Super Crispy Breaded Chicken

Super Crispy Breaded Chicken

I think on Wednesday night, I may have perfected my breaded chick recipe. The thin cut chicken cutlets turned out golden and crisped to perfection. AND the breaded coating did not peel off! Even when cutting the chicken to take bites. Splash a little lemon on top, serve with Cook’s Illustrated Radicchio Watercress Salad with Warm Fennel and Walnut Dressing; Voila! Perfecto! I of course used as many farm to table Quinciple ingredients as possible. It was like bites of heaven! I will add the salad recipe seperate in the next post so as not to confuse anyone 🙂

Ingredients:

Defrost and wash chicken. Salt and pepper each side of the chicken breasts:IMG_5659

Prep your ingredients. For the bread crumb mixture, combine Italian bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs (1:1) and freshly grated Locatelli cheese (to taste, I prefer about a half cup, maybe a bit more). IMG_5661

 

To prepare the chicken for the pan, coat in this order:

Flour, Egg, Bread, Sear! I like to bread all of the chicken breasts before I begin searing any of them. This way I can watch the pan closely and make sure the cutlets are perfectly browned.

Using a 12 inch or so non stick saute pan, coat the bottom of the pan with a quarter inch of vegetable oil blend. Heat the pan on medium-high. The oil is ready when it is shimmering. I like to sprinkle a few bread crumbs into the oil to make sure they sizzle up. Then you can start searing your chicken. Don’t crowd the pan. Cook each side about 3 minutes, until it is golden brown. DO NOT let the oil smoke. If the oil starts smoking, your pan is WAY too hot. Remove from heat, discard oil being extremely careful not to burn yourself, and start over. Place seared chicken pieces onto a plate layered with paper towels to drain excess oil.

Serve immediately with whichever side you have prepared. Sprinkle some extra freshly grated Locatelli on top. Maybe some fresh parsley if you have it! Serve with a lemon wedge. The other night I served a side of salad which I will post very soon. It was a delicious citrusy combo- perfect for spring!!

Bite of super crispy chicken topped with Blue Cheese. YUM!!!!

Bite of super crispy chicken topped with Blue Cheese. YUM!!!!

Blue Cheese from: Blue Ledge Farm, Leicester, Vermont

xoxo MCN

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Sushi Nakazawa

 Sushi Nakazawa

West Village, New York City

It’s time for me to discuss with you the best meal I have had ever so far in my life (Confession: I feel a little like I’m supposed to say this about my dinner at Sushi Nakazawa, although it is, for the most part, true). I would at least put it in the top 3 high end meals. Top sushi for sure.

Side note: Honestly, the best meal I’ve had in my life as of this moment was like 2 weekends ago:  Umami Burger’s Truffle Burger- Don’t judge me… or tell anyone! In fact I’m a little embarrassed (ok A LOT embarrassed) that I’m even telling you this as I review Sushi Nakazawa! It must be food blasphemy of some sort! I must be cognitively impaired at the moment!) I was also starving and status post (I’m a nurse remember) an INTENSE  Flywheel ride. ) But I digress… Here’s a photo to get your attention back:

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My lovely and talented reservationist (I made this word up, but it’s very fitting- she plans and reserves almost all of our large-number-of -people hard-to-get-a-reservation-for-lots-of-friends meals)  friend was able to make a reservation exactly one month to the day beforehand by literally calling Sushi Nakazawa every single day at noon O’ one for what seemed like an eternity. This was only after I gave up staying awake until midnight and trying to get a table via Opentable at midnight O’one. She finally got through, begged, pleaded and cried, and was granted a reservation for 4 people. Because you can only make a reservation for 2 people at the sushi bar, we opted for a table reservation (max 4 people), and, let’s be honest, we probably would have had a much harder time getting the sushi bar anyway. It is also more expensive to sit at the sushi bar for roughly the same dinner.

This place is SUPER hot right now for 2 reasons. One, is that the Chef, Daisuke Nakazawa, was Jiro Ono’s (小野 二郎) apprentice of sorts. In the 2011 documentary, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” it takes Mr. Nakazawa years to perfect tamago, AKA: fish custard. When he finally does, Jiro gives his approval and Mr. Nakazawa is overwhelmed with joy! Two, is that Pete Wells, food critic for NYT, gave it 4 (FOUR!) stars! Basically unheard of. The omakase is a set 20 course meal, with the option to add additional dishes if you are still hungry at the end. There is no menu. We also ordered the Sake pairing- totally worth it! Only $40 per person! And they serve you delicious intoxicating sake out of huge (at least one liter) sake bottles. I have never seen sake bottle so big!

