A few weeks ago one of my best friends took me to a dinner and cooking demonstration by my all-time favorite celebrity chef, Sara Moulton. Cooking Live with Sarah Moulton was one of the first television shows I watched after I discovered the Food Network Channel in college. I watched it every chance I could. Every episode I watched made me wish that I had rushed and lived in a sorority house so that I’d have access to a kitchen… instead of just the tiny microwave and electric tea kettle that sat on top of the dresser in my dorm room.
Back to Sara… Why do I like her so much? There are LOTS of reasons. For starters, her recipes are fantastic! From time to time she indulges in fried/sugary/creamy foods, but for the most part she tries to share things that are both delicious and healthy. She believes in feeding your loved ones well and emphasizes nutrition in what she cooks. Another reason – Sara Moulton is an honest-to-goodness chef! She graduated from the Culinary Institute of of America with highest honors and has worked as a chef in several impressive restaurants. Also – I think it’s wonderful that she is such an advocate for women in the business world. She likes to support women-lead businesses and she works hard to help women who are struggling in their culinary careers to get the support and recognition they deserve. In 1981 she and friend, Maria Reuge, began the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance. Together, they’ve helped hundreds of women open and walk right through the doors of a mostly-male dominated culinary world.
We had such a fantastic time at the dinner/demo! During our five-course meal Sara showed us how she made each dish and shared memories of her time spent working with Julia Child. One of my favorite things about that night was finding out how funny Sara can be. She’s a real hoot! She had us laughing every few minutes with her impersonations of Julia and stories of the times they spent together.
Before the dinner began I purchased Sara’s newest book, Sara Moultan’s Everyday Family Dinners. And as Devon (my friend who invited me to the dinner/demo) and I wandered around the corner we found Sara sitting at a table signing a tall stack of books. She looked sooooo tiny next the pile. We walked over and I asked her if she’d mind signing my book and she responded as sweetly as could be with, “Sure, what’s your name?”. I wish I could tell you that I then had a fantastic conversation with her that ended with us laughing and bonding over something silly but memorable, but we didn’t. She simply asked me how to spell my name and said something about how there are so many different ways to spell names these days. She then inquired as to whether we were staying for the demo. We, of course, eagerly replied “Yes! We are!” And then she said, “Well, good! I hope you enjoy it!”.
Enjoyed it, we did! For dinner that night we had Falafel Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing, Crepes filled with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Chorizo and Greens, Beef Bourguignon, and an Apple Crisp for dessert. And if I didn’t have a severe aversion to both salmon and scrambled eggs, I’d be able to tell you that I loved each and every little bit of what we were served! The salad was delicious – especially the garlic dressing. The cauliflower soup was creamy and flavorful. The beef bourguignon was AMAZING. By the time dessert came around I was so stuffed I couldn’t eat another bite, which is NOT normal for me. But I’m sure it was fantastic as well.
It was a wonderful night and I left both feeling full and inspired.
Last night I decided that I wanted to make something new but not complicated. I looked to my new Sara Moultan cookbook for some creative encouragement and found this recipe – buffalo rice – in the “5 ingredient recipes” chapter. I thought to myself, this is either going to be totally tasty or a complete train wreck. So I crossed my fingers, went to the store to pick up some blue cheese and celery, and then came home and cooked it up. And you know what? This recipe rocked. It was so good that I made (note: I did not use the word reheat) it again for lunch today. I modified the recipe just a little bit to suit my needs and desires, so if you’re interested in seeing the original version, she has it posted on her website.
Here’s what I did differently – instead of using butter and hot sauce, I used our favorite buffalo wing sauce. And I didn’t combine everything all in one pot because Jeff and I have different ideas when it comes to how much sauce and toppings are appropriate…
- 2 cups rice
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1/2 c buffalo wing sauce
- crumbled blue cheese
- celery leaves, for garnish
- Cook your rice according to directions.
- While your rice is cooking, add olive oil to a pan set on medium to medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add slices of chicken and cook thoroughly. You’ll need to do this in batches because you’ll want to try and not have any chicken touching in the pan while it cooks.
- Once all of the chicken has been cooked, toss it together in the hot pan with the buffalo sauce.
- Assemble your dish – rice, chicken, blue cheese, and then celery leaves. DELICIOUS.
I told Jeff today that I could eat this dish over and over and over again. Over and over… it really is that satisfying.