Kitchen Sink Chicken Salad

chicken-salad-lea-009This recipe is one of 7 ways you can prepare the leftovers from a 7lb chicken. You’d be suprised by how much you can do with a well-cooked roasted chicken! Since the breasts of the roast chicken I had made were so tender, I knew that I needed to make them the star of my next dish.

So I named this recipe Kitchen Sink Salad because I literally used whatever I had lying around my kitchen. I also kind of borrowed the name from Chat ‘n’ Chew’s Kitchen Sink Salad because I liked it so much!

In the notes below, I suggested some alternatives to the ingredients I used to accomodate different flavor preferences. Since it’s pretty difficult to mess up a chicken salad, I definitely recommend this recipe for beginners. And please note that this recipe is designed for one LARGE serving so if you’re making it for more than one be sure to increase the vegetables and chicken used.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp fat-free sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, or almonds)
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 cup (approx) cooked chopped chicken breast
  • 1 shallot, chopped (or 2 tbsps red/green onion)
  • 2 tbsp raisins (or 1/8 cup havled grapes)
  • 1/4 cup chopped apple or pear
  • 1 tsp dill (optional)

PREPARATIONS

  1. Mix the sour cream and mustard in a small bowl and put to the side.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with the sour cream & mustard mixture.
  3. Serve on a bed of mixed greens or between multi-grain toast.

Perfect Roast Chicken

Perfect Roast Chicken, Cooked

Roast chicken, a perfect meal sought after by many and achieved by few. And you’re probably thinking, what makes a perfect roast chicken? The answer is salt! No matter what spices, herbs, or marinades you might use, a liberal sprinkling of sea salt rubbed in the chicken cavity and on the outside of the chicken (through olive oil) will tremendously improve the overall flavor of your roast chicken.  According to John Hastings, salt combats bitterness and penetrates proteins on a cellular level, and when used to make a brine, it leaves meats juicier and more delicious. 

And salt isn’t the only secret to my perfect roast chicken! Since I love vegetables I like to smother the bottom of the pan with tons of fresh mushrooms, baby carrots, chopped onions, and celery. When the chicken cooks, its wonderful juices saturate the vegetables and make for a fantastic gravy! After the chicken has finished cooking, I puree half the vegetables and add them to a stock based gravy. The vegetable puree adds great depth and texture to the gravy making it a perfect compliment to the moist roast chicken!

After making about 6 different roast chickens, I believe that this one was by far my favorite. Practice makes perfect and I’m sure you’ll invent a special secret of your own, which I hope you’ll later share with me! Bon Appetit!

Perfect Roast Chicken, Pre-cooked

Roast Chicken, Served

Roast Chicken with Spinach

Perfect Roast Chicken, adapted from Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 6-7lb Chicken
  • 1 Bag Baby Carrots (or 3 carrots, chopped and peeled)
  • 4 Stalks Celery
  • 1 Box Sliced Mushrooms, coarsley chopped
  • 2 Medium Onions, chopped
  • 2-3 Small Red Potatoed, chopped
  • 1 Package Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Lemon
  • 3-6 Garlic Cloves, smashed and peeled
  • Paprika (optional)
  • Sea Salt (can use kosher)
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 Cup Chicken Stock/Broth
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Immersion Blender

