Meat and Potatoes

19 Aug

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Meat and Potatoes
649 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
http://meatandpotatoespgh.com/index.html

A few months ago (yes, months….I am trying to reawaken my blogginess so I will be blogging retrospectively for a few posts) Mo and I were invited to dinner with another couple to Meat and Potatoes. We consider this couple to be great friends of ours. Since they are from the area and have lived here for a while, we also love having their recommendations for bars and eateries around town, they have great taste. Prior to going to Meat and Potatoes (M&P), I only knew of its existence in downtown Pittsburgh passing it while walking to various festivals at the point. I also had it on the radar for a potential brunch spot, Morgan loves brunch.

This night at M&P we had reservations for dinner. It was late in the spring and still cool so the porch was not open but I am told the porch is an excellent spot during warmer evenings. The dining room itself is small.  Tables for smaller parties circle the large bar in the center of the room.  I think a space by the kitchen exists for larger parties. Walking into the restaurant I felt as though I was back in Atlanta at a hip, gastropub. There is a low, rumble of the conversations in the small space but its not too loud. Vintage Edison style light bulbs give a soft glow in the dimly lit dining room. Chalkboard diagrams of beef cattle indicating the location of various cuts of meat on the animal and announcements of daily specials adorn the walls. The hip feel is gallery_interior8very laid back and grown-up, perfect for young professionals looking for a chill spot for a drink or for a small group of friends looking to share a delicious meal.

Now that we are seated, I must say there are definitely a few things that stood out from my experience. First, the drink menu or the “libations” menu as M&P has entitled matches the theme and decor of the restaurant perfectly. One will quickly notice a modern take on vintage themed cocktails that make you feel as though you are living during the prohibition era. A Sgt. Pepper’s Old Fashion or a Glenshaw Sour make you want to go see if there is a bathtub full of mash or a still out back. Not only that, they serve a huge selection of familiar and craft beers in a can (something even I felt dirty comprehending) complete with a M&P koozie should you wish to pay a little extra. They also offer two options of absinthe for those really looking to drink a vintage, mystical beverage. I had a draft beer and a cocktail; however, I regret not taking the absinthe route.

The other thing that stood out was that Meat and Potatoes is definitely an adequate name for the establishment, its not just Beef and Potatoes. Chef Richard Deshantz is really highlighting a variety of meats-beef, lamb, duck, chicken, and fish. Whats more, he is highlighting cuts of beef that you may be quite unfamiliar such as chicken liver, pate, sweetbreads, and, my new favorite, bone marrow. If you don’t go to M&P for anything else, go to have the experience of the bone marrow appetizer. There is nothing more primitive than literally scooping cooked marrow from the bones of cattle. Once referred to as “God’s butter” this natural substance is very fatty and quite flavorless. The dish is served with salt, red onions, capers to help season the marrow on fresh, crusty bread. It has a very buttery mouth feel and when properly seasoned is surprisingly yummy. You just have to get past the visual of spreading holding a bone in one hand and spreading the marrow onto the bread with another. Definitely worth the try!

For the main dish, I had the Wagyu Flat Iron steak. Others had the pasta bolognese and the lamb burger. We all agreed, my dish was the best. The whole preparation, the cook, and the seasoning was something to be remembered. The wasabi mash potatoes on the side are amazing. I thought they would be really spicy, not at all just a great, rich flavor.

I do want to go back to try the ribeye for two and to try the brunch. So next time you need a great dining experience, give Meat and Potatoes a try.

Meat & Potatoes on Urbanspoon

Three Ways To Enjoy Bread

19 Aug

rtw0004:

Need to get back to posting again.

