Tag Archives: Chicken

When Kidlandia meets Foodlandia – Part 1: Chicken bits and potatoes

Chicken bits with potatoes2 Servings

How do we get our kids to eat right? This is a billion dollar question. Well, let me tell you what I think: the secret lies in the parents’ cooking skills.

When it comes to food, Italian kids belong to a very fortunate category of human beings. I’m not talking about the quality/freshness of the products because it is indisputable that when God created my country, he was in a great mood. 😉 I’m talking about the care and, sometimes, the financial sacrifice with which most Italian families feed their kids.

Food and culinary tradition run in our veins and many Italians pride themselves in educating their kids’ palates pretty much since they can start eating solids so they can have a balanced and healthy diet. After all, we teach them to walk, read, write, function as decent human beings, don’t we? Well, eating is not any different and many Italian families (parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts) dedicate a lot of time to grocery shop and cook meals for their little ones.

Today’s recipe is my aunt Pia’s creation. A while ago, my daughter was making a fuss about eating some grilled chicken breast because, according to “her majesty”, it was too dry notwithstanding the dressing sauce on top of it. Now, I know children loooooove fried chicken and my daughter is not any different, but fried food can be unhealthy in the long run. So my aunt, wearing her superhero apron, came to the rescue and shared the following recipe with me. My daughter loves it and Stefano is always eager to eat any leftover. 🙂

Ingredients:

2 Chicken breasts
2 Tbsp, extravirgin olive oil
4 potatoes
2 cups, broth
salt

Directions:

Cut the chicken breasts and the potatoes into small bits. In a large non-stick skillet, pour the olive oil. Add the chicken bits and cook them, stirring occasionally, until they are seared. Add the potato bits, some salt (to taste) and the broth. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until the broth evaporates and the chicken and potatoes are cooked and moist.

PS: When I happen to cook this dish for grown ups or older kids, I like to add a little twist. When the chicken bits are seared, I pour about 1/3 cup of dry white wine and I keep cooking the bits until the wine completely evaporates. Afterwards, I add the potatoes, the salt and the broth.

PPS: I’m trying to educate my daughter’s palate but… you know the saying “careful what you wish for”? She is becoming my most ferocious food critic, ready to “chop” me for the slightest of mistakes. I think I’m creating a monster!!! 😉

A catering event and Nemo: what more could you ask for?

A client's 50th birthday party catered by Flora's Table

Tomato BruschettaDo you remember Nemo? No, not the adorable clownfish from the famous Disney movie but the major blizzard (with record amount of snowfall) that hit certain areas of the East Coast (including ours!) the second weekend of February?

Well, needless to say, that weekend, we were supposed to cater a dinner party for 22 guests in Fairfield County, Connecticut… The occasion? The 50th birthday of the husband of the hostess. Everything had to be perfect and the planning was going really smoothly until we saw the weather forecast at the beginning of that week. It was national alert all over the news and the governors of the States and the mayors of the towns on Nemo’s way were urging people to get ready to face the storm and, above all, to stay home. Not exactly the ideal situation to host a party…

Penne alla VodkaYou can only imagine all the phone calls, emails, text messages (along with the emotional distress) that my client and I exchanged before, during and after the storm! Many important decisions had to be made in a short timeframe. To make a long story short, willingness and collaboration made it possible to have the party on Sunday night and everybody seemed to have a really great time!

Now that Spring is around the corner (hopefully at least… it’s been such a long and cold winter!) and Nemo is just a memory, I thought I would share with you photographs of some of the food that we served at that birthday party. Of course, these pictures have not been taken during the actual party because it would not have been appropriate for us to take pictures while on a job, but this is some of the food that got served.

Hope you enjoy it as much as our client and her guests did!  🙂

Francesca's Chicken MarsalaFrancesca's Tiramisu

Chicken and Sausage Paella – Recommended Wine Pairing

StefanoA few days ago, Suzanne over at apuginthekitchen (a great food and cooking blog that you should definitely check out if you have not done so already) has been kind enough to ask me to partner with her by contributing a wine pairing that would go well with her delicious chicken and sausage paella recipe that she recently published in her blog: needless to say, I have been excited about Suzanne’s idea and took her up on her offer.

So, here are my wine pairing recommendations for Suzanne’s delicious paella, that you can also find on Suzanne’s blog: the wines that we are going to pick need to have good acidity, a good extent of smoothness, quite intense nose-mouth flavors and decent structure, as in a medium to full bodied wine. The reason why these characteristics (and not others) are desirable to achieve a pleasant food-wine pairing is the result of the application of the wine pairing criteria codified by the Italian Sommellier Association, which I have discussed in a previous post.

Based on the above guidelines, I am going to recommend two wines that I have recently tasted at the Vinitaly/Slow Wine trade fair in New York: they both possess the desired characteristics to be good companions to Suzanne’s paella and they both have particularly impressed me when I tasted them.

Clearly, these two wines are by no means the only ones that go well with Suzanne’s paella! However, on the one hand their descriptions, coupled with the general guidelines provided above, should point you in the right direction should you wish to consider different alternatives and, on the other hand, if you are going to give either or both of these wines a try, they might introduce some of you to two Italian wines that are maybe not so “mainstream” or widely known in the US market and that yet are excellent and showcase the treasure chest of indigenous grape varieties that constitute the backbone of centuries of Italy’s wine culture.

So, let’s now take a look at my tasting notes for the two recommended wines that you may choose to enjoy with Suzanne’s delicious paella dish.

Option 1: Soave Classico, from the Veneto region

Pieropan, Soave Classico “Calvarino” 2010 DOC: a very good Soave made of a blend of 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano di Soave grapes which literally hits you in the nose with an exhuberant minerality and aromas of apple, citrus and white flowers; in the mouth a lively acidity and distinct minerality are balanced by a good extent of smoothness – long finish. ABV: 12.5% VOL. If interested, here is the winery’s technical sheet for this wine. Retails in the US for about $28.

Grape varieties’ quick facts: Garganega is a grape variety that is indigenous to the Veneto region, where it has been cultivated since at least the XIII century. Wines made of Garganega grapes are generally acidic and spicy. For more information about the Trebbiano di Soave grape variety, please scroll down to the quick facts about Verdicchio in option 2 below.

Option 2: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, from the Marche region

Marotti Campi, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico “Salmariano” Riserva 2009 DOC: a very good varietal wine made of 100% Verdicchio grapes, with a nice bouquet of white flowers, peach, citrus and minerals; good acidity and a long finish. ABV: 14% VOL. If interested, here is the winery’s technical sheet for this wine. Retails in the US for about $20.

Grape variety’s quick facts: Verdicchio grapes are also known as Verdicchio Bianco, a grape variety which, although it has been cultivated in the Marche region since the XVI century, was said to originate from Veneto. It is interesting to notice that DNA profiling has confirmed this theory, indicating that Verdicchio as a grape variety is identical to Trebbiano di Soave, a grape variety that is widely planted in Veneto and that we have just come across describing the wine in option 1. Verdicchio wines tend to have marked acidity and good structure.

(Note: information on the grape varieties, cit. Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, HarperCollins 2012).

As always, if you get to try either one of the above wines, let me know how you liked them!