Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight

An update on the table: It was delivered during my weekend and I got it all set up.

Turns out the chairs were already assembled. That was so nice.

All I had to do was put the table together and flip it upright and put the chairs around it.

Assembly meant attaching the legs, which had two bolts each, with a couple washers and the nuts. The set even came with the appropriate little wrench.

Now, I got it all together and should have waited for manfriend to get here to help me flip it over, but I have no patience.

I really wanted to see how it looks in my house.

So I used brute force and lifted the whole thing up and over.

Yes, I know it was not the smartest thing. No, I did not hurt myself.

It looks sooooooooooooooo nice in there! I dressed it up with a crystal bowl full of lemons from my tree.

Even manfriend, when he came over for dinner, said how well it fit in with the rest of my stuff.

Of course he also said I now need a couch upgrade. But that will have to wait.
The cats have mostly ignored it so far. I hope this trend continues. George did have to check out the underside of the table to make sure I did a good job with assembly. And later Aspen was playing musical chairs. But I think it will be OK and they will not do too much damage.
The table is set up at full extension right now, which is 83". I am leaving it that way until after the party. I also have stamping at my house this weekend and with nine of us, we will need the space.
Without the leaf it will be about 60" and seat six easily.
I decided I needed to make a nice dinner to properly christen the new dining set.

So I made a mixed green salad with creamy dill and caper dressing served in a parmesan basket.

Basically this meant a bag of nice mixed baby lettuces and using the leftover crab cake dressing as salad dressing. Hey, it was good. Why waste it?

I made the little parmesan baskets by sprinkling shredded parmesan into a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Once the cheese was golden on the bottom and started to firm up, I flipped it, cooked side up, onto the bottom of a drinking glass and formed the basket.
I put the tossed salad into the basket and added some tomato chunks.
For the dinner, I was going to make chicken piccata. I like the lemon and caper sauce of a piccata. But I have made that several times and decided to try something a bit different.

So I went with chicken pomodoro.

Here is what I did:

2 chicken breast steaks (4 breast steaks would work with this, too. But I only needed the two.)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup vodka
1 cup vegetable broth (chicken will work, I just happened to have veggie)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used romanitas and cut them into about 1/2 inch chunks)
4 tbsp. cream
1/3 cup chopped chives
Heat oil in a large sautee pan.
Pound chicken down a bit to flatten it.
(I did not make this cutlet-flat. I just wanted an even depth to the pieces for even cooking.)
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Cook chicken on medium-high heat until browned, then flip it and brown other side.
I let the chicken cook covered on low heat until it was done. Sorry, I forgot to time this part.
Remove the chicken and set aside.

Combine vodka, broth and lemon juice.
Away from heat, add the liquid to the pan and deglaze it.
Put the pan back over a high heat and let it reduce by about a third. The alcohol will cook away.
Gently stir in tomatoes and cream.
Add chicken back into the sauce and give it a couple minutes to reheat.
Add chives.

I served the chicken and sauce over some spaghetti rigate, which is a spaghetti with some grooves in it so the sauce has something to cling to.
This was a fairly thin sauce, which I like sometimes. It was pretty light even with the cream. Overall, I think the amount of cream was pretty small for the amount of sauce. Plus I made extra sauce and pasta to have for leftover.
I served simple steamed green beans on the side.

This was a very nice presentation and would be another great dinner party dish.
It is even pretty easy for every day.


Alex said...

You are turning into the only person I know who has a camera as a kitchen staple!

The table and the meals look wonderful.

Jill said...

I do find it odd to take pictures of food as I am cooking it. But I am getting better about it.
I love food and I love sharing great recipes and ideas.
So I am getting better about the pictures.
And thanks. I like the table so much.
And the dinner was super yummy. And easy.
You should give it a try.

Rachel Schell said...

Oh man that looks yummy!!! I forgot you had more than one blog. I'll have to link this one too. :)

ReesePie said...

DAY-Um! The table is beautiful and between you and the moosh mama you inspire me to culinary greatness daily.

Ninja Of The Mundane said...

Mmmmmm. Me want some.

Jill said...

Next time you get down this way, Jim, I will have to cook for you instead of us going out for dinner.