Originally posted on New-burghers Food Blog:

I love bread! I don’t discriminate, I love just about every kind of bread. Wheat, Italian, ciabatta, cinnamon raisin, banana, bagels, croissants, sourdough, rye, pumpernickel, rolls, buns, Hawaiian, doughnuts, pizza…pretty much if it has some combination of flour, water, salt, sometimes yeast then I will probably love it. A little over a year ago an awesome friend of ours Alex made us homemade buns and breads while we were at his house. Since I enjoy cooking it was no surprise that Alex’s delicious hamburger buns inspired me to go home and begin making my own breads. Though I am no expert, I am always trying different ways of using bread at home. Everything from basic white loaves to pizza doughs to desserts. This weekend was no exception. Per usual, I was feeling a burning in my culinary bosom. We had a colleague over Friday night and I wanted to do…

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Three Ways To Enjoy Bread

20 Aug

I love bread! I don’t discriminate, I love just about every kind of bread. Wheat, Italian, ciabatta, cinnamon raisin, banana, bagels, croissants, sourdough, rye, pumpernickel, rolls, buns, Hawaiian, doughnuts, pizza…pretty much if it has some combination of flour, water, salt, sometimes yeast then I will probably love it. A little over a year ago an awesome friend of ours Alex made us homemade buns and breads while we were at his house. Since I enjoy cooking it was no surprise that Alex’s delicious hamburger buns inspired me to go home and begin making my own breads. Though I am no expert, I am always trying different ways of using bread at home. Everything from basic white loaves to pizza doughs to desserts. This weekend was no exception. Per usual, I was feeling a burning in my culinary bosom. We had a colleague over Friday night and I wanted to do something Italian. Saturday we watched an enticing episode on Food Network called The Best Thing I Ever Made and an episode of Guy’s Big Bites. The weekend resulted in a lot of delicious variations in the wonderful world of bread.

Friday night we decided to make an Italian themed dinner for a colleague of mine and her fiancé. We needed to go get ingredients for my homemade pesto and chicken pasta, bruschetta, garlic bread, and homemade cannolis. We decided this was a perfect opportunity to visit Lenoard Labriola’s Italian market. If you are needing ingredients for an Italian dish, this is the place to go. They have every kind of pasta type you could imagine. I did not make bread for this evening because they have fresh loaves of Italian bread that looked irresistible. Oh and by the way you must get some of their imported Pecorino Romano cheese, it is fabulous. The combination of fresh bread and perfectly aged cheese led to amazing bruschetta, which was made by brushing small slices of the bread with olive oil and lightly toasting them under the broiler. After the toasting I rubbed each piece with a fresh sliced clove of garlic, which add the perfect spice to the bread. Each slice was topped with fresh diced Roma tomatoes and fresh chopped basil. It was finished with a llight dusting of the imported cheese. The four of us ate the entire plate (before dinner).

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Saturday morning we woke up and caught the end of the show The Best Thing I Ever Made (this show is guaranteed to make you hungry) and saw the chefs making from scratch, Dulce de Leche churro tots. These deep fried morsels of goodness are covered in cinnamon/sugar and are served with homemade Dulce de Leche. You need to take the time to try these stat!

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The highlight of this dish is the homemade Dulce de Leche. The downside of this dish is the homemade Dulce de Leche. Homemade Dulce de Leche is super yummy-its buttery, creamy, sugary; however, it requires a lot of elbow grease. To make Dulce de Leche you have to stir sugar, milk, and baking soda, ALOT! It took over an hour for our ingredients to caramelize, Morgan and I did the stirring in shifts. The downside was that our shoulders were sore the next day; the upside is that we burned enough calories for at least one of the many churros we ate (The recipe is loaded with sugar and butter). I recommend saving the stirring for your teenage son or daughter if they have upset you that day-an effective punishment with a delicious outcome. Let me caution you that when the Dulce de Leche is made, you will want to eat it with a spoon-do so in moderation less you want to nap for the rest of the week. I decided to also make a semi-sweet chocolate ganache (made by melting chocolate with cream that is brought to a boil) to go with the dessert. Also, unless you are making these treats for a small army, you may want to cut the recipe in half. We made roughly 3 dozen churros, many of which had to be thrown out. They lose their crispy goodness after a few days, though they do reheat fairly well. We also had plenty of Dulce de Leche leftover so Morgan made chocolate chip caramel cookies tonight.

