Sunday, April 15, 2018

Lemon Chicken Piccata with Zoodles | 檸香酸豆煎雞胸配意瓜麵

When I am strapped for time or looking to throw together a simple and fulfilling dinner with a visiting friend, Chicken Piccata is my go-to recipe. Chicken Piccata is really nothing more than chicken breast cutlets dredged in flour, browned, and served with a lemony sauce interlaced with white wine, capers and enriched with butter. It sits beautifully with any type of pasta, potatoes - or, if you are looking to really whip up the meal even faster while also cutting down on carbs - "zoodles". The entire dish comes together in a flash, just under twenty minutes. And the extra perk? It comes together all in one skillet! I think I need not explain further why there is always a jar of capers standing by in my fridge.

Pair Chicken Piccata with any pasta, potatoes, or "zoodles" for a healthier and even quicker alternative!
Freshly picked Meyer, Lisbon, and regular lemons from Kelley and Ilaria's backyard in San Francisco!

Chicken Piccata isn't a dish you would typically find in many Italian restaurants. My first encounter was at the Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco, a dish whose intense flavors soon grew into a craving the compelled me to try making at home. My adapted version is slightly lighter, however, without the addition of cream to the sauce. For an extra punch, I charred some lemon slices, which not only gives depth to the sauce but also looks gorgeous on the plate. But if you are really strapped for time, you can altogether skip the charred lemons and omit the dredging for the chicken breast. Just don't ever skip pounding the chicken breast though, as this will ensure even cooking and help making this dish ready in a flash. Enjoy!

What you'll need...
Zoodles make for a quick, healthy alternative
2 chicken breast, boneless and skinless
Salt and pepper
Flour for dredging
1 lemon, cut into thin rounds
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
200 g brown mushrooms, sliced
1 large zucchini*, spiralized
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 heaping tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Fresh chopped parsley

*Note: Alternatively serve with your favorite type of pasta. Just skip the step of cooking the zoodles.

1. Combine lemon slices and sugar in a bowl.

2. Butterfly the chicken breast. With one hand flat on top, slice horizontally into one side of the breast, starting from the thicker end and finishing at the thin point. Open the breast up like a butterfly, and slice into two cutlets. Repeat with the other breast. Place the chicken breast between cling film and pound thin to even thickness with a meat pounder. Season with salt and pepper then dredge in flour.

Haven't got a meat pounder? Make use of anything from rolling pins to pestles!

3. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil and one tablespoon of butter. Cook chicken until brown on both sides, remove from pan.

All in one skillet and ready in a flash, with no wiping or washing in between!

4. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are lightly browned and all moisture has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add zucchini noodles to skillet and saute for a brief minute. Season with salt and pepper and remove from pan.

5. In the same pan, add the sugared lemon slices and let cook, flipping once, until both sides are lightly charred, about one minute. Reserve any liquid the lemon slices give off in the bowl for the next step.

The aroma of wine, tartness of lemons, and sharpness of capers meld beautifully with the richness of butter

6. Deglaze the skillet with white wine, scraping any browned bits off with a wooden spoon. Stir in capers, lemon juice, the lemony liquid, and remaining butter. (For a thicker sauce, mix equal parts flour or cornstarch and cold water and stir until a smooth paste forms. Whisk into sauce and bring to a simmer.) Return chicken and any juices to the pan and turn to coat with sauce. Serve with zoodles and mushrooms. Top chicken with charred lemon and drizzle with sauce and finish with a sprinkle of parsley. Buon appetito!


無骨去皮雞胸      2 件
黑胡椒          適量
麵粉                       適量
檸檬                       1 隻,切片
砂糖                       1 茶匙
牛油                       1 加 1 湯匙
菜油                       1 茶匙
蒜瓣                       2 瓣,剁碎
啡蘑菇                  200 克,切片
意大利翠玉瓜*   1 大條
白酒                       80 毫升
酸豆                       1 湯匙
新鮮檸檬汁          1 湯匙

1. 翠玉瓜用螺旋切片器切成絲帶狀備用。檸檬片和砂糖拌勻備用。
2. 雞胸肉開邊: 用一隻手按著雞胸,另一隻手持刀打橫切,開邊。蓋上保鮮紙,用肉槌輕拍至平均厚度。用鹽和黑胡椒調味,再沾上麵粉備用。
3. 燒熱易潔平底鍋,下 1 湯匙牛油和 1 茶匙油,中火將雞胸每邊煎約兩分鐘至金黃色,盛起備用。
4. 原鍋下蒜蓉和蘑菇,炒至收水,約 4 分鐘。加入翠玉瓜絲帶,迅速炒 1 分鐘, 調味,盛起備用。
5. 原鍋下檸檬片,煮至兩邊呈金黃色,約共 1 分鐘。盛起備用。保留碗子裡面的檸檬糖水。
6. 原鍋下白酒、酸豆、新鮮檸檬汁以及保留了的檸檬糖水、和其餘 1 湯匙牛油。(喜歡比較濃稠的汁的話可以打獻)雞胸回鍋,將兩邊沾上醬汁後連同蘑菇、翠玉瓜意粉和檸檬片上碟,淋上醬汁再撒上蕃荽碎即成!