PREPARATIONS

  1. Let chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove and discard the plastic pop-up timer from chicken if there is one. Remove the giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken liberally with sea salt and pepper, and set aside.
  2. Sprinkle onions, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, and carrots at the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. Place the palm of your hand on top of lemon and, pressing down, roll lemon back and forth several times. This softens the lemon and allows the juice to flow more freely. Pierce entire surface of lemon with a fork. 
  4. Insert garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and lemon into cavity. Place chicken on top of chopped vegetables and rub the entire surface with olive oil. Then sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and paprika and place breast side down in pan.
  5. Cover chicken entirely with aluminum foil making a tent. Place in the oven, and roast for 1 hour. After the first hour turn the chicken breast side up and roast uncovered for another hour and twenty minutes or until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and the juices run clear when pierced.
  6. When chicken seems done, insert an instant-read thermometer into the breast, then the thigh. The breast temperature should read 180 degrees.
  7. Remove chicken from oven, and transfer to a cutting board. Let chicken stand 10 to 15 minutes so the juices settle. Meanwhile, let the pan drippings cool for a few minutes and puree half of the cooked vegetables with your immersion blender. After the pan drippings have cooled, pour them into a plastic bag, leaving the remaining vegetables in the pan. Cut a hole in the corner and pour the pan drippings into a sautee pan with 1 cup of chicken stock. Heat on med-high until it boils and reduced down to half, about 4 minutes.
  8. Then pour chicken stock mixture into the bowl with the vegetable puree and combine. If you want to add lemon, take the lemon out from the chicken cavity and squeeze the juices into the gravy mixture.
  9. Carve the chicken, and serve with your choice of sides (matzoh stuffing, rice, cous-cous, sauteed spinach or broccoli). For plating the chicken place starch in one plate corner, spread some of the gravy on the remainder of the plate and place chicken on top.

*This recipe serves about 6 people. Stay tuned for ways to turn the remainder of your 7lb chicken into tomorrow night’s lunch or dinner!

Food for Thought 4/27 – 5/3

Fun food bits for this week. Stay tuned for more…

Starbucks in Astor Place is Closing! With 235 stores in the five boroughs and 185 in Manhattan alone, how much could we really miss ONE STARBUCKS?

7 Ways with a 7lb Chicken, Start your week off with a 7lb chicken and learn 7 different simple ways you can prepare it.

Alzheimer’s Gala catered by STK, Buy your tickets to the NYC Junior Committee Gala on May 7th at Tenjune.

Brooklyn Laundry, Dine in a Madison penthouse or on an Orchard Street rooftop and mingle with fellow foodies.

UVA Reviewed, Upper East Side neighborhood gem or Italian class act gone downhill?

Taste of the Lower East Side, premier event featuring signature dishes from the Lower East Side’s best restaurants.

Teriyaki Skirt Steak with Sesame Asparagus

Monday night I was just CRAVING red meat. Since I don’t eat red meat too often, outside of hamburgers (obviously),  I was uncertain on what cut of meat I wanted. Not knowing much about red meat I went for the skirt steak since it was on sale. After all, we’re in a recession! 

So now I’m thinking, what do I do with this good looking piece of meat (aside from the fact that it was labeled “diaphram”). I immediately called my dad, since he is always heating up steaks on the grill. He recommended cooking the skirt steak in any soy-based sauce. After doing some research online I found that I had two flavoring options: Chimichurri Sauce or Asian Marinade. And since I was hungry and not wanting to mess around with food processors or blenders, I chose the Asian Marinade.

Any soy-based marinade would work with the steak, so go ahead and create your own or use any store-bought marinade.  I had recently bought a new orange teriyaki sauce that I figured would be perfect. I also recommend using a cast iron pan to cook the steaks, as the pan will sear in the flavor and yield a much tastier result, as you will see below. And feel free to use whatever vegetables you have lying around your kitchen. This recipe initially called for spinach but broccoli or a frozen vegetable stir fry mix would also work well. Though since it’s spring time, you might want to take advantage of the delicious asparagus being sold at your local market (as it’s in season)!

