Lemon Chicken Flatbread

Growing up in Tokyo, I would always look forward to our bi-annual trips to the US. I liked going to restaurants that didn’t exist in Tokyo like The Cheesecake Factory and CPK. Now that I live here, I hardly ever go to these restaurants but I have very fond memories of going with my Aunt who absolutely looooves CPK.

There used to be a pizza on CPK’s menu, I think it was called the Tricolor pizza? Whenever I ate at CPK with my Aunt, we would order this dish. We didn’t even have to look at the menu. This pizza is no longer on their menu, but I still long for that tangy, sweet and savory dish.

After a little research and recipe development of my own, I was able to recreate a flatbread that tasted almost identical to this pizza. The honey adds a subtle sweetness which complements the umami rich Parmigiano-Reggiano. You can choose to make your own pizza dough, but for convenience sake, we used pizza purchased from our local pizza joint. Most pizza places offer their dough for sale, otherwise you can also buy pizza dough at your local supermarket or Whole Foods.

I food styled this shoot, and the photos were shot and are owned by White Loft Studio*

Ingredients

Servings: 2

2 Chicken Breasts cut into ½ inch by 2 inch strips
1 Sprig Oregano stem removed and leaves chopped
1 Sprig Thyme stem removed and leaves chopped
1 Lemon juiced and zested
2 Cloves Garlic minced and divided in half
1 Pound Pizza Dough divided in half
1 Tablespoon Honey
3 Ounces Parmigiano Reggiano 2 oz grated, 1 oz thinly sliced/shaved
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
3 Ounces Spring Mix
2 Ounces Heirloom Baby Tomatoes cut in half

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Step 1: Marinate the Chicken

Set oven to 400°F. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 the lemon juice, all the lemon zest, oregano, thyme, 1/2 the garlic, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Add chicken strips and coat in marinade. Let marinate for 10 minutes.

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Step 2: Prepare the Flatbread

In small bowl, whisk 1 tbsp olive oil with honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside. Take half the flatbread dough and flatten it out. Place on one side of sheet pan. Repeat with other half of flatbread dough. Brush dough with prepared olive oil and honey mixture, reserving a little bit for later. Pierce dough with a fork several times to prevent bubbling.

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Step 3: Bake the Flatbread

Place flatbread in oven for 6 minutes. Remove from oven (if it bubbled up, lightly pierce with fork once again). Sprinkle each flatbread with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and continue baking for additional 4 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and brush lightly with additional olive oil and honey mixture; cool completely.

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Step 4: Cook the Chicken

Once chicken is marinated, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in medium skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add chicken to skillet and cook until browned and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Set aside on a plate.

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Step 5: Make the Salad

In small bowl, whisk dijon, balsamic vinegar, remaining lemon juice, remaining garlic, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. In large bowl, toss spring mix and baby tomatoes with desired amount of vinaigrette (you will have extra).

Step 6: Assemble Flatbread and Plate

To assemble, top each flatbread with half the salad greens and chicken pieces. Garnish with the thinly sliced Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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*These photos shot by White Loft Studio were from a recipe kit start-up that is now defunct

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Mamaleh’s

I just got back to LA from my 2 week trip to Boston and ate at my FAVORITE restaurant in Boston twice in the last week. Mamaleh’s is a Jewish deli/restaurant in Kendall Square that opened last year. The location replaced West Bridge, which used to be my husband and my faaaavorite restaurant.

The first time I went to Mamaleh’s I had no idea that it would become my GO TO restaurant that I absolutely have to visit whenever I’m in town. They cure, brine, roast, smoke, braise and steam all of their hormone & antibiotic free meats in house. The quality of their meats really speaks for itself. Some of the best pastrami I’ve ever eaten. Ever. I’m not a pastrami connoisseur by any means but I’m telling you this is the bees knees, you have to try it.

They also bake their own bagels, bialys, challah and sweets. I’ve ordered their House Salmon Lox with their pumpernickel bagel and I really loved the texture and flavor of the bagel itself. Chewy but also soft and slightly sweet, which complemeted their house cured salmon lox. I also really like the scallion cream cheese it was served with.

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House Salmon Lox w/ Pumpernickel Bagel

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House Salmon Lox w/ Pumpernickel

Out of the several times I’ve gone to Mamaleh’s, I’ve only ever strayed from my go-to  order of a Rachel on marble once. For those unfamiliar with Rachels, it is a Reuben sandwich with coleslaw instead of sauerkraut. The Rachel at Mamaleh’s is out of this world. The Russian dressing is creamy and slightly tangy and they toast the whole sandwich (pressed maybe?) so the exterior of the sandwich has the texture of a buttery grilled cheese.

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I also order their latkes whenever I go. I think I’ve only ever eaten latkes a couple of times prior to my Mamaleh’s obsession, but I never was a fan because it was always either too soggy or the flavor was off. The ones at Mamaleh’s are perfectly crisp, with the right ratio of potato to onion to matzah and it’s served with apple sauce and sour cream. There’s literally absolutely nothing to not like about this dish (unless you don’t like fried foods or potatoes…)

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Another must order is their pickle plate. They make all their pickles in house as well and they also have these pickled green tomatoes that have the perfect tartness. The texture of the pickled green tomatoes remind me of a super fresh nectarine (as you can probably tell, I’m a huuuuge texture person when it comes to food).

