ACK! YOU GUYS. I have not been cooking at all.
What is happening??
Summer is happening.
Rather than spend hour-long stretches slaving over a hot stove with my oven heating up my stuffy apartment, I’ve been spending my hours footloose and fancy free playing in the city with friends. I make no apologies and it’s been a good time but all the frivolity means my kitchen escapades have taken a back seat.
And I’m okay with that. Remember last summer how I wanted to eat nothing but ice cream? This summer it seems I want to eat…nothing, and more nights than I can count so far I’ve settled on granola. I haven’t even been able to bring myself to make eggs.
L. A. Z. Y.
This past weekend was no exception, and I spent it seeing the Piano Man live at Wrigley, making flower halos with Tomato, trips to the movies and the playhouse and feasted on some impromptu patio paella with Fava. All good fun.
Besides the fact that I’ve been busy, I just CANNOT find inspiration in Eastern Europe. I can’t. I’ve triieeeed. I needed some inspiration and, true to form, I found it in a bookstore.
Mama Buddha recently bestowed on me some gift cards for Barnes & Noble in untold amounts, so this Saturday I went to browse to see what I could find. And I hit a jackpot! Meet my new cookbook:
I saw this at the Museum of Science and Industry a few months ago and its existence has been stuck in my head every since. It’s like a SCIENCE TEXTBOOK of cooking.
I’m a scientist by education, so applying the principles of musculature, coagulation, heat distribution, sensory perception, etc to the kitchen has made me giddy with random facts. The last few days I’ve bent over this book Hermione Granger style, post-its and pen in hand to jot down notes, and I’ll spout out my new knowledge to any poor soul that will listen. For example…did you know that adding sugar to a spicy dish reduces the “pain” of the chilies as your body chooses to instead recognize the “pleasure” of the sweet?
I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!!
Anyway, it was paging through this book that I came across the recipe for today’s dish- Chicken Kiev.
While Chicken Kiev is often associated with Russian cooking, it was actually thought to have been developed by a French chef. However, it IS named after the capital city of Ukraine and to me, that makes it Eastern European enough for it to fit into this month’s theme.
Tomato had ordered this at the Yak and Yeti when we were in Nepal and I’ll never forget the gush of liquid that poured out of her chicken cutlet as she cut it open. We were trying to figure out what that liquid was, and after reading the recipe I realized it was herbed butter. Two whole tablespoons per cutlet.
Hell will freeze over before I wrap chicken around butter, fry it and eat it. Therefore, consider this Chicken Kiev modified. I instead used the herbs and flavoring of the original, using a titch of olive oil to make a paste and rolled my chicken cutlet around that instead. It may lose some of the effect of the gushing butter, but I’m okay with that, and so are my pants. Rather, I combined the elements in a lovely mustard-lemon-wine sauce to make the Kiev saucy but not grossly buttery. It was also baked, not fried.
This recipe was under the heading of “breading” and all experiments show that the flour-egg-breadcrumb combo that we’ve probably all been using forever is, in fact, the best way to go about this. However, not having any gluten-free bread on hand, I used a combo of chopped up oats and quinoa flakes, a combo which in the end had the same consistency of breadcrumbs. All toasted and flavored, the combo worked very well and I will definitely be using it again.
- ½ cup quinoa flakes
- ½ cup gluten-free oats
- 1 TB olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2- 8 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup gluten free flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp Gluten-free Dijon mustard
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- 1 shallot, minced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- ½ tsp dried tarragon
- ½ TB olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- ½ TB butter or non-dairy butter substitute (I used Earth Balance)
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- 1 TB GF Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup sweet white wine (I used Reisling. Yes, I know it’s German…)
- Salt and pepper
- Make the breadcrumbs. Preheat the oven (I used a toaster oven) to 300F. In a food processor, combine all the breadcrumb ingredients and pulse until well combined. Spread on a rimmed and lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown and dry, about 25 minutes, giving it a stir/shake about half way through. Let cool.
- Make the filling by adding all of the filling ingredients to the food processor and pulse until pasty.
- For the chicken, slice each breast horizontally, stopping about ½ inch from the edges so that the halves remain attached. Open the chicken like a book. Pound between two sheets of plastic wrap to an even ¼ inch thickness with a meat mallet (or a mojito muddler, like I did…). Pound the outer perimeter to 1/8 inch thick. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, place on counter and season with salt and pepper.
- Position breasts cut side up and spread half of the filling mixture over each one. Roll bottom edge of chicken, then fold in the sides and continue rolling to form a neat, tight bundle, pressing on the seam and using a skewer to seal if necessary. Repeat with remaining breast and refrigerate about 1 hour to allow the chicken to seal. This actually does make quite a difference.
- Adjust the oven to 350F. Set a wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. In a second shallow dish, lightly beat the eggs and mustard together. Place the breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish. Working with 1 chicken bundle at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess then coat with the egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Coat all sides of the chicken bundle with breadcrumbs, pressing gently so that the crumbs adhere. Place on a prepared wire rack.
- Bake chicken until center registers 160F, 40 to 45 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- While the chicken is baking, make the sauce. Add the butter substitute, lemon, wine, mustard, salt and pepper to a shallow saucepan. Reduce to desired thickness (mine went about 5 minutes). Finish off with the parsley. Pour over chicken.
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