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Chef Anita Lo of Annisa

Anita Lo is the executive chef and owner of Annisa restaurant ("Annisa" means "women" in Arabic), located in downtown New York. Annisa has earned praise from restaurant critics nationwide and last summer, Chef Lo was selected among the best new chefs by Food and Wine magazine.

On The Saturday Early Show, she prepared a three-course meal for four with our $30 budget.

Menu:
Chicken Liver Mousse With Green Apple And Mustard
Pan Roasted Breast Of Chicken With Pistachio And Honey
Strawberries With Fresh Ricotta, Balsamic Glaze

Chef Lo Is among chefs participating in a "Share Our Strength" Benefit Dinner. "Share Our Strength" is a leading anti-hunger organization.

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The benefit dinner in which Chef Lo is participating was part of the "Celebrity Chefs" Dinner Series. The first event of 2002 was held April 21 at New York's Daniel, a four-star restaurant. Chef Daniel Boulud collaborated with Wine Spectator to present this event.

Other participating chefs included Guy Savoy of Guy Savoy in Paris, Gordon Ramsay of Gordon Ramsay in London, David Feau of Lutece in New York, Laurent Gras of The Fifth Floor in San Francisco, Alex Urena of Marseille in New York City, and Michael Leviton of Lumiere.

Future dinners will be held In: Virginia, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Dallas, and Atlanta.

Anita Lo, born in Michigan, studied French at Columbia University. She headed to Paris following graduation. She graduated first in her class from the Ritz-Escoffier cooking school. She also held two internships at two-star Michelin restaurants under Michel Rostang and Guy Savoy. She then cooked at Chantarelle, a highly acclaimed New York restaurant.

Chef Lo and her partner opened Annisa in June 2000. And Her Partner Opened "Annisa" In June 2000. She says the food they serve to their diners is a reflection of the owners' world travels.

Chicken Liver Mousse With Green Apple And Mustard

Ingredients:
1 pint chicken livers
2 cups heavy cream
2 eggs
2 yolks
salt and pepper to taste
(*optional: 1 dash brandy or calvados)
1/3 cup green apple julienne (cut this at the last minute to prevent oxidation)
1 tablespoon scallion greens, julienne
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 teaspoon oil (canola)
long diagonal slices of baguette

Method:

  1. Heat an oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place chicken livers plus eggs, yolks, and brandy and pulse until smooth.
  3. Add cold heavy cream and pulse until smooth.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain and place into 4 oz. buttered molds, such as ramekins. (You will have some leftover for eating later.)
  5. Place the ramekins in a hot water bath, covered, and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the center of the molds just start to puff.
  6. Remove and set aside to cool, then refrigerate, covered. This can be done up to 4 days in advance.
  7. To make the salad, mix the mustard and the vinegar to form a smooth paste.
  8. Slowly whisk in the oil.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use this vinaigrette to dress the julienne apple mixed with the scallion. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the baguette toast.
Pan Roast Breast Of Chicken With Pistachio And Honey

Ingredients:
4 sides, frenched chicken breasts (skin on with wing tip, breast bones removed and reserved for stock)
salt and pepper
oil for sauteing
1 scallion -- just using the white bottoms
sprig of fresh thyme
4 peppercorns (optional)
3 oz. strained chicken stock
1 tablespoon honey
3 oz. shelled pistachios, ground
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 head arugula, washed
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice to taste (a few drops)
1 teaspoon oil
small red bliss potatoes
2 teaspoon oil (canola)
salt and pepper
fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Method:

  1. Make a simple chicken stock with the bones left over from the frenched chicken breasts: cover with water, add scallion bottoms, and peppercorns (if you have carrot, onion, garlic, and celery scraps in your fridge, add them along with a bay leaf and a sprig of parsley.) Bring to a boil. Skim and simmer for 1-2 hours or until well-flavored. Strain and set aside for the sauce.
  2. Roast the red bliss potatoes: heat a small frying pan, add oil, then the potatoes, salt and pepper. Place in a 400-degree oven, turning every so often until a toothpick or small knife is easily inserted into the center of the largest potato. Reheat in the oven if necessary, just before serving sprinkled with thyme leaves.
  3. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat an appropriate saute pan over high. Add 3 tablespoons of oil, when smoking, add seasoned breast skin side down. Leave flame on high for another 2 minutes and then reduce to medium high. When the skins are golden brown and crispy, turn and finish cooking on the other side. Place on a rack in a warm place. Pour out excess oil. Add stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Add ground pistachios and honey and bring to a boil. Add butter and whisk to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Season arugula with lemon, oil, and salt and pepper. Divide the sauce into 4 and spoon onto 4 plates. Top with the roasted potatoes and the arugula salad. Slice the breasts and place just next to the salad. Serve.
Macerated Strawberries With Ricotta And Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients:
1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced
sugar to taste
lemon juice to taste
approx. 2 1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
sugar to taste (about 3 tablespoons)
zest of 1 lemon
lemon juice to taste (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced to a glaze and cooled
freshly ground black pepper
slices of baguette, spread with butter and sprinkled liberally with sugar and toasted

Method:

  1. Mix the sliced strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice and set aside for at least 15 minutes to macerate. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  2. Mix the ricotta with the zest, lemon juice, and a little bit of sugar to taste. Divide the macerated strawberries onto 4 plates. Drizzle each plate with the balsamic reduction. Place a dollop or quenelle of the ricotta mixture on top. Garnish with the sugared toast and grind a little fresh black pepper on top just before serving.
Definition Of Terms:
"Frenched" or "to french" means to cut a vegetable or meat lengthwise into very thin strips. Beans and potatoes are two vegetables that are commonly "frenched." It also means to cut the meat away from the end of a rib or chop, so that part of the bone is exposed.
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