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Pre-Dulce de Leche

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Post-Dulce de Leche (1 hour 15 minutes later of non-stop stirring)

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Yes that is butter, yes that is almost two sticks, no its not good for you. ( worry about that tomorrow).

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The dough is made by cooking the flour with melted butter and brown sugar. You will want to eat it but just wait it gets better.

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Notice the difficult finger dropping technique (its French).

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By Sunday we had topped bread, fried and dipped bread–so I guess all that was left was to stuff bread. I am big fan of Guy Fieri and he has an excellent Stromboli recipe that I wanted to try. The dough is very basic and easy to make just give yourself enough time to let it rise. I varied the recipe just a bit. I decided to use pepperoni, salami, and deli ham as the meats. For the cheeses I decided on mozzarella and Amish pepper cheese in lieu of pepper jack. The Amish pepper cheese is similar (Though I think its a little hotter). Its made with a white cheddar instead of Monterey jack, which gave the sandwich a really nice creaminess and a bit of spice.
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I also added a tad bit more basil and a bit of sugar to the marinara sauce, which is very easy to make. The marinara is great left over for other dishes like pasta for lunch the next day.

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A word of caution, the pepperoni is an oily meat. When baking the Stromboli the oil has a tendency to leak from the bread and can make the oven smokey. Or in my situation, it can make the smoke alarm go off. Luckily, the taste of the the Stromboli was not effected by this small mishap. I blame myself for overstuffing the Stromboli, but hey who doesn’t love meat and melted cheese? The Stromboli reheats very nicely and is a wonderful dish to add to the rotation.

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Cutest sou chef ever! Everyone gets involved when making delicious food.

I hope you are now very hungry, so go and indulge in the carby goodness that is bread, Atkins is overrated!

Oakmont Bakery

25 Jul
The Oakmont Bakery
531 Allegheny Avenue
Oakmont, PA 15139
http://www.oakmontbakery.com
 

As some of you know, I am a podcast junkie. I love all kinds of podcasts. I have been known to use some fun fact or interesting bit of information as an illustration in my classes. I could go on and on about all the different podcasts that I love such as This American Life or Stuff You Should Know. The other day I was listening to a very interesting story on Freakonomics about social psychology and the power of social influence. They had a professor from the University of Arizona explaining how individuals are more likely to engage in a particular behavior if they think that others are engaging in that behavior. To me this makes sense. When we don’t know how to do something the first thing we often do is look around to see what others are doing. What is interesting is that we often don’t like to admit that we are influenced by what others are doing. I think some of this has to do with our culture and how we are raised. We get early messages that tell us to stand strong against peer pressure. We have all had our mom use the question, “if all of your friends jump off of a bridge would you jump too?”, as a response for not letting you go out with your friends when you were younger. Now sometimes this is a protective response to prevent you from getting in trouble; however, there are times when doing what everyone else is doing is exactly what you need to be doing–and there are a lot of people frequenting the Oakmont Bakery. For those in Pittsburgh I am very confident that you have heard of this Mecca of treats. If you have not made the trek to The Bakery you should go, seriously stop reading this and go…now!

When you arrive there is high likelihood that you will have trouble finding a place to park, especially if you go on a Saturday morning. There is a reason that everyone is venturing to this northeastern Pittsburgh ‘burb….it’s freakin awesome. The crowds alone attest for this. Don’t let them deter you from waiting. The staff at The Oakmont Bakery are used to its popularity and move through the customers very quickly…just make sure you grab a number.

