Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Table Talk: Chicken Parmesan

Welcome back to my blog, fellow bake52 ladies from last year!  I am excited to host the first ever Table Talk post.  :)

I chose for my recipe this go-round Chicken Parmesan.  It's one of those things I've tried a bunch of different recipes for over the years and never found one that I would go back to again and again.  I love having it in restaurants (or eggplant parmesan... mmmm!) but I can't seem to get it just right at home.  I was excited to see what ATK came up with!  I really loved their baking book last year and have come to trust their recipes.  They may seem a little persnickety at times, but I like how detailed they are and the insights they offer into the science of baking/cooking.  Most of the time if I read carefully and do what they say, I have great results. :)

I ran into just one little snag this week with that whole "read carefully and do what they say" thing.  I'm in the final weeks of what has been a challenging pregnancy.  I have preeclampsia and I'm supposed to be resting as much as possible, which means-- my husband has been doing the grocery shopping!  I was a little nervous when I put "panko bread crumbs" on his weekly list- but I put a little explanation of where they should be in the store are what the box should look like.  He came so close.  He brought home this:

Panko Bread crumbs!  Oh wait.. Lemon Pepper flavor.  Well, bless his heart, he tried. :)

We've all had to make some adjustments and sacrifices to get through a rough pregnancy, and our family mantra has become "make the best of it".  (Kind of the adult version of "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"  Anyone else say that to their kids ALL.THE.TIME?)  So, my chicken was going to be a bit on the lemon-y side.  Why not?  :)  Also, I was really excited to see this recipe on the box:

I love seafood with lemon-y flavors so I'm excited to try this.  Making the best of it!  Lemon-y Chicken Parmesan, here we go!

I started by toasting the Panko with a bit of olive oil.  Yum, aromas of lemon-y goodness filled the house.  :)

I got all of my little dipping stations ready in the "shallow containers".  Was it just me, or was anyone else getting a kick out of how often this recipe called for something to be placed in a "shallow container"?  :)

 Dipped and ready to bake.  Also-- I really LOVED the tip the book gave of slicing regular chicken breasts in half to get the thin, cutlet size.  I have pounded out chicken in baggies for years and always felt icky about it- I tend to be a bit of a neat freak and I always felt like I had to sanitize my entire kitchen afterwards!  This seemed so much easier and cleaner!! 

 Just out of the oven. 

 Yum!  It smells so great in our kitchen!  I am planning on serving these for dinner tonight on a bed of angel hair pasta and some Alfredo sauce.  I'm a little nervous to use the suggested tomato sauce with my lemon-y chicken.  I will have to try this again later (depending on all the reviews!) to get the actual recipe right!

Here is the recipe, found on page 250 in the America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, our book we are working out of this year!

Chicken Parmesan
Serves 6
To avoid wasting yolks, use 6 tablespoons of store bought egg whites.  You can use 2 cups of your favorite plain tomato sauce or our Simple Tomato Sauce (below).

1 ½ cups panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup grates Parmesan cheese
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
Vegetable oil spray
6 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, pounded ¼ inch thick
Salt and pepper
2 cups tomato sauce, warmed
¾ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1.     Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the over to 475 degree.  Combine the panko and oil in a 12 inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
2.     Transfer the crumbs to a shallow dish, let cool, and then stir in the Parmesan.  Combine the flour and garlic powder in a second shallow dish.  In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together. 
3.     Spray a wire rack with vegetable oil spray and place over a rimmed baking sheet.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Following the photos on page 251 and working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge in the flour, then dip into the egg whites, and finally, coat with the toasted crumbs, pressing on them to adhere.  Lay the breaded chicken on the prepared wire rack.
4.     Spray the tops of the chicken lightly with vegetable oil spray.  Bake until the chicken registers 150 to 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 10 minutes.
5.     Top each cutlet with 2 tablespoons of the sauce and 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella.  Continue to bake until the cheese has melted and the chicken registers to 160 to 165 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce separately. 
Simple Tomato Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
This sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week, reheat gently before serving.
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until mostly smooth, about 10 pulses.  Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the processed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  


