Saturday, October 8, 2011

Filmmaker/Director Miranda Sajdak shares recipe for Raspberry Chicken today!

I love Twitter. It's a cool thing when 140 of your typed characters meet 140 characters from someone in a totally different state or even country. Romances flourish and end, people connect and disconnect or just get crazy wild on Twitter.  Foodies like me can't be concerned with all of that though. There's more important things that catch our attention like gawking at twitpics and instagrams of pictures of food and sharing recipes.  That's how I met Miranda Sajdak (@BearRanda), Los Angeles filmmaker/director, and self-professed foodie.  

Somehow, through the chaos of millions of fellow Twitter buffs, we found each other and after an exchange of  tweets about recipes and food, well, one thing led to another and here she my virtual kitchen sharing her recipe for Raspberry Chicken.  Thank you Twitter! Thank you Miranda!

Please welcome my multi-talented guest, Miranda, Chef-in-the-Kitchen today:

Raspberry Chicken

The first recipe is for what I refer to as "Raspberry Chicken," something I adapted from a German restaurant called The Student Prince,  that I used to go to near my home town in Springfield, Massachusetts. Having loved the recipe there for some years, I played around with a number of different ideas until I adapted it over time to taste like the recipe at The Student Prince. So - this is my adapted version:

  • 2-4 Chicken Breasts (fillets or tenders work here)
  • 1-2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Pepper (to taste)

While I heat a saute pan over med-high heat, I dredge the chicken in a mixture of flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper.

Once coated, I brown the chicken lightly on both sides in 1/2 stick butter (this is one of those "super-healthy" recipes ;). Careful, as both flour and butter have a tendency to burn - stir frequently.

Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm to the side.

Mince shallots.

Add minced shallots to pan and saute 1-2 minutes, or until slightly translucent.

 Add the chicken stock and raspberry vinegar, and saute another 4-5 minutes until the stock/vinegar is reduced. 

Around this time I add about 1/2-1 tsp more salt, or to taste (pepper if needed).

Once the stock/vinegar has reduced, place the chicken back in pan, and add heavy cream. You may want to remove the heavy cream from the fridge and let it sit to the side when starting the recipe; it has a tendency to separate at high heats, though I've never found this to be a major issue with flavor here - more an aesthetic thing. 

Once the mixture is bubbling again, put the heat down to med-low/low, place a top on the pan, and cook for 20 mins, flipping the chicken to the other side and stirring at the halfway mark.

While the chicken is cooking, I make spaetzle:

Recipe for Spaetzle:
(this recipe is pretty much the same everywhere you look online; I've gotten it a number of different places over the years, but here's one I found recently that's closest - from Design Sponge)

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 fresh farm eggs (good eggs = good spaetzle!)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
Spaetzle is one of those weird foods that can only be found at specialized (German/Swiss/Austrian) restaurants in America, but seems to be everywhere in Eastern Europe. Basically it looks fancier than it is, and acts as a very versatile but not particularly difficult side dish, for those of us not counting the carbs.

Fill pot with water and place on stove on high (whichever pot you cook pasta with should be fine, size isn't hugely relevant here). Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately.

Gradually add wet ingredients to the dry, mixing together until you have made a sticky batter (it will be thick and stickier than you think it should be). I'm a bit partial to spaetzle, so have a spaetzle-maker, but you can easily do this with your fingers or a spoon if you prefer.

 Scoop tiny bits of batter into boiling water. 

Within a few seconds they will float to the top - that's when your spaetzle is done. 

Notes: I just add salt/flour as dry ingredients, but you can add garlic powder or cayenne or any number of ingredients to spice this up. Also, when I have time, I usually will cook the spaetzle in some butter/oil over high heat for a few minutes after removing from the water - this makes them crisp up really nicely for some extra texture.

Note 2: Living with a lactose intolerant-y makes these dishes a bit difficult (heavy cream/milk - oy!) - but though I can twist her arm for the heavy cream part of the chicken, I make spaetzle with soy milk. It sometimes helps to add a little extra at the end to make the batter a bit more malleable - that stuff is really sticky. Usually I just pour probably what amounts to 1/8 cup over the batter at the end to make it pliant.

Note 3: I generally also serve with a side salad/peas/broccoli/something green.

Mouth watering raspberry chicken and spaetzle!
Miranda, thank you so much for taking the time to share your recipe and great photos!

