A Weekend in the Poconos – 03/26/10: Asiago Chicken with Pancetta; Homemade Pizza

This trip to the Poconos was centered around the kitchen and the amazing meals we had planned.  Due to the rain and temperatures hovering in the 30’s we decided to cook entrees that would warm us from the inside out.  On Friday night I decided to cook Asiago Chicken with a side of Chive Polenta, Mushrooms and Onions with Gorgonzola, and Green Beans.

Here are the recipes:

Asiago Chicken

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
4 slices Asiago cheese (1/8″ thick)
1/2 c. dry white wine
4 slices pancetta
olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh thyme or fresh oregano

Mix some salt and pepper (1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper) along with about 1/2 c. of flour in a shallow bowl or plate.  Dredge chicken breasts, shaking off any excess flour.  Place chicken in a hot oven-proof skillet with ~ 1-2 Tbsp olive oil (as needed).  Turn on broiler and move rack to the top shelf.  Cook the chicken until golden brown (3-4 minutes), flip and cook additional 3-4 minutes.  Place 1 slice of cheese followed by 1 slice of pancetta on each chicken breast.  Place in broiler and cook until chicken reaches 160F (~4-5 minutes) and pancetta “crisps”.  Remove chicken from pan and cover with foil.  Add 1/2 of wine and finely chopped herbs to pan, deglaze, and reduce until thickened.  Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

On Saturday night we had some delicious homemade, thin-crust pizzas that Brie made.

The one on the left was a spinach (sautéed with garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and olive oil), oyster mushroom, and gorgonzola pizza.   The gorgonzola melted perfectly and the spinach blend had a lovely taste and texture.  The oyster mushrooms really held up well and were still firm, without a touch of the slipperiness that button mushrooms can have.  The crust had good flavor, and was made with a touch of red wine (thank you Mr. Batali).

The second pizza (on the right) featured roasted red peppers, hot italian sausage (crumbled and cooked beforehand), oyster mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and a homemade red-sauce base. 

Grilling in the Snow – Another Weekend in the Poconos

After four weeks without leaving the city, we were desperate to get out to the Poconos and have a little breathing room.  When we arrived in Long Pond we were shocked to see the amount of snow still on the ground.  There was over 3 feet of snow in many places, with 6′ tall drifts around the house and 10′  tall plowed piles on the sides of the road.  It was insane.

One of the delicious meals we had this weekend was a pesto-stuffed chicken breast recipe that my mom made.  It was served over wild rice and topped with a tomato relish.   With that we had a side of baked butternut squash and roasted asparagus.  We even used the official “Hotel Hübner” plates.  It was a lovely start to a great weekend.

The weather had warmed up significantly by Sunday morning and I was adamant about using the grill for the lunch that we were going to make for our friend Scarlett.  Although I had to shovel a ton (literally) of snow off the deck, it was finally starting to dry in the sun by midday.  The next step was to prepare lunch.  The previous day we had run up to Wegmans and picked up 4 pounds of NY Strip Steak, some bell peppers, gigantic white mushrooms, and some pearl onions with the thought that we could make some kebabs and put them on the grill.  Luckily, the weather had worked out and a bit later we had another fantastic meal.

We weren’t the only ones that were eating well this weekend.  On Friday night we looked out on to the patio and saw this awesome porcupine, dubbed “Prickles” by my parents, munching down on an ear of corn.  The photo isn’t the best, but he’s a cute little bugger:  What a great weekend!

5 Spice Broccoli, Baby Bok Choy and Chicken Stir Fry

The refrigerator is full of delicious organic vegetables from this last weeks D2D delivery and it is about time they get put to use.  I decided to throw together a stir-fry featuring the baby bok choy and broccoli.  Whenever I make stir-fry it is always just thrown together with ingredients on hand.  For this dish, I will write out what I used and how I cooked it.

1 chicken breast, thinly sliced (2 thighs also works, and I think it tastes better, but that’s another story)
2 heads of broccoli, cut into larger bite-size pieces
4 heads of baby bok choy, bottom thick stem parts removed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 zucchini squash (I used sunburst squash this time), chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno (or any hot pepper), finely chopped
~2 TBSP peanut oil
1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
1/2 Tbsp Sriracha Hot Sauce

Step 1:  Stir-fry Round 1
Spread the 5-spice over the thinly sliced chicken and toss with your hands to evenly spread.  Heat Wok on HIGH until water droplet vaporizes when dropped in the middle of the pan.  Add 1/2 TBSP peanut oil (or whatever you like to use), and add thinly sliced chicken.  Cook until just starting to brown (about 2 minutes), moving constantly.  Remove and keep warm.  Add a tablespoon of water to the pan and quickly deglaze, then quickly wipe out to remove any browned bits so you can continue to use the wok for the upcoming steps.

Step 2:  Prepare the garlic.
In a separate small pan, quickly saute the garlic in a small amount of oil until fragrant.  Scrape garlic into a bowl and save for later.

Step 3:  Stir-fry Round 2
Heat wok on HIGH until water vaporizes.  Add 1 TBSP peanut oil and quickly add onion, squash, and jalapeno/hot pepper.  Moving the food constantly, cook until the onion is just opaque, about 4 minutes.  Add sauteed garlic and cook for another minute.  Remove from heat and place in a bowl.  Deglaze pan if needed, or at the very least wipe the wok clean of any debris.

Step 4:   Stir-fry Round 3
Heat wok on HIGH again.  Add 1/2 TBSP peanut oil and then add the broccoli and the bok choy, stirring constantly until the bok choy starts to wilt.  At this point I added a few tablespoons of water to help steam the veggies, covering for a minute, tossing again, and then covering.  Be careful so it doesn’t burn.  Once the broccoli just starts to be tender, reduce the heat to medium, add the onion mix, chicken, Sriracha.  Stir to blend.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice or noodles.  Easy and delicious!

–Broccoli and Bok Choy–

–The Final Product–