Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dinner; A Love Story

My friend Janice gave me this book, Dinner, A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach, at the end of the school year.  After reading many positive reviews about it I'd looked for it at the library (always out) but I didn't want to shell out 30 some dollars at our Barnes and Noble for the book.  Now if I'd actually gone to the bookstore, sat down and started reading I would have fallen in love with Jenny's writing and walked in a lovely trance to the check-out counter.  Lucky for me, Janice did that for me!  Thank you dear friend!

She knew this book would appeal to me as I work hard to make dinner for my family every night because I think it is really important to sit around the table and eat together. It's more than just eating, even when there is complaining.

I have not finished reading this book but I did cook my first recipe from it yesterday.  And just like the whole Julia Child trend a few years ago I started with the very first recipe, chicken cutlets.  As a former full-time vegetarian it is still always startling to my family when meat is on my menu.  They used to only get meat on Thursdays when my husband was in charge of meals and then (usually) only turkey burgers.

I liked Rosenstrach's first story of her mother going back to school and that this is what was the go-to meal she taught her husband to make as she hurried off to law school.  I grew up in a busy household like that; my dad's go-to meal though was scrambled eggs.

The chicken cutlets turned out fantastic and everyone finished their plates.  There are only three of us now at the table as College Boy made his big move to Colorado.  We had the cutlets, corn on the cob, salad, and beets (fresh from the farmer's market).  It was a delicious summer time meal.  Groovy Girl ate her entire chicken breast and couldn't finish two of her beets because she was full.  She LOVES beets so this was a major change of events.

The veg head that lives permanently in my heart and soul knows the beets are better for her but she seems hungry for meat as well.  I found my happy chicken breasts at Target.  On short notice I can't find organic chicken breasts here in my little town anymore. It is very important to pay attention to where your meat comes from so where it says chicken in this recipe I recommend organic or farm-raised breasts if you can.  If the package says "natural" it doesn't really mean what you think it does.  I do have three farm-raised whole chickens on order from my favorite farmer though.

Here's Jenny's recipe:

Breaded Chicken Cutlets
(aka Grandma Jody's Chicken)

total cooking time: 25 minutes

A few generous glugs of olive oil (5-6 T.) more if necessary but remember you are not deep-frying here.
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs or Kellog's corn flake crumbs that have been salted and peppered
4 boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb), rinsed and patted dry and pounded like crazy

Add the oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat.  Set up your dredging stations:  one rimmed plate for the eggs, one plate for the flour, and one plate for the bread crumbs.  Using a fork, coat your chicken pieces first in the flour (shaking off any excess), then in the egg, then in the crumbs, pressing the chicken into the crumbs to thoroughly coat.

Fry each breast in the oil for 3-4 minutes on each side.  I did all three in my large skillet with no problems.  The cutlets are cooked when the chicken is firm to the touch but not rock hard.  I used my meat thermometer and they were at 120 degrees.

Remove and drain the chicken onto a paper-towel lined dinner plate tented with foil if you have more pieces to fry.  Add more oil to the pan and fry the remaining breasts.  

**Note:  Feel free to add any of the following to the bread crumbs; a pinch of cayenne, a tsp of dry mustard, fresh thyme or oregano leaves, some ground flax or sesame seeds, or freshly grated Parmesan.

There is a whole sidebar on pounding the chicken-which I needed being a newbie meat pounder.  I even had to borrow a mallet from my husband's tool bench.  The important part is to put chicken between two sheets of waxed paper on a cutting board, and pound away to flatten chicken for even cooking.

This post is linked to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking meme.  Click her link to find many more food-related posts.  I love the new look!  Happy healthy cooking!


Lisa said...

I loved that one!

Beth F said...

One of my favorite cookbooks of late. I was lucky enough to meet the author last year in New York.

JoAnn said...

What a thoughtful gift! I've made the shrimp recipe (spicy shrimp with lime and cilantro?) at least a dozen times. It's become a family favorite... have also tried that spice mixture on boneless chicken thighs and that was a hit, too. I know you'll enjoy cooking your way through this book.

Gilion at Rose City Reader said...

I've heard a lot of good things about this book. I am going to keep an eye out for it. Those cutlets look great!

Rose City Reader

Janssen said...

Isn't it amazing? Love it!