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--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Chicken Kiev and Braised Radishes with Raspberry Vinegar

Chicken Kiev is a dish I remember well from my childhood--mostly I remember the anxiety around whether or not the butter would escape from the rolled up chicken breasts when they were being fried, and the care with which my mom sealed them with wooden toothpicks.

So it was with no small amount of trepidation that I followed this recipe to the letter, trusted to luck, the kitchen gods, and the greater wisdom of the folks at Gourmet, and dropped the rolled breasts into the oil WITHOUT the benefit of toothpicks to keep it all together.

I needn't have worried. They came out fine, butter intact.

My bigger problem was that I was using half chicken breasts that I had taken off a roaster myself, which is to say that it was not a perfect cut of meat--a few random slices here and there. What this meant when I was pounding the breasts was that they started to look like Pangea breaking up--little continents of chicken moving away from the motherland.

Don't worry, say the soothing narrative voices at Gourment, "chicken is easily patched." My trust only extends so far, and I ended up letting the little chicken continents go and sticking with the mainland and a smaller amount of butter.

How did they taste? I couldn't tell you, but Dr. and Mrs. S cleaned their plates and proclaimed it wonderful.

I was not so keen about the Braised Radishes with Raspberry Vinegar. (Neither of these are on Epicurious, sorry!)

I first discovered cooked radishes about five years ago in the home of a Swedish woman. They were simply steamed and served with salt and butter, and I was astonished that such a thing could exist--radishes to me had always been raw and in salads. If you've never had them, they taste like baby turnips--mildly peppery, and very pleasant.

This dish calls for braising liquid of sugar, water, raspberry vinegar, butter, and a small amount of salt. It cooks down and glazes the radishes at the end, and although the result is quite pretty, I just couldn't reconcile the taste of the sweet glaze with the peppery-ness of the radishes.

I admit to bias, however--I'm not a fan of sweet food (as opposed to sweets)--many Thai and Chinese entrees are distasteful to me because of the sugar content. If you like that sort of thing, you may well love this radish recipe.

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