When you walk in The Oakmont Bakery you will immediately be taken back by its size. It is the largest bakery in which I have ever been. As you approach the glass cases your mouth starts to water as you see every baked treat you could possibly imagine waiting for you to make a decision as to which you will eat at this particular visit. The 2010 Retail Bakery of the Year has an amazing assortments of breads, cakes, cookies, pies, cupcakes, cake rolls, doughnuts, croissants, sandwiches, coffee/espresso, cup cakes, cheesecakes and more. It’s dessert heaven! Let me recommend one of their cupcakes and thumbprint cookie to start you off. I have already been here a few times and I cant get enough. The first time we went I got the red velvet cupcake, a fruit tart, and a chocolate thumbprint cookie. Another time we tried the carrot cake cupcake, I love carrot cake, and the Oakmonter cupcake. The carrot cake was good not too sweet topped with a cream cheese icing. The Oakmonter is a variation of a cupcake that I would recommend on your next visit. Its cheesecake, topped with chocolate ganache, topped with a brownie, topped with chocolate frosting. Super rich but so yummy! Most of their cupcakes have a bit of icing in the middle of the cake for a nice extra sweet surprise. We usually get a cinnamon doughnut hole for Gray each visit for a nice sized, easy to eat treat for him. In our most recent visit we decided to have a go at the sandwiches. I got the chicken sandwich on ciabatta and Morgan got the chicken salad on their croissant. We also got a cup of their wedding soup. Every sandwich comes with chips and your choice of a cookie. I got the iced sugar cookie, it was of course wonderful. The bread on both sandwiches was great. I think we both loved the chicken salad on the croissant the best. The croissant was so light and buttery (sorry we ate it before we could get a picture). The chicken on my sandwich was just ok. The soup was really good and satisfying.

I still plan on going back to continue trying all the deliciousness that is at your disposal inside The Oakmont Bakery. So when your mom asks “if all your friends gained 5 lbs eating at The Oakmont Bakery would you?” Answer with a resounding yes because sometimes it is great to be socially influenced.

Oakmont Bakery on Urbanspoon

Square Cafe

16 Jul
Square Cafe
1137 S. Braddock Ave.
Regent Square
http://www.square-cafe.com
 

So I got called a hipster the other day by someone outside of my family. My wife and my brother often call me a hipster ever since getting my sweet, new glasses from Warby Parker. Now, I have no problems being called a hipster because there is nothing wrong with being seen as stylish, cool, and trendy. Besides I think they are just jealous.

Now whether or not you think I am a hipster is irrelevant to that fact that I do enjoy eating like a hipster at fresh, trendy, cool restaurants. That is exactly how I would describe Square Cafe in Regent Square. Serving breakfast all day, this restaurant is a great place to go with a co-worker , friend, or significant other.The staff at Square Cafe is super friendly and they all seem super hip. I was contemplating getting a tat just watching them. We went on a Sunday morning and the place was bustling with local residents. Everyone was greeting each other and saying hello as if this was a usual gathering of neighbors. It felt as though family members were congregating to celebrate life.  What I love about this place is that you have the option to eat out side on the beautiful tree lined sidewalk watching the locals pass by on Braddock Ave. If the weather is icky and muggy as it was during my most recent visit then you can eat inside the restraint amidst bright colors and featured, local artwork. I love the irony that was used in decorating the restaurant. Bright circles explode from every corner of the room to remind you that the Square Cafe is anything but square. Yet they do not totally neglect their trendy name by serving your hot cup of coffee in a square mug. The restaurant seems to enjoy thinking outside the box from their style of dishware to the items on the menu.  The food at Square Cafe is definitely fresh. The other might we were watching one of those restaurant shows like Kitchen Nightmares were the celebrity chef goes into a struggling restaurant in an attempt to help them not close their doors. Most of the restaurants share a similar story line: poorly decorated restaurant run by a dysfunctional family (aren’t we all) that microwaves everything. What is so fascinating to me is how often the owners need convincing that microwaved Salmon is not what diners want. I mean to me this is obvious. “Hey, no one likes our food.” ” Do you think it’s because we nuke everything from being frozen.” “No people are just stupid and don’t know fine dining.” But you see when I bit into my breakfast burrito covered in some of the most delicious salsa I have ever tasted, I looked at Morgan and said, “You can definitely tell when a restaurant uses fresh ingredients.”  The breakfast burrito was huge stuffed with egg, Amish cheddar cheese, and sausage. You can tell the vegetables are fresh. The burrito was satisfying but it was not greasy as you might expect. And lets revisit this salsa. Yum! Give me a straw and I could drink this. It was so bright and full of flavor. Apparently it is so good that they sell it by the bottle.

