Wednesday, August 13, 2008

*roscoe's chicken n orzo.

I whipped up this little smorgasbord (I find it's always best to cook in vast, vast quantities. Ina's recipes are perfect for this purpose.) at JLB's to celebrate the Opening Ceremonies. I know, that was days ago. I try to stay just enough behind schedule to cause a sense of constant, latent panic to reign in my life.

First, I took some goat cheese and added a splash of half & half (fat-free, but it was just to loosen things up a bit, not for added flavor) and black pepper. Then I stuffed that into some sweet peppers. Unfortunately, I think the Western had them on the shelf for a bit, as they were rather leathery. That does not explain away someone giving me the vomit face about them, but I'll let it slide on account of I think it was her cranky uterus talking. Still. HARUMPH, rastanky. HA-rumph.

JLB and I found them quite delicious! And necessary, in that it kind of took me an inordinate amount of time to finish dinner. I think even the pups ate before we did. After which J retired to the sofa to adopt his best pinup pose and watch the Chinese perform unfathomable feats of synchronization and debt accumulating.

Look at him, he even took his collar off. I think the occasion got him a little hot and bothered. Either that, or that stare means "Don't you dare take a picture to me after I have suffered the GREAT indignity of having been both shampooed and conditioned. There is a stink-pile of revenge in your future, my friend."

Whilst he pouted, boudoir-style, I gathered my ingredients for Dish Number 1: Orzo Salad.

That's honey, red wine vinegar, olive oil, garbanzo beans, grape tomatoes (I only needed 1 pint, but they were a twofer deal!), lemon, basil, orzo, and red onion.

(A funny thing happened on the way to the ingredients: I'm not familiar with JLB's neighborhood market, so she acted as tour guide. Probably good, as mapping my route through an average grocery store trip would be a study in Attention Defecit Disorder. I was barking items at JLB—"Basil?!" "Garbanzos?!"—and she was gamely pointing me in the right direction and enduring my whirligigishness. We stopped on an aisle alongside a nicely dressed single fella staring mournfully at the soups while I taught JLB the finer points of budgeting. She reached for the $2.19 can of garbanzos until a bossy dressing-down directed her to the $.89 can. At which point I, consistently unaware of my surroundings, gently asked, "honey?"


"As in the bee product, not the term of endearment."

I made a nicely dressed, mournful, single dude snort at the Western.)

Orzo gets a swift boil, drain, and cool.

Then topped with beans, tomatoes, basil, and onion.

I whisked up the dressing (honey, red wine vinegar, oil, lemon juice, and salt/pepper), and tossed the whole bit together.

This will become your No. 2 go-to salad of the summer. After this one, of course. It's easy, fast, and delicious. JB once called it the best salad ever. It's full of pasta, so that helps. And it's rather light on the veg—everyone's favorite kind of salad.

Even rastanky loved it, despite the threat of sticky congestion! High praise, indeed.

Next, I had to please the carnivores. I picked this because I wanted something easy, and Ina never fails me.

I pounded out boneless, skinless chicken breasts

that were allegedly supposed to be 1/4-inch thick. Frankly, I can never get them that thin, no matter how much I beat them into submission. I think I lack either the muscle, the will, or the violent tendencies. I'd put money on the first two.

I prepared the dredges: flour, egg + water, and breadcrumbs + parmesan.

Into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture.

Three minutes on each side in a touch of olive oil (mine went a minute or too longer because of the over-thickness, but you can't beat that for swift, regardless).

Topped with a salad of mixed greens dressed with olive oil and plenty of tart, sticky lemon juice.

Ceremonious, no? I thought so, though it lacked a little something in the presentation. It's not 2,008 drummers banging away in unison or anything.

JLB's house makes such a lovely backdrop. The black counters and white plates make everything look ... edible. I don't quite get the same effect under the scorching spotlights on the Woodside, where the backdrop is light blue and covered in glued-on tomato seeds and an Easter Island of Fresca cans.

So this one is dedicated to JLB. For bankrolling the event, tasting everything I make, and remembering to keep her gag reflex reaction on the INSIDE. Thanks, honey!


at: 4:56 PM said...

Well ... Roscoe is beside himself with glee over having such a wonderful meal attached to his name!
And for my part ... gag reflexes have never been an issue for any of your dishes and especially not this particular evening.
For anyone looking for a fabulous meal with no sweat ... take Katie to the grocery store, come home and open a bottle of wine, and sit down to watch tv. Wonderful things soon come from your kitchen!
What's for dinner next???
See you soon Honey!

Jenny Walls Robb says:
at: 10:30 AM said...

Seriously, that meal looks so delicious. It reminded me of some of my favorite bottega dishes--the stuffed peppers and the chicken scallopine--I ate at Bottega so much that of all the many things that I do miss about Birmingham it's things like Monday night crab cakes and Orange Things that are way up on my list of things I miss from Birmingham... I love food...

K. says:
at: 3:25 PM said...

jeannieb205: you have revealed yourself as jlb! the code is cracked! now how will i be able to craft ever-more-obtuse monikers for my public??

jenny: i'm so glad you're reading! you're making me hungry, though ... mmmmmmmm smoked salmon pizza .....



my foodgawker gallery



I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.