March 26, 2013

Crispy Panko Chicken + Brussell Sprouts

This is officially my favorite new recipe and I'm super excited to finally be sharing it!  I wish I could take credit for the original idea but was inspired by some combination of Ina Garten and Deb Pearlman to create my new masterpiece: panko-crusted chicken breasts and pancetta brussel sprouts.  

Neither item on their own is particularly wow-inducing.  Chicken.  Meh.  Brussel sprouts.  Ho hum.  But when you add just a handful of special ingredients...ah-mazing. 

I'll start with the main dish, which is basically just fancy fried chicken.  You'll need the following items:
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt & pepper
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Dijon mustard
  • Whole milk
  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Olive oil
  • Special Supplies: Meat tenderizer and a microplane/zester. 

First, slice your chicken breasts in half lengthwise so that you have two thinner breasts.  Place the chicken on a cutting board between two pieces of saran wrap.  Then, my favorite part.  Using the flat part of a meat tenderizer, pound the #$%*! out of your chicken.  I kid you not, this is the cooking equivalent of kickboxing.  Let your aggression out until your poor chicken is flattened out to about 1/2" :)

Next, lay out three shallow dishes.  In the first one, fill with a thin layer of flour.  In the second, whisk together 3 egg whites, 1 tbs mustard, 1 tbs whole milk, 1 tsp minced garlic and 2 tsp lemon zest (I love lemon zest so you could put less if you want).  In the third, place a layer of panko bread crumbs.  

You're going to take your chicken and lightly roll in the flour.  Then, dip it in the egg/mustard mixture.  Lastly, coat with the panko bread crumbs.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

To cook, heat up a skillet and add a few lugs of olive oil.  Fry up your chicken for a few minutes on each side (it cooks really quickly since you've thinned it out) and you're done!

Next up, brussel sprouts!  I hated these as a kid but now, they're one of my faves.  You'll need...
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Diced pancetta
  • Syrupy balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Special Supplies: Jelly roll pan

Slice your brussel sprouts in half, trimming off the stalks.  Place them on the jelly roll pan with the diced pancetta.  Trader Joe's sells this already pre-diced and I have no shame in saying that I use this time-saving shortcut.  Coat with some olive oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper.  Bake at 375 for approximately 15 minutes.  Place in a serving bowl and drizzle on some syrupy balsamic vinegar.  

This last part is the most important of the entire meal.  Invest in some nice, expensive syrupy balsamic.  It tastes incredible and doesn't have the same level of acidity as regular balsamic.  Apparently you can make your own by slowly heating the cheaper kind but that's for another blog post...Enjoy!

March 14, 2013

Girls Love Cross Stitching

I'm a big fan of the HBO show Girls...minus Lena Dunham's constant need to get naked...and dress inappropriately for her body type...and her super unrealistic sex romp with Patrick Wilson...and... 

But in all seriousness, I do admire her and I love how wise her outlook on men is at the ripe age of 26.  It's very apropos to my life right now...

"When I was younger I liked men who gave me some guff.  Now I'm much more into someone who is interesting and open with his emotions, has a really good sense of humor and a passion for what he does, wants to hang out with my parents and doesn't want to stay out too late.  If I can get excited imagining funny things he did as a kid, there's a pretty good chance I'm in love with him."

When I saw that Girls was making custom cross stitches out of show quotes, I fell a little more in love.  Cross stitching is kinda my thing.  Even though I'm not sure I get the references below and watching Girls now is like the reverse of me watching Sex & The City when I was 20.