Here is a photo presentation of the delicious Omakase, artfully created by the extremely talented and now famous chef, Daisuke Nakazawa. (I apologize for not remembering the name of the fish. Remember, we had the sake pairing as well. I also (gulp) didn’t get a photo of the tamago. Again, I blame the sake pairing.):

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Fancy (or not?) chopsticks.

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This is my favorite piece. So prettttyyyy!!!

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Actually, wait… maybe this was my favorite.

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I’m pretty sure this was tuna.

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Uni! (I make A eat my Uni, I’m not really a fan. Although I tried a nibble. Still not a fan.

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This was the absolute BEST ikura (salmon roe).

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Scallop (I believe from Washington Stat)

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Ugh.. YUM! I want to go back. How perfect is that salmon (right)?

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This is the extra plate ordered. How beautifully cut is the piece on the right? Perfectly grilled! GORGEOUS!

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Here it is again, up close. LOVE IT!

Are you hungry yet? Have you set your phone alarm to take a stab at making a reservation? Good luck to you!

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Sushi Nakazawa

  • 23 Commerce Stb/t S 7th Ave & Bedford St in West Village
  • Phone number(212) 924-2212

xoxo MCN

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Lentil Soup with Lamb Sausage

This morning I proudly present to you, my hybrid recipe pulled from last week’s Quinciple box, Cook’s Illustrated, and my very own brain:

Lentil Soup with Lamb Sausage!

Side note: This soup turned out amazing . I have been eating it 2 meals a day for 2 days straight now! I always have doubts that whatever I make will be bland or I will make a mistake somewhere and the recipe will look funny or even worse- taste funny! I am extremely critical of my own cooking and baking, and always looking for constructive criticism from my victims… ahemm.. I meeeeaaaan the people who I love and cook for… but I felt as though this recipe, which was pretty simple, produced a wonderfully tasty outcome. The flavors are full of depth and the consistency is hearty but not too thick and tastes creamy without any cream or butter (AKA- dare I say it? healthy??? ish??)   AND, my favorite part- easy prep, easy clean up, prepare cook and enjoy in under an hour! AND no lentil prep! LOVES IT!) Without further ado: 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of Lamb Sausage out of the casing and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 small shallots , chopped fine
  • medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes (one recipe calls for drained, I did not drain)
  • bay leaf
  • tsp minced fresh thyme leaves (optional- I did have in my fridge)
  • 1 Tbsp Christopher Ranch garlic & ginger stir-fry paste
  • Red peppa flakes to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • teaspoon table salt (salt to taste)
  • Ground black peppa (to taste- about 2 cranks on the mill per serving, I’d say about 8)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (if you have less chix broth, sub the rest w/water)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 TBSP fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp  balsamic vinegar

Optional as a side:

  • Tondo Rolls from Graisy Bakery in Manhattan- Toasted, spread salted butter, serve on the side with soup!

Optional as a snack while cooking:

  • Feta Cheese from Narragansett Creamery– It’s what REAL feta tastes like. The kind they use to top Greek salads in GREECE!
  • Vino (your preference). I was drinking a very fancy Vinho Verde, about $4.50 from Trader Joe’s Union Square
  • Fig-Ricotta Caramels from Liddabit Sweet in Brooklyn, NY These little gems are ADDICTING! Best caramel I’ve ever had. Consider yourself warned.

Side note: It takes  patience, time, and technique to cook legumes, in this case lentils, carefully so that they hold their shape. I am still practicing! It’s not as easy as the recipes claim. Some tricks I have learned along the way is to only heat soups with legumes just until the point of boiling, then quickly turn the heat down to a simmer. In this recipe, we sweat the lentils with the vegetables before adding the liquid so they do not have to cook as long in the liquid.  Keep an eye on your heat! 

As always, prep your ingredients first. It makes your life so much easier!

In a heavy pot, brown the sausage on medium-high heat. I used my 5 qt dutch oven which was the perfect size. You will run into problems using a smaller pot.