Teriyaki Skirt Steak with Sesame Asparagus

INGREDIENTS

SKIRT STEAK

  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup asian marinade (teriyaki, soy-vey, etc)
  • 1 tbsp garlic & ginger paste (optional)

SESAME ASPARAGUS

  • 1  tablespoon  sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  rice vinegar
  • 2  teaspoons  sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  dark sesame oil
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced

PREPARATIONS

  1. Marinate your skirt steak in 1/4 – 1/2 cup terikayi and garlic & ginger paste for one hour or more in the refrigerator.
  2. Drizzle your cast iron pan with some olive oil or a few heavy sprays of cooking spray and bring to medium-high heat.
  3. Place your steaks on the hot pan and cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare (or 6-7 minutes for medium/medium-well.
  4. While the steak cooks, chop up your asparagus on an angle into about 1 inch pieces. Heat 2 tsp dark sesame oil in a medium sautee pan and sautee garlic and asparagus on a medium heat. 
  5. It’s probably been about 5 minutes, so go ahead and turn over your steak  and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Now you will make the marinade by combining the toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  7. The steak should now be about done, so let it rest for about 10 minutes so that the juices don’t run out of the steak.
  8. The asparagus should also be nice and tender. Take the asparagus off the heat and toss with sesame vinaigrette.
  9. After the steak has cooled place half the steak on a plate with 1/2 cup of sesame asparagus. Serve with steamed brown rice and enjoy!

Breakfast for Dinner?

Eggland's Best Eggs

Breakfast for dinner; a brilliant marketing ploy to get us consumers to eat more eggs OR an enticing way to lure hungry Foodbuzz featured publishers to a free dinner hosted by Eggland’s Best?

Well, fortunately for Eggland’s reputation it’s the latter and let me tell you, it was a delightful little meal.

Eggland’s Best dinner was hosted at Beacon restaurant in Midtown. Despite knowing that Eggland’s Best eggs would be served,  I was hoping Beacon would serve some of their own upscale fare as well (Beacon’s main courses start at $30!). But aside from the Prosecco and croissant assortment, which were lovely, the eggs were certainly the center of attention.

 Eggland's Scrambled Eggs egglands-best-event-skirt-steak-046

The scent of eggs, croissants, and more croissants filled the room, nearly begging to be eaten.  Eggland’s even had a create-your-own omelet station to allow for omelets to be made with only whites. It was an Eggland affair!

egglands-best-event-skirt-steak-040 egglands-best-event-skirt-steak-045 egglands-best-event-skirt-steak-057

So now you probably want to know what I thought of the eggs that have been voted America’s best tasting egg for 7 consecutive years, right? Let’s put it this way, I eat A LOT of eggs. If I could put a number on it, I’d say I eat at least 2 eggs and 6 egg whites a week (a little more than half a carton). And despite my heavy egg consumption I honestly don’t taste a difference between brands. Maybe that’s because I’ve never thought about it too much. After all, they’re just eggs! Though I am certain that with the 25% less saturated fat, 10x more vitamin E, 100 mg of Omega-3, 2x more iodine, and 25% more lutein Eggland’s Best eggs have over their competitors, that they are the best egg around. But do I taste the difference, sadly I do not.

Despite the lack of Eggland’s differentiation from other brands, I now know more about eggs than I ever needed to. And will leave you with this realized food myth on Brown Eggs (vs. White Eggs):

For some reason I was always under the impression that brown eggs were richer in flavor than white eggs. Well guess what, brown eggs are brown because they were laid from brown chickens. Brown eggs tend to be larger than white eggs because brown chickens eat more (why, I’m not sure) but the nutritional value of white and brown eggs are EQUAL. So, to all of you chickens out there also buying brown eggs, feed them to the birds!

birds

Lunch at Hasaki

Last Friday my boss was kind enough to treat me for an “off campus” lunch at a restaurant of my choosing. Since we were both in the mood for some Asian cusine I figured I’d show her the best sushi the East Village has to offer at Hasaki.
Dining out during lunch is somewhat of a priviledge for me since not many people in the office head out for lunch. Sadly we eat at our desks or trek up to the 14th floor to properly dine in our only lunchroom. Needless to say I was excited by the opportunity to take a nice long lunch and get to know my new boss a little bit better.
Though I’d only been to Hasaki once before, I was quite impressed by what appeared to be a hole in the wall. Since Hasaki resides on the bottom floor of a building, you need to walk down a few steps in order to enter the restaurant, making it easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. But after being well attended to by the waitstaff and enjoying some creative maki rolls, I was certainly glad I had stumbled upon this neighborhood gem.
Though Hasaki doesn’t serve traditional $8-10 maki roll lunch specials, I knew my boss would appreciate the quality of the fish and the authentic Japanese decor. After mulling over a few sushi specials we decided to start with the Shrimp Tempura and Miso Soup.
la-pizza-fresca-hasaki-013

