Sunday, January 8, 2012

"Off the Menu" Cookbook Review, Honey Soy Chicken and Jicama Salad

Every once in a while Nic and I go eat at this sushi hole-in-the-wall place near our apartment that's not that special but super cheap, never crowded and very close. The last few times we've been there on the earlier side and noticed the servers and off duty staff eating big plates of food family style. It always looks delicious but is never dishes we can find on the menu. Nic is always saying how much he wishes he could eat what the staff eats at more restaurants because that's probably the tastiest stuff and low and behold, two months later my brother sent us this amazing present, "Off the Menu: Staff Meals from America's Top Restaurants" by Marissa Guggiana.

The book is a treasure trove of comfort food, veggie dishes, desserts and delicious looking ethnic foods from chefs all over the country. I would definitely recommend this for anyone looking for new and inventive family style dishes --- definitely dinner party worthy!

Today I dug into the book, book marked about 20 different things I want to try and picked out two healthy and simple looking recipes to make for dinner: Honey and Soy Chicken from Abbatoir restaurant in Atlanta and Jicama Salad from Marea in NYC. Both dishes were extremely simple and very tasty. The chicken was salty and full of flavor while the jicama salad was light and citrusy - the perfect compliment. Here are the recipes to try out yourself and if you need a new cookbook or a gift for your favorite foodie check out the book!

Soy-and-Honey-Glazed Chicken from Chef Joshua Hopkins of Abbatoir restaurant in Atlanta
Makes 2-3 big servings

1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs and 1 skinless chicken breast (because Nic likes dark and I like white meat)
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 small jalapeno, thinly sliced

-In a large saute pan, bring the stock soy sauce and honey to a simmer.
-Reduce the sauce for about 10 minutes.
-Add the chicken and increase heat to high.
-Continue to cook, rotating the chicken until it has absorbed almost all of the sauce.
-Remove from heat and add the ginger, cilantro and jalapeno. Toss to cover and serve.

Jicama Salad from Marea restaurant in NYC
-Makes about 4 Side servings

-1 small jicama, peeled and julienned (I actually used daikon radish instead because I couldn't find jicama. It worked out great)
-1 carrot, shredded or julienned
-1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
-Juice from 2 limes
-1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
-Pinch of salt

-In a medium bowl, mix together the jicamas, carrots and cilantro.
-In a small bowl mix juice from 2 limes with the oil.
-Season with salt and more lime juice as necessary.
-Toss the vegetables with the dressing and serve immediately.

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