Sunday, February 3, 2013

Birthday Iron Chef Competition

For a friend's birthday, her fiance went through the immaculate and calculating trouble of planning a surprise birthday day. This day included an "Iron Chef" competition involving close friends and karaoke afterwards, both of which were a surprise.

We formed teams for the competition and brought ingredients over to their house so we could use their kitchen as the competition "arena." It was a lot of fun! The secret ingredient? Almonds. Myself and another girl, we decided to make almond-crusted chicken using this Rachel Ray recipe. It was pretty straightforward and tasted SO good with the beurre blanc.

The birthday girl was the head (and sole) judge. Imagine trying to choose amongst your friends. O_O Ultimately, the winner of the competition made dessert - it was a homemade, Asian-style cake. What I mean by that is that it was light in consistency/texture and just-sweet-enough (instead of heavy on the sweetness like American desserts). Plus, it had fruit and sliced almonds on it! Healthy all-around, man. Everything was delicious, and the competition fostered a lot of fun conversations.

Ingredients:

2 scallions, whites and greens, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 Tbsp heavy cream
1 large egg
8 pieces chicken breast cutlets, 1 1/4 pound
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup light extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces

Directions:

1. Combine scallions, white wine, and 2 Tbsp cream in a saucepan over medium heat and reduce to 1/4 cup liquid, 5 to 6 minutes.

2. While the sauce is working, beat the egg and set chicken into it. Combine almonds, bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper (to taste), in a food processor and grind to combine. Cover a plate with plastic wrap to make for easy clean up after breading and pout almond and bread crumb mixture onto it. Remove chicken from the egg and coat in the bread crumb mixture.

3. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add cutlets and cook 3 minutes on each side, transfer to a plate and cover with foil and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining chicken.

5. Whisk 2 Tbsp cream into the sauce. Lower the heat on the sauce and whisk the butter into pot until it has incorporated. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper, to your taste.

6. Place 2 cutlets on each dinner plate and spoon a little beurre blanc sauce over top of the cutlets.

Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/almond-crusted-chicken-cutlets-with-scallion-beurre-blanc-recipe/index.html

Beurre blanc 

Breading station 

It didn't take long to cook each side. 

Almond-crusted chicken on a bed of spinach salad and mandarin oranges 

Thai papaya salad 

Almond-crusted grouper 

Bacon-cheese bruschetta

Sauteed kale, bacon, and almonds 





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