I’ve tried a couple of their baked goods and they were (as expected) delectable! I have only ever eaten a Black and White cookie once which I purchased in the North End and did not enjoy it at all. The one at Mamaleh’s, however, was soft, buttery and the icing on the top was soooo good. I tried ordering it again last Sunday but they were sold-out 😥 I also ate a slice of their chocolate cake which was velvety, rich, moist and probably up there with one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve had. DEFINITELY order dessert, it’s a must! The photos below don’t do it justice T_T

 

The service at Mamaleh’s is great. There is one server that I’m not really fond of, but all the other servers I’ve ever had were super accommodating, kind and friendly. I think if it weren’t for that one server I would have given this place 5 stars.

Customers collect points each time they dine and get some $$ off every $50 they spend. It’s a pretty good deal, especially if you frequent the place. I highly recommend making a reservation ESPECIALLY for Saturday or Sunday brunch! The place gets packed. If you’re ever in Boston make sure to nosh at Mamaleh’s 😉

Mamaleh’s – 4.8 out of 5 stars
One Kendall Square/Building 300
15 Hampshire Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph: (617) 958-3354

Mapo Eggplant and Garlic Green Beans

If you’ve ever been to a Japanese supermarket or are familiar with Japanese groceries, you may be familiar with the “Mabo Mix” sold by Ajinomoto under their Chinese food specific brand CookDo. There are several different companies who sell the mix, but basically it is all the sauce components and meat of mapo tofu or eggplant that is sold in a retort pouch. All you have to do is stir-fry some aromatics (think garlic, ginger, maybe some green onion), add your tofu or eggplant and add this “mapo mix” to magically make a meal that rivals any Chinese restaurant. I grew up on this mix stuff and LOVED it.

I wanted to try making mapo eggplant without the use of this mix, but every time I tried making it, I kept thinking it was missing one component. I couldn’t figure out what it was, until I found tomato paste in the ingredients of Ajinomoto’s Mapo mix. It sounded weird (and honestly, a little gross) but I tried making my recipe with it and voila!! It tasted very similar to restaurant quality (and mapo mix quality :P).

My mapo eggplant, although less common, has the addition of tofu to make this a complete protein filled meal.The entire meal is vegetarian, however, you can always add any kind of ground meat in lieu of either the tofu or the eggplant to customize how you please. To add some greens, I’ve paired the meal with satueed garlic green beans which is a healthier take on the traditional Sichuan dry-fried beans. The rice can either be made in the oven as indicated in the recipe, or a rice cooker if you own one.

I food styled this shoot, and the absolutely LOVELY White Loft Studio shot and edited all the photos*.

Ingredients

Servings: 2

  • 3⁄4 Cup White Shortgrain Rice
  • 1 Leek minced
  • 8 Ounces Tofu cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 Inch Ginger minced
  • 1 Eggplant cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 3 Cloves Garlic minced and divided into 1 clove and 2 cloves
  • 3 Ounces Green Beans cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 5 Teaspoons Mirin
  • 4 Teaspoons Chinese Red Chili Paste
  • 1 & 1⁄2 Teaspoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Corn Starch

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Step 1: Cook the Rice

Set oven to 375°F.

Rinse rice and pour into 9×9 inch or similarly sized baking dish.

Bring 1 cups water to a boil and pour over rice. Cover dish with aluminum foil and place in the middle of the oven.

Bake rice, covered with foil, for 25 minutes or until rice is tender and sticks together.

Step 2: Make the Mapo Sauce

Mix soy sauce, mirin, chinese red chili paste, and tomato paste in small bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined.

Set aside.

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Step 3: Cook the Green Beans

Place 1 tbsp olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add green beans and sautée 1 minute.

Add 3 tbsp water and cover skillet with lid. Let steam about 2 minutes.

Once green beans have softened, remove lid and add 2 of the cloves of minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste (about tsp each).

Sautée until green beans are crisp and garlic is browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.

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Step 4: Cook the Tofu and Eggplant

In the same skillet, heat sesame oil over medium heat and add ginger, leek and the remaining clove of minced garlic. Sautée until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add tofu and cook until lightly browned. Add eggplant and sautée until browned.

Add 3 tbsp water to skillet and cover with lid to let steam for about 3 minutes.

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Step 5: Finish the Mapo Eggplant

Once vegetables have cooked through, add prepared mapo sauce from step 2 and stir to coat vegetables.

Mix corn starch with cup water in small bowl. Add mixture to skillet and stir to combine with mapo sauce.

Turn heat back on to medium and stir mapo eggplant until sauce thickens.

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Step 6: Plate the Dish

Divide rice between two plates. Serve half the green beans and half the mapo eggplant beside the rice on each plate.

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*These photos shot by White Loft Studio were from a recipe kit start-up that is now defunct