Editor's Note: A little something I wrote for you on Monday, my post-writing day, while lying on the bathroom floor - because I suspect that this, written in the midst of delirium, has just as much chance of being understandable as anything I would have written later in the week:
Okay, here’s the deal. Today we’re all going to concentrate on how we’re lucky, because otherwise I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through the day. I’ll go first. I’m lucky because even though it's my first wedding anniversary and I’ve decided to spend it on the floor of what surely must be the first bathroom ever constructed with moving walls (because how else could they be spinning in such an unattractive fashion), thinking thoughts I’ve never thought before (mostly about how glad I am we never decided to wallpaper this room in stripes), I nonetheless have a husband, a wonderful husband, who is not only keeping me supplied with both orange Gatorade AND mint tea, but is willing to make the countless trips to the microwave that are necessary to keep the tea exactly at body temperature, the better to sneak it past my esophagus, who has decided that this is the optimal time to play East German Border Patrol.
Now you. Wait, no, you’re a figment of my imagination. Okay, I’ll do you too. You’re lucky because even though right about now you were supposed to be reading a little essay about my wedding and the pterodactyls (don’t worry, I’ll fill you in later), and then you’d get the recipe for the cupca – blurgh. Never mind. A recipe. Don’t worry about the details. We’re not thinking about anything edible right now. Ugh. The point is, you’re missing out, and I’m sorry, but here’s why you’re lucky. Because I’ve been holding on to some fantastic recipes, all photographed and sitting in draft mode, waiting for the perfect time to use them. And it turns out that the perfect time is when the bathroom walls are doing the Macarena all around you. Besides, it’s not like there’s much else to do when you’re too dizzy to lift your head off the floor, unless you’re interested in evaluating the travesty that is your mopping skills. Which I most decidedly am not.
So here’s a fabulous recipe for something amazing – okay, let’s be honest, that’s not heartfelt. I’m not even going to tell you the name of this recipe, because thinking about the words themselves is making me writhe with nausea. The word “food” itself is disgusting to me right now – have you ever noticed how gross a word it is? All that “ooooo” sound. Blugh. Okay. Just trust me when I say that when I made it I thought it was ungodly good, and the fact that I’d hurl a jar of q-tips at you if you offered it to me now is not indicative of how much you will enjoy it. Promise. At least one of us should have a happy stomach today.
But before I go, could I just give a quick shout out to Floor? It’ll just be a sec. Hey, Floor. You’re my kind of guy. You’re cool. Like, literally cool. And stable. When I close my eyes (and mostly that’s what I’m doing today), I can feel that you are broad and wide and other measurements as well, and that unlike other local surfaces, you’re not going anywhere. And I like that about you. As soon as I’m back on my feet again, I’ll treat you better. I swear. There’s mopping in your future, Floor.
As for you, Walls, I’ve had just about enough of you. You do some fine work in the field of privacy, but that’s no excuse for this recent behavior. Gyrating all over like this is some sort of discotheque. This is unwelcome…and to be completely frank, Walls, it makes you look like a bit of a hussy. It’s garish. And if this was Downton Abbey (which it might be, since I’m not really certain about reality right now) you would be getting a lot of tight-lipped disapproval from Dame Maggie Smith. So…give that some thought, Walls.
Editor’s Note: At this point, the essay ends abruptly, without any attempt at a conclusion or segue. So…at least that’s pretty much par for the course.
P.S. – I’m totally fine now. I’m not really sure what either that stream of consciousness or the illness was all about, but I suspect that we should all take a little more seriously the fine print on the Ibuprofen bottle which states that even if you’re carefully spacing your dosages 4 hours apart, you still need to stop at 6 pills a day.
Public. Service. Announcement.
Public. Service. Announcement.
