23 6 / 2014

Lemon-ginger seared salmon, crispy salmon chicharron, and a bed of arugula salad. Paired with my favorite white wine, Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 👌🍤 #ChezBermain

Lemon-ginger seared salmon, crispy salmon chicharron, and a bed of arugula salad. Paired with my favorite white wine, Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 👌🍤 #ChezBermain

24 3 / 2014

24 3 / 2014

27 7 / 2013

Growing up in Bensonhurst of Brooklyn, NY, I was always surrounded by Italian culture. My neighbors were Italian, my friends were Italian, and my mother insisted I only wear Italian shoes like Diesel and Geox (although I went for the Nikes ‘cause of the swag).
Italian food was a part of my life because my close friend would always invite me over to his family dinners, where I’d have chicken cutlets, pasta, eggplant parmigiana, and caprese. But one particular dish that always stuck with me was from a birthday party at the Brooklyn Italian restaurant Ristorante Vaccaro. I was served chicken breast in a yellow, lemony sauce. My taste buds at that point had indeed, popped mollies and began sweating. It was called Chicken alla Francese (translated literally, French-style chicken).
Like my deeply ingrained secret admiration of Italian shoe fashion, the memory of that chicken never left me. So I’ve developed my own recipe inspired by the chefs of Ristorante Vaccaro. And here it is:
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Lemon-Butter Chicken Francese and Steamed Spinach
Ingredients: (Ingredients are separated in the order of chicken, then sauce, then spinach)

5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (can substitute 3 boneless chicken breasts)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon Italian herb mix (or just  equal parts dried oregano, parsley, and basil mixed together)
1 teaspoon Adobo all-purpose seasoning
½ teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
½ teaspoon black pepper
—-
2 tablespoons butter
2 minced cloves of garlic (can substitute ½ garlic powder, but fresh garlic is highly recommended)
1 ½ cups chicken broth
½ cup white cooking wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon Adobo all-purpose seasoning
¼ teaspoon lemon zest (grated outer skin of a lemon)
1 heaped tablespoon of corn starch or potato starch, mixed with 2 tabelspoons cold water
—-
½ large yellow or white onion, minced
1 tbsp butter
2 cups fresh spinach
6 bocconcini (fresh baby mozzarella balls), chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

So the success of this recipe depends greatly on timing. If you’re cooking rice, and the standard cooking time for white rice is 30 minutes, consider timing the rest of the recipe like this: Start chicken first, as it will cook for 25-30 minutes. After 5 minutes, begin making the lemon-butter sauce. After another 5 minutes, begin sauteeing onions on low for the steamed spinach. Everything should be done by the time the chicken is done. 
Lemon-Butter Chicken & Sauce:
1) Cut the chicken into strips. In a bowl, toss in chicken, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 teaspoon herb mix, 1 teaspoon Adobo, ½ teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Toss well to evenly coat chicken in liquids and seasonings, and allow to marinate anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight.
2) Heat olive oil in a large skillet to medium heat. Toss in chicken and discard the marinade. Keep note of the time the chicken started cooking, as in 25 minutes you will mix the chicken with the sauce. Stir the chicken frequently as you cook the rest of the meal.
3) To begin making the sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan and toss in the minced garlic. Cook garlic until soft and fragrant.
4) Pour in chicken broth, white wine, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into the saucepan. Stir in ½ teaspoon sugar, ½ Adobo seasoning, and lemon zest. Allow to simmer on medium-low heat in order to cook off some of the alcohol of the cooking wine. Consider to start cooking the spinach as listed below.
5) When the total cooking time of the chicken is approaching 25 minutes, mix the diluted corn-starch into the lemon sauce, and boil on medium-high heat for 1 minute. 
6) Mix the sauce with the cooked chicken, turn heat to low and cover with the lid until you are ready to serve it.
Steamed Spinach:
1) Five minutes after you begin making the lemon sauce, start to sautee chopped onions in a separate skillet, in butter on medium-low heat. Lightly salt the onions.
2) Five minutes before the chicken is done, turn the heat on the skillet with the onions to low, and toss in the spinach and chopped cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste, and mix all contents with a wooden spoon. Keep on low heat until ready to serve. 
Finito! Plate the chicken in the sauce next to the spinach. Serve some rice on the side if desired and garnish the chicken with fresh parsley.
Enjoy this meal while I get chased down by mafiosos who want their chicken back,
-cookingwithswag

Growing up in Bensonhurst of Brooklyn, NY, I was always surrounded by Italian culture. My neighbors were Italian, my friends were Italian, and my mother insisted I only wear Italian shoes like Diesel and Geox (although I went for the Nikes ‘cause of the swag).


Italian food was a part of my life because my close friend would always invite me over to his family dinners, where I’d have chicken cutlets, pasta, eggplant parmigiana, and caprese. But one particular dish that always stuck with me was from a birthday party at the Brooklyn Italian restaurant Ristorante Vaccaro. I was served chicken breast in a yellow, lemony sauce. My taste buds at that point had indeed, popped mollies and began sweating. It was called Chicken alla Francese (translated literally, French-style chicken).

Like my deeply ingrained secret admiration of Italian shoe fashion, the memory of that chicken never left me. So I’ve developed my own recipe inspired by the chefs of Ristorante Vaccaro. And here it is:

Read More

26 7 / 2013

An Idiot’s Guide to the Maillard Reaction
The Maillard Reaction is kind of like what the cast members of The Jersey Shore aim to achieve their entire lives. They call it GTL, but in the culinary world, the Maillard Reaction is the name of the process by which food is browned and becomes more visually appealing and palatable (Snooki tried this but only attained the dreaded Oompa-Loompa Reaction). 
The Maillard Reaction was discovered by the chemist Louise-Camille Maillard in 1912, while he was trying to engineer synthesis of protein as he had an urgent desire to be brolic. A few reps and several steroids later, Maillard observed that at temperatures above 310 degrees Fahrenheit, carbohydrates and amino acids present on foods reacted, became brown, and generated a wide variety of appealing flavors. 
Thus, the Maillard Reaction is responsible for the deliciousness of:
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Seared or roasted meats, like steak
Toast 
Freedom French fries
The stuff they put in German IV lines Beer
ROASTED COFFEE
The crust of baked breads, like rye (no brioche for you, peasant)
As you can see, the mastery of this reaction is widely applicable. Therefore it is essential for you, my aspiring chef, to keep this knowledge in mind especially when searing meats. When using the pan, pat-dry your meat and sear it on medium to medium-high heat. In the oven, broil your meat for one to five minutes towards the end to get nice browning. And for those interested in sweets, the browning in the Maillard Reaction is akin to the process of caramelization, where sugars react to high temperatures and become a deep brown color, as evident in the creation of caramel candies and caramelized onions.
I hope you make good, delicious use of this knowledge. I also advise that you try not to coax the Maillard Reaction on yourself this summer out in the sun.
If you enjoyed Snooki’s picture up top, tune in next time for more Jersey Shore,-cookingwithswag

[Photo belongs to The Food Network][Snooki’s character and likeness is purely fictional here]

An Idiot’s Guide to the Maillard Reaction


The Maillard Reaction is kind of like what the cast members of The Jersey Shore aim to achieve their entire lives. They call it GTL, but in the culinary world, the Maillard Reaction is the name of the process by which food is browned and becomes more visually appealing and palatable (Snooki tried this but only attained the dreaded Oompa-Loompa Reaction). 

The Maillard Reaction was discovered by the chemist Louise-Camille Maillard in 1912, while he was trying to engineer synthesis of protein as he had an urgent desire to be brolic. A few reps and several steroids later, Maillard observed that at temperatures above 310 degrees Fahrenheit, carbohydrates and amino acids present on foods reacted, became brown, and generated a wide variety of appealing flavors. 

Thus, the Maillard Reaction is responsible for the deliciousness of:

Read More

25 7 / 2013

Wow.
So I’ve finally gotten around to fulfilling what this blog was actually made for. Here it goes:
My obsession with duck began with rubber ducky bathtub toys. No but seriously, it began in a shady Russian cafe on Brighton Beach, where I found (amongst many other illegal things) roasted duck leg with mushroom gravy. I was sure I had discovered something akin to the unicorn of poultry that day. But I knew I had to cook my own when I tried crispy, seared duck breast at the Japanese-Italian restaurant Basta Pasta. My eyes and wallet both cried at the heavenly delicacy. I hunted around for a good butcher and eventually found prime meat market Ottomanelli & Sons on Bleecker St in NYC. I picked up two duck breast halves for $25 and headed home (mind you, my stomach and wallet have a bitter rivalry). Here’s how I did it:

