In my food extravaganza of the other day--from which this blog was born--I bought all the necessary ingredients for my new favorite recipe to make for my parents. I felt bad about not getting Mom a card for Valentine's Day, and although my stepfather is a bit meat-and-potatoes and stays far away from the kitchen when I make it smell like curry and other exotic spices, this was a dish he had mentioned he wouldn't mind trying.
Let me pause for a moment and mention that the recipe is from my newest blog obsession, Can You Stay for Dinner? I've tried about seven of her recipes thus far and have about five more on the To-Cook List. They're all absolutely amazing and the wonderful Andrea keeps them to about 500 calories per meal. I drool over every thing she posts, and making my own cooking blog was heavily influenced by hers. Please do check out her blog though!
Anyway. This is the third time I've cooked her amazing Chicken in Creamy Mustard Marsala Sauce The first time, I was disappointed. I had bought the cheapest Marsala wine from the liquor store and though the sauce smelled wonderful the chicken came out far too dry. But I knew it had potential. I didn't want to give up.
Here is what I learned:
|Simmering the mushrooms and onions in the Marsala wine|
- Marsala wine is hard to find in a liquor store. I had the option of the $4 bottle or the $20 and no in-between. I went for the $4. The stuff smelled like nail varnish.
- GROCERY STORES SELL MARSALA COOKING WINE: $3! Round 3 I discovered this and it made all the difference.
- I don't like onions, though tolerate them when I think they'll add to the recipe, but I didn't have any on me for Attempt 1. I think this is mostly why something felt like it was missing from the dish.
- Andrea's recipe used meat pulled from a roast chicken. I had no time for this, so I thought regular breasts cooked in a skillet with oil would do. Fail. They came out dry and took forever to cook.
- Next round I butterflied the chicken breasts (still didn't want to roast a bird) and tried to use a potato masher as a mallet to tenderize them. Better, but still dry.
- For this attempt, I used a real mallet, salt and peppered each side of the flattened breast, then put it in a bag with a few tablespoons of the Marsala wine and let it marinate. I again cooked the chicken in a skillet with olive oil, and discovered that everyone is right about this rule: DO NOT TOUCH BROWNING MEAT. Developing a good crust is VITAL to tenderness and juiciness! I will use this tip religiously from this point forward.
- Pulling apart the meat by fork/hand makes it look much better than coarsely chopping with a knife.
- I had no parsley for the first two attempts. Don't forget the parsley, if only because it gives it more color. Also gives it a nice burst of fresh flavor.
My stepdad said, "It's good." So I think it was a success.
|Taken via webcam. Need a new camera badly...|
Dessert was another Can You Stay For Dinner special: Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. These are heaven.
See that? That's what browned butter looks like. It's like regular melted butter, but oh so magical. The smell is amazing and it's what makes the cookies the best cookies I've ever taste. I intend on doing some experiments with this substance in the near future, absent-minded-professor style. It will have its own blog post, just you wait.
And that was dinner tonight! Thank you to Can You Stay for Dinner? -- I no doubt will be reviewing more recipes of hers in the future. I'd do five more right now if I could!