Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Posts Tagged ‘Foodblogging’


Posted by Lissa on June 21, 2012

Did you know that “while dicing jalapeños” is a really, really bad time to nick yourself?

You’re welcome.

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Healthier chicken parmesan

Posted by Lissa on June 15, 2012

Chicken parm = YUM. There’s a restaurant in downtown Boston – Papa Razzi – that does absolutely mouthwatering chicken parmesan. They take a huge, flat slab of chicken, bread it, deep-fry it and top it with sauce and cheese. The SIDE for this dish, by the way, is spaghetti with sauce. Yeah.

I’ve been leery of trying my hand at chicken parm because it’s such a classic dish and Mike loves it so much. And I steer clear of deep-frying ANYTHING, because it’s messy and makes very unhealthy delicious food that you eat too much of and then regret. I have a boatload of kitchen equipment (mostly gifts from my wedding registry) and have refused to allow a fryer through the doorway.

So, here’s a healthier way of getting it done. I think of this as

Chicken Parmesan, Piccatta-style*”

Buy a package of the Thin and Fit chicken breasts that are sliced really thin. (They go on sale at Publix buy-one-get-one and I stock up.) You can pound the chicken out yourself but it takes longer and you’re not going to get them as flat without a serious amount of effort.

Salt, pepper and garlic powder each side of each piece of chicken. Dip each side onto a plate of flour, shaking off excess.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook chicken about 3 minutes each side (4-5 minutes for thicker chicken) until golden brown. (This might take two batches; add a little more oil as needed.) Remove chicken from pan and lay out on a cookie sheet (I recommend lining with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easier cleanup).

Top chicken with spaghetti sauce (homemade is best!) and sprinkle thickly with reduced fat cheese – mozzarella or four-cheese Italian blend. (You can add in a bit of real parmesan if you like – I did.) Either stick it under the broiler or bake until the cheese gets bubbly and melty. (You don’t have to be picky here. If you’re messing with other things, bake it at 350 for 10-15 minutes. My oven was already set at 425 for the roasted broccoli*, so it took about seven minutes.)

If you like a moist dish (or your husband was a little late to dinner) I recommend topping with additional sauce (again, homemade is best). Serve hot and enjoy!

*I only recently started doing chicken piccata and this is how you do the chicken part of it. Mike pointed out that it could easily apply to chicken parm, and voile!
**I have completely OD’d on steamed broccoli; I just can’t eat it anymore. So lately I’ve been drizzling it with olive oil, adding salt, pepper and garlic powder and roasting it in the oven at 425 for about twenty minutes. Yum!!!


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Adventures in catering

Posted by Lissa on May 22, 2012

We’re having a small, exclusive investor event this evening at the office. The idea was to invite perhaps a dozen clients or prospects to get a presentation from one of our investment companies. I started inviting people last week and, as of Thursday, had four people confirmed. I told Veep that, as long as there were ten people or less, I’d arrange the hors d’oeuvres myself … he and Big Boss are taking everyone to dinner afterward and it’s hard to find a catering company that will do food for less than 20 people or so. Besides, I *like* appetizers; I always plan too many when I have gatherings and then have to cut down the menu.

So. Four people, plus three at the office, plus the presenter – eight people. No sweat!

Then a few more people responded in the affirmative. So, on Friday, I was up to nine guests plus the four hosts – thirteen. Still not a big deal.

You see where this is going, right?

As of this morning I have fifteen confirmed guests, a sixteenth who will make it if his doctor’s appointment doesn’t run longer than two hours, and us four. So about twenty people where I once planned for eight.

Thank goodness I always make more food than I think people can eat 🙂


What am I serving? I bought a veggie platter to start with. (If it were my money I’d chop the celery, cucumber, make the dip etc.; however, it’s NOT my money, so I bought it pre-made.) I’ve sliced up two sticks of Boar’s Head pepperoni and a block of Kerry’s Aged Reserve Cheddar, with a long triangle of Brie and a cheese knife all packed up. I’ve got reduced fat Triscuits and Sun-dried Tomato Wheat Thins. I’ve thinly sliced, brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven an entire loaf of French bread; the tomatoes, basil leaves (from my garden!), garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper are packed and ready to be made into bruschetta. And I boiled two chicken breasts until I could shred them, mixed them with 4 Cheese Mexican Sargento, some diced roasted red peppers and some mild salsa; they’ll get spread onto wonton skins, rolled up and baked into chicken taquitos.

