Tag Archives: lemons

Chicken Piccata

chicken piccata

My guess is that Chicken Piccata comes from the Southern regions of Italy. Lemons and meat sounds an awful lot like a Greek tradition, and where did the Greeks have a great amount of influence in Italy? That’d be the southern parts.

This is an easily made dish, and takes nearly no time to set up.

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 Chicken Breasts, manually tenderized (i.e. by smacking it with a mallet until flatten)
  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Juice from one Lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees F. Place a baking dish of some sort within the oven.

Place a large skillet over medium – medium/high heat. Add the olive oil and butter, allowing them to swirl together.

Lightly coat each chicken breast with flour and place into the heated oil. Cook from 4-5 minutes on each side. Place the cooked chicken fillet in the baking dish in the oven.

Remove all but one tablespoon of any left over oil/fat within the skillet. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil. Add the lemon juice and the capers. Boil the sauce until it’s approximately 1/3rd it’s initial volume. Remove from heat and immediately add the butter and whisk in.

Serve the chicken breasts and top with the sauce.

Serves 4

Technorati Tags: Recipes, Chicken+Piccata


Citrus Fruit Biology

Before delving (yes, it’s a word)too far into the world of Citrus, it’s probably a good idea to get basic biology of the fruit down pat, and then turn it into food terms so that the differences in the fruits can be discerned.

First things first however. Citrus fruits actually have their own special name – hesperidium. It means “berry with a leathery rind”. So now we have another euphamism for naughty male bits, as in “Nigel, if your going to play rugby, it’s best to protect your hesperidiums.” Let’s see if we can get the young folks to work that into their vernacular, shall we?

Generally speaking, a citrus fruit has 6 components that comprise the fruit. They are:

  • Exocarp: aka the Flavedo. This is what we foodies consider the zest of the fruit. Other people consider it the outside part of the skin. It’s the part of the fruit that is colored and fair amount of oils that taste great.
  • Mesocarp: aka the Albedo, or the white, inner part of the skin, usually an off white color and differing thickness depending on the fruit. This section, although edible, is quite bitter and is best left alone.
  • Endocarp: The Juice ventricles found within each slice of citrus. It’s the tasty bit that has the juice. A juice that coincidentally has a fair amount of citric acid. Funny how that worked out, huh?
  • Septum: The skin that surrounds the Endocarp, that in turn creats the fruit segments.
  • Seeds: The..uh…seeds. The hard things which we spit out or de-seed.
  • Central Axis: aka “The Pith” or “That long stringy thing in the middle of the fruit that’s terribly easy to pull out of a tangerine, but darn near impossible to pull out in a lemon”.

With this knowledge, we can move on to more specific fruits. Hooray!

Technorati Tags: Food, Citrus Fruits, Biology


Citrus

Citrus fruits have been domesticated by humans since at least 4000 BC.

As opening lines go, the above isn’t really a catchy one, but it is the truth. As I’ve company visiting me this week, catchy will have to take a back seat for a while.

“Citrus” is a common term, covering a vast array for plants in the family Rutaceae. The weird thing is, the citrus you and I know today, probably didn’t exist back in the day. For example – The Navel orange was a bud sport from an orange in Bahia, Brazil, which was introduced into southern California in 1871. In 1913, the pink grapefruit cultivar was discovered. The Blood Orange has come onto the scene only within the past 100 years. The citrus fruits that most of us take for granted are simply decendants of a very few select fruits.

The best information we have indicates that the following were most likely the first citrus fruits that humans had domesticated:

  • Citrus maxima, aka the pummelo (Malaysia)
  • Citrus medica, aka the citron (India)
  • Citrus reticulata, aka the mandarin (China)

I’ll over more of these details soon enough. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be covering and researching the citrus fruits. Recipes and tips and hints and other such stuff will be (ahem) on the menu.

Technorati Tags: Food, Citrus


Cozze al Limone – Mussels and Lemon

Cozze al Limone

The first official Sicilian recipe on this site is perhaps the easiest…Lemon and mussels.

I think I’m in love with this dish. Firstly, I’m already well acquainted with mussels, as there’s a fair amount available right here in the Puget Sound area.

Secondly, this is one of those dishes that take absolutely no time to make. On a busy day, this is a perfect dish to finish off the evening.

Quick note: You want to bring out your higher quality olive oil, as it plays an integral part in the flavors.

  • 2 lbs fresh mussels
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Steam your mussels over boiling water. As they start to open, whisk together in a small bowl the juice of the lemon, the olive oil, salt, pepper and the parsley.

When the mussels are cooked, remove the top part of the shell and place on a plate. Drizzle the lemon/olive oil over top.

Serves 6

Technorati Tags: food, recipes, mussels, Italian Food, seafood


Chicken in Cucumber & Lemon Sauce

Chicken in Cucumber & Lemon Sauce

For the last Cucumber recipe, I’m making a sauce. This should be no surprise, as cucumbers lend themselves quite well to sauces.

What is a surprise is the fact that the cucumbers are cooked and provide a bit of zucchini-like texture to the dish. The sauce ends up being quite good. I’m my life span, I do believe this is the first time that I’ve ever cooked cucumbers.

If you can cook a really moist chicken breast, then you’re going to do well on this dish. There’s no secrets to making this dish aside from following the instructions below.

  • 2 1/2 large cucumbers, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 7 tablespoons butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts.
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dill, chopped

Place cucumbers in colander ar a strainer. Sprinkle with salt, toss, and let drain 1 hr.

After one hour, place cucumbers on paper towels and pat dry.

In heavy largeg skilet over medium heat melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add cucumbers and saute until light brown, about 7 min. Set aside.

In small cup, mix 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 tablespoon of soft butter to smooth paste. Set aside.

Place 1/2 cup of flour in shallow baking dish with pepper and season with salt. Coat chicken with flour and shake off any excess. Set aside.

Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter with olive oil in another heavy large skillet over high heat. Add chicken and saute until brown, turning over after cooking about 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock and reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through (about 4 minutes). Transfer chicken to platter.

Add remaining 1/2 cup stock to skillet. Add flour and butter paste and stir win well. Increase heat to high and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 3 minutes). Add cream & bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened to sauce consistency (about 2 minutes), stirring frequently. Stir in lemon juice and 1 tablespoon dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add chicken and cucumbers to sauce, heat through. Transfer to plates. Spoon sauce & cucumbers over chicken. Sprinkle with dill.

Serves 6