Now the menu includes a huge selection of delicious breakfast items that it was difficult to make a selection on any one thing. Morgan ordered the veggie omelet with breakfast potatoes. The omelet was very tasty and, like the burrito, fresh, giant, and satisfying. However, those potatoes were cooked perfectly. I will go back just to have those crispy and perfectly seasoned nuggets of goodness. There is something about Pittsburgh and their ability to cook fried potatoes. We ordered Gray a buttermilk pancake but I highly recommend their Lemon-Ricotta Pancake, which I had in another visit. So light and bright its a perfect compliment to your meal. They also boast tons of smoothie and latte options to further challenge your ability to make any type of decision, which only means you will have to return to try something new.

Square Cafe is a trendy, hip spot to enjoy a morning breakfast, a weekend brunch, or a casual lunch using fresh ingredients in creative ways. I highly recommend checking out this place. You won’t be ashamed to be called a hipster if you are seen here.

Square Cafe on Urbanspoon

Primanti Brothers

14 Jul
Primanti Bros.
All Over Pittsburgh
Original Location:
46 18th Street (Strip District)
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
primantibros.com

So I am sitting around the other day and I get a text message that simply read “Primanti Bros.” My brother, who is an avid Men’s Health reader, is always looking for an opportunity to share his “manly” knowledge with anyone who will listen. Recently he stumbled upon Men’s Health’s list of America’s Manliest Resturants listing Primanti Bros. on top of the list. So as any good brother would do, he wanted to make sure that I am being true to my manly form and making visits to this restaurant. Now, we have now been in Pittsburgh for 2 months. Interestingly, I have eaten at Primanti Bros. twice. The first time we ate here I had no idea that Primanti Bros. is almost synonymous with Steelers when it comes to things that are Pittsburgh.

When we moved to Pittsburgh we drove our big, yellow, rented moving truck the 800 miles from Alabama to Pennsylvania. Yes, it was a really long drive in a truck! We did it over the course of 2.5 days. Though we love to spend time with our son, it was not a hard decision for my wife and I to allow my mother-in-law to fly our, then, 15 month old son from Atlanta to Pittsburgh. There is something about his car seat that breeds discomfort and whininess. And there was no way we were going to put him in the truck with us. We were towing our only car (I guess we could have put him in tow). Gray is, overall, an adorable, easy-going, happy baby except when he is in the car for more that 30 minutes. After that time he begins to release a gurgling, scream that would be perfect as a non-lethal torture tactic for anti-terroism units. So instead of a 2.5 day drive with us, he got to take a 1 hour flight with gran-gran. The day we picked up my mother-in-law, Susan, and Gray from the airport we drove back to the city to find a place to eat. Having been here only a few days we were lured in by the large, neon sign of a gigantic sandwich that seemed to be overflowing with toppings.  We pull into the parking lot expecting to have a decent sandwich for lunch-we had no idea we were about to be inoculated with Pittsburgh culture. Once we were seated I knew we were in for a treat when the waitress told us that she assumed we were there because they were featured on the television show Man vs. Food. Now for those who are not up-to-date with their culinary television, Man vs. Food is a show where the host Adam Richman travels the country conquering food challenges–usually this consists of him eating something considered so freakin’ hot that you have to sign a waiver and wear latex gloves or eating food that is portioned large enough to feed a small country. He usually identifies and features other unique restaurants in the city where the restaurant at which he is attempting the food challenge is located. In the Pittsburgh episode Primanti Bros is not the challenge but the build-up. I believe the food challenge was at Quaker Steak and Lube, which I have not yet visited (both restaurants have stands at PNC Park). So when our waitress told us that Adam Richman featured this restaurant, I knew I was in for a treat. As you can see in the picture, Primanit Bros. features sandwiches that are massive. They pile two slices of thick white bread with meat, a vinegar based slaw, cheese, and, what else….french fries. Now as I mentioned in my Pittsburgh Surprises post, this town loves its french fries they serve them everywhere and even put them on salads. However, this was my first experience with fries on the sandwich. Its not often when you eat a sandwich and you feel like the master of your domain; but when you wrap your mitts around this meal between two slices of bread you feel powerful! I ordered the pastrami with onions, its a manly meat. Morgan ordered the Pittsburger. Phenomenal! I like to eat and this was a satisfying sandwich. What is even more interesting is that you have the option to add a slice of pizza as a side item for a few bucks. Seriously masculine! A sandwich with tons of meat and french fries and a slice of pizza on the side. Wash that down with an ice cold beer and you feel like a man. There is nothing frilly or fru-fru about this place. So if you are looking to take your testosterone up a notch go to Primanti Bros. and experience food at its manliest.