More about Miranda Sajdak: 
On your Twitter profile, you describe yourself as a queer filmmaker, movie-lover, foodie,  bookaholic,and  laughaholic.  Those sound like the perfect  ingredients for a fun and interesting person to be around.  Can you tell us any current projects you're working on?
Well, I certainly HOPE I'm fun and interesting! :) I'm working on a lot of things these days; my last short film project, Snapshot, got into Outfest and Palm Springs, as well as a number of other queer festivals (yay). My current project, Gone, is aiming to do even better! Gone got a great write-up in Autostraddle this week (, and we have a Facebook ( and a Kickstarter set up ( ) should you be interested in learning more about it!

You live in Los Angeles, movie capital of the world. How exciting! What's it like? Give us a snapshot of a day in your life.
What's great about LA is that it's always changing - I have access to incredible food, a wide range of people, and resources that aren't available in many non-metropolitan areas. My weekly life is generally pretty full of day-job stuff, but on the weekends I can do anything from going to Disneyland to browsing the local shops. One of my favorite Sunday activities is to get up early, hit the Hollywood Farmer's Market (where they have everything from fresh produce to locally-made ice cream and even a massage booth!), then head across the street to Arclight Hollywood to see a movie at a theater that doesn't have advertisements or cell phones interrupting your film experience. Makes for a great day combining two of my loves: food and film. 

You mention that you're a foodie.  Do you have any favorite chefs, cooks, bakers, Food TV personalities?  food TV shows? What makes you a foodie?
I have many favorite chefs, but I'm really a sucker for classical-style cooking. Ina Garten is probably my favorite modern TV personality, and I love her cookbooks as well - hearty, fresh ingredients are always the best. Healthy matters, too, but I'm never one to sacrifice flavor - spices are a necessity to any kitchen. But I think my dad is probably my favorite cook in the world. Though he doesn't cook for a living, he can make pretty much anything taste delicious. He definitely inspired in me my love for all sorts of ethnic cuisines, and I was lucky enough to grow up in a town where, within a block, you can find Moroccan, Tibetan, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, and of course classic American food. Gotta love that! 

What's your favorite food? dessert? least favorite?
My favorite food is probably my dad's cooking. Really anything he makes is incredible. I'm also a sucker for ethnic cuisine, with Indian and Chinese probably being near the top of that list. Dessert - German Chocolate Cake. Not actually German, surprisingly! Who knew? But still delicious.

Do you prefer to bake? cook? both? Any humorous kitchen situations or food disasters you'd like to share?
Oh man...I love to do both. My favorite baking book is Maida Heatter's Great Chocolate Desserts. I just live for her FBI Cake. Yum! But I think cooking is probably the thing I lean towards most - perhaps because it's more of a necessity than baking. Though I love to bake on special occasions.

Food disasters...Well, this one time I was trying to prep for an International Cooking Day, and I decided I was going to make Rouladen for the first time (note: not a great first-time meal). Anyway, I bought way too many ingredients and didn't have the right kind of pan to cook them in, so I just shoved everything into a (relatively small) pot and hoped it would turn out all right. Of course, the bottom burned, the top was raw, total disaster. Just another lesson in the kitchen! Fortunately, we had every cook's Kitchen Savior at hand: speed dial for pizza delivery.

Here's a question for the single ladies.  Are you single? partnered?
I am happily partnered! 

Dinner for two...would you rather go out to dinner or cook for her? Or would  she cook for you?
Ohhh...well I think she'd rather have me cook, but I like to cook or to go out. I definitely like to cook to relax on the weekends, though the dishes sure do pile up. When I'm really looking to kick back, I enjoy a nice night out where neither of us have to worry about cleaning or prep. She's not so great on the cooking, but, fortunately, she is fabulous at eating my meals (and quite flattering about my kitchen skills as well - definitely a good thing to have in a girl).

Who rules the kitchen? You or your girlfriend?
Oh, I rule the kitchen. Many a time I've had to rearrange the fridge post-grocery-shop when the lettuce isn't in the crisper! But we get a good laugh over my Kitchen OCD behavior, and at least good food comes out of it all. 

Gang, keep your eyes on this talented woman, I'm sure we'll see more of her projects coming soon to a screen near you.


No comments:

Post a Comment