Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Classic 50s Dinner

It's such a cliche. You've seen it in so many movies and TV shows. The woman slaves over the hot stove all day to make a nice dinner for her hard-working husband. She sets the table, pours and wine and waits...and waits...

Hours later, finally, he walks in the door with excuses.

"Dinner's in the fridge," the woman says, before huffing off.

That's pretty much how this evening went -- except when Avo finally got home at 9 pm (after leaving work at 6 pm!), he re-heated his dinner and then did the dishes. You never see the men do that in the movies.

The truth is -- dinner would have been disappointing even if he had gotten home on time.

My first mistake was following a recipe I found on the Park Slope Food Coop web site.

Chicken in Lemon Garlic Sauce


- steamed or cooked white rice
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
- juice of 1 -2 lemons
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 oz white wine
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- veggies (summer squash, broccoli, green beans)


- Get the rice going first. It may be done 10 minutes before the rest is done.
- Cut the chicken into thick slices an inch thick and 2 inches long. Salt and pepper the chicken now.
- Slice the garlic thin and saute in a saute pan for a few minutes in the olive oil.
- Add the chicken and just cook the outside.
- Dump in the wine and lemon juice and let it simmer until the chicken is cooked completely. Let simmer longer if you want more evaporation.
- If you cover the pan you can cook the veggies in there, or steam/boil separately and throw them in for 5 minutes at the end.
- Serve over the white rice. Pour the sauce on top.

I had a fun time cutting up the chicken with cooking shears (I didn't take out a ruler to measure 1x2 inches).

Then, what can I say? I got lazy and used a garlic press instead of thinly slicing the garlic with a knife.

I clearly should have cooked the veggies separately because I ended up overcooking the chicken in an effort to cook the vegetables.

So the chicken was chewy and the sauce was too lemony. But at least the rice turned out okay!

"You tend to pick recipes with odd flavor combinations," Avo said diplomatically. "Garlic and lemon are not two things I would necessarily put together."

Oh well. Even top chefs have their off nights.


Dori said...

Hello dear. Garlic and lemon are extremely common flavor combinations. I'm surprised Avo would say that. Just about everything I make includes both ingredients. The chicken might have been chewy (not dry?) for any number of reasons, but I wonder if it was either cutting it with the cooking shears (never considered doing such a thing) or that you cooked it on too high a heat with the liquid? I don't think the garlic would've contributed to the problem too much, except that it wouldn't give that carmelized garlic sliver taste the recipe probably called for. But in the future, if your dish is too lemony, you can either take out the meat and cook down the liquid gently for a bit, or the best thing is to add a dollop of butter to mellow it out.

Undomesticated Me said...

Perhaps I did cook it at too high a heat -- the recipe didn't give any sense of how high to turn up the oven or how long to cook it! I did eventually remove the chicken so that the zucchini could cook longer.

Good tip about the dollop of butter! And what DO you use to cut chicken? The kitchen shears were really fun!

Meanwhile, it wasn't a great dinner by any stretch of the imagination, but it worked well as leftovers tonight when I was too fried to cook!