Mix It, Crank It, Eat It

6 Jul

So we have all been there, laying on the couch one evening watching a stimulating episode of Chopped or Masterchef on the television and you think to yourself, “Hey, that looks easy I can do that!” I think we all have moments of inspiration where we think we are a James Beard award winner or the recipient of a few Michelin stars. I had one such moment this evening. I have been wanting to make homemade pasta for the longest time. So what does any future award winning chef do? Google, “How to make Pasta”. A great, informative website appeared before me, complete with pasta recipes. As I was reading the recipe, I could hear the music from Lady and the Tramp playing in the background.  I knew spaghetti was in my future. After the cannoli from Moio’s this week, I have officially turned our home into Little Italy. Needless to say I began looking for pasta machines. I started by looking for an attachment for our Kitchen Aid stand mixer, which I highly recommend as a kitchen staple for any aspiring chef. After a quick Internet search, I learned that the attachment costs somewhere in the realm of $200. Plan B, go to Target. So Gray and I loaded up the station wagon and headed off to Target (we needed to go to Trader Joe’s anyway so it worked out). We fought through the heat and the traffic only to discover that this Target does not carry pasta machines. They do have a device so that you can make your own soda, though. (Man I have so much to learn as a chef!). We got back into the car to Google search Plan C. I knew there was a William-Sonoma in Shadyside. Well according to their website they sell a nice, pasta machine for approximately $80. Lets consider a Plan D before we jump in with the $80 option. Back to Google (this search engine has saved me thousands in culinary art classes)–Bed, Bath, and Beyond boasts a $37 pasta machine. Plan D it is! I totally will buy generic. Go to BBB, find a coupon for 20% off–Yes! Pasta machine for less that $30. Gourmet and Thrifty! Plus I get to be more intimate with my pasta by utilizing a hand crank system versus the electronic version–quite rustic!

So I will include lots of pictures this post and let you experience a dinner at the New-burgher’s residence. I made a simple chicken parmigiana on top of a homemade spinach spaghetti finished with Trader Joe’s tomato-basil sauce. (I know store bought sauce on homemade pasta–I had to cut a time-corner somewhere).

Spinach Pasta Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 6 oz. Fresh Spinach
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 t extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

Chicken Parmigiana Ingredients:

  • 1 Chicken breast, butterflied and sliced
  • 1 Egg wash (1 egg with a little water, beaten)
  • 1 to 1.5 cups of Italian Bread crumbs
  • Oregano
  • Garlic Salt
  • Clarified butter
  • Mozzarella
  • Trader Joe’s Tomato-basil sauce

So the first thing you want to do is open your pasta machine from the box. Stare at it for a few seconds while the light bounces off the stainless steel and you imagine the throwing down of food in which you are about to partake. Oh yea, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

