Thursday, September 29, 2011

Panko Crusted Chicken

Food blogging is an expensive hobby. Although cooking at home is cheaper than eating out, and I tend to post budget friendly dishes, my experimenting often requieres a variety of ingredients that increase my grocery bill. At least once a week I give my wallet a bit of relief by preparing chicken and salad. It usually falls on a Monday night after a weekend of indulgence. Chicken and salad night used to feel like the boring night off cooking until I learned how to prepare it right. With this dish I still get the satisfaction of preparing a blogable meal without the cost of a bunch of fancy ingredients. Yes, you could add parmigiano reggiano and fresh parsley to the panko to really take the dish up a notch, but just having chicken, a few pantry items, and whatever vegetables you have in the fridge, and you're good to go!

1-1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed and pounded
Salt and pepper
1 container egg beaters (Or you can use two eggs. I like using egg beaters because they aren't as drippy)
1 cup Panko crumbs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for shallow frying

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge in a little flour, then coat in egg beaters and then in breadcrumbs mixed with enough cayenne pepper to make you happy.

Heat a shallow layer of oil, about 1/8-inch thick, in large skillet over medium to medium- high heat. Place cooling rack over sheet tray in oven preheated to 200˚F to keep chicken warm until you serve.

Fry chicken in batches to avoid crowding pan. Cook chicken 5 minutes on each side until deep golden and cooked through.

Serve over salad, with roasted vegetables, or even in a sandwich.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kogi BBQ Food Truck

Food trucks are the hip new foodie trend in Los Angeles. I was ambivalent about exploring this aspect of the food world because I love the experience of a sit down restaurant meal. The thought of driving to a parked truck and standing around eating food seemed to lack ambiance. Kogi BBQ, ranked one of the top ten gourmet food trucks in Los Angeles, proved me wrong.  Not only do they serve delicious Korean/Mexican dishes, but I actually loved the atmosphere and community feel of standing around eating high quality food. There are no strings attached, the focus really is on the food, and the experience feels so LA. Kogi BBQ has become my post-long run tradition. There is nothing more satisfying than sliders, quesadillas and tacos after logging miles on the beach. Below are a few photos of our recent visit on Abbot Kinney Drive.





Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chicken and Black Bean Tostadas

Brent and I have a new roommate! Marta has been living with us in Playa del Rey over the past few weeks while she pursues her career in the fashion industry here in Los Angeles. It's been fun having my baby sister around to accompany us as we explore the city. We've had fun with family yoga nights, biking on the beach, walking around Santa Monica and best of all having a good laugh over dinner after stressful days at work. Last week Marta suggested preparing tostadas for dinner. I cook all kinds of complicated Mexican dishes but have never prepared simple, healthy and delicious tostadas. I've been missing out! I've added this dish to my list of great weeknight dishes. It can also easily be adapted by using shredded rotisserie chicken, and pre-toasted tortillas for even quicker cooking time.

6-8 tortillas
1 can refried black beans 
1 pound chicken tenders
1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning
 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced into wedges 
1 cup thinly sliced romaine lettuce 
1 cup chunky salsa
Sliced tomatoes 
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange tortillas (we used large whole wheat tortillas) on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until crispy, 6-8 minutes. 
Meanwhile, add olive oil to a skillet. Heat to medium. Add chicken tender, and cook until brown on both sides and no longer pink, about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of taco seasoning. Remove from heat, and shred into small pieces.
Cook the beans in a small pot on the stove until hot throughout. 
To prepare the tostada, spread tostadas with beans, then top with avocado slices, chicken, lettuce and salsa and enjoy immediately.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Toasted Ravioli

My KIPP carpool buddy Alaina Pariano and I celebrated the end of our first week of school with a Friday night wine and cooking party. We embraced Alaina's Italian roots with her family recipes. The menu consisted of salad with homemade dressing and croutons, toasted ravioli, moscato wine and pear crisp. I'm not sure how Italian pear crisp is, but we had an entire crate left over at school and hated the thought of them going to waste. Alaina is such a talented cook, so I forced her to create her own blog. I'll be posting her link soon! She was kind enough to allow me to post this recipe. I feel like I am plagiarizing by posting it, so I want to make it perfectly clear that this is her recipe and it is OH so good. The cooking time might need to be adjusted based on your oven. Just make sure the ravioli get puffy and crunchy. We're not looking for soggy ravioli, rather a crisp texture. These can be served as a main dish or as an appetizer. Next cooking party will be Mexican themed with margaritas!

1 can evaporated milk
1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
24 fresh bite-size ravioli, thawed if frozen
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
Freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350°. Pour the evaporated milk in a bowl. Put bread crumbs in another bowl. Dip ravioli in milk mixture, and coat with breadcrumbs. You really have to push the breadcrumbs down onto the ravioli so they stick. Drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Use tongs to flip, and bake for another 12-15 minutes. While the ravioli are toasting, in a small saucepan heat sauce over moderate heat until hot and keep warm, covered. Transfer hot ravioli to a platter and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Serve ravioli with warm marinara sauce for dipping.