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Arancini al Pesto | 意式羅勒醬芝士炸飯糰

When German cookware brand Fissler offered me the one-in-a-million chance to star in a two-minute video showcasing their products and my own recipe, I had some sort of idea what challenge I am getting myself into. Design one Italian vegetarian recipe that makes use of two or more of the following products: a pressure cooker, a hand blender, and a frying pan. Sounds simple, eh?

I was thrilled for the vegetarian theme, a challenge I find timely as I increasingly lean towards a plant-based diet. But what is one to do with a pressure cooker, a hand blender, and a frying pan with a meatless recipe? Surely, plain old risottos have been tried and done, pasta has no place in this challenge, and I was certain an everyday Italian tomato sauce wasn't going to make the cut. With no oven available at the site of filming, I have also ruled out the aubergine.

Baffled and tickled, I imagined myself on the set of Guy's Grocery Games, faced with the challenge of creating a winning dish using all the provided equipment with an open pantry. My mind searched for delicacies I have tasted across Italy over the years. It was then when a light bulb flickered in my head. Ah, the arancini, or "little oranges" - the spherical Sicilian cousin of the Roman suppli, a popular street food consisting of a deep fried ball of rice and typically a filling of meat and tomato sauce, peas, and melted mozzarella.

Who doesn't like the sound of delicious, crunchy, balls of flavorsome rice coated in breadcrumbs and a hidden surprise of melted mozzarella that pulls with each bite? With the arancini little known in Hong Kong, I knew the audience would be in for a trip. I henceforth set off my journey of hunting for ingredients overseas, testing and adapting, and frying away at home in the weeks leading to the video shoot.

Breaking away from tradition, the filling for arancini is only confined by imagination. That's when I thought I am going to make Arancini al Pesto (what's not to love with fresh homemade pesto?) - cook risotto in the pressure cooker (check), make breadcrumbs and pesto with the hand blender (check), and finally fry the balls in the pan (check!!)! The ensuing journey isn't without any hiccups though as I slowly get myself acquainted with the pressure cooker. The result, however, is a foolproof recipe specially developed for the Fissler pressure cooker, a truly magical kitchen companion that cuts cooking time drastically and delivers amazing results.

This recipe, of course, can be adapted to most kitchens without a pressure cooker. Increase the amount of stock and add to the rice a little at a time and continuously stir, until all the stock has been used up and the rice is cooked, yet still al dente.

•  If possible, make the risotto ahead of time and let it cool completely or even refrigerated overnight as the rice tends to stick better. For this reason, leftover risotto is often used for making arancini.
• Pesto can be made with various kinds of nuts or seeds, with pine nuts being the most recognized ingredient in pesto alla Genovese. Opt for sunflower seeds for a more economical alternative without sacrificing any flavor or texture!
•  If serving arancini immediately, lower slightly the heat of the frying oil and increase the frying time for the rice balls to ensure that the mozzarella melts inside. Otherwise, remove the balls once golden brown and warm or reheat in the oven when ready to serve.

What you'll need...
For the Risotto:
1 cup (200 g) Arborio rice           
1 small brown onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (120 ml) white wine
1 1/2 (350 ml) cup vegetable or chicken stock, warmed
1/3 cup (30 g) grated Parmesan cheese
A heaping tablespoon frozen peas
1 tablespoon (15 g) butter
Black pepper, to taste

For the Pesto:
1 bunch basil (2 cups packed)
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Arancini (makes 8):
1 recipe for risotto, as above
1 1/2 tablespoons pesto, recipe as above
1/2 x 125g ball of mozzarella cheese (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
All-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
Breadcrumbs, homemade* or store-bought
Vegetable oil, for frying

*Note: For homemade breadcrumbs, tear stale bread into chunks and blitz into medium-fine breadcrumbs, then spread on a sheet pan and toast in oven at 180C/350F until golden brown.

Cooking the Risotto
1. Melt butter on medium heat on the base of the pressure cooker. Add onion and saute until softened, about one minute, then stir in garlic and saute briefly. Add rice and cook, stirring, until rice is evenly coated in butter and toasted but not browned, about 3 minutes. Rice grains should start to appear translucent around the edges.

2. Add wine and cook, stirring, until the raw alcohol smell has cooked off and wine has almost fully evaporated. Pour in stock, then, on medium-high heat, fasten the pressure cooker lid and set the cooking display with traffic light function on level II. Reduce heat to low and set timer for 8 minutes once the green ring becomes visible.

3. When time is up, set the cooker aside to cool. Release the remaining steam and lift the lid carefully away for yourself. Stir in grated Parmesan and frozen peas, and season with black pepper. Set risotto aside to cool completely or refrigerate overnight.

Making the Pesto
1. Blend basil, sunflower seeds, garlic, olive oil, and half of the lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Taste and add more add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Making the Arancini
1. Stir 1 1/2 tablespoon of pesto into the cooled risotto and mix well, adding more if necessary.

2. Place and flatten a scoop of rice in your palm, place a cube of mozzarella in the center, then enclose with another scoop of rice and roll and shape into a ball. In the following order, roll the shaped arancini in flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs.

3. Heat oil in a deep pan or saucepan over high heat. To test the oil is ready, drop a few breadcrumbs - if they sizzle and float, it is ready. Carefully lower the arancini in batches and fry until golden and crispy. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain and serve. Buon appetito!


平時 Risotto 就見得多、食得多喇,
今日就試下將 Risotto 化身為脆卜卜、
注入新元素 —— 簡易自家製羅勒醬;
意大利米             200 克
洋蔥                      1 小個(切粒)
蒜頭                      2瓣(切粒)
白酒                      120 毫升
蔬菜高湯             350 毫升
巴馬臣芝士碎    30 克
青豆                      15 克
牛油                      15 克
黑胡椒                  適量

1. 熱鍋下牛油,放入洋蔥,用中火炒約 1 分半鐘至軟身,加入蒜蓉炒香,再放入米並炒勻至米粒稍顯透明。
2. 加入白酒,炒勻至酒被完全吸收。加入高湯,待微滾後蓋上高速鍋蓋,調校至 2 速,用中火煲至見綠環,計時 8 分鐘後熄火。
3. 待指示燈降至原位,開蓋。放入芝士碎和青豆,拌勻並作適當調味。放涼或隔夜備用。

新鮮羅勒葉          約 50 克
蒜頭                       2 辦
葵花籽                  約 2 湯匙(可用松子仁、腰果、杏仁等)
初榨橄欖油          2 - 3 湯匙
新鮮檸檬汁          約 2 茶匙
黑胡椒          適量

1. 所有材料放入隨機附送的粉碎器中,用一字頭高速攪拌約 30 秒即成。

意大利飯              以上食譜
羅勒醬                  適量
莫薩里拉芝士    半個(切 1/2" x 1/2" 粒)
麵粉                      適量
雞蛋                      1 隻
麵包糠                  適量
米糠油                  油炸用

1. 將適量羅勒醬拌入已經放涼或隔夜的意大利飯內。
2. 用手拿出一小份意大利飯,包入芝士,搓成球狀。
3. 依次序將飯糰沾上麵粉、蛋液、和麵包糠。
4. 用熱油炸至金黃色即成!

[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Huevos Rancheros | 墨西哥農場煎蛋早餐

For many people, a particular dish brings memories or harbors significant emotions. It could be your mom's hand wrapped dumplings, the ramen that you subsisted on during late-night college days, or even Jagerbombs (just the thought of it makes my insides turn - I will spare you on the details).

I remember my very first taste of huevos rancheros, a humble, staple Mexican desayuno freshly cooked up in a community kitchen where we started our days volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in an impoverished neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

That was now nearly fifteen years ago, I then a more rotund college Junior, criminally misinformed and ignorant about Mexican cuisine after years of cattle-feeding on soupy enchiladas and goopy "salsa" poured out from factory-sized tubs a.k.a. high school lunch grub. These huevos rancheros were vibrant in color, the frijoles refritos soul-warming, the sunny-side-up perfectly crisped on the edges, the spicy red salsa fresh and well-balanced, and the tortilla underneath them all golden and crunchy. It had me asking for more. It was something I have never had before. A moment of revelation, a culinary discovery. Had I have a smartphone back then (those were the days before terms like selfies and food porn came to be), I would have most likely snapped one too many photos. Fortunately, the memories and experience live on. I can still recall the face of the lady who lovingly prepared and served us meals, her painted, arched eyebrows, her wide smile, and warmhearted hospitality.

Fire-roasted tomatoes for maximum flavor
Fifteen years later, I finally put this itch to rest. I have been procrastinating for too long to revisit this memory. And thus I picked up a few things from the groceries on my recent layover in Los Angeles, scoured through my pantry, invited a dear friend over to be my guinea pig, and made huevos rancheros.