After you have prepared yourself mentally,  you want to begin to prepare the dough. First, sauté the spinach in a skillet. I cooked mine in a little bit of clarified butter. Now for those who do not know what clarified butter is, its unsalted butter that has the milk fat removed. I do this myself by melting butter in a pan and skimming off the milk fat that floats to the top. The left over golden yellow liquid is phenomenal. I love it because it has a higher burning point than regular butter so it is great for sautéing and browning (amazing sear on chicken) on high heat.  After the spinach sautés, quickly cool it under water and then strain it. I am sure a rice cloth or something similar is great. I cut another corner and used a multi-layer paper towel system. The goal is to get as much of the liquid out prior to putting it in the food processor. Once the spinach is strained put it all in a food processor. Pour in the 2 eggs, the salt, and the olive oil. MIX! Prepare the 2 cups of flour by dumping it on the counter. Make a well in the center of the flour for your spinach mixture. Pour in the wet ingredients until it forms a beautiful, green ball. Now this will take a few minutes. Also, this will get sticky. Flour your hands before diving in. You may want to use a fork at first, then your hands. Also, the dough will feel tougher than bread dough that is ok. Cover the emerald dough ball and let is sit in the fridge for 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting and radiating in all of its greenness, butterfly (a technique where you cut the breast length wise-kind of like an oreo cookie-and stop a few centimeter from going all the way through. This creates a nice heart shape for your chicken) and slice your chicken breast. I have found that when you butterfly you get more portion out of the chicken. This is a way we control our portions at home, yet I get more bites out of the same amount of chicken. I decided to slice the chicken into strips so that it would cook faster and I could eat sooner.

One the chicken is cut, begin to heat a skillet on medium-high heat with 2 T of clarified butter. Prepare the egg wash and the bread crumbs in two separate bowls. Start by dipping each strip in the egg wash and then the bread crumbs. For less of a mess, I use my right hand for egg wash dip. Drop into bread crumb and then use left hand to coat. This way I am not breading my fingers for frying. Once breaded begin placing in the frying pan to get a nice pan sear. You are just wanting to get the crunch. Don’t worry about cooking all the way through, you will finish it off in the oven.

Once you have a nice golden brown crust on each side of the chicken strips, coat the bottom of a small baking dish with a tablespoon of sauce. This will prevent sticking and, I think, drying out. Place the chicken on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with oregano, garlic salt, sauce, and mozzarella cheese (in that order). Place in the over for 10-15 minutes, until chicken is cooked and cheese melted.

Now prepare yourself for fun in the kitchen.

Take your dough out of the refrigerator. Starting with the widest setting on your pasta machine begin rolling out your dough, each time passing it through a thiner setting until you reach the desired consistency. I went all the way to the thinnest setting. Have a knife or rolling cutter on hand because the dough is going to start getting really long. Cut it into segments to ease with the rolling. For those with children, this is a great activity to get them involved in the kitchen. Though Gray is only 16 months, he was still trying to turn the crank. Really all you have to do is turn a crank, so let your little ones have in on the fun. This is a great family activity. Plus, when they eat this delicious spinach pasta they are getting some (not all, but some) of their vegetables. If your child is like mine, he loves carbs and sweets but does not care for vegetables. So I hid it in the carb and, voila!..a small serving of spinach. Once you have rolled your dough, let it rest for a few minutes to dry out a bit so it doesn’t stick. Once rested, it is time to cut. My machine came with a fettucini cut and a spaghetti cut. I went with spaghetti cut.

Now you are going to get something that resembles seaweed or witch’s hair. I recommend cutting the noodles into small sizes. 1) Its easier to handle. 2) It helps with cooking 3) It helps with eating. It can get tough to eat a 3 foot long piece of spaghetti. So use some cooking scissors and cut it down. Place your post in a pot of water that has reached a rolling boil. I seasoned mine with salt and olive oil. Mine cooked in about 2-3 minutes, very fast. Cook what you want. You can refrigerate un-cooked pasta for 3 days (because of the eggs) or you can dry your pasta to resemble the store bought kind and keep it for longer. However, I cooked all of it because I was so excited.

Once the pasta is cooked, plate it with the red sauce for a delicious meal with beautiful colors. Pat yourself on the back and make sure you gloat in your accomplishments. Feel free to present you dinner to your family by listing out all of the ingredients and how it was prepared. That is how you make it sound gourmet. “Tonight we have a butterflied, pan-seared chicken breast parmigiana that is served atop of a homemade spinach pasta that has been cooked al dente. A savory tomato sauce finishes your dish”

Thanks for stopping by for dinner, you can take the leftovers home with you. Please wipe the drool off the screen.

Note: I need to thank Instagram for making my meal look more vintage.

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