A Sarcastic Appetite

Chicken Breasts Roasted with Mustard & Herbs
June 30, 2010, 10:24 pm
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Feel like you’ve already seen this recipe on here? Does this look oddly familiar? Yeah, well, you should know by now that some things feature prominently in my kitchen: chicken, mustard, breadcrumbs, and herbs. Oh and sarcasm. But that goes without saying.

Anyway, this is another little number that only takes about 5 minutes to prepare and then 40-45 minutes to roast – so by no means a quick dinner, but still a nice alternative to the hour and a half required to roast the whole bird. I used bone-in breasts as opposed to the chicken legs called for, but use whatever you want. I should have let it roast a little longer if only to give the breadcrumbs a nice golden brown color, but it was closing in on 9 o’clock and someone, ahem, was hungry and cranky.

Chicken Breasts Roasted with Mustard & Herbs

Adapted from The Wednesday Chef, who adapted it from Madeleine Kamman’s recipe. Serves 3, easily.

3 split breasts, bone-in and skin on

2 tbsp. minced fresh herbs – thyme, marjoram, tarragon – whatever you have

lots of salt and freshly ground pepper

4 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 – 1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs (depending on how much meat you have)

3 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350º. Mix the herbs with the mustard in a small dish. Lay the breasts in a baking dish large enough that they have some room to spare. Season with salt and pepper, then spread the mustard and herb mixture over each breast. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top, then drizzle with melted butter. Roast about 40-45 minutes, until the chicken’s cooked through and the breadcrumbs are crisp.

Basil Pesto
June 28, 2010, 8:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Is it a hundred and ten degrees where you are right now? Did you have to wait fifteen minutes for the bus this morning and did you feel like you were going to melt? Were you worried you hadn’t hydrated properly before leaving for work? No? Just me?

Obviously, in this hideous heat, “cooking” tonight was going to involve minimal effort and no oven. So I figured I’d throw together some basil pesto, which, oddly enough, I’ve always shied away from making. Honestly, I don’t know how my mind works sometimes. It involves no cooking, and the most time consuming part is plucking basil leaves off their stems. I don’t know why I waited this long, but at least I’ve got something lined up for the next night it’s oppressively hot and I’m coming apart at the seams.

I threw this together with cooked pasta, halved cherry tomatoes, and cooked chicken – and served at room temperature, of course. I was too hot to serve it otherwise.

Basil Pesto

Makes about 1 c.

2 c. basil leaves, packed

1/2 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/3 c. pine nuts

2 cloves garlic

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

lots of salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the basil, cheese, pine nuts, garlic and some salt and pepper in a food processor. While it’s pulsing, stream in the olive oil. Taste and season as necessary and add more salt and pepper if you’d like. Toss about half with 2 -3 c. cooked pasta, 2 cooked chicken breasts, diced, and a heaping cup of cherry tomatoes, halved.

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of June 24
June 24, 2010, 7:32 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m here to canvass the food blogs so you don’t have to. A few highlights this week:

The Siftster is happy with the new and improved Annisa, which opened in April after an electrical fire devastated the place last summer, and gives it two stars. It’s unclear, though, whether or not he attended as part of a bachelor party.

I don’t get to Dumbo very often (ok, ok, at all, really) but apparently I need to start trekking over there: Jacques Torres is doing handmade crepes at his ice cream shop on Water Street.

The Post reviews Tamarind Tribeca, a $5 million behemoth from Avtar Walia, owner of Tamarind on 22nd which I love and adore. Apparently the menu is completely different, but it’s a sight to behold – all 11,000 square feet.

Restaurant Girl does a round-up of the best sandwiches in New York, and the chorizo panini from Despaña has me drooling.

A lot of love for ilili lately: NYC Foodie has a full rundown of dinner, while Andy over at Wined and Dined was impressed with its new brunch menu.

Southwest Porch in Bryant Park turns two this summer, and they’re throwing a party on July 1 to celebrate. Get in there.

