Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Juicy Chicken Dilemma

I have a problem, and that problem is chicken. I want to like chicken--I really do! As fowls go, it's readily available and reasonably healthy AND can be purchased without bones if need be.

But I can't for the LIFE of me cook a juicy chicken breast. Without frying it. Frying is cheating and also not very healthy.

I tried, really I did. I dug around to find recipes on the internet and combined a few of them to come up with my own garlic-paprika crusted chicken. Theoretically it doesn't matter what you put on your chicken, at least when it comes to how the chicken itself cooks, right? Turns out that's not true, but ANYWAY. I love paprika and I love garlic. So I tossed in a few other items--all of which are delicious--and it LOOKED great when I pulled it out of the oven!

But it was dry on one end and medium-dry at the other end. Shootshootshoot. Does anyone have any advice? Perhaps if I'd cooked it for less time...

Parmesan, Garlic, and Paprika Crusted Chicken

1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, shredded or crumbled
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped ( 1/2 tbsp of minced garlic will also work, but not garlic salt)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 to 2 boneless chicken breasts
1/8 cup olive oil
tin/aluminum foil

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean and trim the chicken breasts. Maybe even flatten them. place each individual breast on an individual tin foil packet big enough to wrap over and close around them. paint or drizzle them with the olive oil.

2) Mix bread crumbs, paprika, and parmesan on a large plate until evenly distributed.

3) Roll the breasts through the dry mixture and deposit them back in their foil.

4) Sprinkle the chopped garlic on top of the chicken and the chopped onion around the chicken. Drizzle with the remainder of the olive oil if you like. If you want more of a bite, dust some more paprika on top.

5) Close the packets and bake the chicken for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Now, when I was done, I had to add
6) broil on high for 45 seconds
because the breadcrumb mixture was a bit soggy. Perhaps this is why my own chicken turned out dry. Maybe I broiled too long.

I know this recipe would probably turn out very tasty if the chicken was sliced, rolled, and quickly fried in a pan with oil. But I really wanted to try baking. And it looks lovely. So... any tips on keeping chicken moist?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm a real scientist!

I feel a bit like Pinocchio when I say that. But it also feels good. When I was down at Arecibo Observatory finishing up last summer's research, I had a great time. I did finish the new receiver (relatively speaking--it was being installed on the platform last thing I heard), AND I teamed up with some collaborators who are staff scientists to submit an observing proposal! Observing proposals are requests for telescope time--if I'm awarded it, I can use the telescope for my nefarious scientifically-motivated plans. Heh.

I've started a new knitting project, but it's going badly. I'm using circular needles for the first time ever and... well... okay to be fair I'm also trying to make a hat for the first time ever. And I'm not following a design--I'm trying to do something logical. It seems to make sense to me that if you want a nice round winter hat, you just knit and knit and decrease after a while. And continue decreasing. Okay, it might turn out pointy, but still, it should work! right? I guess we'll find out.

Uncovered a neat new band: Sensuous Enemy, which is apparently a dark techno band. Also there's a band called Battles whom I am really starting to like (I heard the song Atlas at a friend's house). They are creepy but neat.

The kittens are doing well. No new pictures of them instead so I give you the following:

Yeah, the kittens are kind of like that. Cute, but dumb. The Twin and I visited the kitten store, which has many small kittens running around. They are very small and snuggly and they love to curl up and purr--but it doesn't last long. Soon they are tearing through the store after a piece of string.

Apartment hunting goes well. I think I know where I will end up in fall--just need to call and arrange. Try as hard as I might, I haven't really been able to use logic in these decisions. I honestly visited a dozen places when I went searching, and while I can logically explain and rank each of them (I have a complicated system based on four criteria: cost, location, like, and pet-friendliness), I still knew almost as soon as I saw the apartment which one I was going to go with. It's not even that it's significantly nicer than the others--my brain just appears to have gone, "want!" and away we go.