That’s enough for twenty people to nibble on, right?

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AMAZING sexism on the Food Network

Posted by Lissa on May 3, 2012

I knew I didn’t like Alex Guarnaschelli. I’m sure her food is wonderful, but she came across as a real bitch on The Next Iron Chef – Masters. Regardless, I was AWED by what came out of her mouth on the Chopped: All-Stars episode we watched last night.

Chris Santos was talking about his chosen charity: a research foundation for Rett Syndrome. He explained that one of his relations (cousin, maybe?) had Rett Syndrome, this awful neurological disease that affects pretty much only girls. He showed the judges a picture of the girl and a tear dripped down Alex’s cheek. I was thinking, “Wow, she was really touched by that” when they cut to her interview and she said THIS (in a really thoughtful, emotional voice):

“I just learned *so much* about Chris Santos. I can’t believe he cares so much about this disease when he’s a man and it affects only girls.”*


Did you know that you’re only allowed to care about diseases that YOU YOURSELF might someday contract? That’s right, women don’t care about testicular cancer or hemophilia and men can’t be affected by breast cancer or female genital mutilation.

This was all news to me, but hey! You learn something every day!

*paraphrased by memory

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Oops! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted by Lissa on February 15, 2012

Oops! I was so indignant about the Ministry of Truth stuff yesterday that I forgot to post Valentine’s stuff! Mike’s out of town right now so we celebrated early over the weekend. I made one of his favorite dinners, Aussie meat pies (lean ground beef, onion, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, tomato paste all simmered together and piled between puff pastry layers) — Valentine’s style!


For dessert, I made red velvet mini cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting (yes, all of it from scratch):


I had some red sugar sprinkles but decided that they weren’t necessary and might be messy. Then I watched an episode of Cupcake Wars and mourned that I hadn’t added sprinkles AND a fondant heart. Or something.

As for Valentine’s Day itself . . .


My sweetie is a wonderful guy 🙂

I hope your Valentine’s Day held as much love and good feelings as mine did!!

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Thank you Mike!

Posted by Lissa on October 14, 2011

What do you do when your husband is busy fighting AT&T, starving, and can’t eat dinner yet?


You make him an amuse-bouche with a (roughly) heart-shaped pan-seared polenta cake topped with sausage and fennel ragout!

Thanks to Mike, and his willingness to spend literally HOURS either arguing or on hold for a supervisor, my new phone got rescued from backorder (“21-28 days”) and will be here this afternoon. He’s the bestest!!!

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Wow, Easter’s an actual holiday? Who knew?

Posted by Lissa on April 25, 2011

We went over to Mike’s parents’ house yesterday for a lovely Easter dinner. Our contribution was a baked-from-scratch chocolate triple-layer cake held together with homemade whipped cream and coated in homemade frosting.

Now, there are two ways this could have come about:

A) Lissa decided that she was FAR too good a baker to bring a STORE-BOUGHT birthday cake, that she would never deign to stoop so low, and did it all herself. Or …

B) She pulled up to an absolutely empty Publix parking lot Sunday morning and went, “Oh sh*t. Easter. Holiday. Oh CRAP!!”


I turned my cupboard inside out, sent Mike to Walmart for half and half and whipping cream, and made this:


How was your Easter? 🙂

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OMG best restaurant review EVER!!!!

Posted by Lissa on March 21, 2011

I’m still cackling like a hyper-spastic drunken hyena over this beautifully-crafted gem of a restaurant review.

Twenty minutes later, possibly under their own steam, the snails arrive. Vesuvian, they bubble and smoke in a magma of astringent garlic butter and parsley. We grasp them with the spring-loaded specula and gingerly unwind the dark gastropods, curling like dinosaur boogers. They go on and on, expanding onto the plate as if they were alien. We have to cut them in half, which is just wrong. The rule with snails is: Don’t eat one you couldn’t get up your nose.