Shrimp Tempura

 Not having eaten shrimp tempura in a while, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the shrimp were quite tender and embodied by a perfectly crisp exterior. It is common for tempura to be soggy, but not at Hasaki. The shrimp were accompanied by an assortment of tempura vegetables including broccoli, eggplant, carrot, and potato which were all equally delicious. We each also enjoyed a very tasty  Miso Soup. The Miso Soup had an incredibly rich color and flavor, where typically a Miso Soup lacks color and balance. And almost as soon as we completed our appetizers, we were on to our main sushi courses.

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Sushi Adajo – 5 pcs. & spicy tuna roll, yellowtail w/scallion
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Sushi Forte - 7 pcs. & spicy tuna w/ avocado roll

As expected, the sushi was incredibly fresh and beautifully plated. I usually stick to maki rolls, but I decided to mix it up that day with an assortment of sushi including salmon, tuna, yellow tail, and eel. The eel and the tuna were probably my favorites of the plate. I would certainly recommend trying a variety of fish because you really can’t go wrong. Be sure to ask your server what he recommends ordering that day.

Where one might gloss over this neighborhood gem, I’m glad I came across it and was able to introduce it to my boss. I think it’s safe to say she enjoyed it.

Brunch at Hundred Acres

cookshop_fivepoints_hundredacresThe owners of Cookshop and Five Points recently re-opened the previously run Provence space with Hundred Acres. As a big fan of both Cookshop and Five Points, I was really looking forward to finding out what the buzz was all about. And not having been to a West Village Brunch, in well… so long I can’t remember, it gave me the perfect reason to head downtown on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Hundred Acres Dining Room

After walking for what seemed like 50 blocks from the 6 train to MacDougal St., I was pleasantly greeted by a serene bistro packed to brim with fellow West Village Brunchers. Brunching in the West Village is a unique pleasure that I enjoy somewhat infrequently, to preserve its novelty. And though I wouldn’t say that Hundred Acres stands too far apart from its West Village neighbors, it has an abiance of its own and one of the best burgers I’d ever tasted!

chef-hung-138

Burger; pasture-raised beef, Goat essa cheddar, vidalia onion mayo, & fries

 

As you could imagine, this scrumptious looking burger of pasture-raised beef, Goat Essa cheddar, Vidalia onion mayo, & fries really hit the spot. Although I would have preferred the burger on a brioche bun, the bun on which the Hundred Acres Burger was served held together, where most buns do not. The Hundred Acres Burger held up to the lettuce, vidalia onions, pickles (since tomatoes are not yet in season), 2 ounces of cheddar, and 10 ounces of mouth-watering ground beef cooked to a succulent medium rare.

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my burger. But did the rest of my party adore their meals? Well, that is questionable.

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Frittata; oven roasted button mushrooms, wilted spinach, & goat cheese

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Acres Egg White Scramble; roasted peppers, onions, gruyere cheese, & cornbread

The eggs looked like eggs, nothing too out of the ordinary. I certainly wasn’t wowed by the presentation by any means. But be sure to visit Hundred Acres for their burger & fries. For $17, they pull out all the stops and you won’t be disappointed! The other stuff, well I can’t promise anything, though Sunday’s Brunch specials (Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and BLT with Pear) definitely weren’t run of the mill and are worth going back for.

As for other Marc Meyer restaurants check out Cookshop’s Burger and Five Point’s Spicy Margarita! Reservations are recommended…