Happy Birthday to the most amazing husband in the whole world – J..O..H..N!!! Woo hoo! John. My John. My best friend. Best other things too, but never you mind about that. Unashamedly selfish and unendingly generous all at the same time – that’s the key to his hilariously dichotomous core, that’s his charm. That and his comfort with who he is – he doesn’t get one bit wrapped up in worrying about what other people are thinking and I LOVE that about him, it’s been a huge eye-opener for me. So, here’s to John, probably on a conference call as I write this, not much birthday fun there. But I think he played basketball this morning (I slept through that, ha), and that’s one thing he really wanted to do today. Another is have chicken and rice for dinner, so that’s of course the plan. Oh, and have chocolate, I’ll be working that in there too. Happy Birthday Honey! (I’m blowing you a kiss, in case you’re wondering, what the..?)
And a fabulous and yummy lunch with my aunt Mary, at Beaujo’s Wine Bar. Thank goodness my lovely aunts don’t get their hair done in Willmar – I get to cash in on regular lunches, woo hoo! We had a nice, juicy Sauvignon Blanc with a delicious Greek sandwich – crusty bread, veggies, cheese, olive spread. A perfect lunch on yet another gorgeous, sunny day. Turns out Minnesota is the new California, have you heard?
On the way back to my car I bowed into Spirit for Kids and picked up a couple of insanely cute little things for the Coopmeister. That store is dangerous; as Stacey and I keep saying, thank goodness there aren’t any little girls in our family. One could do serious damage to one’s pocketbook in that place; everything is original, funky, and pricey.
Well, I’m off to pull together chicken and rice for Johnny’s birthday din. Hmmm…what sauce? I’m incorporating the Cuban yellow rice I made on Sunday night, flavored with a hint of saffron. There’s a bit of sherry in the rice also, I may go with a sherry pan sauce. Nice. That sounds nice. Roasted asparagus. Brownies for dessert. (I’ll post recipes after I figure out exactly what I’m doing, in comments, below.)
Chicken with Sherry Pan Sauce
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (usually around 1 lb.)
4 Tbsp. olive oil (or as needed)
¼ c. dry sherry
1 c. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
Few tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs (basil, tarragon, and/or parsley)
With a meat tenderizer/hammer, pound each chicken breast to evenly ¼ inch thin. If there are tenderloin pieces attached to the chicken breasts, set those aside (they’re often thin enough as is and don’t need to be pounded). Cut each flattened chicken breast into 3 equal pieces. Lightly salt each piece of chicken. Place flour in a large Ziploc bag. A couple of pieces at a time, add chicken to the bag, seal, and shake until chicken is evenly coated with flour. Lay the floured pieces out on a baking sheet and continue until all the breast and tenderloin pieces are coated. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chicken breasts, a couple at a time (so they’re not crowded in the pan), and saute until lightly golden. (One trick for not overcooking them is to cook briefly on one side, flip, and brown until golden on the second side. Serve browned side up.) Remove browned chicken from the pan and set aside on a platter as you go. Add more oil to the pan if necessary until all pieces are browned. Set the platter in a warm (lowest heat) oven.
Pour off the oil from the pan and return it to the heat. Add wine, stirring up any crispy bits attached to the bottom of the pan. Then stir in the chicken broth, and simmer until the sauce is reduced and starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste (taste the sauce before you add salt; depending on the chicken broth and butter you use, it could already be salty enough).
Serve chicken with sauce.
Adapted from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich
Crusty on top, slightly gooey in the middle, I don’t know, I think they’re perfect. Rich, but not too rich. As I said, perfect.
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter
1 ¼ c. sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
¾ c. all purpose flour
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch square pan with nonstick spray. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over lowest heat. Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the sugar and vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until the first one is incorporated before adding the next. Stir in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the batter is smooth, glossy, and beginning to come away from the sides of the bowl, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth to even it. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some thick, gooey batter still clinging to it. Cool on a rack.
I'll sing you the song my Mom always sang, John:
Happy Birthday to Jew
Happy Birthday to Jew...
I guess that's as far as she got. And she always did a little dance. So you can picture me doing that for you. :-) Hope you have a great day!!!! XO
Happy Birthday John!! I have said it before and I will say it again.....you ARE a good one!
:0) Maven of Mischief