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Wow this year has sure flown by…can’t believe its already June!  These last six months have gone by way too fast.  Hubs and I went to see Up on Saturday night.  I had seen billboards and ads on buses promoting this movie, but didn’t think much of it.  I actually thought the movie looked weird.  I mean, “Up” is such a strange name for a movie, isn’t it?  And an old man and a kid tied to a floating house with all these balloons?  Even weirder.

From hollywood.com

From hollywood.com

But I finally saw the trailer last Friday, and then was convinced I had to go see the movie.  Let me tell you, it is an awesome movie.  Its worth paying the $10 or $11 to see it in theaters, IMHO.  The CG animation was absolutely beautiful and the characters, especially Mr. Frederickson, were so easy to relate to.  The movie had this dream-like feel to it, while being uplifting and lighthearted at the same time.  I loved it!

Moving on, I made chicken scaloppine last week for Hubs.  I meant to make it while our friend Jeff was in town, but had ended up making lemon pepper shrimp scampi and spaghetti carbonara instead.  Now I kind of regret it…this dish is definitely one of those impress-your-guests dishes.  And its fun to make.  I relieved some work-related stress pounding out those chicken cutlets.

Chicken Scaloppine2

Giada’s version of chicken scaloppine is superb.  Its elegant, incredibly flavorful, and had me at first bite.  The saffron threads give the sauce a lovely golden hue.  The cream sauce is deliciously rich and savory without being too heavy.  I served the chicken over a bed of wild rice with herbs, which proved to be a great accompaniment, providing a nutty contrast to the saffron cream sauce and seasoned chicken.  The original recipe called for 1/2 cup dry white wine, which I didn’t have, so instead I used 1/2 cup of low-sodium chicken broth to deglaze the pan.  I’m not sure if the flavor would have been markedly better had I used white wine, but the sauce tasted great with the chicken broth.

A little fun fact:  Saffron is considered to be the most precious and expensive spice in the world.  This is because saffron threads are actually the dried stigmas of the saffron flower, which only has three stigmas per flower–it can take over 75,000 saffron flowers to make just 1 pound of saffron threads.  On top of that, since the threads are so delicate, they need to be picked by hand.  All these factors combined makes saffron so expensive.  Luckily, a little bit goes a long way, and if kept in an airtight container, those saffron threads will keep for a while.

Chicken Scaloppine with Saffron Cream Sauce, adapted from Giada’s Kitchen

2 T. olive oil
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4″ thickness
3/4 t. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning meat
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning meat
1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 t. saffron threads
1/2 c. heavy cream
3 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  If you haven’t already done so, pound the chicken breasts down to 1/4″ thickness, then cut each chicken breasts into thirds, yielding 9 pieces of chicken cutlets, roughly equal in size.  Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.  Cook the chicken until golden and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to a serving plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic, cooking until tender, about 2 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of chicken broth, using a wooden spoon to scrape off all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Cook until chicken broth has reduced by half.  Add the remaining 1-1/2 cups of chicken broth and saffron threads.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by half.  Add the cream, salt and pepper to the skillet.  Stir to combine.

Simmer for another 1 minute to blend the flavors.  Pour the sauce over the chicken.  Garnish with parsley if desired.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6.