The things I do for my kids I tell you. If you have kids like mine, you soon realize that the only thing they have on their mind are sweet treats. The waffle in the morning now becomes the chocolate chip waffle. Lunch is fairly […]
Month: July 2010
I do not know a lot of Italian women, however I will probably attest that their arms must be super strong. Why you ask? If you have never made polenta, then you will quickly realize how much arm strength it takes to continuously stir the ground cornmeal until it has a creamy texture.
If you have never made polenta, it is basically ground cornmeal, made into something like creamy potatoes but with some texture. Normally you might see polenta served with some great mushroom sauce, or served with some protein, however I wanted to do something a bit different with the polenta. I added some simple flavor to it, molded it and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. Once the polenta sets, it forms a great solid cake if you will, that can be cut into shapes and either cooked on the grill, or fried, which is the route I took.
- 9 cups of water
- 3 cups of polenta
- salt to taste
- 6 tbsp chipotle salsa
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- canola oil
Simple ingredients. Begin by bringing your water to a boil. Psych yourself up as you are going to be stirring the polenta for about 25 minutes. Seriously. Slowly pour in the three cups polenta, reduce the heat to medium, and begin to stir with a large wooden spoon. Stir in the same direction, rotating your arms if need be. Stir, and keep stirring. About half way through, add in the chipotle salsa, salt, and parmesan cheese. Stir some more.
When the polenta is nice and creamy, roughly 20-25 minutes in, pour into a casserole dish and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, place plastic wrap over it and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
When you are ready to make the fried polenta, cut a segment out of the dish, cut into strips, much like a thick french fry. Dust the strips with flour. Heat up the oil to about 350 degrees. Once ready, add in a few of the polenta strips at a time, cooking until a nice golden brown. Remove from the oil and let drain on some paper towel. Sprinkle a bit of salt on them. Repeat the process with the remaining polenta strips.
When I served these on the table, my boys had a high level of curiosity. I knew they were hungry and that this was a great opportunity for them to try something new. My youngest son quickly dug in, realized that it was not a french fry, but loved it. My oldest who is a hard one to sell, tried a bite and actually liked it as well. My wife and I like them a lot. A lightly crisp coating and a soft and cream inside made these great to serve any day of the week.
Serve with a garlic rosemary aioli.
- 1/2 cup of prepared mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 clove of garlic, mashed into a paste
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Mix and combine, setting aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.
There is a new breading in town, and it is not the go to panko or the standard fine Italian breadcrumbs. It’s my take on what should be known as Thai breadcrumbs.
While my wife was recently away on a business trip, I came home wandering what to make for dinner. I have to be up front with you and say that I much more enjoy cooking for my wife, then I do for myself. With that said, when my wife goes out of town, I immediately think of making something a bit more spicy, and that typically lends itself to Thai flavors. At first I thought of making a quick and simple dish known as laab or “larb”, but I already had set aside some chicken the night before as I still had to make something for the kids.
Polling the kids that night, I quickly realized they wanted nothing to do with chicken, and they wanted to make pizzas out of flour tortillas. I was fine with that. While they created their pizzas, I created something pretty amazing and what I will call Thai chicken bites. Tender chicken breasts, pounded ever so thin and stuffed with basil, kaffir lime leaves, and Thai chili peppers. The kicker is the breadcrumbs. Let’s get started.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Fresh basil leaves
- 2 Kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
- Thai chili peppers, seeds removed, thinly sliced
- 1 lime, zested
- 1/2 cup of jasmine rice, toasted and crushed
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tbsp water
- olive oil
Begin by heating a large skillet on medium heat. Add the rice to the dry skillet, and begin to toast the rice. This should take about ten minutes. Make sure to shake the pan to make sure all sides of the rice get toasted. Once fully tested, remove the rice from the skillet, and place in your spice grinder, grinding into a medium crumb. I say medium as you do not want a dust, as you still want some of the texture of the rice.
Next, get two large sheets of plastic wrap as you will lay the chicken breast on on piece, cover it with the other, and pound it out with your meat mallet. Pound the chicken breasts from the middle, outward, pounding about a quarter inch thick. Repeat with the second chicken breast.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Next we will get the dredging stating together. Get three dishes ready. To one add the flour, the next add the beaten eggs and water, and the next the rice crumbs.
Lay out the chicken, add the basil leaves, kaffir lime leaves, some of the lime zest, and the chilies.
Roll into a log shape, and secure with two toothpicks.
Roll the chicken into the flour, then then egg wash, then the rice crumbs. Repeat with the other piece of chicken.
Lightly drizzle the bottom of a baking sheet where you will place with chicken piece with a bit of olive oil. Place a chicken log onto the baking sheet, and drizzle more oil on top of the chicken. Repeat with the other chicken roll. Place in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until your chicken is fully cooked, and the crust is a nice golden brown.
Remove the toothpicks, slice, and serve. Garnish with lime wedges.
The flavor of this chicken has Thai flavors written all over it. The great lime taste from the zest, and the aroma from the kaffir lime leaves is pretty amazing. Just the right amount of heat, and the texture from the rice breadcrumbs really make this dish a home run.