Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

Inspired by Heidi's Brooklyn Deli.

During the last four years, it seems like some of our favorite things we've found in Vegas are places to eat.  One place we absolutely love is Heidi's Brooklyn Deli, which has become somewhat of a lunchtime tradition among the UNLV dental students.  The food (including the bread) is made fresh daily, and everything we've tried so far has been delicious.  Some of our favorite sandwiches are the chicken salad, the reuben, the Cajun turkey with avocado, and the chicken parmesan.  So good!  I love getting their chocolate chip cookies and macaroni salad, too (which is amazing because I'm not a macaroni salad person).  Whenever we make chicken parmesan, we use the leftovers in our imitation of the sandwich at Heidi's.
Marbled rye bread, sliced
Chicken parmesan, thickly sliced (at least 1/2 breast per sandwich)
Marinara sauce
Fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded

Spread a generous amount of marinara sauce on one piece of bread.  Layer chicken slices over marinara.  Cover with mozzarella cheese.  Toast chicken-covered piece of bread and empty piece (or broil in the oven if don't have a toaster oven) until bread is toasty and cheese is melted.  Put sandwich together, slice (if desired), and dig in!

- We like to use this recipe for chicken parmesan, which we got from a friend of ours.

Chicken Parmesan

Adapted from Rachel Merkley.

4-6 chicken breasts, flattened to 1/2" thickness
1-1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I use whole wheat)
1-1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese (finely grated crumb kind)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 eggs
1/2-3/4 cup flour
Marinara sauce
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Canola oil

Place flour in a shallow dish.  Beat eggs in another shallow dish with a couple tablespoons of water.  Combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, salt, and pepper in another bowl.

Add enough oil to a large, deep pan to be about 1/4-1/2" deep.  Heat over medium to medium-high.

Dip flattened chicken breasts in flour, then eggs (allow to drip excess), and then coat in bread crumb mixture.  Carefully place coated chicken in hot oil just long enough to brown the outside (a minute or two).  Chicken will not be cooked through!

Place chicken in a large oven-safe casserole dish coated with cooking spray.  Top generously with marinara sauce and a good amount of fresh mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 375F for about 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

-These leftovers are great in chicken parmesan sandwiches!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Okay, so it's been literally months since I posted anything on here.  I swear I've been trying new recipes, but life has just gotten busy!  I'm hoping to dig the recipes we've liked out of the mess of cookbooks, magazines, and papers that have taken over my shelf so I can share them with you.  We'll see how that goes, right?

My kids and I made these again yesterday, though, and I managed to take a picture, so I'm taking the opportunity to squeeze a post in between Nerf guns and a climbing toddler.

From Alton Brown's Good Eats 3: The Later Years, page 52.
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115F)
1 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 (2 1/4 tsp.) envelope active dry yeast
22 oz. (~4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 oz. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbs. water
Pretzel salt

Combine warm water, sugar, kosher salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the mixture foams.

Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.

Put the dough in a large, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside in a warm place for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 450F.  Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil.  Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan or a roasting pan (something wide and shallow is best).

Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Roll out each piece of dough into a 24" rope.  Make a U-shape with the rope, and, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel.  Place on a half-shet pan.  Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

One by one, place the pretzels in the boiling water for 30 seconds.  Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula.  Return them to the sheet pans, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, and sprinkle with pretzels salt.

Bake until dark golden brown in color, 12 to 14 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

- Add the flour about 1/2 cup at a time, and slow down once you reach the 3 1/2 or 4 cup mark.  Add enough flour after that point so that the dough isn't sticking to the side of the bowl, up to 4 1/2 cups total.
- I use my 5 quart sauté pan to boil the pretzels.
- I add an extra twist when I'm shaping my pretzels because I think it holds them together better (Alton Brown's just cross over each other in an X shape in the middle).
- If I don't have pretzel salt, I use sea salt or kosher salt.
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