If I’ve cooked Italian food for you, there’s a good chance you’ve had what I have come to call my “Italian Standard.”Well, I made it again on Saturday, January 8, 2011 for my friend Penny.
Below you see the table set for the appetizer and a close-up of the evening’s wine selection – a Sangiovese.
We began the evening with an aperitif. St. Germain with a slice of orange.
Then it was time for the appetizer. I cut slices of eggplant and grill one side in my grill pan. Then while the other side is part-way grilled, I add some of Trader Joe’s goat cheese with honey in it. After that, I fold the slice in half, press it down a little, and voila!
After the appetizer, we moved on to salad.
After the salad, it was time for the main course. Now, what is the “Italian Standard?” Here is a description of the latest incarnation (and I usually tweak it a little every time I make it). I take boneless chicken breast, tenderize and season it. Then I bread it with a mixture of Italian style bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. It put the chicken in Pyrex and set that aside. I also saute fresh chopped garlic and fresh chopped onion in olive oil. I then saute fresh red pepper, zucchini, and yellow squash in there. Later, I add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and a little parsley. All of this is, at various times, the recipient of various herbs and seasonings. Once this has been cooking for a while, I put the chicken in the oven, which has been preheated to 350°. I cook the chicken for about 20 minutes. I then put the chicken and the rest over linguine.
After dinner, I made a rather simple cocktail. Svedka clementine vodka and Trader Joe’s pear cinnamon cider over ice. I see this as a great fall (or autumn if you choose)/winter cocktail. I’ll see how I feel about its use in the spring and/or summer.
Penny was a delightful guest and brought two unique ‘first time at someone’s home’ presents! They were a bottle of olive oil…
… and also a really neat 8″ chef’s knife.
– Evan Bindelglass