Creamed Chicken with Leeks, Carrots & Peas
June 22, 2010, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I feel like this would be a big hit with the picky eaters crowd. Unfortunately, we don’t really qualify, so the end result was just sort of….bland. It’s nice, and warm, and comforting – but maybe more suited to small children with limited palates. To be fair, that’s what the recipe was billed as: Sara said she likes to cook it for guests who bring children, so I should have known. Apparently I will never learn. Serve it with rice to soak up the sauce, but mess around with it, please: add a little mustard, or garlic, or red pepper flakes. Something.

Creamed Chicken with Leeks, Carrots & Peas

Serves 4ish. Adapted from Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day.

1 large leek, sliced in half lengthwise and sliced into small half moons

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt (plus more to taste)

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (plus more to taste)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. butter, divided

several carrots

scant cup of heavy cream or half-and-half

1/2 c. wine

1 c. frozen petite peas

parsley or chives for garnish

Rinse the leeks well (always cut them first, then rinse in a colander – they are easier to clean that way). Slice the chicken breasts on the diagonal into roughly 3/4″ strips. Toss in a small bowl with the flour, salt and pepper. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and 1 tbsp. of butter over medium heat. Once the pan is hot enough, saute the chicken breasts for several minutes on both sides (it’s not necessary to cook them all the way through). Remove them to a plate and cover with foil.

Add the other tbsp. of butter to the pan and saute the leeks and carrots, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cream and wine and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are softened, about 10 minutes or longer. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the chicken pieces back to the pan, along with the peas, a bit more salt and pepper, and stir occasionally until cooked through. Spoon over rice or serve with biscuits.

Monday Morning PSA
June 21, 2010, 7:41 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Recipe Archive has been updated. It was, um, a little more out-of-date than I thought…..

As usual, send any questions my way in the comments. Or email me: asarcasticappetite@gmail.com

Strawberry Mascarpone Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
June 20, 2010, 11:48 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Almost every weekend I’m in town, I claim that I’m waking up early on Saturday morning and sauntering down to the Union Square Greenmarket. I swear this is the weekend I get there before 9am to wander through the stalls, picking up whatever suits my fancy and whipping up several delicious meals out of my bounty. Somehow, shockingly, this has never come to fruition. (Sleep turns out to be a really powerful incentive to stay put.) This weekend, though, I was determined to make it down there. And I did, to pick up some strawberries….though it was closer to 4pm than 9am. Whatever, it still counts. I knew I wanted to make this tart, which I had spied somewhere last summer, and the giant tasteless specimen from Gristede’s just wouldn’t do.

Gourmet claimed that the tart shell was “a breeze to make,” but I wasn’t buying it. I knew I wanted to fiddle with the filling – adding cream cheese in lieu of some of the mascarpone for a little bit of tang, so I figured an easy graham cracker crust might be just the thing. No pie weights, no foil, no butter or ice cold water. A veritable piece of cake (or pie, if you will). Right?

Somehow that’s never the case. The recipe I found claimed that 24 graham crackers made the required 2 cups of crumbs, and let me tell you that is not the case. It probably makes 5 cups, though my spatial reasoning is nonexistant so don’t quote me on it. Why didn’t I just stop pulsing graham crackers once I realized I had several cups already? Well. Excellent point. I….don’t have an answer for you. Anyway, try the variation listed here but keep in mind it’s probably more like 10 crackers. Or even less. Who knows? I certainly don’t.

Anyway, once I got through the dicey graham cracker crust stage, the rest of it really was a breeze. Hull and halve some strawberries, about 1 1/2 quarts, toss with sugar and leave for 30 minutes. Whisk together some mascarpone, cream cheese, lemon zest, juice, and vanilla. Oh, and sugar. The worst part, as it tends to be in these situations, is waiting for the crust to cool before spreading it with the cheese mixture, topping it with strawberries, and drizzling some reduced strawberry saucy deliciousness. And wow, it really is delicious. I should know, since I ate it for breakfast.

P.S. You like the new header!?! Yeah, me too.

