Teriyaki Chicken

Last night I made something that I have never made before, strangely enough: Teriyaki Chicken. I love it. I order it when I am not in the mood for sushi at a Japanese style restaurant. I even bought a Trader Joe’s frozen chicken teriyaki for the girls’ lunches (very good, I might add).

I was perusing some old cooking magazines when I came across a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated for chicken teriyaki. Their recipes are always very well tested and authoritative, if occasionally quite complicated. The chicken teriyaki was not complicated. However, it vociferously called for skin-on chicken thighs instead of skinless, and I bought skinless (health week, remember?). And the sauce sounded incredibly sweet. So, I went on a search for another recipe.
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Monday Yuck, Tuesday Yum


Last Monday’s dinner – Orange Beef Str Fry – was, in a word, blah. The picture is way better than the taste of the dish. I’d had such hope for a recipe that was dog-eared long ago. L and S were generous and actually ate theirs. J was not so compliant and ate rice, then made herself a bagel. Instead of interesting conversation, I think most of the meal was spent trying to convince J that she should eat what she is served and dinner was fine, that she was whining for no reason. It is hard to convince this kid and even harder when you know the food is mediocre. I’m a stir fry failure. Further indication to me that I should only eat most Asian cuisine at restaurants.

Tuesday was a different story. Our good friend, JO, joined us at the spur of the moment for dinner. Always a treat (and he brought Citizen Cake cookies for dessert!). We were engrossed in conversation, so I forgot to take a picture, even with the camera on the table, until it was too late.

I made another dog-eared recipe from an old copy of Cook’s Illustrated. The recipe was for pan roasted chicken breasts. Easy, elegant, relatively quick. S ate the leftovers for lunch on Wednesday and L asked for them as a snack. She was pretty sad to hear that the leftovers had been consumed already. I tweaked the recipe because of ingredients on hand. Here it is. Make it. It is very delicious.
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Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Fish Sauce
Make this!

Vietnamese Chicken Salad is delicious! No batteries while I was cooking or eating and thus, no photos of the delicious salad. But you need to have fish sauce – pictured above.

This salad was reminiscent in flavor to Green Papaya Salad. But, without the effort of trying to find green papayas and shred them. I don’t know whether this salad is “authentic”, but it is healthy, delicious and very easy to prepare.

I used this recipe for Vietnamese Chicken Salad from Cooking Light magazine, exactly, except that I used purple cabbage because I had it in the house. L would love this salad. J would probably turn up her nose, but might deign to try it because she craves Vietnamese cuisine. The recipe says that it serves 6 (215 calories per serving), but that may refer to relatively small, non-main course portions. I made about 2/3 of the recipe and S & I polished it off for dinner. That means you are eating a lot of bulk, raw vegetables. You feel quite full, but the salad is very light.

If you have never purchased fish sauce, it can be found in the International aisle with Thai foods. It lasts pretty much forever in the refrigerator and is great with stir fried noodles. The brand above is not meant to be an endorsement. That was simply what was available!

Medium Well

Chicken and Lentils
Last time I checked, chicken was still supposed to be fully cooked when it was served. Juicy, but well done.

Oops.

Last night, mine came out medium-well. I had to boost the finished product with a little zap time in the microwave. Not the best solution, but if you have to give your medium-well chicken a little extra heat after it has been cooked and sliced, make sure to cook it in short spurts in the microwave so that it doesn’t get rubbery. Check every 15 seconds or so!

And, for a lentil loving family, make sure to prepare more than you think you will need – especially if you are serving undercooked chicken. I made the mistake of having too little vegetables last night. That was a first for us.

We are lentil lovers (“aliteration” – one of L’s vocabulary words this week). In soup, in salads, hot, warm, french green, brown and red. Haven’t tried the beluga lentils yet, but I may soon.

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Quinoa, Yes. Fennel, No. Matzo Toffee, Oh, Yes!

Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
Well, having the kids taste everything has paid off.

Last night, quinoa got the thumbs up! Shocking and satisfying. I was sure that when I said, “Come on, just one bite,” I’d get the pinched up face, the rolling eyes. But, instead, I got the nodding head. From both girls, no less. One more food in the plus column. Hooray!

Beets are still in the minus column. And, tonight’s fennel is in the minus column as well. Boooo!

Note to self: quinoa tastes better with a little dressing made of 2 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon juice, plus a little salt and pepper. I had the leftover quinoa and vegetables for lunch today – cold, with the beets and cauliflower, some gorgonzola, and the dressing. It would have been really good if I’d had leftover beet greens, but those were polished off last night. Fresh arugula or spinach would have been nice, too.

