Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Leftover Challenge

The Webb House tableStacie Webb has been a Chebeaguer for some 30 odd years now. Husband Toby claims she wooed him via his stomach with her quick French bread, and once she had bagged him, never baked another loaf. They're both gracious family hosts and with the building of Webb House just steps away from our cottage, have become nearly year-round residents on the island. Late in our stay this year, Stacie invited us to their beautiful barn-style home for a "leftover" potluck. We were to prepare a main dish with whatever we could cull from our fridge after a couple weeks of culinary indulgences, while she would provide sides and her famous dessert.
Somehow, the entree inspiration ended up in my jurisdiction. But with expert advice at my elbow, and some fat chicken breasts in the freezer, it wasn't a significant problem coming up with something good to eat.
Parmesan Chicken - from Barefoot Contessa Family Style
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1½ Tbsp water
  • 1¼ cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Unsalted butter
  • Olive oil
Chicken breast cutletsPound cutlets with a rolling pin
Flour, egg wash and bread crumb prep stationBreaded cutlets browing in sauté pan
Butterfly each breast to make eight even cutlets. Between sheets of wax paper, pound the cutlets with a rolling pin until they are ¼-inch thick.
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with the water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and ½ cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Arrange on a platter and garnish with chopped fresh herbs (parsley and chives, in our case), and lemon wedges.
Browning breading chicken cutletsParmesan Chicken
Roasted broccoli and fgreen beansFarfalle pasta salad
Stacie had leftover broccoli and green beans, which I offered to roast with garlic, sea salt and olive oil in a hot oven. There was bowtie pasta in our pantry, so I also made my popular pasta salad, expanding on our Parmesan theme.
We sat out on Stacie & Toby's screened-in porch on a lovely Maine evening. A pleasant northern breeze had sprung up just around the cocktail hour, pushing back the heat of the day. There were plenty of oohs and ahhs as we ate, but mostly, I think, we were afflicted with a heightened sense of satisfaction and contentedness.
Stacie had whipped up her blueberry crumble, a desert everyone goes ape over every summer. And true to her word, Stace gave me the recipe she had promised last season!
Blueberry Crumble - recipe adapted from Cook's Country
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 10 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into 12 pieces and chilled
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375°. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the berries and toss to coat. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish.
Pulse the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining salt in a food processor, forming large crumbs. Add butter and continue to pulse until dime-sized clumps form. Transfer crumble to bowl and pinch together any powdery bits. Sprinkle crumble evenly over berries.
Bake until filling is bubbling around the edges and the topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature topped with vanilla ice cream.
Blueberry Crumble with vanilla ice cream
Imagine the scene: a lush green island setting, lobster and sail boats bobbing on a gentle evening wind swell, birds chirping in the background as they settle to roost for the night, a pinkish setting-sun glow in the west, and a play of berries and ice cream on the palate. What would you call it?
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

No comments: