Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring Fever

The sun is shining! It will be over 50 degrees today! Hip-hip-hooray!

We rode outside yesterday and it was the first ride without fenders on my bike and winter cycling boots since . . . November? Wonderful. It was still tights, vest and warm gloves weather, but hints of spring are seeping through.

We had friends in town from Argentina, so I undid the benefits of our four-hour bike ride by making Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with Bourbon Cranberry Pan Sauce (recipe below), asparagus, couscous & honey/cinnamon-spiced oranges for dinner. A couple bottles of Catena Malbec also disappeared . . . it was a yummy dinner.

We won't be watching the Oscars tonight - I don't think I've seen an Oscar telecast since junior high. I haven't seen too many of the Oscar-nominated films this year. We have seen The Hurt Locker (pretty slow and no real effort to make me care one way or the other about the characters) and Julie & Julia, which was light, easy and fun.

We'll be heading to Texas for our version of spring training at the end of the week. Hopefully that will provide fodder for some more interesting posts. The winter blahs have started to break up . . . finally!


Note: For best results, buy similarly sized chicken breasts. If the breasts have the tenderloin attached, leave it in place and follow the upper range of baking time in step 1. For optimal texture, sear the chicken immediately after removing it from the oven.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat

2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 recipe pan sauce, optional

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Using fork, poke thickest half of each breast 5 to 6 times; evenly sprinkle each breast with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon table salt). Place chicken, skinned side down, in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake until thickest part of breast registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven and transfer, skinned side up, to paper towel-lined plate and pat dry with paper towels. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. While pan is heating, whisk butter, flour, cornstarch, and pepper together in small bowl. Lightly brush top side of chicken with half of butter mixture. Place chicken in skillet, coated side down, and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. While chicken browns, brush top side with remaining butter mixture. Using tongs, flip chicken, reduce heat to medium, and cook until second side is browned and thickest part of breast registers 160 to 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate and let rest while preparing pan sauce (if not making pan sauce, let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.)


1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup bourbon

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

salt and ground black pepper


Add shallot to now empty skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat and add broth, bourbon, cranberries, and thyme. Return pan to medium-high, and bring to simmer, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Simmer rapidly until reduced to 3/4 cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter; season with salt and pepper. Spoon over chicken and serve immediately.


  1. I am hear to say - Dinner was excellent!!!
    Very, very yummy!!! Love, PK

  2. Good practice for when we come visit???Hmmm?? I took pictures of the blooming trees and flowers in Seattle. There is still snow in MY yard.
    The Other PK