Thursday, July 26, 2012

bake 52: week 29- Lattice Top Peach Pie

This week we made Lattice Top Peach Pie.  I ended up making two, and the first one browned on the top a bit faster that I would have liked.  I thought I would solve that by covering the pie with foil, but then I forgot to take the darn stuff off and the pie was so soggy!  The book warned us that the lattice top wasn't just for looks- it let the juiced evaporate correctly for a firm pie.  Oops.  I kind of bombed this week.  But it was tasty!  :)
Visit Talesha here: for the recipe!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

bake52: week 27- Cinnamon Rolls!

Valerie was our hostess this week and she chose cinnamon rolls!  I LOVED these and they were a hit with the family, as well.  I have a regular cinnamon roll recipe that I make- it's our tradition that we have homemade cinnamon rolls the morning of Saturday General Conferences- and so I wondered how this would be different.  

It came together quickly:

And baked up beautifully:
DELISH!  These seemed a bit denser than our traditional recipe but I really loved the texture.  I did have to add about 4 tablespoons extra flour to get the dough to come together, which seemed like a lot!  I can't ever tell if that is just normal in baking because of our elevation or if I am doing something that makes dough runny. :)  I also had to bake it a bit longer than the recipe suggested, but I have noticed my oven just runs a little on the slow side in every recipe.  All around- a great pick!

Visit Valerie for the recipe!  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

bake52: week 27-- Fresh Fruit Tart

This week for bake52 Amanda was our hostess and we made a Fresh Fruit Tart!  It was yummy, and I loved heading out to my backyard to pick fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries!  I felt like a farm mama.  Loved it.  

 Making the crust-
 Making the pastry cream-
 Baking my tart crust- do I need another package of pie weights or what? Just one isn't cutting it! :)
 Yum!  My girls were so impressed, they thought it was so pretty!!

Great pick, Amanda!  Visit her here for the recipe!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

bake 52: week 26-- Black & White Cookies

Janet was our host this week and we made Black & White cookies.  

The cookies were SO soft-- the cake flour really made them wonderful.  We loved the consistency.  The lemon threw me off- I am just not expecting it with a chocolate frosting.  It had grown on me by the time I'd finished my cookie, though!!
{cooling cookies}
{all done!}

Such a nice looking cookie! 

Visit Janet here for the recipe!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

bake 52: week 25-- Southern Style Cornbread!

Hello everyone!  I am so excited to be hosting bake52 again this week.  

As I was looking over the recipes in our book, one stuck out to me: Southern-Style Cornbread!  I was born in south Georgia and all of my family, with the exception of my parents, still live down there.  Ryan and I have lived in Utah and Arkansas during our married life and are settled down back in Utah.  I do love the south, though-- especially the FOOD!  :)  My parents will be retiring in a few years and moving back to Georgia, and at that point we will be the only ones in my family who don't live in there.   I am sure I will find lots of reasons to make cornbread and pretend like we are in the south!  

I love cornbread, and am so surprised every time I order it here in Utah-- it is served sweet and with a heavy dose of flour in it, making it resemble more of a cake than what I was used to being called cornbread!  It's fun to me to see how different regions seem to interpret a recipe.  I prefer a savory cornbread to a sweet one.  

I saw this recipe didn't have flour or sugar in it, and got excited.  I was hoping this would be more like real, savory, southern cornbread, and I was excited to find out!  

Here are the ingredients assembled:  

  You get your skillet warming in the oven and toast the yellow cornmeal on a baking sheet:

 Then you soak the toasted cornmeal in buttermilk:

 And add oil to your frying pan until it starts to smoke:

 At that point, you add your butter to the hot oil until it is melted.

