alternatively, you could also refrigerate up to this time and bake later.  We did this, and baked it for about 30 minutes.

Makes 12 enchiladas.  Serve with extra sauce.

enchilada

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Filed under chicken, Dinner, Uncategorized

Not Normal

Meditating Lion 2013_iwai

Still not back to normal around these parts… but hopefully soon. ¬†This project has dragged on and on, and I have been overwhelmed with the work, I have had no time to do anything else. ¬†I am truly exhausted. ¬†My family has been so supportive. I don’t know what I would do without them!

Here is a painting I did while waiting for ginormous files to save, export and upload. ¬†I am donating it to my son’s school auction. ¬†It’s called Meditating Lion, and it’s pretty much the place I want to be in!

Will be back with recipes soon.

Here’s a good one that ¬†I was introduced to by the person I’m working with. ¬†It’s so simple I was able to ¬†make while waiting for my computer to restart: ¬†Take a whole, rinsed chicken. Chop it up into pieces so it can fit into a large pot. ¬†Fill pot with water to cover chicken pieces by about an inch or two. Add some salt. ¬† Boil for 90 minutes.

When it’s done, you have amazingly tender chicken that can be used for soup, burritos, tacos, salad, etc. ¬†And you have AMAZING broth. ¬†I strained it and chilled and skimmed off the fat (which people would be horrified by — the schmaltz ¬†gives it the rich flavor). ¬†It is very soothing, and I think helped to stave off an oncoming cold.

I made this soup and used the chicken broth and added the shredded cooked chicken at the end. ¬†I didn’t have time to take a picture, but it was excellent, and the broth makes all the difference! It looked like this, but I put cooked rice in it instead of noodles.

soup-2

By the way, my book, Soup Day, was released in Korea recently!  I love how they incorporated the soup spoon in the title in Hangul.

cover72

I only have to sell about 600 more copies before I can start on the sequel!  If you want to help me out, please do!  It is in stores and here.
Thanks for your patience and support …. ¬†be back soon!

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Filed under Art Related, chicken, Soup

Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce and Soba Noodles


Last week, we’ve so enjoyed having my mom visit us from California.¬† She came to celebrate her 82nd birthday. ūüôā

Denis did not photoshop this photo. His comment: What 82 year old woman has that jaw line!??

Other than when we took her to visit Denis’ lovely parents in Shelter Island, she’s been in our garden weeding, picking up leaves, pruning plants–basically working her green thumb magic on it (which I sadly did not inherit)!

I wish I had “before” pictures to contrast this with! There were less flowers all around, and the rocks and back were covered in leaves and weeds!

We call her the Energizer Bunny.

Instead of eating out, she preferred me to cook “things from [my] blog” for her, so all week, I prepared various dishes for her and revisiting some old recipes.

Lots of smoothies:

A ton of sushi, of course (click on each image for recipe):

With Miso Soup:

For her 82nd birthday which was the same day as Father’s Day, I made Reese’s Pieces and M & M waffles for brunch using our trusty Cadbury Egg Waffle recipe:

I bought a small bag each of Reese’s Pieces and plain M & Ms and scattered them on the batter before cooking in waffle iron.

And Crispy Fish Tempura Bites for dinner:

with Miso Green Beans:

And Rich Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting for dessert:

I used a double amount of  Chocolate Ganache Frosting in place of this frosting

Other meals were quick Chicken Quesadillas using cooked rotisserie chicken (after a long day of shopping–not much time to cook!):

I filled ours with cooked chicken, cheese, onions, and salsa

and Creamy High Protein Avocado Dip:

I discovered I don’t have to spend a lot of time searching for favorite recipes anymore — I can just do a search on my blog!

