Recession Chic

a down economy does not = ugly shoes

Chicken (two ways) with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Couscous November 11, 2010

Filed under: The Meat Apprentice — karakrautter @ 5:29 PM
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Ok, so chicken two ways may be a little deceptive, but it seemed like the best way to describe how I fix a vegetarian/omnivore-friendly dinner. However, the meat was not the inspiration behind dinner the other night — the brussels sprouts were. Just like a really fabulous pair of shoes often inspires a great outfit, I believe a memorable meal can arise from a great veggie idea.

I love brussels sprouts, seriously. Hands down, they are my favorite vegetable. I never had them growing up since my Dad isn’t a fan, but at some point in college I came across the veggie in the freezer section and my life forever changed. Funny enough, I’ve discovered that a lot of people my age really like brussels sprouts and they seem to appear on menus more often.

My favorite way to prepare, and the easiest way in my opinion, brussels sprouts is by roasting them. I found a great recipe for roasted brussels sprouts with caramelized onions and went to town building out the rest of the meal.

Here are some tips for making some amazing roasted brussels sprouts:

  • Half the sprouts and be generous with olive oil and salt and pepper. They can be really bland (like cabbage), so be sure and season well.
  • Throw in some scallions or onions to add some more flavor.
  • Roast in stages, and add a little more oil each round. The first round, bake them for 15 min. with just the olive oil and salt and pepper. Second round, flip the sprouts and add the scallions, baked for 10 min. Last round, sprinkle a little brown sugar and vermouth, bake for 7-10 min.
  • That’s right, use vermouth. Great advice from Cooking Light to add a little herbiness and brightness.

Since the oven would already be on, I decided to bake a chicken breast and a chik’n cutlet with a little lemon pepper seasoning and olive oil. For the starch, couscous with toasted pine nuts and parmesan to round out the rustic plate.

Lucky for me, my meat-eating dinner companion also has an unnatural love for brussels sprouts and could appreciate the inspiration behind the meal.

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The Meat Apprentice: Fixing Basic Chicken January 20, 2010

Filed under: The Meat Apprentice — karakrautter @ 1:09 PM
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It has been years since I’ve eaten meat, let alone cooked it. But,¬† as I mentioned earlier, I think that a basic knowledge of how to prepare meat will be helpful in the long run. *I’d rather not force a diet upon small children that will make them an easy target for ridicule in the cafeteria.*

So, last Friday night I took a leap and cooked a chicken breast. Since I knew I had (and liked) Quorn’s Chik’n cutlets, I tried to find a simple recipe that could work for both chicken and chicken-like proteins. A simple saut√© with garlic and white wine sounded like the best option, and it would go well with the two sides I already picked for the meal (broccolini with tomatoes and garlic and smashed potatoes with goat cheese and chives).

I was a little anxious going up to the meat counter at Central Market. Most of the time I just bypass it on the way to wine and cheese or see the line of customers while I quickly get some seafood. The line of people was a bit long, but the butcher’s reaction to my request for just one-half of a chicken breast when everyone before me was asking for pounds of veal, steaks and whole chickens.

Back home in my kitchen, I had a great time putting everything together and was most nervous about not cooking the chicken completely. Thankfully, all turned out well. My dinner partner loved the chicken, and my Chik’n was really good with a similar preparation.

Mission Chicken: Accomplished

Check out the photos from the meal: