Who's Cooking: Catherine Pappas

Catherine Cappiello Pappas with her lemon chicken dish

Catherine Cappiello Pappas with her lemon chicken dish at her post-Sandy restored kitchen in Amityville. (April 16, 2013) (Credit: Barry Sloan)

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A stay-at-home mom whose children are grown, Pappas, 57, recently became an Avon rep, lives in Amityville and blogs at livingthegourmet.blogspot.com.


What are your culinary inspirations? My parents were Italian and loved family gatherings, good food and beautiful music. These memories are a fountain of strength for me.

What are your favorite things to cook? Vegetables, pasta, chicken, pork.

Why did you decide to start a cooking blog? My son wanted me to write down all my recipes because I cook the way my mom did: a little of this, a little of that. Nothing tastes the same way twice. He suggested I start a blog. I had no idea what that was. But my son and my daughter both helped me, and Now I’m blogging, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

How many recipes have you blogged? I started in 2008, and I think I have almost 1,000 now.

How has it changed your cooking? Once you start writing down recipes and sharing them, your imagination catches on fire. It makes me excited about what I cook every night.

Who is your audience? It’s a lot of foodies and food bloggers. I’ve made friends from all over the country and the world.

Tell us about this recipe. In Sandy I lost the whole bottom of my house — including the kitchen. It took until March to rebuild. I got a new stove and a new refrigerator and new cabinets. The first thing I made that first night was lemon chicken with rice.

 

LEMON CHICKEN AND RICE

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
For sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lemons, zest and juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Olive oil for sauteing
6 cups cooked white rice

1. Combine spices, brown sugar, lemon zest and juice in a large bowl. Slice chicken breasts across the grain into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices. Toss the chicken in the marinade and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap or transfer contents to resealable plastic bag. Marinate, refrigerated, for one hour or up to overnight.
2. Sauce: Heat half the olive oil in a small frying pan with the chopped garlic until garlic is fragrant and slightly golden. In a small bowl combine garlic and oil with remaining sauce ingredients.
3. Finishing: Film a large (10- to 12-inch) skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Saute chicken slices until golden and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side depending on thickness. Do not crowd the pan; work in batches, adding more oil as needed.
4. Arrange the cooked chicken on top of the white rice. Drizzle on the sauce and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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