The stacks were taking over various parts of the house. A leaning tower of Bon Appetit in the family room. An untidy pile of Cooks' Illustrated next to the bathtub. Ragged torn out pages from the LA Times, the NY Times Magazine, Gourmet and Savuer fluttering out of books and couches at odd moments. Stray Food & Wine's under the front seat of the car. A certifiable fire hazard with no food to show for it. I was definitely back in my old rut.
As I cut and sorted and organized, making an even bigger mess, but all in one place at least, the family retreated to less cluttered parts of the house*. I turned on the football game** and happily snipped away. A few hours later, the family reappeared.
Kids: Mom, do you have a plan here?
Me: Yes, as a matter of fact I do. I'm making excellent progress, by the way.***
My husband: Well, if the plan involves re-carpeting the family room with recyclable materials...
Me: Shut up.
Them: What's for dinner?
I look around carefully, pluck a few scraps of paper from various strategic locations, and announce triumphantly:
Me: Panko-crusted Chicken with Mustard Maple Sauce, Mixed Greens with Parmesan Vinaigrette, and...
[I pause for dramatic effect]
Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze for dessert.
They are suitably impressed. I should definitely do this clipping thing more often.
Panko-Crusted Chicken with Mustard-Maple Pan Sauce
Delicious! Adapted from a recipe clipped out of Bon Appetit. If your kids have a phobia of sauce (as mine do), the chicken is great on its own.
3 8 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise in half so you have six pieces of chicken
1 large egg
1 Tbs. finely chopped Italian parsley
2 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 c. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3-4 Tbs. olive oil
1 c. low salt chicken broth
3 Tbs. pure maple syrup
2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. coarse-grained mustard
1 Tbs. chilled butter
Using meat mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken in resealable plastic bag to 1/2 inch thickness. Whisk egg, parsley, and 2 tsp. Dijon mustard in large bowl. Place panko in a shallow tray nearby, and set up a wire rack over a cookie sheet to hold your chicken. In a glass measuring cup, combine chicken broth, syrup, coarse-grained mustard, and remaining 2 Tbs. of Dijon mustard, whisking with a fork to combine. Set aside.
Dip chicken in egg mixture, turning to coat. Dip each chicken piece in panko, turn to coat. Place coated pieces on the rack, and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook until golden brown, crispy and cooked through; about 4 minutes per side. Remove chicken, keep warm.
Add broth mixture to the skillet; boil until slightly thickened and reduced by about a third. This should take about 4 minutes. Add butter, whisk until melted. Serve this delectable sauce alongside the chicken.
I have no idea where this one came from. Something spilled on it.
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. Dijon or whole grain mustard
1 tsp. Worsestershire sauce
1 tsp. anchovy paste (optional...I added this)
6 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Mix first 5 ingredients in a jar. Place lid on jar and shake well to combine. Add oil. Replace lid; shake again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to use, but bring to room temperature before using.
Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Icing
My adaptation of a recipe clipped from the LA Times. This is just ridiculously good. Rich, deeply caramel-y, buttery and probably so fattening I should never make it again. But I totally will.
For the cake:
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) butter, softened
1 1 lb. box dark brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
Preheat oven to 325, and butter a Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a glass measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and vanilla, and set aside. Using an electric mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar in three additions, beating well after each one. Blend in the white sugar. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each one of those additions, too. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Mix in 1/2 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the butter milk mixture, then rest of flour, then rest of liquids, blending until flour/liquids have disappeared before adding the next item. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake until edges of the cake are nicely brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on rack for 10-20 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.
While cooling, prepare the crazy good frosting/glaze/icing:
For the icing:
1 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1/2 c. evaporated milk
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar and butter over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted and complete combined with the sugar, 2-3 minutes. Add the evaporated milk, and allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil. Stir well, and remove from heat. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Using a mixer or a spoon, stir vigorously for a minute or two, then immediately spoon over still-warm cake.
* Except for the cat, who is glued to my side and thinks it is wildly amusing to scatter my work everywhere by pouncing crazily on everything I cut out.
** I have no idea who is playing, but it's a Sunday in September and the TV has been brainwashed by my son to remain permanently tuned to ESPN under these conditions.