Pasta with Chicken and Mushrooms

DSCF7733 (640x427)And now, I’m eating like a pauper. My body sometimes can’t take the transformations by resorting to quick pizza slices (Vegan) and sandwiches (Turkey) while I’m out or just before my training. I’ve kept dimsum at bay, and the rich, creamy, spicy and buttery Indian muttons and the heavy Chinese soy and bean sauces only for serious celebrations.  From having a luxurious cut of beef or porkloin, I was moved down to a diminutive slice of chicken breast, a bunch of greens and a small heap of pasta; unfathomable! I had never thought I would switch to this diet, and I was caught off-guard.

I encountered this dish in a steakhouse last summer when a former HS classmate visited Toronto. We went to a steakhouse, and as American as he was, went for a good old fashioned cut of steak and nachos. I’ve had several encounters with steakhouses here in the city and seeing another cut makes me avoid it all the more; moreso now with the health scare. I’ve had done pub style nachos  a long time ago and wouldn’t or can’t even touch one.  Extreme exhaustion also got the best of me; coming from work and travelling  farther up north to the suburbs to meet him was menacing. Nevertheless, it had to happen. It had been close to 25 years since we had seen each other, thus, I didn’t really mind the long travel.  So, to bring my nerves down and put me on a relaxing mode, I resorted to a lighter meal and a bottle of beer instead.

This is my rendition of that dish.  It was originally cooked with Portobello mushrooms. I used regular white mushrooms and whole wheat pasta for a healthier alternative. Mushrooms are always on sale in the oriental store and I can never go wrong by adding either herbs, a pinch of salt & pepper or wine with any kind of mushrooms. The pasta is given; tomato, pesto or even with just a drizzle of an expensive olive oil does wonders. The end product almost always tastes delicious.

I marinated the chicken breast to my liking; heavy on Pimenton and honey. The one I had was tad bland, and just had a hint of wine.  I couldn’t remember though if it was seared or grilled. My former HS classmates stared at me when I turned the dish up and about and even around.  Told them it was work related.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Breast
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • Olive oil
  • Whiskey
  • Mushrooms, quartered
  • Garlic, minced to a paste
  • Onions, chopped
  • Pimenton Dulce (or Paprika)
  • Honey
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Truffle Salt
  • Condensed milk
  • Compound butter
  • Parmesan (condiment)

Chicken Marinade:

  • Pimenton Dulce
  • Honey
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic

Marinate the chicken breast overnight. Pre-heat a sauté pan and sear the breast on both sides. Transfer to a roasting pan and finish off in a medium-high 350’C pre-heated oven ( really depends how big the breast is).

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Add a little more olive oil and sauté the onion and mushrooms.  Deglaze with whiskey and add a little chicken stock (or pasta water) to form a pan-sauce. Scoop a little minced garlic into the pan.

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Meanwhile, cook some spaghetti based on box instructions. Remove and set aside. Save some pasta water for the sauce.

Add the pasta (and water) and continue sautéing. Add a small amount of compound butter into the pan and finish off with condensed milk (or cream). Season to taste. Remove the chicken breast from the oven and let it rest, tinted (save the drippings to be added  into the pan-sauce).

Scoop the pasta into a dish and set the chicken atop the plate. Sprinkle with Truffle salt, and garnish with slivers of green onion.

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Torta (Filipino Omelette)

DSCF7727 (640x427)I was caught in a deep stupor for almost three weeks. I recently discovered that eating too much of somethings I love can be damaging. And, as that discovery broadens into a life changing moment (as Oprah would always say), so did my diet and nutrition.  Suddenly, my freezer became an isolated war zone; desolate, empty, frigid and bare.

It was the weird sensation I felt three weekends ago when my feet itched and my non-slip shoes and the freezing weather weren’t really the culprit. It must have been the Stewed Pig’s feet, which I ate for three consecutive nights, that triggered that discomfort. My work requires me to stand and to walk for long hours, and any kind of discomfort, specially on the toes, soles of the feet and the entire feet themselves, can be frightening.

I’ve avoided eating pork and beef altogether. My supermarket basket has been replaced by either fish fillets, whole fish, a bunch of fruits and a myriad of Chinese greens, and chicken. I’ve also cut back on salt (Soy Sauces and Bean Sauces included) and switched my grains to brown. Noodles have also become a staple.  It’s an entire recipe booklet folks, and it’s really very challenging.  I only know how to pan-fry whole fish as most Filipinos do, and steamed fish with soy sauce is now forbidden. I’ve set aside partaking on scrumptious beef and pork on an occasional basis now and on a limited amount or portion or  only when I’m on vacation.  I haven’t really had myself checked, but my doctor cleared me last year. I guess I’m due for another check-up anytime soon. I’m sure stress is also a factor, but that’s already woven in the culture and the city where I reside.

I found this recipe online while tapping on the types of food (never foods, please) I have to start eating and indulging myself into.  I haven’t had this in a long time; give or take 25 or so years. I ate Torta prepared by the household help and found hers too dry and plain. I know ketchup would have helped, but that was basically it. It was an omelette with ground meat inside.  Somehow, Torta became a Tortilla Espanola of Spanish descent turned into Filipino with all the pork and garlic cooked in the dish. I’m making it French, perfectly eaten alfresco and with a glass of wine. I turned the eggs into a crepe batter and made a grilled then mashed fresh tomato as condiment seasoned with fresh Thyme.

Ingredients:

  • Ground Chicken or Turkey
  • Garlic, minced to a paste
  • Onion, finely chopped
  • Mushrooms, finely chopped
  • Potatoes, boiled and diced
  • Thyme and Thyme Sprigs
  • Compound Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Paprika (Pimenton Picante)
  • White Wine
  • Chicken stock
  • Cornstarch/flour for coating
  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt & Pepper

Crepe:

  • Whole Wheat flour
  • Eggs
  • Condensed Milk
  • Canola Oil
  • Salt/Pepper

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil on a sauté pan and brown the potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika or pimenton.  Set aside.

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Coat and season the ground chicken with cornstarch and flour.  Add more olive oil in the sauté pan and pan-fry until crisp. Set aside with the potatoes.

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Add another heap of olive oil in the sauté pan and sauté the onion and mushroom. Add some coarsely chopped Thyme followed by the minced garlic and a dab of compound butter. Deglaze with white wine, and dump the browned ground chicken and potatoes into the pan.  Continue stirring and pour a little chicken stock to prevent the meat from drying up. Squeeze some lemon juice and season to taste. Set aside.

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Season a non-stick pan and pour enough crepe/egg batter into the pan. Swirl the pan until the entire pan is covered with the batter mix and cook to low-medium heat. Flip the crepe and cook the other side until  brown spots start to appear. Do about two or three more crepes.

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Spoon a ground chicken mixture in the crepe and fold from both ends to form a roll.  Sprinkle with fresh Thyme (There are several ways of folding a crepe).

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