Chicken Kiev

White plate with two chicken breast rolls prepared with couc-cous and squash
The first time I tasted this dish I was at a restaurant called Soloman Grundy's on the Berkeley Marina. I was just starting to take an interest in cooking and this was the first recipe I attempted that was outside of our family's southern Italian wheelhouse.

I'm guessing it was in the late '70's - or maybe the early '80's - well before the internet, so I took to the family collection of cook books and newspaper clippings until I found a recipe. I wish I could source it for you but that moment has passed. All that's left is the hand-written copy I made. It took a while to get it right, but it's easy to do.

The surprise of this dish, when cooked correctly, is the burst of butter that spills out when the chicken is sliced. After a few failed attempts, I learned that the key is to freeze the butter. Don't skip that step. The chef at Solomon Grundy's served it on a bed of rice with a cheese sauce that was delicious but difficult for me to recreate. Frankly, this dish doesn't need sauce and I've never had it served that way again.

As you can imagine, the butter keeps the chicken breast moist but a little sauce dresses up the presentation. If you're so inclined, the easy Hollandaise sauce recipe is included.

This is a hearty chicken dish that will take away the chill as Autumn sets in. I served it with a pearl couscous/lentil medley and grilled squash. 

Level: Average
Yield: Serves 4
Time: About 1 hour


Quinoa Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

Quinoa Stuffed Patty Pan Squash served on a plate with a basil garnish
Starburst or patty pan; whatever you call these squash they're delicious and beautiful to serve. I made these after a trip to The Corner Market in Eugene. They had so many and I wanted to make something that was in season and abundantly available in the Pacific Northwest. Here's what I came up with.

These are chock-full of protein and flavor from quinoa, cheese, a little bacon, some onion... you get the idea. I tried a few variations but the trick to keeping the stuffing together was to add an egg white to the quinoa mixture before baking.

These are surprisingly filling, so feel free to serve it as a main dish.

Time: 1 hour
Level: Average
Yield: Serves 2 (4 as a side dish)