Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rancid Recipes #1: Great Athenian Stuffed Chicken; Vegetable Couscous Salad; Olive Tapenade Crostini

The last month or so, I've been listening to a lot of music by Rancid - a great punk rock band that bridged the dirty ditches between different genres/styles of music and brought them all together with an incredible, original sound. We were lucky enough to catch bassist Matt Freeman's other band, Devil's Brigade, in San Francisco recently - it was a complete fluke that we were in town the weekend they were playing, so we jumped on that!  Lars Frederiksen (guitarst) even showed up and sang a song with 'em.  Needless to say, I've just been in a Rancid mood, and they've been on a lot of the play lists I've been listening to while cooking... and working, and driving, and reading, and sleeping.  Sometimes I gotta wear a band out, set 'em aside for a while, and then bring them back out for a comeback.

So I got this idea in my head... what if I took a Rancid album, and made a recipe for each track of the album that somehow related to the song?  I started with their self-titled 1993 album... but found it a little difficult, as it's hard to come up with any ideas other than Ramen noodles when listening to a song called "Rats In the Hallway". :\  Instead, I decided to switch to the 2003 album, "Indestructible", thinking there was a lot of mentioning of worldly places in that album; surely it'd be easier to come up with some recipes.  Track 1 proved to be very inspiring and I had all these amazing ideas for Greek food and NY Deli style food... but once I got to Track 2, I had absolutely nothing.

Naturally, I came to this conclusion: Fuck it.  ("Fuck it! Yes! That's your answer. That's your answer for everything! Tattoo it on your forehead!")  I decided to just find kick ass songs that inspired kick ass recipes, from any Rancid album, in no particular order. 

You might ask what the point of this project is, to which I would reply... "I dunno."  I love punk rock, and I love cooking.  Why shouldn't the two come together... in a dirty, sticky, angry, buttery mess?!  Just like that porn movie you watched last night.

Of course, I expect soon after I begin the project, this blog will go global.  I'll be offered my own Food Network show, which I will snidely turn down, though I may be inclined to accept a cookbook offer.  The talented men of Rancid will no doubt start begging to come over for dinner on a regular basis and hang with us, because that's just how I roll.  Soon enough, my food will inspire punk bands everywhere, I'll have to start my own band, Tim Armstrong will have to produce it...

Or... I'll just be satisfied if I can get five people to read the damn blog, let alone find someone who will actually try cooking one of the Rancid Recipes (which is probably not the most appetizing title to use in relation to food, but it gets the point across, and there's even alliteration.)

Well... without further unnecessary rambling... here is the first installment of my Rancid Recipes.  -jen


Song Title:  Indestructible
Album:  Indestructible (2003)
Lyrics: "the great Athenians, they're not even from Athens"

I love this album!  It got a lot of criticism when it came out, but it's still my favourite Rancid album - I liked listening to the way the band evolved on this one.  Thinking of recipes for this song was a no brainer!  Greek food is awesome, and I even went so far as to do a little research on Athenian dishes (which is where I got the couscous idea from).  Being that the internet is full of incorrect information, I don't know if couscous is really a staple in Athens or not.  But I knew from the start I wanted olives involved... a butt load of olives.  I'm not claiming it's totally Greek - I used mozzarella cheese, definitely not Greek.  So really, my Great Athenian Stuffed Chicken's not even from Athens.  But it's Greek and Punk Rock inspired!  So you know it's going to be killer!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 tesaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Chop the stem-end off of a garlic head and place on large square of aluminum foil, cut side up.  Drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top, and fold the foil into a little pouch.  Roast at 500 degrees for 50-60 minutes.  Let cool.  Gently squeeze the whole head to squish the roasted garlic out.

Empty ricotta cheese into a large bowl.  Add roasted garlic, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, lemon zest, minced garlic, egg, and salt.  Stir to combine.  Mix in mozzarella and refrigerate 30 minutes.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat chicken breasts dry.  Place single breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound out until about 1/2" thick.  Repeat for the next 3 breasts.  Scoop about 1/4" of the ricotta filling into the middle of the breast and roll.  Place chicken seam-side down on a lightly greased baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-40 minutes, until juices run clear.  Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Punk Rock Tip #1:  Don't spill food on your boots!

  • 1 cup plain couscous
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Caldo de Pollo (or chicken bouillon)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 roma or plum tomato, diced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon's worth)
  • oregano
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Feta cheese 
In a medium sized sauce pan, bring water, Caldo de Pollo, and olive oil to boil.  Stir in couscous and turn off the heat.  Cover and let sit for five minutes, until all the water is absorbed.  Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate until cool.  Once cooled, add cucumber, broccoli, tomato, and lemon juice.  Sprinkle oregano and black pepper to taste and toss.  Mix in Feta cheese and serve at room temperature.

  • 1 loaf of French bread
  • 1/2 cup of muffuletta**
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 heaping teaspoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Provolone cheese
**I used Granzella's Muffuletta.  If you can't find a good Muffuletta, you can always use equal amounts of kalamata olives, green olives, and giardiniera mix to make your own quick muffuletta.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice french bread into 3/4"-1" slices.  Place on a cookie sheet and brush the tops with olive oil.  Toast for 10-13 minutes at 350 degrees, until tops are just beginning to turn golden and crisp.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Turn the oven up to broil.

In a food processor, combine muffuletta, kalamata olives, capers, garlic, and anchovy paste.  Pulse until it's large chunks.  Add lemon juice and olive oil and pulse several more times until the tapenade is in small, spreadable chunks (but don't process too much or it will turn into a paste!)  Spread tapenade thinly over toasted bread.  Top each crostini with a slice of provolone cheese.  Broil for 1-1.5 minutes until cheese is melted.


  1. Mmmm! I dont' have all of the ingredients for the chicken, but you've inspired me to make chicken stuffed with SOMETHING tonight. I never thought of rolling the breasts around filling before!

  2. Yeah, I read your filling of choice on FB and wanna know how it came out! -jen