Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cerinthus' Visit-- 10 days in Recipes and Food Commentary

Cerinthus was here for ten days. Ten glorious days filled with love and food. We went out to eat a lot and made a lot of wonderful food over the journey.

Cerinthus arrived on New Year's Eve. Having no real plans, Cerinthus, my parents, and I decided to see if the local Italian place, Oliva's, could squeeze us in for their set dinner. As it turned out, they had space, so we had a wonderful meal with rosemary bread, Caesar salad, gnocchi in a mushroom aurora sauce, and dark chocolate cake. It was wonderful. After walking home, we played poker and watched Ishtar until midnight. It was fabulous.

The next morning, New Year's Day, we made whole wheat, primarily-egg-white French toast. We sliced the toast a little too thick, but other than that, the country-wheat bread held up very nicely and the 3:1 whites to egg combination was fabulous, especially when seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract.

That week, we also went (twice) to my favorite Indian restaurant, the Clay Oven. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere is fairly strange. Looked over by a gigantic black cross-legged statue, the goldenrod and white restaurant plays strange Indian techno music. The food is wonderfully flavorful, and most dishes can be ordered with any degree of spice. Case and point, Cerinthus gets his chicken tikka masala at medium, while I get mine spicy. We also had garlic and paneer naan.

By the recommendation of a friend, we visited the thai place about two blocks away from Indian, called Lanathai. My mom had visited this restaurant 20 years ago, but had never been back. The food we had was magnificent. Cerinthus ordered something called the Sizzling Plate which consisted of red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, chicken, and pineapples in a spicy sweet and sour sauce. He cleaned the plate, saying he could never order anything else from the thai place. I got a nice fried rice (albeit fairly traditional). My mom got a phenomenal dish called cashew chicken which was onions, cashews, dried red peppers. It was shockingly fabulous, espeically because I like the flavor of onions but not large pieces of onion, for the most part.

One the final night that Cerinthus was in town, we decided to make two chicken pasta dishes. They were great if I do say myself. Here are the recipes. Both are modified from recipes I found online.

Chicken Piccata Pasta (1):
Makes about 2 1/2-3 servings

1 chicken breast (pounded to 1/2 inch thick)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
2 1/3 cup of dried wheat fusilli
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice (or preferably fresh-squeezed juice from one large Meyer lemon)
30 (or so) capers
salt (to taste)
white pepper (to taste)
fresh chopped parsley (for garnish)
1-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (preferably freshly grated)

Place the chicken breast between wax paper or something of that type and, using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, pound out the chicken to about 1/2-inch thick.

Mix the flour, salt, and pepper on a plate. Drag the chicken through. Shake off any excess.

Bring pot full of water to a boil and add fusilli. Follow the directions for the pasta.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. When the butter starts to sizzle, start browning the chicken breasts.

When the chicken is browned, remove from the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil from skillet. Add shallots to the skillet and saute for about 1 minute. Meanwhile, if you wish, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Then add the chicken stock, the lemon juice, and the white wine.

Let the sauce simmer and add salt and white pepper to taste, then add the capers. Let reduce for a 3-5 minutes. Add in the pasta and chicken pieces. Mix well. Add in Parmesan and parsley. Stir well and serve hot.

Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo (2)
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt (to taste)
white pepper, freshly ground (to taste)
1 package fettucine, prepared as directed
Chicken (if desired)
Chicken with cajun spices and lime pan-grilled in olive oil and crushed garlic.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. When the butter is melted, add the cream cheese.

When the cream cheese is softened, add Parmesan.

When Parmesan begins to melt, add heavy cream. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Let simmer for 15-20 minutes over medium or medium-low heat.

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir in chicken and fettuccine. Mix well and serve hot.

The last thing I made was for Cerinthus' plane ride home. It was my traditional fried rice that I learned from eating way too much at the thai place up by school.

Sulpicia's Fried Rice
Makes approximately 3 servings

1 cup of dried rice. My suggestion is NOT to rinse it first and to use a mixture white rice, red rice, and brown rice (although any rice should be fine)
2 1/2 cup water
Soy sauce (to taste)
Lime juice (1/2-1 lime, fresh squeezed)
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
pressed garlic (to taste)
1/4 cup egg white
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped
1/8-1/4 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
pressed garlic, to taste
1/2 cup water
Chicken (if desired)
Chicken with cajun spices and lime pan-grilled in olive oil and crushed garlic.

Put rice and water in a pot. Cover on medium heat. Stir and add water as necessary. Rice should be sticky, but not undercooked.

Meanwhile, put 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic in skillet. Heat on medium heat.

When garlic begins to sizzle, add onions. Let heat for 2 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Add broccoli. Then add about a quarter cup of water to help broccoli steam.

When the water has mostly evaporated, add carrots and another 1/4 cup of water.

When that evaporates, add green bell peppers. Stir and heat thoroughly. Pour vegetables in to a bowl.

When rice is finished, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic to the skillet. When garlic begins to sizzle, add the rice.

Add soy sauce and 1/4 lime juice to the rice. Stir. Then add shallots. Stir. (Note: if the rice you are using is not fresh, add in 1/4 cup water to plump the rice and/or tablespoons of water as needed).

Add the vegetables to the rice. Mix well. Add more soy sauce and the remaining lime juice. Mix well. Add chicken (if desired). Mix well. Then stir in egg white (if desired-- can be made without for a vegan dish). When traces of egg white are thoroughly cooked at the bottom of then pan, then the rice is finished. Serve hot.

  1. Modified recipe from
  2. Modified recipe from

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