Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day weekend

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend.  For me, it was a cooking day, actually, a cooking evening.  I made almond crusted chicken, green beans, and spinach ricotta quiche.  The point of the exercise was to use up leftover ingredients:  I had almonds from last year, chicken from two months ago, canned green beans from a few months before that, and spinach and ricotta from the saag paneer I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

The almonds were already slivered, and I started by chopping half of them--it felt really good feeling them crunch under the knife.  But if it's crunchy, you can smash it!  The other half I put in a plastic bag and attacked with my potato masher.  I'm not sure if it took less time, but the real benefit was that I could pound wildly rather than gingerly mince, mince, mince.

I thought I had two chicken breasts.  Upon opening the freezer bag I found out I had three, and thus not enough coating. My hands by that time were covered in raw egg and chicken juice,so I decided against grinding more almonds.  This meant I had two perfectly breaded pieces and one that was more covered in paprika than almonds.  I ate the half-breaded chicken first, and it was still delicious.

The spinach ricotta quiche recipe indicates that it makes one quiche.  It makes two.  Assuming you follow the directions and buy a normal sized frozen pie crust, instead of a deep dish crust.  Luckily, frozen pie crusts are sold in packs of two, and, I'm told, quiche freezes quite well.

Why did I decide to make quiche from my leftover ricotta, instead of cheesecake?  I thought I needed to work on my issues with breakfast.

The casualties from my cooking?  Miscellaneous prep bowls and dinnerware, 3 mixing bowls, 2 baking pans, 2 pots, 3 mixing spoons, a whisk, and a colander (Oh the colander!  I have a folding colander.  Instead of drying out the spinach for the quiche using paper towels, as suggested in the recipe, I decided to press it inside the colander--first pushing down on it with the potato masher, just applying even pressure, then by folding the colander with the spinach inside.  This got spinach pulp into all the drain holes, which isn't bad, but also inside all the hinges of the colander, too.)  Also damaged, a two inch strip of skin on the side of my arm (I have a small oven, and to fit in both quiches, one of them had to be pushed against the back wall of the oven.  Being in contact with the back wall started causing the crust of aforementioned quiche to burn.  In retrieving the back quiche to prevent such burning, I bumped my arm into the side of the hot oven.  The quiche crust, however, was saved.)

It was just like Christmas!