Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Roast Chicken with Summer Cherries and Kale Chiffonade

Packing, bundling, planning, sorting.

More packing, more bundling...errands here and there for this and that.

The week has arrived and my college student will be off for her new adventures.  I find that I am getting giddy with excitement for her.

"Be sure to look into study abroad programs!" I have pointed out...several times.  "You should go somewhere in Europe."

"Maybe...but I think I'll go somewhere in Asia"  she replies wistfully.  

I love this response.  She is deciding what she wants.  She is in control of her decisions. She has opinions and direction.  What more can a parent ask for?  

If you were staying at our house for dinners this week, you would be a lucky guest indeed.  Every meal this week appears to be "the last supper".  

We will have eaten very well by the time we get to the weekend!  One summer fruit that we cannot stop ourselves from eating is cherries.  Another summer green that, try as we might, we can't get ourselves to eat more of is...kale.

When I spotted this recipe, using both cherries and kale in a sweet and savory sauce for roasted chicken, it went on the menu as one of "the last suppers".

The recipe called for kale chiffonade.  I didn't know what this meant?  Is it a type of kale?  French kale perhaps? 

No, it is  just a way of slicing kale.  Remove the stem from the kale leaf, roll up the kale leaf tightly and then cut thin slices.  The kale ends up in long "crumpled", or chiffonade strands.

My mind keeps flitting back and forth to my own college years.  These are fabulous years filled with so many new discoveries and experiences.

Studying abroad in Asia certainly would be fascinating.  This week I watched two films from Asia.  One was called "Kabei, our mother".  The movie was told from the perspective of a Japanese family affected by WWII.  Japan is at war with China and this story depicts the suffering of one family who does not support the war efforts of their country.

The second movie I watched this week is called "Dancing Across Borders".  This one tells the story of a young Cambodian boy with natural grace and dance ability who was brought the the U.S. and trained to be a world famous ballet dancer.  

The movie chronicles the boy's struggles to understand two diverse cultures, while mastering the rigorous training of Russian ballet technique.

Cultural movies and documentaries are my favorites.  I do strongly believe the more we understand about each other's diversities, the more we can see the similarities in each other as human beings all desiring to live happily, love fully, and provide for the well being of their children.

This meal is a sweet and savory combination of ingredients.  The sweet cherries and the tart balsamic vinaigrette balance out the spicy dijon mustard and the sharp kale.

Diverse ingredients come together to form a pleasing dish.  We're going to keep eating up those cherries...they were only found at one of the markets I frequent.  They're almost gone.

Kale will probably be there...I'll need to scope out more recipes to hide it into so we can slip more of this potent green into our diets.

Roast Chicken with Summer Cherries and Kale Chiffonde
(from Elana's Pantry)

1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast (I used bone-in chicken thighs)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil  (I used olive oil to fry the chicken)
2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
1 (10 ounce) bag frozen cherries (or fresh!)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 bunch kalechiffonade
2 tablespoons olive oil
celtic sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse the chicken breast and pat dry
  2. With a mallet or skillet, pound the chicken breast to ¼ inch thickness (if not using bone-in)
  3. Heat grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add shallots and saute for one minute
  4. Add cherries, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes, until cherries are soft 
  5. Add balsamic vinegar, then stir in mustard and kale
  6. Cover and cook over low heat 4-5 minutes, until kale is just wilted, stirring occasionally
  7. In another large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat
  8. Add chicken cutlets to the pan and sprinkle them with salt and pepper
  9. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side, until outside is browned and will release from pan
  10. Transfer chicken to pan containing cherry sauce and kale
  11. Transfer pan into a 350 ˚ F oven for 10 minutes or until internal temp. of chicken is cooked
Serves 4


  1. Absolutely gorgeous. Those cherries are quite the enticement to eat more kale.
    We dropped off my girl at college Sunday. It's such an exciting time for them - the possibilities are endless, no?

    1. Good luck to your daughter! Yes, the world is theirs to grab and experience right now!

  2. This looks delicious. I'm a cherry fan, so this is right in my wheelhouse!

  3. This is all ridiculously gorgeous. And I don't even eat chicken. Those cherry images are stunning and I love the flavor combos here.

  4. Delicious photos!
    Tchis chicken is gorgeous.

  5. If you liked Dancing Across borders you should see Mao's Last Dancer, unless you already have. Based on the true story of a Chinese boy that went to dancing school and moved to Australia in the 70's and becoming a professional dancer. Loved that movie!

