Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back to School (Almond Flour, NYC)

Dear Mouse,

"Sorry when I go dark
It must have been I forgot about the spark
Sorry when I go lame
I got no reason I should ever complain..."
-Don Chaffer, 'Son of a Gun', coming SOON to NYC's Theatre Row (November 1-18)

It's happened. Our Auntie's Labor Day BBQ has come and gone, everyone's putting up "first day of school!" pictures of their kids on FaceBook, and I just brought home a striped burgundy cardigan from the Free People sale rack. True, the Equinox is a couple of weeks away and there are still peaches at the Greenmarket... but there's no denying that Autumn is nearly upon us.

I, for one, am thrilled. For one thing, orange-yellow-wine-colored-smoky-windy Fall has always been my favorite season, and for another I'm going into rehearsal again!!!  after a Very Quiet Summer (not my favorite).

My friend Mr. Poet has this great way of describing the phenomenon of the way creative jobs often lead to other creative jobs...

... or, as he puts it, "Gig Babies".

Actual (not Gig) Baby: Newest Addition to the Poet Family! Just had to share.

I woke up thinking about the show, and how this particular Gig Baby, like so many, came not from any conventional hiring process but from relationships:  a recommendation from another artist who knew me and thought someone else should too. And, because there's almost nothing I can't connect to food, I was also thinking about the "gig baby" phenomenon as regards recipes; how new/shared recipes naturally lead to other new discoveries. 

Also, I just met our costume designer and there's nothing like the word "lingerie" to make you get Very Interested in Lower Carb Alternatives to your favorite dishes. 

The point is, I made this chicken. 

                                  The Boo's Parmesan Chicken: A Family Staple Makeover. Read on.

Now, Mouse, I know you think you recognize this from, say, any weeknight at our house growing up, when The Mother would come in from a long day of Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances and have to put something on the table. That simple dish, of chicken breasts dipped in melted butter and rolled in 'Italian-Style' breadcrumbs and Kraft Parmesan from the green can, has always been one of my favorite meals of all time. It could not be easier or more comforting, and I often whip this up in my own kitchen when Circumstances have gotten just a little too Truthful.

Then, Enter my New Best Friend:

Almond Flour. It's Flour ... Made of Almonds .
I'm sure you see where this is going.

Long story short, the "gig baby" that resulted from my recent love affair with Dorie Greenspan's Isphahan Rose Cake was ... well, anything and everything that can be done with this nut flour. One night, I was making sweet potato fries in the oven and I impulsively rolled the little orange sticks in almond meal as well as olive oil. OMG. Sweet, nutty, textured, high-protein and delicious. A revamped version of The Mother's classic chicken recipe seemed inevitable.  Here it is, below. In my version, almond flour replaces the breadcrumbs, olive oil replaces the melted butter, and a layer of "Enjoy" (caramelized onion jam, which The Mother likes to call by one particular favorite brand name)  added just to liven things up.  

And now I'm off to make a peach tart with (you guessed it) almond flour crust.


Love ,

The Boo

The Boo's Almond-Crusted Parmesan Chicken With "Enjoy"
(Warning: There are no measurements in this highly forgiving and improvisational family recipe. But you kinda can't go wrong)


boneless, skinless chicken breasts (i sometimes cut in half to make them skinnier/crispier)
Kraft Parmesan Cheese from the can (this ingredient stays)
Almond Flour or Almond Meal
"Enjoy", or your favorite brand of savory onion jam
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.  Make a pile approx half parmesan, half almond flour on a plate, enough to coat all your chicken. Add salt and pepper to this mix, to taste. Sometimes I add herbs de provence too, if I have them. Coat a chicken breast in olive oil and spoon/slap some Enjoy all over it as well (it won't all stick and it'll be messy - recipe still in progress) and press each into parmesan/almond pile. Flip and press the other side. Place in baking pan/roasting pan. Repeat with each chicken breast. Feel free to add more parm/almond coating to the breasts when they are in the pan, covering up bald spots. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. They should be golden/brown and a little sizzly, and juicy not dry (but done!! No pink! of course). ENJOY.


Anonymous said...

Everything about this post made me happy - from the sunflowers, the baby to the remembrance of things past - lovely

Anonymous said...

You solved my idea for a biz dinner party! sounds delicious and easy.

CTGramma said...

Went to two stores looking for onion jam, "Enjoy" or otherwise. No luck. Making it tonight with one missing ingredient. Did find a good recipe for onion jam on the Internet but it involves 2-3 hours of cooking. Too late now.

The Boo said...

oh no! can't believe it. Seems like it'd be easy to find. The Mouse has an onion jam recipe, I'll find and forward. Let me know how it comes out!

The Boo said...

oh and the brand name appears to be "Simply Enjoy" but not clear if it's out there anymore.

The Mouse said...

Williams Sonoma has some balsamic onion jam, I believe...