Cucina Italiana 06/18/2010
 
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Today's dinner special was Italian.  My favorite..... <3  Usually I love spending my lazy days watching tv shows on TBS, USA, FX, and E.  Yes, all the movies and celebrity gossip channels.  However, there are times when I enjoy a couple hours of food network.  Rachel Ray (30 minute meal) and Giada De Laurentiis (Everyday Italian).  I always wanted to try making one of Giada's recipes and I thought today was the day.  Since I decided to make something that would go perfectly with my mom's pasta, I chose salad.  There is never too much vegetables.  Especially in our family.  I was all ready to go grocery shopping with my recipe, when my mom suddenly mentioned how she was craving the chicken salad from CPK (California Pizza Kitchen).  Seriously mom?!?!  Luckily, since we still had the CPK recipe book, I agreed.  

Ingredients
Fried Angel Hair: vegetable oil and 1/2lb angel hair pasta
Sweet and Sour Dressing: 1 1/2 cups hoisin sauce, 3oz red/white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1 1/2 teaspoons chili sauce, 1/2 cup olive oil, and 2 tablespoons sesame oil. 
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken: 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce, 1 1/3 teaspoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, and 4 5 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  
For the salad: 3/4 head iceberg lettuce, 3/4 head romaine lettuce leaves, 1 cup shredded carrots, 1/3 cup sesame seeds, 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro, 12 fresh basil leaves, and 1/ 1/3 cups thinly sliced green and white scallions. 
Preparation: 1. Core, rinse, dry, and cut the iceberg lettuce into 1/8 inch wide strips.  2. separate, trim, rinse, dry, and cut the romaine lettuce leaves into 1/8 inch wide strips.  3.  Shred the carrots.  4. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over low heat until golden brown (30 sec.)  5. Cut the basil leaves crosswise into thin strips.  
Cook
Fried Angel Hair: In a frying pan, heat several inches of vegetable oil.  Separate the strands of pasta and very carefully add them to the hot oil.  Fry the pasta until golden brown (30 sec.)  Transfer it to paper towels to drain and cool.  After being cooled, use your fingers to break it into bite size pieces.  
Sweet and Sour Dressing: Put all the dressing ingredients except the two oils in a mixing bowl, stir to blend them. Next, mix it continuously, slowly pouring the olive and sesame oils, stir until blended.  Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.   
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken: Preheat a stovetop grill.  In a mixing bowl, stir together the teriyaki sauce, olive oil, garlic and ginger.  Put the chicken breasts in the marinade and leave them to soak for 10 min.  Grill the chicken breasts until cooked.  (5-6 min. per side)  Refrigerate to chill then cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick strips.  Cover and refrigerate again until needed.  
Salad: In a mixing bowl, put the lettuces, carrots, toasted sesame seeds, cilantro and basil.  Add the fried angel hair, scallions, and all but 1/4 cup of the dressing.  Toss well with salad servers.  Then, transfer the salad into chilled serving plates.  Add in the chicken slices on top of each salad, drizzle the remaining dressing and garnish with the remaining scallions.  (FYI:  If you are planning on having left overs, I suggest you add the dressing after they are on the individual serving plates.  The reason is so that the fried angel pasta won't be all soggy the next day and the lettuce won't be all shriveled.)  

Since I am currently in Asia, I have to pre-read recipes thoroughly especially if they are in English.  Today, I didn't have enough to even make copies of the recipe.  So, I glanced at it when I was at the supermarket and thought I'd be fine.  WRONG!!! I was going back and forth down the aisles forever.. SO FRUSTRATING!!!!  I didn't know how what the lettuces or scallions were called in Japanese, so I grabbed what I could.  At the end, I was able to get all but one; Hoisin Sauce.  I ended up having to call one of my friends, but she didn't know.  Thankfully she was at home to look it up on the internet for me, but they didn't have it at the grocery store.  After finding out later that it can only be bought in china town, I gave up and decided to use XO Sauce.  Hoisin sauce is sweeter, while XO sauce is more saltier and spicier.  I was a bit nervous, but had no choice.  Therefore, at the end of my grocery shopping, I didn't have scallions and cilantro (I dislike it a lot, so didn't even bother hehe!!)  
With my mom's HUGE help, I was able to complete my dish by the time my dad came home.  This time I needed help because it was a disaster trying to make a pasta dish and a salad.  I don't know why...  Anyways... it turned out well but the dressing.  Instead of SWEET and sour dressing, it was SPICY and sour dressing because of the XO sauce.  I had to add a couple teaspoons of sugar to make it sweeter.  If it was not for the sugar, the salad would have not tasted as good and my dad would not have ate 3 plates of my salad.  YAY!!!!    Today was very tiring and I will tell you this much, it was not like CPK's chicken salad, but I did make a Cindy's way of CPK's chicken salad, so I am proud of that.  :)  Next time, I will for sure make one of Giada De Laurentiis's dishes.  Can't wait till that day...