I bought some pretzel bread the last time it was available at HyVee. We ate a few slices, and then somehow forgot about it. If you’ve ever eaten this bread yourself, you know it shouldn’t go to waste. It’s really good and so incredibly hard to find pretzel bread. (Can’t a girl get her a good soft pretzel or pretzel roll when she wants?) So in true homemaker style, I threw the remaining slices in the food processor, pulsed them until fine and then baked the crumbs in a 300 degree oven until dry. And then I jammed a little zipper baggy of crumbs next to all the other little zipper baggies in the freezer, where my pretzel crumbs waited for their big appearance.
And tonight was the night. I made Roasted Spicy Brown Mustard Chicken with Pretzel Bread Crust. I opted for pre-made all natural Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Fries.
Roasted Spicy Brown Mustard Chicken with Pretzel Bread Crust
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 3/4-inch strips
1 cup spicy brown mustard (or Dijon)
1 cup pretzel bread crumbs (or finely crushed pretzels of your choosing)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Prepare two shallow bowls — one with mustard, and one with bread crumbs.
Pat chicken strips dry with a paper towel. Dip each strip into the mustard, scraping excess into the bowl. Press gently into crumbs to coat each side. Place on prepared sheet pan, spaced at least 1-inch from other strips.
Bake 20-25 minutes, switching pans midway through cooking, until crumbs are golden and meat is white throughout.
I met a good friend for dinner to celebrate our birthdays. Mine is past, and hers is coming! At her suggestion, we settled on Blue Bird Bistro for our big night out.
Our visit was a long time coming, so you’ll have to forgive me because I didn’t take a single picture. Not one. It was too much fun catching up, chatting with our server, and enjoying our perfectly prepared food.
The well-tailored menu is continuously updated to give guests fresh, seasonal, and (as best as they can) local options. After a lengthy discussion on the merits of beets, we debated between the bruschetta (featuring the aforementioned beets) and the polenta. The polenta won, mostly because it would be delivered with feta. We were quite pleased with the plate delivered to our table, displaying three grilled organic polenta cakes topped with various herbs and remoulades — one spicy, one like a caponata, and the other, that I can’t remember because I didn’t like it as much. Plus a small salad and the feta we were promised.
We had selected our entree and knew we wanted a summery white wine, but with a list full of mostly organic options we weren’t as familiar with, we didn’t know what to choose. Kristi, our fantastic server, knew quite a bit about the Sauvignon Blancs we were debating, and helped us select a perfect match for our meal — Pezzi King Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma County 2010). It was bright and refreshing. Perfect.
Onto our entrees! We both selected the Campo Lindo chicken breast served with blackberry sauce, local Yukon Gold potatoes and sautéed local greens. The chicken was a boneless breast half, skin on, seasoned liberally and roasted to a golden crisp. It was amazing. Once I began eating it, I felt the annoying need to say “this is SO GOOD” after every bite. It is already making me rethink how I cook my own chicken at home. The potatoes were creamy and buttery and the greens were mild and cooked tender (but not slimy…because no one likes slimy greens).
It was our birthday dinner, after all, so we decided to order dessert. We decided to split the homemade blueberry cheesecake ice cream. Moments after ordering, Kristi let us know the ice cream had been changed over to a blueberry pound cake ice cream, and it took us no time at all to agree to that. (Would you say no?) The ice cream tasted fresh and delicious. It wasn’t as creamy as I expected, but I can’t complain because the taste was great. And my experience making ice cream is limited to watching the occasional contestant who ventures to the ice cream maker on Chopped.
I am anxious to get back (but not before I hit some other restaurants outstanding on my To Do list). No matter what is on the menu that day, I can bet it will be delicious. And I’ll be practicing my chicken at home.
Today’s trophy — a copy of Napa Valley chef Michael Chiarello’s Bottega cookbook for $4.19 at a bookstore closeout sale.
The best part — it’s autographed!