Saturday, 14 January 2012

Birthday Month - again! Happy Birthday Carlo (Chicken Kiev)


In our immediate family of 4, the birthday celebrations fall in January and August.  Carlo and Sara are 2 weeks apart, Becca and I are 10 days apart.  In my heart, I feel like this was G-d's way of giving us the ultimate birthday gifts - our children.  I say this because both our daughters were premature.  Sara was due in February and Becca was due in September. 

Before we had children, Carlo managed to prolong his birthday celebrations.  It started as "birthday week", and ultimately it became "birthday month". 

But the family celebrations in January do not stop there.  My mother is a January baby - she celebrates this weekend, and our niece Nicole celebrates at the end of the month.  So the party never ends with us. 

I am not sure when the tradition of me cooking favourite birthday meals came into being, but, truth be told, I think I get even more excited about birthday dinners that the recipient does.  There is nothing like pouring your heart into creating something special for the one(s) you love. 

And Carlo's birthday (this past Wednesday) was no exception.  My wonderful husband (I know, I sound like Michelle Duggar, but I mean it!) chose poultry - Chicken Kiev - for his BD dinner entree - a surprise twist considering his carnivore leanings.

I remember Mom making it for us when we were young kids, and it was always such a treat.  I loved the way the melted margarine, chives and parsley would flow onto the plate when I cut into my chicken, and how tender and juicy it was.  I love it with scalloped potatoes (you can make them pareve with coffee rich), but this time it was Carlo's choice, and he chose mashed potatoes and gravy. 

The night before I mixed up the margarine and herbs and let them chill overnight.  When I came home from work on Wednesday I tenderized the chicken breasts, wrapped each one around a (tablespoon) scoop of the margarine-herb mixture, dipped it in beaten egg and then matzoh meal.  I placed them in the parchment lined pyrex and baked them, covered, for 1 hour at 350.  Then I raised the temperature to 400 and cooked them for a further 15 minutes, uncovered.  In the meantime, I peeled, quartered and boiled potatoes, fried up the rapini, and made a salad.  The girls came in and helped me by decorating Dad's cake and then we finally sat down to dinner. 

The kids' reactions were priceless.  They do not recall ever having tried this dish, and they were utterly amazed!  Seriously, they could not believe how delicious Chicken Kiev is (and between you and me - I think they were pleasantly surprised that I was able to produce such a dish - it tastes like it is so much more complicated to make - LOL!).  I asked if I should make it again, and was greeted with a resounding yes - although Sara stressed that she is still requesting Bubbie's Rib Roast for her birthday dinner.  They ate every morsel, so I was a happy mama Wednesday night .  Once Becca came for from her extra-curricular class we sang Happy Birthday and cut into Daddy's birthday cake.  It was a hit!!!  In fact, as I edit this piece for posting (just 2.5 days later) the cake is more than half-eaten!! Hallelujah!

And now I will bid you farewell, and go bake a cake for my mom, whose birthday is today!

I wish you all a wonderful weekend filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Chicken Kiev (a la Naomi)

  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5 or 6 singles)
  • 1/2C margarine
  • 2 tbsp chives
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 to 2 eggs, beaten (start with one, add the second if necessary)
  • 1/2C matzo meal or breadcrumbs

At least 1 hour before (preferably longer), mix margarine, chives, parsley and salt.  Chill until it holds its form.  Preheat oven to 350.  Place beaten egg(s) in a shallow bowl.  Place matzo meal / bread crumbs in a shallow bowl.  Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Gently tenderize each piece until thin enough to roll around margarine balls.   Scoop (1 heaping tbsp) margarine into the centre of each piece of chicken.  Roll chicken around margarine.  Dredge through egg and then coat with matzoh meal / bread crumbs.  Place in parchment-lined pyrex with "seam" down.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350.  At the one hour mark, uncover, and raise oven temperature for 400.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve immediately! 

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