Despite our differences in many areas, kitchens are places where we all unite. I love being in kitchens, creating different foods, and connecting with lots of people. Being a restaurateur (Mambo 64!), food writer, event planner, caterer, cooking teacher, educator, traveller—and mom—has given me plenty of opportunities to log kitchen hours as home chef, host, and guest. Though this blog was born in my "cocina," it shares a collection of tales about life both inside and outside of my kitchen!
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
With Chef Amy Magee
Chef Amy Magee is no ordinary personal chef! This CIA
(Culinary Institute of America) graduate has worked her way into hearts—and
stomachs—of many a client in Westchester and NYC via cocktail parties and
full-size soirées, in addition to smaller, more familial gigs.
With Chef Amy Magee in My kitchen!
Chef Amy, like many chefs, loves to cook. But what makes
this chef especially interesting is her constant desire to learn and explore on
behalf of her customers. Let’s say, for example, a client says, “I’m thinking
about serving my 25 guests something from Mumbai, India.” This kind of request
is the kind this chef loves: she gets to investigate, and put together a menu
featuring spices, ingredients, and dishes that are not usually part of her
repertoire. Chef Amy says she’s always inspired by her clients—and loves the
journey of discovering new dishes.
Whether she’s dropping off a meal for 12 to her customers, or cooking onsite for a party of 20
(and many more!), Chef Amy dedicates herself to her work wholeheartedly. The
results? Always so delicious. How do I know this? Well, in addition to having
the privilege of working with her from time to time, I have the EXTRA treat of
being related to her thanks to my husband, Seth (I have been her sister-in-law
for almost 24 years! Wow!). And do I need to tell you that every family should
have at least one professional chef? (She’s great. Thank you, Amy!)
Oh—how can you reach
Chef Amy? Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org , and do
mention that you read about her here. Enjoy!
Apricot-Cranberry-Walnut Stuffed Chicken Breasts
This is a recipe for Amy’s
apricot-cranberry-walnut stuffed chicken breasts. She serves it every year at a
mock Seder for a private school in New York City. The head of the school is a
lovely man who though not Jewish, decided to host a Seder for the non-Jewish
members of the faculty and their families so they could experience the food, as
well as the religious service. (There is also a Seder service with a rabbi and
full meal for anyone who chooses to come.) This chicken breast recipe is such a
success they request it every year! She’ll be making it today with potato
pancakes, and fresh-roasted asparagus.
6 boneless chicken
breasts, skin on
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek (white part only)
cleaned and diced
1/2 cup dried apricots,
1/2 cup prunes, coarsely
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts
Salt and freshly ground
1/2 cup raspberry jam
2 tablespoons balsamic
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Heat the olive oil in a
medium-size sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring
frequently, for about 5 minutes or until softened. Set aside and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, combine the
apricots, prunes, raisins, dried cranberries and walnuts in a food processor.
Add the leeks. Process until finely chopped; it will be paste-like (and the rich color of prunes).
Make the glaze: In a
medium-size saucepan over medium heat, combine the jam and balsamic vinegar and
heat through, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Scoop the fruit and nut
mixture into the pockets of the chicken breasts, and place them on a baking
sheet, skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Use a brush to apply a
layer of the glaze to the top of the chicken breasts (save additional for
drizzling over cooked pieces).
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes,
or until chicken is cooked through. Baste once during the cooking time. Allow
to rest about five minutes, cut in half width-wise (as below), plate with seasonal
garnish (like these pretty flowers), and serve!
Chef Amy's Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Split, Garnished, and Ready to Serve!