Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lip-Smacking Good

The other day I was determined to check another cookbook off my list of cookbooks to cook from. I turned to the "Sunday Game Of The Week" on the CLBB. The premise of the game is that a random number is chosen, and you select that cookbook, learn a little bit about it and choose one new recipe to cook from it. Sounds like a perfect way to force my hand and make me try something new. So I checked out the thread, and the chosen number was 71. I only have 66 cookbooks, so I reversed the numbers and ended up with my number 17, which happened to be a Cooking Light Annual from 2001. Perfect. I knew I would find something to make, and sat down and actually made a list of about 25 recipes I want to try from the book. I found a recipe for later this week, and then something else caught my eye.

On the menu was Chicken Parmesan- one of Andy's absolute favorites. Mostly economical, it requires chicken breasts, which I buy frozen and in bulk, as well as pasta sauce and seasonings. We like to serve it up with spaghetti, as that is guaranteed to make the kids happy. But what caught my eye was a recipe for pizza dough that could also be used for focaccia. I've made focaccia once before, and wasn't totally thrilled about it, but this one had herbs blended into the dough, and it would go perfectly with chicken Parmesan. This dough took no time to put together, and in just a short while, I had a sheet of focaccia cooling on the counter. It was a long wait until dinner, but the focaccia was indeed perfect. I had sprinkled the top with a sea-salt blend that had fennel and citrus in it, and it was the perfect accompaniment for chicken parmesan. Next time though, I think I will leave out the sage and used dried basil instead, but other than that. Lip-smacking good. AND! The kids really liked it- that and the chicken parmesan. They both were proclaiming "mmmm" several times during dinner (Andy too), so the focaccia goes right into the tried and true pile.

The recipe for Herbed Focaccia can be found in the Recipe Trove already- the recipe for All-Purpose Pizza dough is with it, so just scroll down a little further for that part of it. Here is the recipe for Chicken Parmesan as well. One thing about the parmesan. It calls for fresh herbs, which by far make the best chicken parm on the planet. So good and flavorful, we really like it. But this time of year, fresh herbs are quite difficult to come by, so I've started using dried. The trick is to dump your dried herbs into your olive oil several hours before you are going to use it (I also use half the oil Giada calls for as well). That pulls the flavor out of the herbs and infuses the oil, brightening the herb flavor in the dish. Do try it, it will be well worth your time. Finally, last week I was a bit perplexed by something I found in a cereal box. What was it? head on over to Kids Cuisine to see what I think about it...


Claire said...

I think the pedometer served its get the family active. Obviously, it doesn't matter what kind of activity you have, just get some. for some parents, they just can't handle playing games like that with their kids yet. walking may be all they can do, so it's a start. After they get may be possible!

My favorite parmesan is eggplant...baked. I do another eggplant dish that I serve with a super easy foccacia...made in less than 1 hour! Yum!

the rachel said...

i'll definitely have to make that chicken parmesan sometime. my hubby had a crush on giada before we met, so knowing the recipe comes from her, it's sure to be a winner! =P

Mimi said...

Only 66 cookbooks?

I think you've got me beat.

Erika said...

Claire, I commented about that on Well-Fed. I do agree that it is goodonsome levels, but on some... I dunno, it just seems extreme to be targeting pedometers to kids. Will we see a post sometime about your eggplant parm? I never know what to do with eggplants other than caponata when I get them at the farmer's market.

Rachel, you have to try it sometime. I love that the chicken isn't breaded- it's light and tasty at the same time.

Mimi, you would be amazed... on the CLBB where I spend a bit of time there are people with a cookbook collection in the high triple digits. Hence, my humble "only".