I have to tell you-- while this was going on, my ten year old had some of the neighborhood boys over, and they were eating pie at the kitchen bar while I was doing this step.  One of the boys remarked, "I don't think I've ever seen my mom fry butter before!"  Which really cracked me up.  So excited to go down in neighborhood history as the crazy lady who fries butter!!  Ben went on to explain that I was in a baking group for really good bakers that his aunt put together and we test recipes for new cookbooks.  {Ha- did you know that was what you were up to, ladies??}  He then said the group was called Bake51.  I told him it was actually Bake52, and the boys all laughed like that was the funniest thing ever.  I guess it sounded really random to them and so they made up other names we could use for our group- my favorite was Moms96a.  Apparently, the ten year old male crowd is baffled by what we are working on this year!!  :)

Anyway, you fry up your butter:  ;)

 Whisk it into the cornmeal mixture with the rest of your dry ingredients and two eggs:

 And transfer it back into your frying pan:

 Bake it in the oven:

 AND ta-da!  You have cornbread.

 Cool in the skillet, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

In the end, it wasn't quite the recipe I've been looking for.  The Georgia cornbread I love is a bit moister and slightly more salty.  I love how darn cute it is in the frying pan, though, so I think I will tinker with this recipe and see if I can find just what I'm looking for.  It shouldn't be hard to make it saltier-- what are your recommendations for making it a bit moister?  

Here is the recipe!  Thanks for participating and I hope you enjoyed this week!!


Both stone and fine ground cornmeal will work fine in this recipe.  We prefer to use a cast-iron skillet here because it makes the best crust; however, any heavy 10-inch ovenproof skillet will work fine.

2 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 chunks
 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

1. Adjust the oven racks to the lower-middle and middle positions and heat the over to 450 degrees. Place a 10 inch cast iron skillet on the middle rack and heat for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, spread the cornmeal over a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven on the lower-middle rack until fragrant and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.

2. Carefully transfer the toasted cornmeal to a large bowl and whisk in the buttermilk; set aside.  When the skillet is hot, add the oil and return it to the oven until just smoking, about 5 minutes.

3. Remove the hot skillet from the oven, carefully add the butter, and gently swirl to incorporate.  Pour all but 1 tablespoon of the hot oil butter into the cornmeal mixture, and whisk to incorporate.  Whisk in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt, followed by the eggs.

4. Quickly scrape the batter into the hot skillet.  Bake the cornbread until the top begins to crack and the sides are golden brown, 12 to 16 minutes, rotating the bread halfway through baking.  Let the bread cool in the skillet for 5 minutes, then gently flip out onto a wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

bake52: week 24-- Cinnamon Swirl Bread!

First of all, I want to start this off with a big apology for scaring everyone yesterday over on the bake52 facebook page.  I am EXTRA ready to host next week!!  Sorry for jumping the gun and thinking that I was hosting this week and letting everyone panic that they had made the wrong thing!  Seriously.  Natural blonde over here.  {well, mostly natural these days!!}  :)  Sorry Bekah, I wasn't trying to skip your fabulous week. Well, maybe I was, but not intentionally!  :)  

I got to work about 7 pm last night on my bread and was so lucky that this wasn't a recipe that spanned days to complete!!  I guess if I was going to get my weeks mixed up this was a great week to do it!  

Cinnamon mixture assembled.  Eggs and milks whisked.  

Flour going in the mixer, adding liquids.  I doubled the recipe to have some extra to give away.  I knew from the start this was going to be yummy!! :) 

 You let your assembled dough rise, the roll it out.  Add cinnamon, roll up, and let rise again.

 This smells AA-MAY-ZING baking last night!!  My ten year old wouldn't go to bed, he was too excited and wanted a bite so badly!  It was cute.  The loaf for us was devoured this morning before I got a picture, but here are the mini loaves I made to give away:

This bread was such a great pick.  It is one I will definitely be making again and again!  I think my favorite thing about it was that the cinnamon was not like cinnamon roll flavor {although I do love that, too!}  It was yummy cinnamon bear like cinnamon flavor.  So delish and almost a touch spicy.  Thanks for hosting, Bekah!  You can visit her here for the recipe.