Before you clever people inform me that I have suddenly strayed from my cutesy alliterated gerund phrases, I would like to point out that “fledgling foodie” is still very cutesy and alliterated, even if it is only a regular old adjective/noun. Rest assured: I’m still lame.
I went back and forth on this category title for a while. At first I was going to make it “[Synonym for Beginner] Cooking,” but I’m really not a beginning cook. Oh, there are plenty of things I do not know how to cook and plenty of things I have never attempted. But when I compare my cooking skills to my gardening/running skills, I feel pretty okay. I know the differences between various cutting and food preparation terms, I can follow almost any recipe (*but don’t quote me on that), and I even know that eggplants need to sweat. I may not be the iron chef, but thanks to my lovely mama I have been familiar with kitchens since I was a very little Brynna.
Foodie, on the other hand, connotes something rather different. It doesn’t only mean cooking, but includes things like gorgeous presentation, wine pairings, and a well-rounded nutritional profile. It can bring to mind ideas of elitism, which I want to avoid — but “foodie” is such a silly word that it can’t carry too much class on its own. Thus, I aspire to be a foodie. I want to cook for pleasure and not just necessity. And I hope I’m well on my way. Case in point: I have a box of hamburger helper in my pantry, but it’s been there for a few months and I have yet to use it.
Today’s foodie topic is going to be last night’s dinner, a Rachael Ray delight from her 365: No Repeats cookbook. I’m not a die-hard Rachael Ray fan, but I like two qualities she has pretty much mastered: ease and speed. Here is the recipe for Chipotle Chicken Rolls with Avocado Dipping Sauce.
Chipotle Chicken Rolls with Avocado Dipping Sauce
Chipotle Chicken Rolls:
1 pkg (1 1/3lb) ground chicken breast
6 Scallions, thinly sliced, then chopped
1 1/2 c Grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
1 Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped or 3 tablespoons of a chipotle flavored salsa
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
6 sheets Frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
4 tbsp Unsalted butter, melted
1 Ripe Hass avocado
Juice of 3 limes
Handful of fresh cilantro leaves
1 tsp Coarse salt
3 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400.
In a bowl, combine ground chicken, scallions, cheddar cheese, garlic, and chipotles and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a sealable plastic bag. To turn the sealable plastic bag into a homemade pastry bag, trim 1 1/2 inches off one of the bottom corners of the plastic bag. Push the chicken mixture to the cut corner without pushing it through the hole. Reserve while you prepare the phyllo.
Arrange 1 sheet of phyllo dough with the long side closest to you on your kitchen counter, brush liberally from edge to edge with melted butter, and season with salt and pepper. Place another sheet of phyllo on top, again brush liberally with butter, and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the third layer of phyllo.
Place the trimmed end of the pastry bag 1/2 inch in from the left side and 1/2 inch up from the bottom of the phyllo sheet. Squeeze half of the chicken mixture from the bag while moving along in a straight line from left to right. Roll the front edge of the phyllo sheet away from you, encasing the chicken mixture. Continue until you have completed a long roll. Tuck the ends in and then brush the entire outside of the phyllo log with more melted butter. Transfer the first log to a rimmed cookie sheet, putting the seam side down. Repeat this process to make a second log with the remaining chicken mixture. Bake 15 minutes or until the log feels firm to the touch.
While the phyllo-wrapped chicken is in the oven, cut the avocado in half lengthwise, cutting around the pit. Separate the halves and scoop out the pit with a spoon, then use the spoon to scoop the avocado from it’s skin. Place the avocado in a food processor and combine with lime juice, cilantro, coarse salt, and about 3 tablespoons of water. Process until avocado mixture is smooth, then stream the EVOO into the dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Once the chipotle chicken rolls are cooked, remove from oven and let them cool just enough to handle. Cut each roll in half, then cut each half in 3 equal pieces. Serve 3 chicken rolls per person on a bed of Bibb lettuce with a dish of dipping sauce.
- Instead of purchasing ground chicken, I poached two boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped them into small cubes, and whirled them around in my food processor until they looked similar to what I imagine ground chicken looks like.
- In fact, this was a totally food-processed meal: While the chicken was boiling I processed the sauce, then I rinsed out the food processor bowl and ground up the chicken, then I emptied it and used it to chop up the rest of the chicken mixture ingredients.
- This was the first time I worked with phyllo dough. It’s fragile. Not impossible, but be careful.
These were delicious. Kind of spicy, though, so if you’re sensitive to that like me I’d use only half a chipotle pepper instead of the whole thing. Also, the recipe made way too much sauce — when I make this again I’ll make half the amount and save some avocado for another time. Portions are a huge pet peeve of mine, and this recipe is no exception. This recipe says it makes 4 servings. I served it with corn on the cob to two people, and Eric finished his but I wasn’t able to. Definitely serve this with a side to 2 hungry people or 3 not-so-hungry ones.