Huevos rancheros - "rancher's-style" eggs - are basically eggs served on a corn tortilla with a spicy tomato-chili salsa - a simple, stress-free, quick affair with minor variations in accompaniments across different households and regions. I like mine served with refried black beans ('coz why not?) for extra fiber and dimension, just like how I remembered. The tortilla can be either crunchy fried (more like a tostada) or lightly charred according to preference, so long it holds the wet sauce without disintegrating into mush.

Chile Guajillo, adds depth and smokiness
For the recipe, I base mine mostly on J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's from Serious Eats. For the red sauce, make use of tinned tomatoes to make your life easy - if you can find fire-roasted tomatoes in a can, all the better. I followed his suggestions and tossed in toasted Mexican dried chilies (I happen to have dried Guajillo chilies sitting in the back of my cramped pantry) for extra depth and smokiness. Substitute with Chinese dried chilies or crushed red pepper if unavailable. To finish the dish, top with crumbled cheese, cilantro, avocado, sliced cherry tomatoes, fresh jalapeños and add a side of Mexican street corn as desired.

A fiesta for the eyes, a party for your tastebuds!
What you'll need...
1 medium onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1-2 whole dried Mexican chilies (ancho, guajillo, or morita)*
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 14 oz. (400 g) can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
2 whole chipotle chilies packed in adobo from can
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, stem and leaves, plus more for serving
Squeeze of lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Fresh corn tortillas
Canned or homemade black or pinto refried beans, heated, for serving
Crumbled Cotija cheese^, for serving
Avocado, for serving (optional)
Sliced cherry tomatoes, for serving (optional)

* If not available, substitute with Chinese dried chilies or crushed red pepper flakes.
^ I used crumbled queso fresco. If neither are available, substitute with crumbled feta cheese.


1. Trim tops off the dried chilies and discard seeds. Pop into microwave and heat on High for 15 minutes until softened and fragrant. Snip into thin strips and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil and add onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add oregano, cumin, and chili strips and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add tomatoes and chipotle chilies with their sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Puré mixture with an immersion blender or in a blender. Stir in cilantro, soy sauce, a squeeze lime, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

4. In a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan, heat oil and lightly fry corn tortillas one at a time, until lightly charred on each side but still pliable. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and stack them as you go. Cover with foil to keep warm.

5. Using the same skillet or separate pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Fry eggs, using a spoon to baste the tops with hot oil as they cook in order to help set the upper whites while keeping the yolk completely runny. Fry until crisp on the bottom and edges and whites are set. Season with salt and pepper.

6. To serve, smear refried beans on each tortilla, top with a fried egg, and spoon salsa over the top, keeping the yolk exposed. Finish with a sprinkle of cotija cheese, sliced cherry tomatoes, and minced cilantro a Enjoy immediately. Buen provecho!



洋蔥  1 小個  切絲
蒜頭  3 瓣  剁碎
墨西哥乾辣椒  1 - 2 隻(ancho/guajillo/morita/或用一般辣椒乾代替)
乾奧勒岡  半 茶匙(墨西哥的品種最為理想)
小茴香粉  般茶匙
罐裝番茄  400 克(fire-roasted 的最為理想)
罐裝墨西哥 chipotle 辣椒 in adobe sauce  2 條
芫荽(剁碎)7 克
新鮮青檸汁  少量
生抽  1 湯匙

Cotija 芝士碎(或用 feta 芝士代替)
車厘茄  切片

1. 墨西哥乾辣椒先去頭去籽,放進微波爐以強波叮 15 秒至軟化和帶香。用剪刀把辣椒剪成絲,備用。

2. 小煲中落油炒香洋蔥和蒜頭,約 5 分鐘。加入乾辣椒絲、奧勒岡和小茴香粉,炒約 15 秒後再加入罐裝番茄和 chipotle 辣椒。煮開後轉小火加蓋燜煮 10 分鐘。

3. 用手持式攪拌捧或攪拌機把煲中食材打成蓉。拌入芫荽、生抽和青檸汁再作適當調味。備用。

4. 鑄鐵鍋或易潔鍋中落油把捲餅皮逐一煎至輕微焦香及軟中帶脆,並用錫紙保溫。

5. 煎太陽蛋。

6. 完成品製作步驟:煎好的捲餅皮上先塗上一層豆泥,然後放上一隻太陽蛋,再淋上番茄辣椒莎莎醬(不要完全覆蓋太陽蛋啊,特別是蛋黃啊!),最後撒上芝士碎、芫荽、車厘茄,牛油果和青檸角拌碟,完成!

[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]