Strawberry Mascarpone Pie

Makes one 9″ pie. Adapted from this recipe. A sidenote: I didn’t have Port and didn’t feel like buying some just for this, so I made my sauce from preserves, 1 tbsp. of the lemon juice, and the strawberry juice. Do whatever you like.

For the crust:

2 c. honey graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers?)

1/2 c. melted butter

1/3 c. sugar

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Mix all three ingredients and press into a pie plate (up the sides, too). Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

For the filling:

1 1/2 qts. nice strawberries, hulled and halved

1/3 c. granulated sugar

8 oz. mascarpone

8 oz. cream cheese (1/3 less fat is fine to use here)

1/2 c. confectioners sugar

zest of one lemon

1  tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon juice, divided

3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. strawberry preserves

1 tbsp. lemon juice

While the crust is cooling, toss the strawberries with 1/3 c. granulated sugar and let sit for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. In another large bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, cream cheese, lemon zest, 1 tsp. of the lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla extract. Set aside. Meanwhile, set the strawberries in a sieve over another bowl and stir. Pour the juice into a small saucepan, add the preserves and the lemon juice, and bring to a boil. Reduce slightly, not quite ten minutes.

Spread the cheese mixture over the cooled crust, then top with the strawberries. Drizzle the sauce over the pie (I didn’t use all of it).

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of June 17
June 17, 2010, 7:36 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m going to assume you no longer know the drill as it’s been eons since I pulled one of these together. So here we go: I read the food blogs so you don’t have to. A few highlights:

Todd English recently unveiled his “Plaza Food Hall,” and though it reads more “food court” than “fabulous,” Andy over at Wined and Dined has unearthed some surprising deals. Better get there soon, before they jack the prices.

The Siftster is impressed by “winsome” ABC Kitchen from Jean-Georges Vongerichten and bestows it with two dazzling stars, and then is similarly wowed by the constantly changing $50 dinner prix fixe at Torrisi Italian Specialties. Oh, did you want to go? Well even if you show up at 5:30 you’ll still have to wait at least 90 minutes, since they don’t take reservations.

Meanwhile, the boys at Immaculate Infatuation weigh in at perennially packed Pearl Oyster Bar and  Midtown Lunch stalwart Pampano Tacqueria, giving both high marks.

Back Forty brings back its wildly popular Summer Crab Boils, which began on Tuesday, and Tasting Table has the lowdown on Balaboosta, a Nolita newcomer from the woman behind Taïm.

I have visions of whipped sheep’s milk ricotta dancing in my head: Andrew Carmellini’s teaming up with his partners in Locanda Verde to open another restaurant at 131 Sullivan. No word on when; I’ll keep you posted.

You and I both know we’re going to have a hot summer, so keep Shake Shack’s Frozen Custard Calendar for June close at hand.

And lastly, Boozy NYC has a rundown of where to watch the World Cup in New York.

Pasta with Parmesan and Minted Peas
June 14, 2010, 10:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I hate to admit it, but I’ve totally jumped on the Nutritional Ninja’s dietary bandwagon. When it comes to pasta, that is. Gluten-free pasta is pretty easy to find these days; it typically cooks more quickly than traditional semolina pasta, and call me crazy – but I usually can’t tell the difference. Gluten-free pasta also doesn’t feel quite as heavy in the belly as traditional or even whole wheat pastas…or at least that’s what I tell myself when I go back for seconds.

This took me somewhere between 30-45 minutes to make, start to finish, and I was taking my time. It’s a pretty simple approach: cook some peas and onions in olive oil with a bit of honey and then puree; add back into a saute pan with whole peas that have been cooked in butter. It is slightly on the sweet side; I had wolfed it down before wondering if a dash of red pepper flakes would have added balance, so keep that in mind. It’s also the newest iterations in a series of dinners whereby I add diced poached chicken breasts to an otherwise protein-less pasta to please said Ninja’s dietary requirements, and it seems to make everyone happy. I’m running with it.

Pasta with Parmesan & Minted Peas

Serves 4. Adapted from this recipe.

