The Dish

Sommer House Hearts Saturday House

(Photo Credit: Saturday House)

We love sharing finds and even better when those finds become friends who help transform your outdoor space. We recently went through a massive backyard makeover and as much as I love to be thrifty and DIY, there are times when you know to call in the real experts. Hence, Saturday House.

Saturday House offers a few options for your outdoor rooms. One is their in-stock fab outdoor pillows, poufs and oh so comfy bean bag chairs. Ready to go and color-coordinated this is the quick fix for your summer entertaining. See a style you like but need a different color, no problem they can customize it for you for a small fee.
The ultimate though is their full-service design.

Co-owner Erica McLoughlin will stop by (or Skype) to take measurements and scan the space. Then going back to her studio, she puts together a few custom story boards for you to consider. The hard part? Choosing as we loved them all. Then voila! A few weeks later, your super luxe new outdoor living room arrives rose and grill ready. Even better the outdoor fabrics feel like the indoors, the cushions actually work, unlike the foam filled ones that only last a season or two and all this for just a single design fee which includes trade discounts.

Trust me, it was worth every penny for her truly talented eye and flawless style. Don’t you agree?

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

(Photo Credit: Food & Wine Magazine)

We know it is easy to get in a cooking rut and chicken can get a bad rap. Happens at least once a week around here at Sommer House. So, here are a few of our favorite go-to recipes that may shake up your kitchen routine.   

We adore Justin Chapple of Food & Wine (his cookbook Just Cook It rocks!) and his roast chicken is our absolute favorite. Easy enough for a week night but impressive enough for the centerpiece of Saturday night in with friends. P.S. We love to add a smattering of pee-wee potatoes to the pan making this a perfect one pan dish. 

This recipe from New York’s City Bakery is one we love to serve straight out of the oven or stage-front at the Hollywood Bowl. Our pick for the perfect pretzel crust? Snyder’s of Hanover Sourdough Hard Pretzels. 

Jonesing for Howlin’ Rays but not up for the two hour wait? (Yes, it is worth it!) Then season on Saturday, invite your friends over for Sunday and fry up your own Nashville style hot chicken. Just make sure your free hand has something to sip on as when they say hot, they mean hot. 

And there is always soup. In this case a Greek twist on chicken soup with lots of lemon and orzo. Love that this can essentially be made with many on hand ingredients and a quick trip to the grocery store  for a pre-made rotisserie chicken. 

Lastly, chicken schnitzel. This recipe, although tweaked a bit, comes by way of my very talented friend Adeena who makes it with almond milk instead of dairy. It is super easy once you get the hang of it and hope your kids love it as much as mine do. The proof? My vegetarian teen now asks for this on a weekly basis.  

Free Form Chicken Schnitzel 

Take 1-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cutlets and pound quite thin but not so they fall apart. 

Once pounded thin, sprinkle chicken with Kosher salt and add to a baking dish. Cover the chicken with a mixture of whole milk and 2-3 large eggs, beaten. Soak in the milk for 30-60 minutes. This does not have to be precise. 

Cover a large plate or dish with panko (or dry breadcrumbs) and add salt, pepper or any other seasonings that suit you. 

Take chicken one piece at a time out of milk marinade, coat both sides in panko and put aside on a baking dish or sheet pan. Finish with all chicken. Chill panko crusted chicken in freezer for about 30 minutes. Again, not absolute but helps the coating stay on when frying. 

In a large cast iron skillet (we love cast iron!) add vegetable oil (we also like peanut) to about 1” and bring to medium heat. You want it hot but not too hot so that it will burn the panko. 

Add a few pieces of chicken to the oil and fry on each side for a couple of minutes. You will know, just watch for the panko to turn golden brown. As each piece is done, place on a tray covered in paper towels and place in warming drawer or oven heated at about 200. 

To serve, place chicken on platter, add a sprinkle Maldon sea salt and scatter with lemon slices. Our kids love to season their own. And for a bit fancier touch, I add some chopped Italian parsley to the hot oil (just after I turn off the heat and remove the last piece of chicken) and quickly fry the parsley with the heat off. Sprinkle the parsley on top of the chicken or also serve on the side. 

For more chicken inspo, check out our Pinterest page.


We Scream, My Mom Screams...

...for the late great Marcella Hazan’s Strawberry Gelato. Now that summer is upon us and strawberries are in full, sweet swing, here is my sure-fire family favorite for an easy, crowd-pleasing desert. All you need is a basket of fresh strawberries (of course Harry’s Berries would be amazing), a few basics and an ice cream maker. Once you have realized how easy this truly is, you will be off and running on your own ice cream adventures including perhaps another favorite around our house- pixie cardamom sherbert. And for more ice cream making fun, take your kids to Williams-Sonoma in Santa Monica tomorrow at 3:00 pm and meet the ladies of Coolhaus who will be sharing their secrets and recipes from the Coolhaus Ice Cream Book.

Marcella Hazan’s Strawberry Gelato

From her absolute must have book, “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1/2 pound fresh strawberries

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream

1. Pull off leaves and stems from the strawberries (or better yet, grab the kids and a straw and follow this mad genius tip trick from my friend at Food & Wine, Justin Chapple. Click here.) Cut the berries in half, unless they are super small already. Wash the berries in cold water.

2. Place berries and all the sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process for a few moments. Then add 3/4 cup of water and continue to process until liquefied.

3. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it thickens slightly, to the consistency of buttermilk. Put the cream and the pureed strawberries in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

4. Freeze according to the directions for your ice cream maker.

5. And a tip from Chef Sal Marino of Il Grano. Throw a small bunch of thinly sliced basil in towards the end of the freezing process and serve with a fresh basil sprig on top. Voila! Strawberry basil gelato.