Once sausage is cooked through and sufficiently browned, add onions, shallots and carrots. (If the sausage has not produced enough oil from it’s own fat while cooking, don’t be afraid to add a tablespoon of EVOO to the vegetables.) Soften the vegetables, stirring with a rubber spatula, about 2 minutes. Add garlic to the pot, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add can of diced tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, garlic ginger stir-frye paste and red peppa flakes cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add lentils. Lower the heat to Medium-low and cover the pot, cook about 8 minutes.  Make sure to give a stir every few minutes. You want to make sure the lentils don’t burn on the bottom of the DO (dutch oven) while sweating out the veggies.

Uncover, increase heat to high and add wine. Bring wine to a boil. Add chicken broth and water, bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, turn heat to low, partially cover pot, and let simmer for 35 minutes (until lentils are tender but still hold their shape. I somehow messed the “hold their shape part up this time around, but don’t worry if you do- it will still taste great. I promise!). Remove bay leaf.

Once lentils are ready, turn heat to medium low. Carefully, remove one cup at a time (for 3 cups). Put each cup separately in the blender and pour into a separate bowl. Once all thee cups are blended, return them back to the large pot. I say one at a time because hot liquid in a blender expands, and I don’t want you to get burned or make a mess. I have had this problem before. Blending only a portion of the soup gives it a really nice texture- creamy but not like a puree (we’re not 85!).

 

Stir in vinegar and parsley.

Decorate with extra parsley!

MANGIA!

Side note: (I know there are a lot of these today!). This dish stained my dutch oven basically black on the bottom, but I was EASILY able to remove the stains with this kitchen trick I discussed a few weeks ago! #winning! #KitchenNerd

xoxo MCN(you like that? I think I might keep it)

 

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Malaysian Persuasion in NYC

The Restaurant: RASA

Location: Greenwich Village, NYU area

The after dinner hangout: ANALOGUE (same location)

Once every few weeks we double date with out most favorite and fun couple ever. We were overdue, and wanted to try something different. I picked Rasa, in the Greenwich Village, because I have only had Malaysian food a few times in my adult life (I think), and none of which were particularly memorable (Obviously! If I can’t even remember!). I’m not very familiar with the cuisine, and wanted a little adventure (I know this isn’t exactly “adventurous” food, but I wanted a change in palate, OK!). Something a little spicy maybe?! Reviews of Rasa are good. It is a fairly new restaurant- opened in December 2013. Reviews raved about the service and food was supposed to be yummy and authentic  Malaysian cuisine. Chef Tommy Lai is a native Malaysian who grew up in a small town that the restaurant is named after, Rasa, which actually means, “taste” in Malay. Isn’t it ironic, don’t ya think (90’s baby! couldn’t help it!)? 🙂

We rolled up at our 7 pm reservation 10 minutes late, of course. The street that Rasa is located, West 8th st., reminds me of a “Main Street” in those little suburban towns. There are no high-rises on the street, and it is dotted with  quaint shops. Of course there is a Chipotle tucked in there, but it’s hard to find a street in NYC where there is not!

Here is what we ordered:

They have really good cocktails. The boys ordered beer, my friend ordered a white peach Sangria which has raspberries trapped inside tiny ice cubes! They were really cute. I ordered a Lychee Mojito which was delicious, strong, and not too sweet:

For appetizer’s we ordered the Rasa Tapas which included: 3 each of Curry Puffs, Dumpling Fritters, and Veggie Spring Rolls. Each were fried and the Curry Puffs and Dumpling Fritters were the best of the three. The spring rolls, which I usually love, were a little tasteless. We also ordered the Satay Chicken bites which were really tasty! I highly recommend. (I have to apologize for not providing any photos of our apps. EPIC FAIL on my part I’m sorry!).

For Dinner, A and I split the Pad Thai, which was the perfect amount of sweet Vs. Salty (I hate when Pad Thai is too sweet), Chili Crab with Fried Mantou

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For dessert we of course had to get the Mochi (it’s me favorite!). Usually the order comes with 3 pieces of either green tea OR red bean mochi, but since we wanted to try both, they gave us 4 pieces cut in half: 2 green tea and 2 mochi. The staff was in fact extremely accommodating and the food arrived in perfect sync. The water kept filling and the cocktails kept coming. Which inevitably lead us east down the street a few doors to Analogue for after dinner drinks (we were all being sort of bad on a “school night”). Analogue, which we have been to on a few occasions before, has a very loungy relaxed atmosphere with plenty of plush sofas to sit during the week days. The weekends it is more of a scene and harder to sit down, but still fun. It’s a good place to go with friends- there is good music but it is not so loud where you can’t chat. It is also easy to go in and out of (that’s what he said! ah!) if you happen to be a smoker (although don’t smoke right in front of the restaurant, the owner will have a conniption- to the side please!).