For her last night here, I decided to make something special and created my version of a chicken salad with peanut sauce, because she had mentioned she had had a great one awhile back during her many travels.¬† It is a quick and easy when you have leftover cooked chicken! We used more of the rotisserie chicken.¬† I also used my favorite peanut sauce recipe using roasted peanut flour (if you can’t find this, just peanut butter is fine–use this recipe instead minus sesame seeds) and coated cooked soba noodles and chicken with it (angel hair or vermicelli would work too).¬† Then I made a salad with shredded Napa cabbage, romaine lettuce, shredded carrot, julienned daikon radish, cilantro, green onions, and snow peas.¬† I topped the salad with the peanut sauce coated noodles and cooked chicken and garnished with more chopped cilantro and chopped roasted peanuts.

It was really good!¬† We had leftover sauce which I diluted with a bit of rice vinegar and used as a salad dressing over the course of the week –sans mom.¬† ūüė¶
We miss you obaachan! (Japanese for “grandma”)¬† Thank you for all your hard work here!!


Asian Chicken Salad with Soba Noodles and Peanut Sauce

Peanut Sauce:

¬ľ cup peanut butter (or 1 tablespoon peanut butter plus ¬Ĺ cup peanut flour and 2 tablespoons water)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salad Greens:

4 cups shredded Napa cabbage

2 cups shredded Romaine lettuce

1 cup sliced cucumber

1 cup julienned carrot

1 cup julienned daikon or other radish

1 cup blanched snow peas

2 scallions, sliced

¬ľ cup chopped cilantro, divided

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

4 oz. soba noodles

2-3 cups cooked chicken, shredded

¬ľ cup peanuts, chopped

  1. Make peanut sauce.  Process all ingredients (peanut butter to sesame oil) in a food processor until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Prepare vegetables.  Mix salad greens together in a large bowl, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro for garnish.  Set aside.
  3. Make vinaigrette.  Whisk soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil together in a small bowl.  Toss salad greens with vinaigrette to taste.
  4. Cook soba noodles according to package directions.  Drain.
  5. Assemble salad.¬† Toss cooked soba noodles with shredded chicken and prepared peanut sauce (use as much sauce as you want depending on how dry or wet you prefer the noodles‚ÄĒyou will probably have some leftover!).¬† Divide salad greens into four bowls.¬† Top with noodles and chicken.¬† Garnish with reserved cilantro and chopped peanuts.

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Filed under Appetizers, Breakfast, Desserts, Dinner, Fish, Pasta, Sides, Snack, Vegetables

Pistachio Crusted Chicken Breast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Olives and Award

I wish I could be an organized person.  You the know the type:  Someone who has a closet that looks like this.  Someone who never makes scheduling mistakes.  Someone who can juggle the seven different ongoing projects life hands her.
I have so many photos of dishes to post, half written recipes here and there.  To be honest, sometimes I forget about them. Or worse, they pile up on the computer, mocking me, and I begin to have stress dreams about forgetting to turn in all the assignments during the semester and I have to get everything in to pass the class!

I’m going to attempt to partially rectify the situation by sharing a (really good!) recipe I’ve been meaning to post for months:¬† Pistachio Crusted Chicken Breast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Olives

Not the most photogenic dish, but very delicious!

The truth is, I entered this recipe in a contest for olives awhile ago.¬† I heard the winning recipe was an olive couscous, but I can’t find it anywhere!

The goat cheese stuffing in my recipe is good by itself as a dip– it would be easy to use as part of an appetizer too.¬† It’s creamy, lemony, and salty and briny from the olives.¬† I thought pistachios would work well with the flavors, so I coated the chicken with it.¬† The cream sauce pulls it together.¬† It’s also good as a leftover — in a sandwich! (Recipe at end of post).

Another post that is long overdue is acknowledging that I received the Versatile Blogger Award from Jereme@jeremeskitchen.com, Sharyn@thekalechronicals.com, and most recently Choc Chip Uru@gobakeyourself.wordpress.com.

Jereme throws amazing parties, and has so many great appetizer and dessert recipes on her site.¬† I was so amazed to learn that she just celebrated her one year blogiversary.¬† I had thought she had been blogging for much longer.¬†¬† Sharyn, is a wonderful artist and cook, that somehow finds time to create beautiful gouache paintings of what she cooks almost every day!¬† Choc Chip Uru is a teenager and consummate baker and writer whom I’m endlessly awed and inspired by.¬† Her posts make me drool and laugh at the same time.¬† Please visit their blogs!¬† Thank you, ladies, for bestowing the award to me!¬† Please forgive me for the delay.¬† I procrastinated forever because I can’t take the pressure of coming up with seven “interesting” and “enlightening” things about myself that I can post.¬† I’m just going to skip this part…¬† (blush.)

