Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kitchen Boss-Buddy Valastro

I don't know about you, but I LOVE watching the show Cake Boss.  Not only am I a huge fan of cake, but I love watching Buddy Valastro and his family.  They are so loud, and funny and interesting.  The only thing about watching that show is that I have to make sure to have something sweet to snack on while I watch.  
Well now Buddy has a new show called Kitchen Boss.  Buddy's family is Italian, so most of his cooking is Italian food.  He shares recipes that have been passed down in his family.  I find him really funny because he uses the word "beautiful" to describe everything.  "Lets add these beautiful canned tomatoes to the pot.", "Lets chop up this beautiful parsley", "Lets stir this until it gets all....beautiful!" He cracks me up!  But let me tell ya, his food looks amazing!!!  

I am dying to try pretty much everything I've seen him cook, but here are a few things that I have already had the chance to cook myself.
First off, he has a few recipes that he suggests you keep on hand and ready-made to cook his Italian meals. 

Master Breadcrumbs

1pound loaf rustic Italian bread such as Pugliese
1cup finely grated pecorino cheese
2garlic cloves put through a garlic press
2tablespoons dried Italian herbs
3tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/2tablespoon fine sea salt

  1. The day before you plan to make breadcrumbs: Slice the bread into ½ inch slices. Place slices on cake racks to dry overnight.
  2. In batches, crumble or tear bread slices into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse the bread multiple times until the crumbs are about the size of a dime.
  3. Add the cheese, garlic, herbs and salt and continue to pulse until the breadcrumbs become fine. Store what you are not using in the freezer or in your refrigerator for 3-4 days

(Since Johnny, my husband, has to eat gluten free, here are the changes I made: I used blended up Chex cereal instead of bread.  And I couldn't find pecorino cheese, so I just used grated parmesan.)

Here is the second must-have recipe:

'Master Marinara'.  

228-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
214.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
1/4cup extra virgin olive oil
2plump cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1teaspoon (kosher) salt
1sprig fresh basil
1/2cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

  1. In a 3-4 qt. pot, heat the oil and garlic together. When garlic becomes pale gold and fragrant add the tomatoes, salt and basil sprig. Stir well to combine and bring sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer sauce, 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce has thickened and is richly flavored. Remove from heat, check for seasoning and stir in the torn basil leaves.

*Now, I'd give his Master Marinara a 3 stars out of 5...I didn't think it had too much flavor, but Johnny really liked it.  Its definitely a good basic sauce to keep on hand for Italian cooking. (I made a whole bunch and froze it.)

So now that we've got those basic recipes covered, here are the recipes for a perfect Italian meal I prepared last week!

Italian Vinaigrette.

2cloves garlic, minced
1teaspoon sugar
1teaspoon dried mustard
1teaspoon dried oregano
1teaspoon dried basil
3Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2cup vegetable oil

All you have to do is mix these ingredients all together.  I just used a mini-blender.  Drizzle it over your lettuce and you're good to go!

*I keep this dressing in the fridge.  Its a great tasting dressing, super easy to make, and hey...when people see that you've got home-made salad dressing, they will be impressed!!!

Perfect Italian Chicken Cutlets
4boneless chicken breast halves (approximately 2 pounds)
2‑1/4cups Buddy's Breadcrumbs (see recipe)
1/4cups grated parmesan cheese
1‑1/2cups all purpose flour
3large eggs, beaten with a fork
Salt and pepper
1/2cup olive oil for frying (approximate)
Lemon wedges for serving
  1. If breast have tenderloins, remove and trim of all cartilage. Place a breast half on the cutting board. Place your free hand on top of the breast. Hold a sharp knife parallel to the board, and slice through the thickest portion of the breast towards the pointy end, separating the breast into two bookend pieces. Repeat with all halves -- you will have eight pieces. Pound each piece of chicken between plastic wrap to approximately 1/4" thickness.
  2. Set up a dredging station of flour, eggs, beaten with a tablespoon of grated parmesan and the breadcrumbs. Get a large sauté pan to medium on the burner. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken pieces on both sides. Coat first in the flour, patting off extra, then egg, allowing excess to drip into the bowl. Dredge in breadcrumbs. Set the chicken pieces on a plate. Heat the oil in the hot pan. When hot, add chicken cutlets, cooking to a golden brown on each side -- no more than a couple of minutes each. Set on paper towel-lined plate to drain a minute; serve plated with lemon wedges.

*These chicken cutlets were amazing!!!  They were super moist, and they tasted just as good the next day (heated up in the toaster oven.)
*I also used gluten free flour.

 I definitely suggest eating them with this next recipe:

Spaghetti Marinara
1recipe Buddy's Marinara Sauce (see recipe)
1/4cup torn basil leaves
Freshly grated parmesan to finish
1pound spaghetti

  1. Cook pasta in abundant salted water, al dente. Serve with marinara sauce and finish with the torn basil and grated parmesan cheese.

*So like I said before, the marinara sauce is very basic, but its perfect if you eat the pasta with those amazing chicken cutlets.
*I used rice pasta to make it gluten free.  It tastes just like the regular stuff!

Well I hope you try these recipes, I really enjoyed cooking them (even though my kitchen was a mess when I was done), and I loved eating them!  
I think this is a perfect meal to cook for when you're having people over.  Who doesn't like pasta?!

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