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Seared Duck Breast on a Cranberry-Blackberry Sauce

Ingredients
1 duck breast
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon poultry/italian herb mix (Mrs. Dash, Herbes de Provence, etc.)
Sea salt with grinder
Black pepper
(optional) 1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup cranberry-blackberry juice mix (can substitute juice of either)
1/2 cup red cooking wine
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon vegetable or chicken broth/bouillon mix
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 heaped teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water
Instructions:
1) Arrange duck breast skin/fat side up. Score the fat by creating slits in a cross-hatch pattern about a quarter-inch deep like this into the fat, avoiding cutting the meat underneath. This will help the fat render out into the skillet.2) Seasoning: Grind sea salt and pepper over both sides of the breast. Drizzle sesame oil between the crevices of the scored fat, and then sprinkle on the herbs. Optional: you may choose to drizzle honey in the fat crevices as well, if you desire a smoky-sweet twist.3) Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a skillet. Place duck breast fat-side down, and then turn the heat to medium. This is an essential step. You want the heat to slowly come up so that the fat may render and seep out of the duck into the pan (where you may choose to spoon the excess and use it as a delicious oil in side dishes). Allow the fat to sizzle for 9 to 13 minutes, so that the fat becomes crispy and dark brown (if it’s not turning black, you’re golden). 4) After fat has crisped nicely, flip and cook for an additional 3-7 minutes, depending on how thick the breast is. You want the meat to be cooked to medium, meaning slightly pink in the center, otherwise it will be dry and rubbery. 5) When it is visible from the sides of the breast that the meat, except for a little bit of pink in the center, has cooked, grab a pair of tongs and sear the thick sides of the breast for 1 minute on medium-high heat, kinda like this guy does it with steak.6) Allow to rest for five minutes loosely covered with aluminum foil as you prepare the sauce (I recommend having the sauce prepared beforehand in case if you expect it might take longer to make).
Cranberry-Blackberry Sauce:1) In a saucepan on medium-low heat, combine red wine, cranberry juice, and lemon juice.2) Whisk in sugar and broth powder.3) Turn heat up to medium-high and slowly drizzle in cornstarch+cold water mixture. Allow to boil for 1 minute to cook out the cornstarch flavor and to allow thickening. Return to very low heat if you are not yet ready to plate the duck breast.


Voila!

Plate the duck breast with the sauce UNDERNEATH the breast, so the crispy fat on top doesn’t get soggy. Serve with steamed vegetables, warmed cranberries, and either mashed potatoes or rice. Make slices diagonally along the cross-hatch pattern as to avoid all the juices seeping out. If you insist on tears of joy, try to avoid the cranberry sauce on your plate. When finished eating, continue crying as you realize duck is not as widely available as chicken.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more recipes.
-cookingwithswag

Wow.

So I’ve finally gotten around to fulfilling what this blog was actually made for. Here it goes:

My obsession with duck began with rubber ducky bathtub toys. No but seriously, it began in a shady Russian cafe on Brighton Beach, where I found (amongst many other illegal things) roasted duck leg with mushroom gravy. I was sure I had discovered something akin to the unicorn of poultry that day. But I knew I had to cook my own when I tried crispy, seared duck breast at the Japanese-Italian restaurant Basta Pasta. My eyes and wallet both cried at the heavenly delicacy. I hunted around for a good butcher and eventually found prime meat market Ottomanelli & Sons on Bleecker St in NYC. I picked up two duck breast halves for $25 and headed home (mind you, my stomach and wallet have a bitter rivalry). Here’s how I did it:

Read More

03 4 / 2013

Redefining 808 drums with my fresh new beat, give it a listen! @djelicrack

08 2 / 2013

Se io spiegherei a ti, qual’è il significato del imparare le lingue, spiegherei come questo. Immagini una vita dove tutti parla un modo certo. Nel comincio, appare che tutto e bene. Tu comprendi tuoi amici, tuoi genitori, tua famiglia, ognuno. Ma poi tu vai fuori, e senti gli uccelli. Come loro cantano! Che gioia! Che belle parole loro sanno! E tu smetti camminando. Piangi. Perche per la tua vita entire ti mai sentivo chi belli suoni. 

23 10 / 2012

19 10 / 2012