The great part of receiving the award is that I get to introduce readers to fifteen other blogs that I’ve just discovered and share the love.

I’ll pass on the award to these bloggers:

Thanks for all the great posts and inspiration!


Here is my stuffed chicken recipe:

Pistachio Crusted Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Olives

Stuffed Chicken:
¬ľ cup olive oil, divided
1 6 oz. can of California Black Olives, finely diced
6 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
zest of one small lemon (about ¬ľ teaspoon)
1 cup golden raisins
6 4 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
kosher salt and pepper
2 eggs
2 cups raw shelled pistachios, finely chopped or processed in food processor
Cream Sauce:
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 cups chicken broth
¬ľ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1.¬† Preheat oven to 350 degrees.¬† Brush a 9×13 inch baking dish with olive oil.
  1. Mix olives into goat cheese until well incorporated.  Add in zest and golden raisins.  Set aside.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise and pound to an even ¬ľ-inch thickness.¬† Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread goat cheese mixture on each breast piece.   Roll up and secure with a toothpick.  Dredge each roll in egg and coat with pistachio nuts. Set aside. Reserve any leftover pistachio bits.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium heat.  In batches, lightly brown each chicken breast roll on all sides until pistachios are golden.  Do not crowd pan.  Add oil as needed.  Remove pan from heat and transfer chicken to prepared baking dish.  Bake chicken in oven for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove cooked pistachio bits to a dish and reserve.  Do not wash skillet.
  5. While chicken is baking, make cream sauce.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in used skillet.  Saute shallot in oil until softened.  Add reserved pistachio bits from dredging.  Saute until golden.  Then add reserved cooked pistachio bits.  Add chicken broth, bring to a boil and cook, stirring until sauce is reduced by half.  Add cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Add butter, stir to incorporate and remove from heat.  When chicken is done, remove toothpicks and serve with sauce.
Makes 6 servings

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Filed under chicken, Dinner

Bean Bean Sushi: Creative Sushi Making with Kids

Hope everyone is having a great 2012 so far!¬† I’m beginning mine with a slight thumb injury caused by over vigorously kneading the gum paste from this post.¬† Who knew of such hazards in the kitchen?!¬† Anyway, the healing process is slow and I have to be careful not over use my right hand (though I’m constantly using it!)¬† One of the activities that exacerbates it is handling the camera– changing lenses and even removing the lens cap is very painful for me.¬† I may not be posting so much for awhile, and just wanted to let you know.¬† (The photos in this post were taken pre-injury.)

The idea of making sushi at home may seem daunting to some people, but if you aren’t a purist, it really is easy enough to make on a weeknight.¬† My kid friendly version focuses on makizushi (the rolled kind) and does not involve raw seafood– just vegetables and cooked meats.

Freeing yourself from the notion of making traditional sushi opens up your world for creative play and improvisation and is a fun activity to do with kids.

All you need is a sushi rolling mat, nori sheets (dried seaweed), cooked Japanese rice seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, and whatever filling you’d like to put in the sushi.

Roasted seaweed found in Asian markets.

Awhile ago Jamie announced that he had a new idea for a sushi roll that he wanted to try and make.¬† He called it “Bean Bean Sushi” and he envisioned it to be filled with ketchup and cooked green beans.¬† I was dubious, but never one to say “no” to a vegetable creation — especially coming from my son, I told him we’d make it for lunch that day.

This is what we did.¬† First I cooked rice in my rice cooker (here are directions for stove top cooking). While it was cooking, we got all the fillings together.¬† I decided to make mine and Denis’ with some leftover grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, leftover grilled Kirkland marinated salmon,¬† scallions, and avocado.

When the rice was ready,  I seasoned it with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar and salt.