Tonight’s dinner was a classic: roast chicken (lately, I’ve been using the method from Zuni Cafe – without the 24 hour salting and herbs under the skin); roasted fingerling potatoes, carrots, onions and fennel; and, the piece-de-resistance, artichokes.

Matzo Toffee Crunch

No, that is wrong. While the artichokes were wonderful (at 4 for $5, how could I resist), dessert was everyone’s favorite part of dinner. I made David Leibovitz’s riff on one of my favorite treats: Matzo Toffee Crunch. [Here’s the link to the one that I’ve been making for years the original Caramel Matzo Crunch ]. I made it this afternoon to send to my college sophomore niece, who is studying for finals. I wasn’t sure if brownies would get to her (or if she could finish them) before Passover. We poison tested the toffee for dessert, just to make sure that it wouldn’t kill her. It was selfless of us, really.

Our people sure know how to cook.

Why was this night different from all other nights? We got to eat matzo covered with buttery toffee and chocolate, that is why. Makes you wish it were Passover more often.

Tuesday Dinner

honey-glazed-chicken
I used to have a subscription to Everyday Food magazine, which is published by Martha Stewart. The recipes are really accessible and usually very easy. I stopped getting the magazine because I have so many issues and recipes that I’ve never tried, that I figured I should stick with the copies I have before getting any new editions. I may renew my subscription at some point, but for now, I’m satisfied with flipping through the old magazines. The girls like to look through them, too, and choose recipes for me to try.

The recipe for the chicken that I made tonight is from one of those old magazines. I’ve made it several times, and it never fails to bring some silence at the table as everyone digs into the moist mahogany chicken. Here is the link to the Easy Honey Glazed Chicken from Everyday Food. It isn’t too sweet, even with the honey. I think that much of the honey gets left in the pan, but what stays on gives a deep dark sheen to the chicken skin. The fact that the chicken is in pieces and is cooked at 475 makes for a very quick prep.

glazing-chicken

The last time that I made zucchini, J really made quite a face and said that she wouldn’t eat it (even though she tried). She was disappointed because it wasn’t like Daddy’s squash that he made and she loved. Daddy’s squash?! He made it once, last fall when I was away for a night or two. Sheesh. I tried to recreate “Daddy’s Yellow Squash” tonight, and was successful. The recipe is below.

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S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!

Chicken Parmesan
I’m dating myself. And, in reminiscing about the song “Saturday Night”, I decided to see if it was on You Tube. Which, of course, it was, in multiple versions. Here is the link to that ultra big hit . Were the Bay City Roller hotties actually wearing capri pants back in 1976? Maybe that is who Zack Ephron was channeling when he wore capri’s in High School Musical 2….but, again, I date myself.

Just tucked J into bed. L is reading. I’ve got some granola baking in the oven (next post about 1976). Nice to be home and not out on this stormy night. And, good to have S and J back before they close the freeway from the Sierra, which may happen if there is a lot of snow (cross fingers – we are still expecting a drought).

To welcome S and J home, L and I chose a recipe from a Bon Appetit magazine of a few months ago. It was a cover recipe that looked scrumptious: Mario Batali’s chicken parmesan. The cover of the magazine is practically edible: the chicken parm is in the front with a salad behind it, soup behind that, and a chocolate cake in the back. The chicken has crispy breading and bubbly fresh mozzarella on top. It is gorgeous. I’m not sure why I haven’t tried it sooner, but magazines get buried in my infamous piles. This recipe is actually from an article on what restaurants serve to their staff for dinner before they open to serve dinner to their patrons. So, the recipe is for 10 servings. For four, I just reduced the amounts, and didn’t cook it in 2 layers in a big baking pan – just one layer of 4 chicken breasts. We only ate 2 1/2. Chicken breasts are really, um, voluptuous these days. The leftovers could be excellent sandwiches tomorrow, or better yet, lunch on Monday.

I made Mario’s sauce with dried thyme and it turned out just fine. I don’t always (read: usually never) have fresh herbs on hand and wanted to make the sauce before I headed out for the market. I did get fresh mozzarella when I was there – which made the flavor different than regular block or shredded mozzarella, but I think that would work very well, too. And, since I went to a market with a butcher, I had them pound the chicken breasts for me – that was a time and energy saver.

Served with some tri-color egg pasta, this was a pretty easy and definitely delicious meal. I think that the homemade sauce (which did take a little time to simmer, but not to prepare), the fresh breadcrumbs and the fresh mozzarella are the touches that make this recipe stand out. I chopped fresh parsley but forgot to serve it, so the picture is missing its green element. I would have liked the fresh flavor of the parsley with the dish. This chicken parmesan is a keeper, and you could absolutely make the sauce ahead of time and freeze it, which would make this a relatively quick, not to mention popular, weeknight meal.