    I also love the combination of cherries and kale and I'm already seeing myself using it with duck breast, or even quail. Great recipe!

    1. Yes, John, I've seen Mao's Last Dancer just recently as well. It was fabulous. That was Houston Ballet where he came in the U.S. The director, Ben Stevenson (from Australia!) is world renowned for his direction and training. Ben is currently in Austin, TX working with another company there.

  6. Oh good for her! I'd still love to journey to Asia just to travel but that seems like such an adventure

  7. This is such an exciting week for your family! The roast chicken with kale and cherries looks delicious!

  8. She should definitely consider studying abroad, it would be such an amazing experience!

  9. That meal looks fit for Henry VIII (and I mean that in a good way!) I'm excited for you and your daughter, what a week! This is the first year that my youngest will be getting to college on her own...I think we'll visit later in the fall. I'm going to miss helping her set up her dorm room, but I know it's better this way...have fun and keep us posted!

  10. I am so happy to hear about your preparation for your daughter's exciting new college adventure!

    I am always mesmerized by how you love on your family through the gift of food... and it is always presented in such stunning photography. Not being skilled in the area of culinary arts...I do so enjoy escaping into your artful presentations. My way of loving on my family always remains cozy decor and wardrobes...mine leave home with a great wardrobes and and fabulous dorm furnishings. But sadly, I know they won't be yearning for one of my home cooked meals...

    But I can put together beautiful parties... I am doing an Italian send off party for my daughter this Sunday...I work weeks on invites and decor...and then finally, begrudgingly, the menu...:). Your talents are what are missing in my repertoire...so i am always beyond enthralled to see your artistry in the kitchen...thank you truly for sharing!

    1. You see, and I'm always mesmerized by the ability to pull off talents like interior or fashion design. I will spend more time playing with parsley leaves on a plate than trying to match jewelry, shoes, and a scarf. I look at women with this talent...and am just amazed! I can't wait to see pics from the "Italian send off Party"!

  11. I am always tickled that we have the same taste in films Sarah. Please tell me you saw Salmon fishing in the Yemen?? totally unrelated but you would love ti! I am so so excited for you and your beautiful daughter ready to spread her wings....what an exciting time in her life and so frightening for you as a Mum :)

    But I have no doubt she'll thrive! Carpe diem!

    The chicken with kale and cherries and balsamic is an unbelievable flavor explosion. Love it!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

    1. I will definitely be looking for the movie "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"! No, I haven't seen it. I have another recommendation for "The Quiet American" (Vietnam) that I put in my Netflix queue. Thanks, Devaki!

  12. I made notes of those movies you mentioned. Hope I find these online or at least netflix dvd! I love how you made this meal. Different texture and different blended beautifully together.

    1. Yes Kankana! I get these movies off of "instant watch" on Netflix! I have so many in my queue...

  13. I had to laugh when reading this. Parents today are so different. When it was time to go to college, all I wanted to do was go to a university 2 states away and it was nixed. In state for me. Now, Europe, Asia? I wish! Though I've done my share of traveling since then. I've been wanting to see "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"...may just have to try Netflix free offer and watch it on my computer (no TV). This recipe looks so good, love kale!

  14. What a gorgeous presentation! I love pairing fruit with with chicken...and cherries this time of year are the perfect choice. We had a couple "last suppers," too...and the house is quiet now with one less child. Sounds like your daughter has some great adventures ahead of her...how wonderful~

  15. I'm sure she is getting SO excited!

    That dish is lovely! Our rabbit, Nugget, is the kale eater in our family! ha. Although I do chop a little into green salads for us occasionally.

  16. Oh, tell me about that table topper, please?

    These images are incredible!

    1. If you are referring tot he red surface underneath the food...it's an antique red tin ceiling tile I found at an antique store. It is a little tough to photograph with because the red takes over but I do love it!

  17. You must be so proud Sarah:) The movies sound great and I'll have to look into them. The chicken recipe sounds delicious, thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend:)

  18. You have a way of making every meal sound magical! I can only imagine what it must be like to gather round your table for your 'last supper' celebrations. How exciting for both you and your daughter - as you explore new frontiers and beginnings!

  19. I agree wholeheartedly about knowing other cultures.I hope she gets to experience Asia and many more continents :)
    And cherries! Cant stop eating them lately. They are so sweet, ripe and cheap around here lately.

  20. Haha. I loved that chiffonade kale paragraph. And the presentation looks wonderful. I am usually weary of mixing savory and sweet but I'll do anything for my dearest love Kale.


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