Wednesday, we were invited to a friends’ home for an Italian dinner … and yes, I volunteered to cook. Regular readers of this blog know I love to cook, and so this is not an unusual thing. Elaine, our hostess, was making spinach lasagna, and doesn’t eat red meat, so I said, rather offhandedly, “I’ll make a chicken parmesan”, like I knew what I was doing. I’d never made chicken parmesan before … but hey, that’s never stopped me before. So off I went to the interwebs in search of a recipe.
I found one. Courtesy of Tyler Florence.
I turned out to be surprisingly easy, even though the Food Network site listed it as “Medium” difficulty. The sauce is pretty basic. Crushed tomatoes, olives, olive oil, onions, garlic, basil and bay laves … salt and pepper … simmer for a while. The chicken is pounded flat to about 1/2 inch, rolled in seasoned flour, dipped in egg wash, rolled in bread crumbs, and then fried in olive oil about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Spray a casserole, put the chicken in, spread on the sauce, top with mozzarella and parmesan, and put it in a 400 degree oven until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Of course then, I had to put it in a big foil-lined bag and transport it to the party. I also made garlic bread, but that’s another post.
At the party, I cooked spaghetti, ate too many appetizers, drank a bit too much wine, and had a delightful time. And I had more than one person tell me it was the best chicken parmesan they had EVER had. EVER. And these are people who have traveled extensively, dined in may restaurants, and are no slouches in the kitchen in their own right. I was humbled.
I do love to cook. I very much enjoy when people enjoy what I cook. But “the best I’ve EVER eaten” … oh my.
So, I guess I’ll continue to cook. I’ve been told I should open a restaurant, but then it would be a lot like work. Not to mention that the best way to wind up with a million dollars in the restaurant business is to start out with two million. When no lesser restaurateur than Pom closes his multiple locations, you know it’s not a great time to be in the professional food business.
I’ve also been told I should audition for “The Next Food Network Star”, and this year I just might if they roll around again and I’m still in temporary retirement mode. i have to admit, watching some of the Food Network Challenge shows … where they’re handing out $50,000 in a burger contest makes me pause. I can cook some burgers, now, and $50K would go down pretty easy … even after taxes.
But for now, I’ll just cook for me, my family, and my friends. Some people paint, some make pottery or stained glass. Some (and I’m one of these too) play music for their creative outlet … or write in blogs. But the older I get, I’m most creative in the kitchen.
Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.