Recipe fantasy to food reality.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Spicy chicken and cashew salad

This is an adaptation of something served at the Coeur d'Alene Brewery Alehouse in Moscow (you could order one with a beer when you come out for Drinking Liberally), though we've made a few changes to suit our tastes. I have an undying hatred for celery, but I love my husband more than I hate celery, so in it went.

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cooked and chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 12 oz can pineapple chunks, drained
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup cashews, roasted
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
black pepper to taste

There aren't really any instructions to this recipe other than to put all this stuff together. The ingredients in the dressing can be adjusted to taste - I like more hot sauce than my husband does. Serve cold on crackers or wrapped in a tortilla with lettuce.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Warm, Sunny

Today was the first really sunny day of Spring on the Palouse. It was a little cold, but as long as you were up and moving around, it was definitely weather for skirts and sandals. I got my latest issue of Cooking Light and sat in the sun reading it from cover to cover. To go with my light, warm sunny day, I wanted something for dinner that was also light and sunny. We went with chicken piccata, linguine and olive oil, and a steamed vegetable medley of broccoli, red bell pepper and carrots. It all came together in under an hour, and was a perfect match to the mood of the day.

Chicken Piccata
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat and cut into wide strips
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
olive oil
1/3 cup pinot grigio
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup capers, drained

Mix together the flour, salt and pepper in a wide plate or dish. Dredge chicken in flour and set aside. Melt about 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil (adjust amounts to your taste) in a wide saute pan, and add dredged chicken. Allow to brown on each side, cooking all the way through. Refresh the butter and olive oil as needed as you cook the rest of the chicken.

After all the chicken has been cooked and set aside (I kept it in a warm oven), add the wine to the pan to deglaze. Then add the broth, lemon juice and capers. Bring to a simmer and reduce to a thin, cloudy sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings (the capers are salty!), and pour sauce over chicken to serve.

I know this is a pretty basic recipe, but I think it's a good dish to illustrate where a little added patience pays off. Making sure to cook the chicken at the right temperature and let it brown correctly is something I always struggle with - there's something in me that says if it's turning brown, I'm in trouble. I always have to tell myself to let it cook another 2-3 minutes after I start to get nervous. Then, letting the sauce reduce is also an area where I have trouble. I did add a little of the water the pasta was cooked in to help thicken the sauce, but the extra 5-10 minutes of patience that I usually don't have really paid off in the concentration of the flavor of the wine.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I was going to post about the way I've had to cook cheap lately, but instead wrote up a little submission for Plastic, and there's an ensuing discussion of how to eat well for cheap. Check it out.