Monday, August 17, 2009
Confession: I cheated my way through 8th grade Geometry. Sorry, Mr. Narveson, but it's the truth. I tried to learn to solve the problems myself; I did. But no matter how hard I concentrated, how often I came in early for extra help, those angles and lines never made any sense to me. It was humiliating. I sulked through that class, slung myself low in the corner, praying that old "Nickels" Narvie wouldn't call my name.
For some people, cooking is like that dreaded Geometry class. However, Geometry class ended. I just had to "do my time" for two semesters. People who are cooking challenged have to deal with the stove for the rest of their lives. Now that's terrifying.
Cooking, like any other hobby/creative pursuit takes practice. That said, some of us just seem to have a knack for it. I'm lucky that way. I can rummage around my pantry, peek into the refrigerator and, most times, figure out a way to combine the odds and ends into something fairly tasty. For others, throwing dinner together on the fly like that is akin to Chinese Water Torture. Or 8th grade Geometry.
My sweet fellow blogger Gibby wrote this hilarious post a while back, cataloging her mishap with a recalcitrant chicken dinner. While I can't say I've been confounded by chicken, I do know how she feels. What chicken is to Gibs, a parrallelogram is to me. Life is cruel, I tell you.
Luckily, Gibby has a sense of humor about her struggles (unlike me, who will retain her Mathematical Sourpuss title for life). I promised Gibs that I would post a Chicken Rehab recipe for her--a relatively simple solution for her chicken conundrum.
So wonderful, witty Gibby, this is for you. Give it a shot, sweet-cheeks, and let me know how it goes. Life's too short to Kung-Fu fight with chicken.
Honey-Mustard Oven Fried Chicken
adapted from Paula Deen
3 cups Panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons freshly minced thyme leaves (or you can use 1 tsp. dried thyme)
Kosher salt, ground pepper and a dash of cayenne
1/4 cup honey mustard
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack (wire) over the baking sheet and coat rack well with nonstick cooking spray.
In a shallow dish, combine panko, 2 tablespoons olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne.
In a separate bowl, combine honey mustard, water, and salt and pepper to taste, and remaining olive oil.
Coat each chicken breast with mustard mixture; dredge in crumb mixture. Place on prepared rack in pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is golden brown. Serve immediately.
**A note from me: If you place each chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, they pound out easily and tend not to tear around the edges. My girls love pounding out chicken--it's noisy, a little dirty, and strangely cathartic to go all Jackie Chan on a lump of fowl. Trust me.