Sunday, February 03, 2008

Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

1 lb. fresh spinach
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
12 oz. bacon, cooked and crumbled (not too small)
Poppy seed dressing (recipe follows)

Removed stems from spinach and wash several times in cold water. Drain and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

At serving time, fill bowl with spinach and arrange mushrooms and chopped eggs on top. Sprinkle cooked bacon pieces over all and top with a generous amount of poppy seed dressing. Toss to coat.

Poppy Seed Dressing

1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. dry mustard
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Mix all ingredients; using whisk, whip until thoroughly blended. Let rest 10 minutes and whip again. Stir before using.

Yield: 1 pint (2 cups)

Dressing keeps at least 2 weeks in refrigerator.


I use my Braun MR430HC Multiquick Deluxe Hand Blender & Chopper to mix the dressing ingredients. It makes a very nice creamy dressing.

This is another fabulous recipe from one of our visits to The Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis, North Carolina.

Adapted from Mast Farm Inn Family Style Cookbook

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Chicken Piccata

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups seasoned dried bread crumbs
4-6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons, approx.)
1/2 cup dry white wine
Chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley and sliced lemon, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between plastic wrap and pound it out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and pepper.

Mix flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper on a shallow plate. In a second plate (or shallow bowl), beat eggs and 1 tablespoon water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third shallow dish. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg mixture, followed with the bread crumbs.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add 2 chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until just browned. Place them on the sheet pan while you cook the remaining chicken. Heat more olive oil in the pan and cook the remaining 2 chicken breasts. Place them on the same sheet pan and place the pan in the oven, baking for 5-10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe any remaining oil from the skillet with a dry paper towel. On medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add lemon juice, white wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter; whisk to combine.

Spoon a portion of sauce over each chicken breast; garnish with a slice or two of fresh lemon and chopped parsley.

Serve 4


The texture of the breaded cutlets is fabulous! Nice and crispy on the outside; moist and tender on the inside. Perfect. I think the key lies in the short frying time, followed by baking in a fairly hot oven. The parchment paper absorbed a lot of the excess oil, which helps keep the cutlet from getting too greasy. However, the sauce needs to be doubled, at least for this family! I think I would add more butter and wine and keep the lemon juice amount as is. A small amount of heavy cream might be a nice addition to help stretch the sauce a bit.

I didn't use nearly all of the flour. Next time, I'll start with half a cup and add more as needed.

I served the chicken with angel hair pasta, but a nice rice pilaf would be tasty, too.

Modified from original recipe in Barefoot Contessa At Home Cookbook.

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