To make the rolls, I set the nori rough side up (shiny, smooth side down) on a sushi rolling mat.  I spread the surface of the nori with a thin layer of the seasoned rice, leaving a margin at the top.  It helps to wet your fingers with water while doing this to keep the rice from sticking to your fingers.

Jamie put ketchup in the center and then steamed green beans on top.

I made Denis a grilled salmon and wasabi mayonnaise roll.

Then we rolled it up starting from the long side closest to us.¬† As we rolled, we gradually¬† let go of the end of the rolling mat (or else it would be rolled inside the sushi!) and continued to roll the sushi cylinder inside the mat until we got to the top margin.¬† Then, we wet the nori with a bit of water — it acts as glue– and completed the roll.

I made three rolls — one for each of us.¬† For the inside out roll, I covered the mat first with saran and laid the nori on top of the saran.

After covering the nori with rice and then black sesame seeds (you don’t need to leave an uncovered margin at top for an inside out roll), I turned the nori and rice over so it was nori side up.¬† The rice side should be on the saran covered mat.¬† Then, I laid some shrimp, avocado, and scallions on top of the nori and rolled the sushi up, this time with the rice on the outside,¬† in the same manner described above.¬† Once you get the hang of rolling, it’s really quite easy.¬† It helps to do it slowly.¬† Try and keep the roll tight and even while rolling.¬† A perfect roll has all the filling in the center.

When the rolls were finished, I cut each in half and then cut those halves into fourths.¬† So one roll yields eight pieces.¬† It helps to use a very sharp knife and to dip the blade in warm water between cuts, so it doesn’t stick.

The rolls after cutting.

Surprisingly, Jamie’s Bean Bean roll was actually quite tasty.¬† Who knew ketchup, green beans, rice, and seaweed would go so well together?

Jamie's "Bean Bean Sushi"

Inside out shrimp, avocado, scallion roll and regular salmon and Trader Joe's wasabi mayonnaise roll.

Makizushi (Rolled Sushi)

Nori sheets (Dried Roasted Seaweed)

About 2 cups of short grain Japanese rice

2 1/4 cups water

3 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

fillings for sushi (for example, wasabi, wasabi mayonnaise, plain mayonnaise, ketchup, cooked meats, smoked meats, steamed vegetables, raw vegetables, cooked egg — basically anything you can line up in the center of a sushi roll!¬† The other day, Jamie tried to make one with edamame succotash, but it didn’t work so well, because the edamame and corn kept falling out…)

1.  Rinse rice in water several times until the water is almost clear.  Cook in rice cooker with water or cook on stove.  Prepare fillings and have ready.  Also have a small dish of plain water set aside.

2.  Mix vinegar, sugar and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

3.¬† When rice is finished cooking, transfer to a non-metallic bowl, preferably a wooden or glass one.¬† Sprinkle vinegar mixture on top (don’t pour all at once — taste rice as you go and season to taste-you may not need to use it all).¬† With a large wooden spoon, mix rice with a slicing motion.¬† With your other hand (or employing a helper), fan the rice as you mix to take away the excess moisture.¬† Keep sushi rice covered with a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out while you are making the sushi.

4.  Lay a sheet of nori on a sushi rolling mat rough side up.  Spread sushi rice on nori in a thin, even layer, using the back of a spoon or fingers. Wetting spoon or fingers with water helps to keep the rice from sticking.  Leave an 3/8 inch margin at the top uncovered.  This is the part that you will use as a seam to close the roll.

5.¬† Place spread if using and choice of fillings in the center of the roll horizontally.¬† Lift the mat with your thumbs, holding the center ingredients with your other fingers.¬† Slowly roll into a cylinder, while moving the rolling mat out of the way (so it doesn’t get rolled into the sushi).¬† At the top of the roll, wet the uncovered seam of nori with water and complete the roll.

6.  Wet a sharp knife and cut roll in half.  Then cut each half into four pieces.   Continue to wet knife in between cuts to prevent sticking (I like to have a tall glass of water to dip the knife into).

Enjoy!

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