Spicy & Aromatic Crab Curry Lately, I have been working with my friend and fellow chef Jay Jadeja to develop recipes and menus for his new restaurant, West East Bistro, in Oakdale, New York. He plans to open the doors in February 2016 and he […]
Tag: Chef Kevin Penner
Everyone loves food that is cooked on a grill and for a lot of people who might not otherwise cook, grilling food can be a cathartic experience. Over the last few years, there have been a lot more options available to home cooks such as […]
My Thanksgiving Recipes in Newsday
Today in Newsday, my friend Erica Marcus wrote their annual Thanksgiving story and I provided the recipes for the article. The recipes were developed before the photo shoot and they were revised and refined as we shot the dishes. What does that mean? It means the recipes work and they are delicious. Take a look and check them out. You should make as many of them as you can because they are really easy and delicious.
Here are the recipes as they appeared in Newsday: (more…)
Atlantic Bay Scallop Season is Here The first Monday of November is a day I always look forward to, but this hasn’t always been the case. The Atlantic bay scallop season in New York state begins on that day and over the years it has […]
Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain that specializes in fried chicken sandwiches and nuggets, recently opened in Port Jefferson, NY. The chain enjoys a large and dedicated following that loves the reasonably priced offerings on the menu. The quality of those offerings is another thing to love. There is a vast qualitative difference between what Chick-fil-A puts between the bun and the sandwiches from the mega-chains.
When I arrived at the recently opened Port Jefferson location the parking lot was jammed but well-managed by a store employee who was separating the drive-thru crowd from the folks planning to eat inside. Once I headed inside I was stopped on a line that snaked from the counter to the front door, composed of maybe fifteen to twenty people. Occasionally the line grew longer but the staff, who were friendly and helpful, did a good job of keeping everything moving.
When I made it to the counter to place my order I chose a “spicy chicken sandwich meal” which included the sandwich, a side of waffle fries and a bottle of water. The bill was $7.59, which is comparable to the mega-chains for the same type of meal.
So how was the food? It was alright. The sandwich was actually quite good and the chicken retained a decent amount of moisture. This never happens at the mega-chains regardless of if they are frying a natural breast or a restructured patty. The bun was almost perfect–soft, white, squishy, and lightly toasted with two slices of large diameter pickles. The breading was thicker around the edges of the breast while the flat surfaces could have used a little extra to make them crispier. The waffle fries were a disaster. They were white, soft and the only hint of crispiness occurred as they cooled and the potato starch film dried out on their surface.
As fast food goes Chick-fil-A seems to invest more in training their employees than the mega-chains and they also offer a higher quality product, with the exception of the waffle fries. I think they tend to benefit from having a well-focused menu while the mega-chains struggle by offering too much diversity on their menus. At the end of the day, it is just a fried chicken breast sandwich. But it’s better than anything you will find on the McMenus of the mega-chains.
Making a sandwich like this at home is really not so difficult and it will allow you to control what kind of chicken you use–hopefully one that is raised humanely and without growth hormones and antibiotics. You can check out the way my friend Kenji Lopez-Alt does it at The Food Lab on Serious Eats. You should also check out his new cookbook called The Food Lab for even more fun cooking.
Copyright 2015 Kevin Penner
I have been reading through an excellent new cookbook called “The Food Lab” by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. First of all, if you like to cook, buy the book. Kenji does a great job of demystifying the process on a number of levels and his book […]
Here is a photo recollection of the things I cooked this summer and some photos of local foods as well–the things I get to cook. Copyright 2015 Kevin Penner
Summer is winding down but there is still time to enjoy the remaining days by eating tomatoes. Panzanella is one of my favorite ways to eat them. This classic bread salad is great for entertaining at home because it can be started ahead of time and finished at the last minute.
End of Summer Panzanella
2 servings as an appetizer
Preheat an oven to 400F
100 g. fresh country bread cut into 1″ cubes
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Toss the oil and the bread so the bread is well coated, place on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned. It should have a crispy exterior and a soft interior.
15 g. shallot, minced
15 g. garlic, minced
30 g. cherry tomatoes cut into quarters (I like Matt’s Wild Cherry Tomatoes-they are very small and very sweet)
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. decent quality red wine
1/2 t. kosher salt
90 g. green heirloom tomatoes cut into 1″ pieces-save any juices (I like Aunt Rubie’s German Green)
90 g. red heirloom tomatoes cut into 1″ pieces-save any juices (Stick to larger beefsteak heirlooms like Black Krims)
6 basil leaves-I like Thai basil but any will do
4 T. extra virgin olive oil (Frantoia is good)
Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. The salt will draw the juice out of the tomatoes. Let the ingredients rest together at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Add the bread and let it all rest together for another 20 minutes. Mix it well again and serve in a shallow bowl or on a plate.
This salad works well as a base for grilled fish, grilled chicken, veal cutlets and other mild flavored meats.
copyright 2015 Kevin Penner