I, for one, cannot wait to try it out.
******************Well, hello there, readers of Anna's gorgeous blog! This is my first ever guest post and I'm really excited about it. A huge thanks to Anna for asking me to contribute in a small way to her lovely space.
As I began to think about what I might want to post here, I kept focusing on the fact that this is my first guest post. Firsts are big. And I thought that maybe, my first guest post should be about the first dish I ever learned to cook. Take us all back to the beginning.
I graduated from university in the States during an election year. On the same day that I graduated my mother and I loaded up my old car and drove from New York to South Dakota, where I was due to begin working on a campaign to get a US Senator re-elected. The drive was long and flat and, when we arrived, I saw that South Dakota was longer and flatter.
My mom helped me get set up in my very first apartment. I began work right away and she spent a few days shopping for all the necessities that I'd need to make my own little life very far from home. I had an expensive mattress, cheap sheets, a used TV and a kitchen full of non-stick pans and plastic plates. I was set for my first steps into the adult world.
And then, mom left to go home. And I was actually on my own. And for the first time in my life, I didn't have anyone to cook for me. No mom to fry bacon on Saturday mornings. No grandmother making soup. No college-dorm-meal-plan to provide me with a great huge salad bar. Just me. And my new pots and pans. And I freaked.
I spent my first few weeks as an adult eating ready-made soups and chunks of baguettes from the local grocery store. Sometimes, on Friday nights, I'd really splash out and buy a wedge of Brie and a bottle of white wine. I thought that this was how independent young women fed themselves.
And it was all fine. But eating ready meals was getting expensive and I missed FOOD. Proper, fresh, home cooked FOOD. Growing up, my mother cooked us dinner every night. Every single night. There were no frozen meals or take-away pizzas. And that's what I wanted for myself as an adult. I wanted dinners like mom used to make.
So, in September, I asked for cookbooks for my birthday. A completely random request for a 23rd birthday, but I was determined to fend for myself and I was sick of the plastic containers of chicken and rice soup every night. Specifically, I wanted the Betty Crocker Italian Cookbook. My boyfriend (now husband!) loved Italian food, and as an American woman, I could think of no one better to guide my first steps into cooking than Betty Crocker.
I still have that cookbook. It's a mess. Pages stuck together with bits of butter and olive oil, crumbs in the spine. And, I slowly learned to cook. Simple pastas, chunky soups, crumbed chicken fillets on top of salads. I wasn't very adventurous, and frying things scared me (to be honest, frying still kind of scares me) but I was cooking. I was feeding myself.
When my boyfriend came to visit me, I sat him down in my very own purple camping chairs and served him a meal of Milan chicken, angel hair pasta tossed with Gorgonzola cheese and steamed broccoli. And he ate every bite and asked for seconds. I'd never felt so grown up. We all have to start somewhere.
(adapted from the Betty Crocker Italian Cookbook)
- 2 chicken breast fillets, cut in half lengthways to make four thin pieces
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use panko)
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable oil for pan frying
- Lemon wedges to serve
Place the flour in a bowl. Place the eggs and lemon juice in another bowl. Place the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and some salt and pepper in a third bowl.
Place a frying pan over medium heat and add about a tbs of oil to the pan.
Working piece by piece, dredge the chicken pieces through the flour, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs. Place each breaded piece of chicken in the frying pan and fry until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
Serve the chicken pieces with extra wedges of lemon. Goes very well on top of pasta that you've dressed with just a little olive oil, more lemon juice and lots of freshly chopped parsley.