Side note: I am NOT a smoker- not even in a social or causal or drinking sense- but a majority of my friends are. Just thought I needed to share that.

 

RASA:

  • 25 W 8th St b/t 5th Ave & Mac Dougal St in Greenwich Village

ANALOGUE:

  • 19 W 8th St b/t 5th Ave & Mac Dougal St in Greenwich Village

curry puffs, dumpling fritters and veggie spring rolls 

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Fried Chicken: Korean & Southern style

Korean & Southern Style Fried Chicken for Sunday Brunch?! YES, PLEASE!

This may be old news to some of my NY foodies, but for those of you who don’t know about… get to know about it! Sunday, April 6th was probably my 6th or 7th time enjoying David Chang’s Korean and Southern style fried chicken brunch offered at Momofuku Noodle Bar in the lower east side (LES). This is a special brunch because you can’t just walk in and order it off the menu. You have to make a reservation in advance. Once you make the reservation, you get to invite up to 7 of your coolest friends and/or family to come and mangia with you! And for a really fair price- $125- TOTAL (well, not including tax & tip)! And of course this doesn’t include all of the drinks and pork buns you will want to order. And I DO recommend getting the pork buns. Although, even with all of the extra appetizers, drinks, and dessert it is rarely more then $50.00 per person if there are 8 people in your party (the max for fried chicken). Not a bad deal for NYC! Trust me.

Side note: Minimum of 4 people, max of 8 people: you get the same amount of fried chicken no matter what the size of your party. We had 8 people, and with all of the extra food we ordered (see below), we ended up taking 2 large pieces of fried chicken home. And our final bill before tip was $44.00 per person. I think we got 3 bottles of the hard cider, too. No slushies this time around 😉 

We each started out with a pork bun (there are two per order) and a sausage bun. A couple of weeks ago when we were enjoying chicken brunch (yes, I knowwww) we ordered “breakfast buns” which were a special- dear Lord, GET THEM if they are on the menu! So good! I have also had the shrimp buns which are yummy, but they don’t compare to the pork buns. The buns are so fluffy and light- they are perfection! Add some sriracha- bam. Another new addition that we tried this week was the chilled spicy noodles. They have a real kick and are loaded with flavor! Really yummy! To drink we often get a bottle of the hard cider (or 3 as mentioned earlier- oops!). It is really refreshing and not too sweet. They also offer “adult slushies” with the flavor of the day or week. These are also delicious!

Time for the chicken. Now that you have sopped up the alcohol from the night before with some delicious pork fat, time for the mouthwater tower of fried chicken! It is served with a bowl of delicious fresh root vegetables, bibb lettuce and fresh herbs, mu chu pancakes, and four sauces. The sauces range from spicy jalepeño to a soy BBQ like sauce.

Beautiful, yes? Are you hungry now? The Korean style is spicy and sweet. The Southern style is super crispy on the outside and moist on the inside (that’s what he said! ah!).

After devouring creative chicken wraps, you must get dessert from the Milk Bar. There is always a choice of one or 2 unique soft serve ice cream flavors and a truffle du jour along with a couple of others desserts. I recommend the soft serve (SS) always and the truffles most times. Cut off a piece of truffle and dip it in the soft serve= party in your mouth! We indulged:

Also:  The weekly Quinciple box arrives tonight! Get excited for some delicious farm to kitchen recipes coming up later in the week!
how far in advance does one have to reserve?
  • up to four weeks in advance and at least 48 hours notice for Monday to Friday reservations. Saturday and Sunday reservations close at 8pm on Thursday evenings.
  • (Keep checking the website though a little more then 48 hours before the time you would like to go. Often times parties cancel)

lunch mon – fri / 12 pm – 4:30 pm sat + sun / 12 pm – 4 pm
dinner sun – thurs / 5:30 pm – 11 pm
fri + sat / 5:30 pm – 2 am
171 first avenue btwn 10th + 11th street
new york, ny 10003 |
xoxo MCN
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British Scones with Raisins

This morning I present to you:

 

Quick & Easy (insert ‘that’s what she said’ joke here) “Proper British Scones”

Courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated March & April 2014 Issue

Today is the second go around I have made with these delicious scones. I will provide most of the original recipe with some substitutions and quick tricks. The scones can be enjoyed for breakfast with salted butter and jam, or plain on the go as a mid day snack. I also imagine them as a crowd pleaser at brunch. (Can’t you just imagine it? “OMG WHO made these scones!? They are to DIE FOR!”). OK, maybeee that’s my imagination running wild… but a girl can dream 🙂

This recipe is also super fast, with minimum ingredients (most you will already have in your pantry if you bake once in a while) and really easy clean up. What’s not to love?! It is a fun morning activity especially if done while drinking fresh brewed coffee and jamming to Lady Gaga. Just sayin.

Side note: If you are not a schooled chef, you LOVE cooking at home, and you love trying new things and learning about cooking techniques, you should consider ordering Cook’s Illustrated magazine from America’s Test Kitchen. The recipes help to advance a novice home cook’s skills by discussing the science behind the recipes, what works well in recipes and what has failed miserably. They also feature equipment reviews, and kitchen tips from readers. The only downside to the magazine is that it is only published 6 times a year. I eventually subscribed to their online edition as well which provides every recipe and equipment review they have ever published (#winning!). Anyway… enough blabbing! On the the good stuff. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer unbleached)
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp baking POWDER
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter (cut into 1/8 pieces and softened)
  • 3/4 cups dried currants (I used raisins b/c that’s what I had)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs

Pre heat oven to 500 deg F and place rack on the upper-middle position.

Side note: The butter calls for “softened.” Of course everyone in the US keeps their butter in the fridge, so “softened butter” makes me cringe when I see it in a recipe. No one ever remembers to take the butter our earlier then when you are about to start the recipe (good for you if you are that ONE person!). A little trick I do is cut the stick into 8 squares, place on a small side dish, and position on top of the stove in the middle back while the oven is pre-heating. This perfectly softens that butter in no time. Of course this only works if you have a conventional oven where the stove is on top. If you have a fancy kitchen where these two things are not one, then consider microwaving, but only 3-5 seconds at a time. This method is difficult, and tedious because you have to be very careful not to melt the butter. 

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Measure out all ingredients. In your food processor, combine dry ingredients (about 7 pulses). Add butter to dry ingredients and pulse about 20 times, until butter in incorporated. Pour this mixture into a large mixing bowl. Gently fold in currants or raisins (or dried cranberries, or chocolate chips perhaps!) into butter flour mixture. Set aside.

In small bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Set aside 2 Tbsp of milk egg mixture into a small bowl. Pour the milk egg mixture into the dry ingredient/butter mixture, folding together with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until just incorporated.

 Heavily flour the counter where you will roll out the dough. This dough is very sticky, so when I say “heavily flour the dough, I mean it. Flour your hands as well. Gather dough into a ball on the floured counter top. Knead dough 25-30 times, until the dough forms a smooth ball. Using a floured wooden rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle until it is 1 inch in thickness. Cut out scones with a floured 2 1/2 inch round cutter. Gather dough scraps, form into ball, and roll out again same as before. Cut out remaining scones. Repeat until you are unable to roll into a one inch thick circle. Brush tops of scones with egg milk mixture that you set aside.

Side note: I do not have a 2 1/2 inch round cutter, so I used the drinking end  of a floured Guinness glass and they turned out just fine. Any pint or drinking glass will do. Place cut out dough onto baking sheet. 

Reduce oven temperature to 425 deg F and bake scones for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway, until scones are golden brown. Look how nice they rise! Transfer to a wire cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before eating. I made the mistake of eating one right out of the oven, thinking it would be amazing warm- like a fresh out of the over CCC (chocolate chip cookie! Duh!). BUt I was wrong. The scones are best at room temperature. They are actually amazing the following day! I keep them out on the counter for a day or two, then put them in the fridge. They will stay good for about 3-4 days in the fridge.

When you want to eat one, break in half length wise, toast for a minute, spread salty butter, mangia!

Coming up later today or tomorrow: Fried Chicken Brunch at Momofuku Noodle Bar!

xoxo, MCN

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Guys… It’s here!

Cook’s Illustrated May & June 2014 issue has arrived!! This means exploring new recipes, learning new cooking tips, and of course!, trying new delicious food! Wahoo! #foodnerd!

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