VDay Din: Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu, Tarragon Dijonnaise, & Champagne-Asparagus Risotto a la Dre <3

Dre always has a plan. He had a shopping list prepared for our grocery trip, did prep work Saturday night, and researched recipes for cooking on Sunday. I dig that kind of organization in a man.

The breakfast he made me was amazing, so I was looking forward to the dinner on Dre’s Vday menu. I was especially impressed with his ambition. Saturday night, Dre trimmed chicken breasts & marinated them in a habanero-buttermilk mixture. We both almost choked to death, not realizing how crazy hot those peppers are!

On Sunday, Dre seasoned & double-breading the breasts before frying them to perfection in my Cool Daddy. He topped them with crisped slices of prosciutto & Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, paired them with his homemade Tarragon Dijonnaise, and proudly declared it fried chicken cordon bleu!

On our shopping excursion, Dre picked up a bottle of champagne. After no mimosas for brunch, I got curious about it’s part in our Vday. Little did I know, but not only was Dre making a creamy batch of risotto, he was perfecting it with the bubbly and some fresh asparagus. I’m so proud of my Valentine!

Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu, Tarragon Dijonnaise, & Champagne-Asparagus Risotto

Tip Time! Furikake Broccoli!

Years ago, I came across a blog post about getting kids to eat stuff they didn’t likeΒ  (i.e. broccoli) by sprinkling furikake on top. I just couldn’t get the name out of my head… furikake… furry-cock-ey! Doesn’t really sound very kid friendly, but I digress. Furikake is a dry Japanese condiment meant to be sprinkled on top of rice. It typically consists of a mixture of dried and ground fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, salt, and MSG. (according to wikipedia)

Wasabi and Nori Fumi Furikake

While in Hawai’i last year, I picked up a few shakers of furikake at the convenience store and now I don’t eat broccoli without it! It’s a great, healthy way to add flavor without coating it with melty cheese. Furikake literally translates to “shake & sprinkle,” so get to it!

Furikake Broccoli

Quickie: Southern Catfish Burritos

With Dre getting done work at late, I have to think of quick, easy dinners for us. Last week, I whipped up what I call “Southern Burritos.” I seasoned Catfish Fillets with Minced Garlic, Tony Chachere’s seasoning, Sriracha, & Olive Oil and pan-fried them in bacon fat.

Burritos aren’t complete without rice & beans, so Dre made some Rice-a-Roni (read: quick) with sauteed Red Peppers & Onion to jazz it up a bit. Glory Foods Seasoned Blackeyed Peas are a favorite go-to side dish and were a perfect addition. After adding the Catfish, Rice, & Beans to a Whole Wheat Tortilla, we topped them off with Romaine & Sour Cream for delicious Southern Catfish Burritos!

Southern Catfish Burrito

To Taste: Grilled Snow Crab Legs

Wasn’t too long ago that I was just sayin’ that you shouldn’t grill in the dark… especially crab legs. So I took another stab at grilled snow crab legs for a Sunday late-lunch/early-dinner with Dre. I decided to get all the sides started before I threw the crabbiness on the grill, so I could give it my undivided attention.

Earlier that week, I bought 2 large bunches of Collard Greens from the Italian Market. It was alot of greens for only $2! I rinsed & chopped them before sauteing in garlic, shallots, EVOO, & butter and simmering in chicken stock. I didn’t have any turkey bacon on hand as a usual ingredient in my greens, so just settled for some Sriracha & Worcestshire to jazz it up. I STILL had Grape Tomatoes from my Spicy Fish Tacos & Avocado-Salad and Sweet Peppers from my Mexi-Risotto, so I tossed them into a Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice Mix.

Dre whipped up a batch of Cornbread using trusty ol’ Jiffy mix. We tossed in some sliced jalapenos & the leftover sweet peppers, and sprinkled with shredded sharp cheddar halfway thru the baking process. With the greens sauteing, rice simmering, & cornbread baking, it was time for crab!

After a few knife pokes, a brush of butter, & 5 minutes on each side, we had ourselves a summer afternoon feast. Oh, and MOJITOS! After some experimenting, Dre mixed up a perfectly refreshing batch using Apple Mint from my garden.

Grilled Crab Legs, Spanish Rice, Collard Greens, Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread, & an Apple Mint Mojito

Grilled Crab Legs, Spanish Rice, Collard Greens, Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread, & an Apple Mint Mojito

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread - Photo: Dre

Grape Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Fresh Collard Greens from the Italian Market

Fresh Collard Greens from the Italian Market

Summer Grilled Crab Feast:

Grilled Snow Crab Legs – Brushed in butter before grilling, dipped in Butter after

Sauteed Collard Greens – Wilted w/ Shallots, Garlic, & Olive Oil, simmered in Chicken Stock w/ S&P, Worcestershire, Dried Herbs, & Sriracha

Spanish Rice – Sauteed Garlic, Sweet Peppers, & Grape Tomatoes added to Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread – Sauteed Sweet Peppers & Jalapeno added to Jiffy mix, topped w/ Shredded Sharp Cheddar

Classic Mojito w/ Apple Mint from my Garden

Weekend Update: Asian Edition – Part 2

Thursday, I made a visit to my favorite (bc it’s close & I’m lazy) Vietnamese supermarket, aptly named Asia Market. Philly’s Washington Ave is lined with your choice of Asian markets, shops, & restaurants directly perpendicular to the famous Italian Market. I was certainly excited on this visit as now that I have a BlackBerry (aka my Frankenberry), I can look up all the crazy products encountered on my Asia Market excursions! This time was a quick trip for familiar dinner items for Friday night & some kitchen staples: Shallots, Fresh Ginger, Snow Peas, baby Bok Choy, Japanese Eggplant, & some chopsticks.

I had “plans” for a Friday night at home, cooking dinner & enjoying some TV/relaxation. A quick Google search for “chicken bok choy recipe” brought me to Food & Wine’s Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms & Bok Choy, and thank goodness I had some fungi in the fridge! I always interpret recipes into my own taste, so I omitted the red peppers, prepared the baby bok choy on the side, & added my own splashes & dashes to the sauce. This recipe will def stay in my back pocket, especially for the brown sauce! I finished the meal with some white rice & good laughs via The Love Guru.

Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms

Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms

Baby Bok Choy

Baby Bok Choy