Eating Down the Fridge: Day 1 / by Alice Zhao

Alice: Ok so I have a hate/hate relationship with Mark Bittman. No, I don't mean love/hate, I do mean hate/hate. The first time I ever saw him on TV, I had to change the channel within minutes. I don't quite remember which episode of The Best Recipes in the World I happened upon, but Mark was in a European kitchen with a world renowned chef and being the stereotypical obnoxious American everyone in the world loves to hate. He was condescending, patronizing and trying to crack jokes he knew the chef wouldn't understand. Can somebody explain why this guy has a show? Is his column in the New York Times really that good? More recently, he was even more embarassing as the creepy stalker character standing 2 millimeters away from the beautiful Claudia Bissols' face, breathing down her neck in Spain... on the Road Again. *shudders*

Fast forward to a few months ago. LMN was telling me that her husband BN had found a super easy and delicious bread recipe. Bread? Easy? Recipe? I must have it! So a few days later and to my horror, BN forwarded me a link to Mark Bittman's post on his adapted No Knead Bread recipe. Gah! I really wanted to boycott this recipe out of spite, but did a little research and went on to read how countless people have tried this out AND blogged about it. After a while, I broke down and tried it out. I have to admit, it truly was as ridiculously easy as bloggers had blogged. And it looks and tastes like something you could buy from a bakery. It's nice and crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside. I almost want to say it's fool proof. And trust me, I'm a pretty big fool when it comes to baking! So when Jared requested I make it this past weekend, I was happy to do it, but not without cursing Mark Bittman under my breath in the process. I may not like him, but I will certainly atleast respect this recipe!

Jared: To make sure we stuck to the challenge, I moved all the frozen meats from the freezer to the fridge. Looking into the fridge, I saw the defrosted chicken and scallops and decided to make a pasta dish with an alfredo sauce from scratch. I cooked a version of this dish before while I was working at a French restaurant. That's right!!! an Italian dish in a French restaurant. This is how it came to be. A couple of our regulars came in with their children one night. The parents requested pasta dishes with alfredo sauce. Since they were regulars, the manager could not turn down their request. While the head chef was busy on the line, he gave me (the lowly saute guy) the task of making this dish. So I used whatever was in the mise en place to create this dish. This time, I gave it a twinge of luxury by adding scallops.

1 chicken boneless breast
8 scallops (optional)
handful of grape tomatoes
handful of spinach
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 cup of grated parmesean
1 clove of garlic
1/2 of a lemon
1/2 cup of white wine
1 cup of chicken stock
salt and pepper
My personal Mise En Place
  • Cut the chicken breast into strips
  • Mince the garlic and halve the tomatoes
  • Heat the pan on high with 1 tsb of oil and sear the scallops. Depending on the thickness, cook for about 2 minutes per side until you achieve a nice brown caramelized sea.
  • Transfer the scallops to a plate.
  • Add another tablespoon of oil and saute the chicken strips until nice and brown.
  • Add the tomatoes and spinach to the pan
  • Deglaze the pan with the white wine and squeeze in the lemon juice. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan
  • Add the stock, cream, parmesan cheese and garlic.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and cook until the sauce is thick and creamy
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • While the sauce thickens, cook the pasta until al-dente
  • Strain the pasta and add to the sauce
  • Finally add the scallops to the pasta and serve

Makes 2 Servings

Chicken and Scallops Alfredo
** Disclaimer: I apologize as these dinner pictures may look terrible in indoor lighting. but to stay true to our task at hand, we took these pictures just before we ate the dishes we cooked in the evening **
Gone from the pantry: Scallops, 1 chicken breast, spinach from 2 grocery trips ago!