Sunday, September 21, 2008
Cooking up a storm
Having a baby and supporting a family of five on one teacher's salary has ended my restaurant faring days for now, so I'm making up for it by cooking a lot, which is more rewarding.
This dish is inspired from something my father used to make when I was a kid.
Chicken with ham and mozzarella in a lemon sherry butter sauce
I pounded thin and sauteed a package of chicken breasts after dipping them in egg and Italian bread crumbs. I then put a slice of deli ham on top and covered it with lots of fresh mozzarella. I then baked the chicken ham and cheese combination for about 8 minutes at 375. I made a pan sauce with 1/4 cup of sherry, 1/4 stick of butter and the juice from one lemon and reduced it. Dad's version, as I recall, used prosciutto and was rolled up with a tooth pick to keep them folded and was called Chicken Pillows. I just used regular ham and didn't bother with the rolling. It turned out real well.
Fresh mozzarella is one of my favorite ingredients to now have access to again. I made an omelet with pico de gallo, deli ham, sauteed garlic and fresh mozzarella this morning, which was a great combination.
I also winged a tilapia fillet dish. I sauteed the tilapia fillets in butter with garlic and shallots, deglazed the pan with a splash of wine, and served them topped with chopped tomatoes and olive oil bruschetta style with lots of chopped, fresh basil. It worked well and tasted healthy also.
Last night I had colleagues over and concluded dinner with Bananas Foster, which has always been a hit. I sliced four very ripe bananas, sauteed them gently in butter, added a splash of banana liqueur and vanilla extract with brown sugar to make a paste, added cinnamon, splashed in some rum, ignited the rum to let the alcohol burn out, and then dropped in some cinnamon, which sparks up and is called Voodoo Dust. It's a New Orleans dessert after all. I then draped the bananas over some french vanilla ice cream. I've also used bread pudding in the past. Yes it's a caloric disaster, so I don't make it as much as the kids demand.