Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grilled Caesar Salad


As Ina Garten would say, this is a classic with the volume turned up. Grilling the lettuce for a few minutes and serving it warm really gives it a whole different tasting experience than a traditional Caesar. It's simple and quick to put together. You can also use a bottled Caesar dressing if you don't want to make your own, but I think it's really worth whirling up your own in the food processor or blender. Originally I planned to keep the halves of the romaine together, but since I chopped off the ends, once it hit the grill, it fell apart. So next time I will leave the ends in tact if I want to serve it this way, but it still tasted great!

Ingredients:

For the salad:
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • Good Parmesan cheese, shaved (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano) 
  • Olive oil
For the dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup good Parmesan 
  • Salt and pepper 

In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whiz until the ingredients emulsify (the dressing won't be super thick). Set aside. 


Heat a grill pan on medium high heat. Coat each half of romaine with a drizzle of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place romaine cut side down on the grill pan for approximately 2 minutes, or until the lettuce is slightly wilted and has grill marks. Flip and let cook an additional minute on the other side.  This is the part where if you left your ends on you can just plate each half and drizzle with the dressing and shaved parm and serve. If you didn't like I didn't, cut each grilled half into 2 inch wide strips, toss with the dressing (FYI I had leftover dressing, it made a lot, but it will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks). Top with shaved Parm (the best way to do this is with a vegetable peeler) and voila! A delicious twist on the traditional Caesar! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

BIG THANK YOUS and Baked Chicken Milanese

I haven't posted in two weeks! Ek! I have been cooking a ton of things I want to share, I just cannot seem to find the time to get them in here. I am currently in the process of making all of my gifts for my donors from my Indigogo campaign. Thank you to each and every one of you who donated and are helping me make this blog possible! BIG THANK YOUS TO:

Marta Bianchi
Colleen McDonald
John (Bear) Hinson
Michelle Molina
Dani Crais
Justin Long
Zeina Kronfol
Dale Price
Judi DiDomenico
Kim Souers
Joy Rossi
Katherine Cilley
Ryan Abney
Diana Braun
Sara Gutierrez
Tianna Flores

Your gifts are on the way, I promise :) 

Now for the chicken:

Baked Chicken Milanese 


Not only is this a simple recipe to put together, it is also fairly quick since the chicken is pounded thin, making it a great weeknight option.

Traditionally, Chicken Milanese is a fried dish (YUMMO!) but this is the healthier version (you're welcome). If you are in the Chicago area and you DO want a great fried version of this, Carmines in the Gold Coast is the best for it! 

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs 
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Juice of one lemon (use fresh!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray

For the Salad:
  • 1 bag or container baby arugula 
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


Method:

Preheat oven to 450°

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the salad, except the arugula and let sit while you prepare the chicken.

Slice each chicken breast in half, then line a cutting board with plastic wrap. Place 1 half of the chicken breast on top of the plastic wrap and cover with another sheet. Use a meat mallet, or if you don't have one,  a jar or can to pound each piece to about 1/8 of an inch thick. Repeat this process with the other chicken breast halves. Once all the pieces are thin, season with salt and pepper.

Combine lemon juice and olive oil in a shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs into another shallow dish. Dip each chicken breast half into the lemon juice mixture, then the bread crumbs, pressing to make sure they adhere well. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Spray more cooking spray on top of the chicken breasts until lightly coated. Bake chicken, turning once halfway through cooking, for a total time of 15-20 minutes. 

Plate the chicken, top with arugula and drizzle the tomato/balsamic/olive oil mixture on top. 

ENJOY! :)