4 glugs of extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium Spanish onion, chopped

1 tbsp wildflower honey (if you have it; substitute regular if not)

3 c. frozen petite or baby peas

lots of salt and ground pepper

6 tbsp. butter

1 lb. gluten-free pasta

1 1/2 c. diced cooked chicken

1 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/2 c. packed fresh mint leaves, chopped

Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the olive oil until it is shimmering. Add the onion, honey, and 2 cups of the peas. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Scoop everything into a food processor and pulse until pureed coarsely (don’t overdo it). Set aside. Once the pasta is cooked through, drain, but be sure to reserve about a cup of the cooking water.

In the same saute pan, melt the butter and add the last cup of peas and the chicken (if it’s cold) to heat it through. (If it’s still hot, toss it in at the end.) Cook slowly over low heat until softened, a few minutes. Add the pea puree, more salt and pepper to taste. Ladle some of the pasta water into the mixture and stir to combine. Add the pasta, another ladle of water, and toss again to combine. Add the cheese and mint; stir again and serve immediately.

Chicken with Lemon Artichoke Pesto
June 7, 2010, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s a sad day in a young food blogger’s world when her own mother admits she hardly checks the site, since someone – ahem – has been so remiss about updating regularly. I’ve got excuses for every day of the week, but I won’t bore you with them. What I will bore you with is my latest catch-all: lemon artichoke pesto. It’s easy to throw together, keeps well, and can be used in any number of ways: to spread on sandwiches, stuffed in chicken, piled on chicken and roasted, thinned out and used as dressing. Often I make a double batch, and even then it doesn’t last long. It is also pleasing to the palate of certain picky eaters around here, though I daren’t name any names. And though I haven’t toyed with this iteration yet, I bet it would be delicious baked with some breadcrumbs until it was all bubbly and golden, then scooped onto crackers. Ooh, that does sound good. Too bad my last jarful has practically been licked clean.

As for the dinner version of this, well, it’s pretty simple. It’s not quite a “Dinner in Twenty Minutes” kind of thing, but it’s not far off. (“Dinner in Twenty Three Minutes” somehow doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.) You’re pan roasting chicken breasts before flipping them, covering them with pesto, mustard and breadcrumbs, and then finishing them off in the oven. I think the longest part here is waiting for the oven to preheat. That, or fast forwarding through all the commercials to watch the latest episode of “You Are What You Eat.” No? Gross? Should I not have done that?

Lemon Artichoke Pesto

Makes about 1- 1 1/2 cups.

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed

heaping 1/2 c. Parmigiano Reggiano, diced (you could grate it and add more, I suppose, but this is the lazy version. Bear with me.)

zest of 1/2 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

lots of salt and pepper

1-2 garlic cloves

1/3 c. olive oil

Add everything but the olive oil into a blender or food processor. Pulse to blend, then stream the olive oil in. Taste and season as necessary. (You may want it very lemony, or garlicky.) I also like to add a dash of crushed red pepper flakes, or pine nuts, or even a handful of walnuts if I have them. Really, anything goes. It does well to have a sleepover in the fridge, but is still delicious if you use it right away – as with the Chicken with Lemon Artichoke Pesto, below.

Chicken with Lemon Artichoke Pesto

Serves 3.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; salt and pepper both sides

several glugs of olive oil

1/2 c. Lemon Artichoke Pesto

1/4 c. breadcrumbs, preferably panko

2-3 tbsp. dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 425º. In a small bowl, stir together the pesto and breadcrumbs; add a couple glugs of olive oil to make sure all the breadcrumbs are moistened. Warm a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in an oven-safe pan over medium heat. (You want to make sure it gets hot enough so you get a nice sear on the chicken.) Add the chicken to the pan and cook about 5-6 minutes – until it’s not quite cooked halfway through. Turn the stove off, flip the breasts over, then spread a few tablespoons of mustard onto each breast, then top with equal amounts of the breadcrumb and pesto mixture. Put the pan in the oven and roast the chicken, about 12-15 minutes, or until the chicken’s cooked through.