Michael Pollan, the popular author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food and the obligatory tiny read Food Rules, has recently been in the news again. He’s simplified his message: make food at home. In an Op-Ed piece written last week he told Mark Bittman that “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself. People who cook eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought. It’s the collapse of home cooking that led directly to the obesity epidemic.”
Making dinner each night is a difficult task for the most dedicated of us. I’m using this blog to help make the job less daunting. Perhaps the simplest thing to prepare are boneless chicken breasts. They’re quick, low in fat and very versatile. Basics Fuirst Cassoulet Seasoning, Rosemary Roasting Blend, Italian Seasoning and Tandoori Spice Blend all work well here.
Season chicken breasts with Spice Blend of your choice. Heat olive oil in a large fry pan or sauté pan over a medium heat. Place the chicken cutlets in the hot pan. Do not crowd or overlap the chicken. Cook 4-5 minutes per side and turn when lightly brown. When sautéed on both sides remove to plate and serve. A whole grain salad like the Farro Salad below is a great accompaniment and can be made ahead of time.
1 ½ cups farro
2 pints cherry tomatoes or Campari tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
½ bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced
¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
Kosher salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400°.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the 1/4 cup olive oil, Balsamic vinegar and crushed garlic. Let sit.
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Toss tomatoes with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Place cut side up on baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake in hot oven for 30 minutes.
Place farro in a sieve and rinse under cool water. Transfer to saucepan, add water to cover by 2 inches and salt generously. Bring to a boil and let farro simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl with a teaspoon of olive oil.
Toss cooked tomatoes, parsley and scallions together with the farro. Discard garlic clove from oil and vinegar and pour over farro until lightly dressed, save remaining for another use like a green salad. Season generously with salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Serve.