Chicken Milanese with Sage-and-Lemon-Butter Sauce
from Food & Wine
by Linda Meyers
Sometimes I say that a recipe will produce one of the best things you've ever tasted, and you're allowed to treat that as hyperbole. This is not one of those times. Get into the kitchen forthwith. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what makes this chicken so awesome - really deconstructing it in my mind - and it comes down to three things: (1) The chicken is pounded thin. This means it cooks through evenly, but it also changes the texture of the meat, eliminating any stringiness that chicken might have. It's almost velvety, if that makes any sense at all. (2) It's pan-fried. Which pretty much explains itself, what with the deliciousness and the sealed-in juices and all. But also? Golden Brown. Like, truly, a dinner the color of Aslan's mane and falling leaves and anything consumed at the state fair. Perfection. (3) This sauce is beyond all human understanding. Its deliciousness reaches drinkable levels. Not that I'm encouraging that, but I wouldn't judge you.
Update 4/20/14: By far the most common issue people have had with this recipe is the simmering time for the sauce. Although the original recipe calls for the use of a medium pot and 20 minutes' cooking time, I've halved the recipe, used a 12-inch-wide, 3-inch deep skillet, and still found that it took 45 minutes to reduce. I would recommend a wide, shallow cooking vessel to encourage evaporation and might even encourage you to make the sauce in advance and just reheat once the chicken is ready. If you'd rather do it on the spot but have reduced cooking time, you might want to consider adding a bit of flour to the Shallots and Butter to add some thickening power.
Unsalted Butter [ 6 tablespoons, cold, cut into 6 pieces ]
Shallots [ 2, minced ]
Heavy Cream [ 1 cup ]
Dry White Wine [ 1 cup ]
Chicken Stock [ 1 cup ]
Fresh Sage [ chopped, 2 tablespoons ]
Lemon Juice [ freshly squeezed, 2 teaspoons ]
Cayenne Pepper [ 1 pinch ]
Salt [ to taste ]
White Pepper [ freshly ground, to taste ]
Seasoned Dry Bread Crumbs [ 1 cup ]
Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs) [ 1/2 cup ]
Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese [ freshly grated, 1/4 cup ]
Lemon Zest [ finely grated, from 1 lemon ]
Dried Thyme [ 1 1/2 teaspoons ]
Eggs [ 2 ]
Chicken Breast Cutlets [ 8, 6 ounces each, pounded 1/4-inch thick ]
Salt [ to taste ]
Black Pepper [ freshly ground, to taste ]
Vegetable Oil [ for frying ]
Fresh Parsley [ chopped, 1/4 cup ]
Make the Sauce:
1. In a medium pot over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the Butter.
2. Add Shallots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
3. Add Cream, Wine, and Stock. Bring mixture to a boil.
4. Simmer until mixture is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. [ This will take 20 minutes or more. ]
5. Remove pot from heat; whisk in remaining Butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well between each addition.
6. Add Sage, Lemon, Cayenne, and Salt and Pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
Make the Chicken:
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. Lay paper towels on a baking rack.
4. Mix Bread Crumbs, Panko, Cheese, Lemon Zest and Thyme. Transfer to a plate.
5. Beat Eggs, and season with Salt and Pepper. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
6. Season Chicken Cutlets with Salt and Pepper on both sides.
7. Dip 1 Cutlet in Egg Mixture and remove, letting excess drip back in the bowl. Lay cutlet in Crumb Mixture and, with dry hand, toss crumbs over the top to coat chicken. Lay breaded cutlet on first prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
8. Fill 2 large skillets with 1/4 inch of Oil. Heat over Medium-High Heat until oil shimmers.
9. Add two Breaded Cutlets to each pan. Cook 1 minute.
10. Lower heat to Medium and cook another 4 minutes, turning once. Cutlets should be brown and crisp.
11. Lay Cutlets on prepared paper towels to drain. When drained, lay on second prepared baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.
12. Adjust heat under skillets and repeat process for remaining Cutlets.
13. Rewarm sauce over Low heat, if necessary, and serve cutlets with sauce and a sprinkling of parsley.