Archive | May, 2012

Baby Boom: Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Parsley

25 May

It’s an exciting time here at For Antonina HQ, as the Roberts family awaits the arrival of Gia’s baby sister who will be here in August.  Having never been pregnant, I don’t know how these ladies do it.  I recently traveled with a dear friend (due in just a couple of days!) and she could not eat ANYTHING.  I cannot confirm if this is because she’s being cautious, or her doctor is a nutjob.  Seriously.  Certain cheeses, meats and fish were nixed and the poor woman was hungry all the time.  Luckily we consumed plenty of vodka to calm her down.  Ba da bing!  Kidding!

I did discover that lean chicken is a staple of the pregnant person’s diet, so in honor of Baby Girl Roberts, I give you a simple chicken recipe from page 158.  It doesn’t skimp on the butter, but, eh, if you can’t drink, you might as well have a smidge of fatty fun.

Rose pregnant with Tony, 1975

Tony’s wife Sara, yesterday (with Gia cameo)

CHICKEN BREASTS WITH LEMON AND PARSLEY (Serves 4 to 5)
1T vegetable oil
5T butter
3 whole chicken breasts, pounded and filleted
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
3T fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Heat oil and 3T butter in skillet over medium to high heat.  Saute chicken fillets on both sides very briefly; two minutes at the most.  Add lemon juice to skillet and turn heat to medium.  Loosen cooking bits from pan, adding 1-2T water if necessary.  Add parsley and remaining 2T butter.  Lower heat and add chicken, turning over in sauce to coat.  Transfer to serving platter with juice from skillet.  Garnish with sliced lemons.

We used to eat this all the time while I was growing up, usually with Rice-A-Roni (the San Francisco treat).  So I think rice would make an excellent side dish, even if you make it fresh and not from a box.  Add your favorite vegetable on the side and boom.  Baby boom.  Mangia!

Birthday Breakfast: Biscuits

21 May

In honor of what would have been Popo’s 91st birthday yesterday (wowsers!), we’re featuring another post by Aunt Lisa.  Get ready for a killer breakfast.

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Okay, I’ll admit it…I make a damn good biscuit.  It’s the only thing I make that tastes as good as my mom’s, and every time I make them I think of her.  I see her hands cutting the shortening, gently folding the dough and popping out the biscuits from the biscuit cutter.  It’s a skill I learned by watching, not by doing.  Biscuit dough was too fragile for unskilled hands.

When I was growing up, biscuits were a regular weekend treat, especially in the winter.  One of my father’s greatest loves was a BIG breakfast.  The man liked his eggs over easy and his sausages browned crisp.  And please don’t forget the fried potatoes.  My mother would roll her eyes when he’d ask, “What about the fried potatoes?”  The meal was complete with a light and fluffy biscuit hot from the oven smothered with butter and honey.  My father didn’t just eat breakfast in our kitchen; he also liked to go out.  He knew every breakfast place in town, and they knew him.  He was on a first name basis with every short-order cook within a 20 mile radius of his house.  But when eating out, he always order toast, not biscuits.  My mother had spoiled him.

Biscuits, like scones and pie crust, take a special touch.   For this recipe, use cold shortening and milk.  Mix the dough by turning it over onto a pastry cloth and folding the ends of the cloth toward the center.  Be gentle; don’t knead the dough– just bring the crumbs together and press down.

BISCUITS (Makes about 1 dozen)
2 cups of all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
2/3 cup cold milk

Mix dry ingredients together and then cut in the shortening.  Add cold milk all at once and stir with a fork just until the dough starts to hold together.  Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured pastry cloth and bring the crumbs together by gently pressing down.  When the dough is solid and about ¾ inch thick, cut biscuits with a biscuit cutter or use a floured drinking glass edge.  Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and put in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.  Then, bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes.

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Yum!  Thanks, Aunt Lisa.  Mangia!

Uncle Tom likes it when Aunt Lisa volunteers to blog

Lazy Weekend: Rigatoni with Fontina Cheese

14 May

It’s been a crazy month here at For Antonina central, with out-of-town visitors, travel, work and activity-filled weekends.  So I was happy to slow down and plan just a few things over the past few days, one of those things being a dinner in with a gal pal.

Yep, it’s another variation on macaroni and cheese from T’s cookbook (there are several recipes for it, which is just fine by me, as a self-proclaimed mac and cheese expert).  This recipe is simple, portable, easy to re-heat, good hot or at room-temperature, and, for the more adventurous types, easy to modify to your tastes and preferences (that’s what I did).  So the next time you have the chance, sit back, relax, hang out with the ones you love and serve up something that’s always a culinary favorite.

Lazy weekend, T and me

RIGATONI WITH FONTINA CHEESE (Serves 6)
1lb rigatoni (or preferred tube-shaped pasta)
6T butter
1/2lb Fontina cheese, shredded
2 pinches freshly-ground nutmeg
1C grated Parmesan cheese
Generous cranks freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Cook pasta in salted boiling water until LESS THAN al dente (it should be really firm, about four minutes cooking time).  Drain and place in large bowl.  Add 4T of the butter, 1/2 of the grated Parmesan, the nutmeg and pepper; toss until all of the pasta is coated, then add almost all of the Fontina cheese, reserving a few handfuls.  Pour mixture into a buttered baking dish, sprinkle remaining cheese on top, dot with remaining butter and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly (don’t panic if it takes longer– more time to hang out!).

I varied the recipe by doing a mix of equal parts Fontina, extra sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.  I also mixed in one head of cleaned, chopped, uncooked broccoli, just before I popped it into the oven.  Finally, I used pipette, since I couldn’t find rigatoni at the store.

It was so easy, and so perfect for a lazy Saturday night dinner, with a bunch of store-bought appetizers and bakery cupcakes for dessert.

And it turned out so delish, my friend’s first words after her first bite were simply, “Holy shit.”  Mangia!