Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chicken Francese

This is another of my favorite chicken recipes.

"Chicken francese. An Italian-American dish of sauteed chicken cutlets with a lemon-butter sauce. The word francese is Italian for "French style," although there is no specific dish by this name in either Italian or French cookery."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 72)

Either way, it is a must try (in case you haven’t)

Chicken Francese 011a


4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1-1/2 pounds)

flour, for dredging

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 large eggs

3 tablespoons water

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 lemon, with rind, cut in thin rounds

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 lemon, juiced (although I juice just about a whole lemon)

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Chicken Francese 005a


Chicken Francese 007a



Pound the chicken breasts with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, beat the eggs with 3 tablespoons of water to make an egg wash. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet.

Dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden, turning once. Remove the chicken cutlets to a large platter and keep warm.

Toss the lemon slices into the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the wine, broth, and lemon juice, simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly. Roll the butter in some flour and add it to the skillet, this will thicken the sauce. Stir to incorporate and dissolve the flour.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and return the chicken to the pan. Simmer gently for 2 minutes to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Chicken Francese 016a

Enjoy !



Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Thing or Two about Buttercream

There are a lot of buttercream recipes, some call for just shortening, some are all butter, some are a mixture of butter and shortening.  I prefer the all butter version, but there are times when butter buttercream can fail you.
If you are icing your cake in humid, warm or hot temperatures, pure butter buttercream can definitely give you problems.  Even if you manage to get your cake decorated in the perfect temperature, transporting it can be a problem as well.  This is why most bakers put shortening in their buttercreams. The melting point of shortening is roughly 10 – 20 degrees higher than butter.  Much more stable.

For this roses cake, I followed the basic Butter recipe but added a few more tablespoons of icing sugar to make it stiffer and since I didn’t have to transport this cake, simply refrigerating it was good enough. For roses, use a 1M tip.

buttercream roses cake 010a
The Basic Butter Buttercream
1 cup salted butter, softened
4 cups fresh confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
4 teaspoons vanilla (clear if you want very white icing)
6 tablespoons milk or cream
(makes about 5 cups of frosting)

Roses Cake 084a
Butter and Shortening Buttercream
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
4 cups fresh confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (clear if you prefer)
2 tablespoons milk
(makes about 3 cups of frosting)
buttercream roses cake 002a

Citrus Buttercream
(follow either of the above recipes)
substitute lemon or orange juice for the milk
omit vanilla
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel or 2 teaspoons grated orange peel

Shortening Buttercream
2 cups shortening
8 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons clear imitation vanilla extract
6 fluid ounces heavy cream
(makes about 5-1/2 cups of frosting)

In large bowl, cream shortening and/or butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

buttercream roses cake 006a
Enjoy !