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Easing into Autumn {CtBF} #EverydayDorie

 

Fall is settling in. Along with cooler weather, an urge to cook more hearty meals accompanies the seasonal change. Summer’s been all about grilling and salads, raw vegetable plates and tomato tarts of all shapes and sizes. Cooler nights are getting me in the mood for pots of soup, baked potatoes, winter squash, and Brussels sprouts.

This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays , Chicken and Salad Milanese Style from Everyday Dorie, is the perfect transitional dish. Chicken breasts are pounded into thin cutlets, breaded and pan-fried. The chicken is served topped with a zesty salad with a lemony dressing. Delicious! And simple too!

What’s the deal with chickens these days? The recipe calls for 4-5-ounce breasts. That’s skinless and boneless already. I bought a package of the smallest looking breasts I could find. Three skinless and boneless breasts weighed in at 1.75 pounds. That’s over half a pound each, nearly double. I solved the problem by cutting each one in half crosswise before pounding, but I also sympathized with the chicken carrying all that extra weight.

I haven’t pounded meat into cutlets in a while and was a little overzealous. Dorie said that at the restaurant where she orders a similar dish, the chicken is pounded as thin as a record (remember vinyl?) so I didn’t hold back. Unfortunately. a few pieces were so thin that when I tried to peel them off the parchment, the meat shredded. Oops!

The cutlets were double-breaded and then set on a rack to dry for an hour or so until it was time to make dinner. In the meantime, there’s time to whip up a salad. When I was ready to eat, it only took a few minutes on each side to panfry the cutlets. Hot chicken was topped with salad.

I am happy to be reminded that chicken cutlets are easy and fast to make. So many other toppings would work as a change from salad for a versatile weeknight meal.

I also made Dorie’s Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies a few weeks back. Mixed results on the cookies. The batter was so easy to stir together because it uses melted butter instead of solid sticks. I cut back a bit on the chocolate, using about three-quarters of the amount. It was looking like the volume of chocolate would be equal to the remaining ingredients, so I stopped chopping. As it turned out, Howard thought they weren’t chocolatey enough. The cookies were also HUGE, much more like the size you buy in a bakery than the size I would make at home.

 

As recommended, I chilled the dough overnight. I baked two trays of cookies at the same time. It was interesting that pan on the upper shelf didn’t spread nearly as much as the one on the bottom. I preferred the ones that didn’t spread as much, so I’d suggest baking just one pan at a time, on the upper shelf.

Overall, I liked these cookies well enough. The addition of oatmeal made for a chewier texture and slightly nutty flavor. It’s only fair to tell you that chocolate chip cookies aren’t my #1 favorite type of cookie. I hope you’ll still be my friend.

Both recipes are worth trying out. They are found in Everyday Dorie: chicken on page 109 and chocolate chip cookies on page 246.

You can find my friends’ reviews at Cook the Book Fridays. : chicken here and cookies here.

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends and Happy Indigenous People Day to the American ones.

The Final Recipe {CtBF}

Oh My! The journey started in February 2016 has come to an end. For the past three-plus years, I’ve been cooking my way through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen with my friends from Cook the Book Fridays. Though I have virtually disappeared since April, this week the group is cooking the FINAL recipe in the book, the cover recipe, so I had to join in.

Fortunately, this recipe is really easy and quite delicious. You start out cooking some bacon, then sauté onions in the bacon fat. Then, you brown chicken thighs which have been coated in Dijon mustard. Everything is mixed into some white wine, simmering until the chicken is cooked through. The final touch is stirring in more mustard, both Dijon and seeded, and some crème fraiche to make a creamy sauce.

This week has been hot, so I didn’t have patience to make the recommended homemade herbed pasta to go with the chicken. Wide egg noodles were a good stand-in.

While Chicken in Mustard isn’t a “height-of-summer” recipe, it is definitely a winner. It made a wonderful weeknight meal, but it’s company worthy too.

As I reflect on the journey of cooking through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, the list of recipes (or their components) that have become part of my standard repertoire come to mind. Here are my top 5 (in no particular order):

  1. The roasted cherry tomatoes from the Cherry Tomato Crostini – These are a summer favorite, and when the cherry tomato crop seems overwhelming, I make this and freeze it for a breath of summer when the weather turns.
  2. Green Beans with Snail Butter – The garlicky sauce is one of my favorite ways to dress up green beans (second only to the Green Beans Amandine from fellow CtBF blogger Mardi Michels’s wonderful book In the French Kitchen with Kids).
  3. Apricot crumble tart – The crust and crumble combination works just as well with other summer fruits like peaches or nectarines.
  4. Raw vegetable slaw with creamy garlic dressing which I particularly like with kohlrabi.
  5. Multigrain bread – I’ve incorporated David’s crunch mixture into my own version of sourdough multi-grain.

I also enjoyed the company along the ride. I’ve been cooking with many of the home cooks in Cook the Book Fridays for almost a decade when we met through French Fridays with Dorie in 2010. I continue to enjoy the friendships through the internet and in-person connections.

This isn’t the end for Cook the Book Fridays! Or, for me, My Paris Kitchen. I still have a handful of recipes that I haven’t made yet. I intend to finish those off. And the group will continue with Dorie Greenspan’s newest book Everyday Dorie, which we started when it came out last October. From here on out, it’ll be two Dorie recipes a month. And I’ll try to stay on track.

Until then….