Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pesto Chicken, take two.

The second attempt at this dish went a lot smoother.

I've noticed that if I attempt to guess what is half before pounding, I'm always wrong, so I cut the chicken breast into thirds after I pounded it. It was interesting to note that it was a lot more difficult to make them flat when they weren't already cut. It makes sense if you think about it; the structural integrity of the chicken breast was kicking in with full force. (Add that to the phrases I'd never think I'd write.)

Splitting a chicken breast into thirds is a whole lot more difficult than splitting it in half. What I managed (and I'm not sure I could do much better) was two about even pieces, and one half piece. It's frustrating (gee, why can't chicken breasts be symmetrical!) but good at the same time, because those half portions will come in handy for Jeff's brother's kids.

I picked up the basil from my friend, and then had to go to Meijer afterwards to pick up more mushrooms. For some reason, this week, there are no shiitake mushrooms. The best I could do was pick up a mixed bag of shiitake, oyster, and baby bella. At least they had the mushrooms I needed in some sense, even though they were already sliced. The oyster mushrooms weren't used (mainly because I know nothing about them), but they tasted interesting. They had the traditional mushroom taste, but the cap (if I'm using proper terms) was a little tough to bite through.

When I got back to my car, I was pleased to find that my car stank of basil. It was a pleasant drive home (not sarcasm, it really smelled good.)

Instead of cutting the recipe for the pesto down to the amount I needed (a measly 1/4 cup), I decided to keep it the size it was written and expect leftovers. It requires 1 1/2 cups of basil, packed in the cup. That's a lot of basil. The basil I was given was the traditional type used in pesto, with the small leaves. Lots of tiny small leaves. 1 1/2 cups of tiny small leaves. I was plucking for 10 minutes. I don't know if the freakin tiny small leaves made the pesto taste better in the end, because it was the first time I made it. I really hope it did, because I was not thrilled by the end of ten minutes (if you couldn't sense by my use of grammar). (Not to say I'm not immensely thankful for the free basil, trust me, I am. Tiny freakin leaves.)

The whole pesto recipe was a lot mushier than Kittencal's recipe. For I all know, it could be just the fact it was done in full rather than cut down. Hard to say. We put it into the preparation bowl with the chicken broth, and realized that the whole thing was liquid. This made my idea of straining the pesto out fly straight out the window. Instead, we cooked just the pesto for a minute or so.

The mushrooms, beside the fact that they were pre-sliced, turned out alright. The portions are coming together better, as I lessened the amount of pasta to 1 ounce. Jeff questioned my 1 ounce of pasta, but I explained to him the 3 ounces last time was too much. I figured, if it wasn't enough, we could be sure afterwards that 2 was the right amount.

Unfortunately, I screwed up slightly with my timing on adding the seasoning, so the end result was bland. It's the second time that I've made this dish and not put the thyme in with the mushrooms, rather, remembering right after I've removed the mushrooms and started cooking the sauce. So, I end up putting the seasoning into the sauce. Which ends up being drained when the mushrooms are plated, as I don't want the mushroom sauce interfering with the chicken. Therefore, the seasoning is lost. Lesson learned.

Looks pretty good, doesn't it? (Tasted good too.)

Jeff still isn't sure he likes the fact that he can taste/feel each fiber of the fresh chicken. I like it, though. It will suck returning to frozen chicken when all of this is done with. Maybe I'll have to find another excuse to buy it.

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