Sunday, August 26, 2012

MLK Welcomes Hank Phillippi Ryan

 LUCY BURDETTE: We're so delighted to be hosting Hank Phillippi Ryan today. She is an investigative reporter with four--soon to be five--books under her belt. And she's won more book prizes and Emmies than you can imagine. And even with all that going on, and a book launching next week, she's here to talk food. With no further ado, I give you our dear friend Hank!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  I used to cook. I did. My friends and family will attest to it--I cooked Beef Wellington and Potatoes Anna, and lemon soufflés and Julia Child's Vichyssoise and Boeuf Bourguignon. I offer my tattered and splatted cookbook pages as proof.

But these days…ever since my life was kidnapped by the mystery world--my cooking has sacrificed glamour for, well, speed and convenience. We eat a lot of grilled salmon from Whole Foods, photos of which I will spare you.

But there are some meals, we found, that are quick and delicious but feel--luxurious.

Two special favorites are Mark  Bittman’s Chicken Parmesan (a la River Street, our address) and cauliflower faux-tatoes . (Because they taste like mashed potatoes.)  Put these together with a green vegetable--and you’d think you'd created a gourmet masterpiece. And the whole thing takes about twenty minutes.

For the chicken. One or two boneless skinless half per person. (Jonathan and I each have one and a half.)

Preheat the oven to broil.

Preheat the other oven to 350. (If you don’t have two ovens, read through this, and you can work it out.)

But the breasts on a broiler pan--line the top with foil so it’s easier to wash, and easier to turn the chicken.

Liberally sprinkle the chicken with high-quality grated parmesan.

Put the chicken under the broiler for five minutes.

MEANWHILE: Put cauliflower florets (enough for however many people you’re serving) in a microwave dish with a touch of water, and zap for two and a half minutes of so, until just tender. 

Mash the cauliflower with a masher thing, then add ground black pepper, and low fat sour cream, and cream cheese, and grated cheddar cheese. However  much you want. You can’t go wrong, and mix til it’s chunky but voluptuous.

Ooops. Five minutes is up. Turn the chicken to the other side, coat the uncooked side with more parmesan, put under the broiler for five more minutes.

Meanwhile! in the glass bowl of cauliflower goop, cover the top with thin slices of cheddar cheese (optional—we didn’t do it in this version), and then a sprinkling of parmesan. (Avery, are you listening? This is a very “cheesy” dinner.)

Put this in the 350 oven. And cook til bubbly. It'll be at least 15 minutes.

Time to do the chicken again. Now, your chicken is broiled on two sides to for a total of ten minutes.  (I like chicken well done, so you might prefer four minutes a side.) Put ANOTHER  layer of parmesan on the chicken, then close the over door and turn the temperature to 350.

Cook for ten-15 more minutes. (It may get smoky, sorry, open a window.)

Your cauliflower is almost done! Turn that over to broil, and place the cauliflower dish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is brown.

Your chicken is done! It will be glistening and crispy and smell fabulous, juicy on the inside, and crispy-cheesy on the outside.

Your cauliflower is done! It will be mashed-potatoe-y on the inside, and gorgeously cheesey on top.

Oh, we should have made peas.  Peas are great with this. Green beans, also wonderful.

Serve, and love. A crisp white wine, and you are set! I’m a red kind of girl, and what author could resist this label?

Agatha, Anthony and Macavity award-winning Hank Phillippi Ryan is the on-the-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate.

Her newest thriller, THE OTHER WOMAN, comes out in hardcover September 4 from Forge. A starred review from Library Journal says “a dizzying labyrinth of twists, turns, and surprises. Readers who crave mystery and political intrigue will be mesmerized by this first installment of her new series.”

You can read more at her website, or friend her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

And two more bits of breaking news--Hank's fabulous interview/book trailer can be seen here.

And she will be giving away a copy of THE OTHER WOMAN to one lucky commenter! thanks Hank! 


  1. Hey, all thank you so much for inviting me! We had dinner last night at SweetLIfe Cafe on MArtha's Vineyard--where the Obamas go when they're in town! So fabulous!

    What's your favrite special restaurant?

  2. And let's give away a copy of THE OTHER WOMAN to a commenter!

    1. I think this sounds absolutely delicious = and I love that you just add the parmesan to the chicken as is (such as not mixing it with mayo, etc.). I'm going to try both recipes soon! Thanks!

    2. Might have to try the cauliflower dish. I can't get anyone to eat veggies of any kind! Nice to read the interview Hank, can't wait for the book! Tammy bArker

  3. Trying this from an iPad now..will it work?

  4. It worked! Thanks so much for joining us today, Hank. Your new book sounds great!

    I'll have to make this dinner for my cheese-loving friend!

    ~ Krista

  5. Great interview, Hank. I'm not very much of a cook, but your receipe sounds like something I can handle. I'm looking forward to your newest release. Happy sales!

  6. Oh my gosh, and it would be gluten free! I'm going to pass this along to my wife, who's the Official Collector of Recipes. We're always looking for new ways to handle chicken and to create something similar to mashed potatoes. We've done the cauliflower before, but not with this recipe. Mashed cauliflower is a really great substitute for potatoes. Thanks, Hank!

  7. I LOVE the idea of "tricking" people into eating vegetables by making them as tasty as mashed potatoes. Great idea, Hank!

    I make macaroni and cheese with butternut squash cooked and pureed into the cheese sauce to add flavor and veggies. Everyone loves it and never knows I'm secretly making them healthy.

    I also substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise and sour cream in almost everything. Great for tuna salad and on tacos.

    Thanks for the new tip on cauliflower. I'm going to make that tomorrow for dinner.

    Victoria Allman
    author of: SEAsoned: A Chef's Journey with Her Captain

  8. Sounds good, even though I don't have 2 ovens, lol. You might even get me to eat cauliflower!

  9. Wow, that sounds wonderful. I'm cutting back on the potatoes-rice-pasta trifecta, so the cauliflower dish sounds exactly like something I need to try.

  10. Yum now I'm. Hungry! !

  11. Yes, Katreader, allthough I DO love cauliflower, I can attest that this dish soes not have a cauliflower-y taste. Let me know how you like it!

  12. Terry, how intersting! I neve considered gluten-free, but so many of my pals are looking for g-f--I love that this qualifies!

  13. ANd I do recommend that you experiment with the cauliflower-I've used veggie cream cheese, for instance. And chopped up dill-havarti in
    the mixture. YOu just can't go wrong. In the photo I took, there's no cheddar sliced on top under the parmesan, but it's extra delicious if you do that.

  14. Good timing, Hank. I've been searching for a simple chicken breast recipe.

    Warmest wishes for a spectacular debut on The Other Woman. My Kindle is in "is the pre-order here yet? Is it time? Is it out?" mode. One more week! Woohoo!

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  16. Sounds delectable, and easy. I like the idea of throwing herbs into the cauliflower, and for my cholesterol levels might ease up on some of the cheese - I'm sure it would stay as tasty! Thanks for sharing it, Hank.

  17. Love this! I'll be trying this in the near future. We might have to be a gluten free household in the near future. This type of recipe will be wonderful to have on hand. Thanks a bunch!

    Can't wait to read your latest book!


  18. sounds so good... I maybe able to get the girls to eat cauliflower... I also like the butternut squash idea in mac n cheese ...thank you for the great ideas oh and the chicken sounds extra yummy too...<3

  19. yes, the chicken IS extra yummy-- this is one of those amazing recipes that's easy..and SO delicious! I'm so fascinated by the gluten free element of if..That's such a bonus.

    Has anyone watched the video? We took kind of a risk with it, so I'd love to know what you think.

    And thank you, Rochelle... I'm in the "oh my gosh is anyone going to buy this?? mode... :-)

  20. Hank, I'm listening! :) Say cheese! Love all the cheese in this and love the idea of cauliflower as a sub for potatoes. Also love the mash thingie. That's what I call it! LOL

    Can't wait for your book to arrive. I preordered. What fun it will be. A whole new direction in your writing career. Congrats.

    Avery aka Daryl

  21. I will have to try your ideas. We do love cheese and I think I can fool my son with the cauliflower, lol. I am looking forward to reading The Other Woman.
    Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us and the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  22. I know your Newest book The Other Woman will be great!! I wish you the best of luck

  23. Can't wait to try these recipes. Thanks, Dee

  24. I loved the trailer it was great...well worth the effort..It got my attention and I can't wait to read it.

  25. I just started liking cauliflower so this would be another recipe to add to my collection.

  26. Unless your dairy products have dextrin as a stabilizer, your meal sounds gluten-free. I like the idea of the mashed cauliflower as a potato substitute. I will NEVER forget the time my mother tried to pass mashed turnips off as potatoes. They were watery and tasted nasty. I do love raw turnips and cauliflower, though.

  27. I want to come to dinner at your house! Thanks for the yummy cooking instructions ;-)

  28. Ah Storyteller Mary, you have a standing invitation to dinner at our house!

    Shirley, turnips. EEsh. I will confess I never had a turnip.

  29. Love turnip when it's good but sometimes it can be on the bitter side.

  30. I'm on a low carb diet and can't wait to try these recipes!

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  31. I love cauliflower but the hubby won't eat it---I'm going to try this recipe and see if I can fool him.

  32. Both the chicken and the mashed cauliflower sound delicious. We love, love, love cheese, and I'm always looking for gluten-free recipes that don't require a lot of special ingredients. These sound perfect! (We might even sprinkle a little grated parm on the green beans!)

  33. Oh, good idea, Donna!

    Thank you so much everyone! I loved being here at all are wonderful.

    See you tomorrow...and I'll announce the winner later tonight!

  34. Oh that does sound great -- always looking for great recipes. Good Luck with the opening ... we have ordered it here at the library!

  35. OH, thank you, Lynn M! That is wonderful news! xoo