Dinosaur boogers?!? I may never eat escargots again!!

I have decided not to go for the famous roast chicken, mainly because I’ve suffered it before and I’d just been watching a Japanese couple wrestle with one like a manga poltergeist from some Tokyo horror movie, its scaly blue legs stabbing the air. So on to the broiled kidneys. Nothing I have eaten or heard of being eaten here prepared me for the arrival of the veal kidneys en brochette. Somehow the heat had welded them together into a gray, suppurating renal brick. It could be the result of an accident involving rat babies in a nuclear reactor. They don’t taste as nice as they sound.

Everyone needs a good laugh on a Monday morning — go read the whole thing 🙂

(h/t Go Fug Yourself)

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Pig and whiskey. Is this, like, a meme now?

Posted by Lissa on December 1, 2010

Borepatch had dinner with ASM826 who used a recipe from Eyes Never Closed for “Whiskey-Fried Porkchops.” Since all the cool kids are doing it, and since I’ve chronically had trouble with pork chops, I decided to give it a whirl!

I spent a good ten minutes helplessly vacillating in the meat aisle.  Thin chops? Thick chops? Center cut? Boneless??? Though I was tempted to close my eyes and use whatever came to hand, I finally decided on center-cut bone-in pork chops.  They were pretty thick, and (to my appetite) fairly sizeable, so I used my largest saucepan.

Per the instructions, I seasoned up the chops with Applewood Rub and set the sauce to boiling.  I used probably half an inch of water and maybe seven shots of Beam — it was a big pan, the chops were thick, and hey, who ever complains about too MUCH sauce?  Once the pig was in the pan, I added more Rub, some pepper, garlic powder, and a small helping of red pepper flakes.

In retrospect, I’m wondering if

a) I should have used thinner chops
b) I should have used less water and Jim Beam
or c) I should have removed the chops from the pan and let the sauce reduce on its own

— because they were a bit dry.  (The instant thermometer was reading 150° when I took them off the heat; I was worried about them being UNDER done, not overcooked.)  I didn’t mind very much — it soaked up the mouthwateringly delicious sauce that much better — but Mike would have preferred his pig a little more moist, with a little less red pepper.

Meh.  Blame the cook, not the recipe.  Oh, and I totally swiped my finger around the pan and slurped up sauce drippings before I could bring myself to wash it 🙂

Happy Noms!

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Things that make you go mmmmm

Posted by Lissa on August 11, 2010

Have I mentioned that I’m poetry-challenged?

I am, really. I think it might have something to do with the way I read — I gulp my books, not pausing to chew and swallow.  Poetry forces me to slow waaaaaay down and before I reach the end of the poem my mind has shifted off to wondering whether the Fug Girls have updated their blog or if there’s still bacon in the fridge or if I need a haircut or

For unto us a child is born
Unto us
A son is given
Unto us
A son is given . . .

What? Your mind doesn’t break into classical music whenever it’s quiet for a few moments?

Anyway, with that in mind, it won’t surprise you that this is my favorite poem:

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

“Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost.  I’m betting y’all knew that already, but that doesn’t excuse me from proper citation, now does it?

And the eternal question posed by Fire and Ice is . . .

Do I want sirloin AND shrimp? How much room will I have for baby bok choy and onions and mushrooms and scallions? Will I need a whole ‘nother bowl for the garlic? No, they charge for that. Will the scallops and sausage feel abandoned and need a token representation?

In other words, it’s Trivia Night at Fire and Ice, and we’re staying for dinner!  Yay!

One more thing to cross off my Boston Bucket List . . .

P.S. I’ve had wildly varying success at trivia, as expected. I don’t know enough about pop culture to get the Ryan Seacrest references, I don’t know enough about geography to guess that Tunisia is the northernmost country in Africa, and I haven’t watched enough classic movies to recognize Glenn Close or the scene from Wag the Dog.  I can, however, name you the four houses of Hogwarts, fill in the last lines of Rhett Butler, figure out that the civil war novel referenced is The Red Badge of Courage, tell you that Ariana Huffington is from Greece, and recognize Johnny Depp in a long-ago music video.  None of which will ever win me a round of Trivial Pursuit.  **sigh**

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