Friday, March 13, 2009


For those of you who've never read a copy of Good Housekeeping, my title is a riff on one of their long-standing, time honored columns--Can This Marriage Be Saved? She gets to tell her side of the story, then he gets to tell his; the experts swoop down and offer some counseling, and a few month's later they report back as to the state of the "union."

HER SIDE: She spends long hours in the kitchen and out, planning menus to entice, shopping for ingredients, prepping, cooking, and cleaning up the not-too-inconsiderable messes when one messes about in the kitchen. Most of the time the results are good to excellent, as "he" is quick to point out. They eat reasonably well for less than restaurant meals would cost and usually the meals are prepared with healthy eating in mind.

HIS SIDE: He is an unfussy eater, quick to compliment the chef. He likes trying new dishes, gets his pasta fix on a somewhat regular basis, and loves his condiments. If the salad dressing is good, why waste what's on the bottom of the bowl? Why NOT pour it over the pasta or chicken? Sauces are good; more sauciness is better. What's wrong with a few shakes of Heinz 57 or hot sauce or worcestershire on the lemon chicken? Where is it written that only red pepper flakes can add a kick to pasta dishes?

There you have it, foodie friends. Is the cook over-reacting to this tableside dousing with condiments? Or, does the diner have the final say on what to add to the dish in question? I leave it to YOU to decide.

In the meantime, from my latest cookbook acquisition, I recommend this lovely Chicken with Lemon Butter. It is not for the faint of heart, calling for 9 tablespoons of butter. I've already tried it with just 6 and will reduce it further next time. It goes together quickly, has an abundance of smooth, silky sauce, and would probably taste wonderful over pasta. I served it with my microwave risotto. For those of you who've never tried this, of course it doesn't taste the same as the one you spend 30 minutes standing over to stir. However, it is a good weeknight staple.

Serves 2-3
1 cup flour (way more than needed)
salt and pepper to taste
6 - 2 oz chicken cutlets
1/4 cup olive oil
9 tbs unsalted butter (reduce as your conscience dictates)
1 tbs finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup dry, white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp chopped parsley
juice of 2 lemons, or more to taste

Spread the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper.
Season the cutlets, both sides, with salt and pepper. Coat them with flour, shaking off any excess.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add the chicken. Brown for 2 minutes each side. Set aside on a plate to collect any juices.
Remove any oil from the pan. Reduce heat to low and add 1 tbs of butter. When it is melted, add the shallots and cook 2-3 minutes.
Add the wine and increase the heat to high. Cook for about 30 seconds or until the liquid is reduced to 1 tbs. Add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Cook 2-3 minutes.

Reduce the heat to a low simmer and stir in the parsley. Whisk in the remaining butter, one tablespoon at a time, being sure to incorporate each tablespoon before adding the next. Adjust the heat to maintain the simmer.

Add the chicken with accumulated juices back into the pan. Add the lemon juice and adjust seasonings.

Garnish with more lemon and parsley, if desired. DO NOT ADD HEINZ 57!

Microwave Risotto
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tbs butter
1 tbs chopped shallot
1 cup arborio rice
3 1/2 cups stock (chicken or beef)
1/2 cup grated cheese

In a microwave safe dish, add the oil and butter and cook on high for 3 minutes.

Stir in the rice and shallots and cook on high for another 3 minutes.

Carefully stir in the stock and cook on high, uncovered, for 9 minutes.

Stir, then cook on high, uncovered, for another 6-9 minutes, until rice is done to taste.

Stir in cheese and serve.


  1. Hahah your sauce question reminds me of a friend I once had. She always asked for extra dressing, extra sauce, extra everything! I'm surprised she never stuck a straw in the sauce!

  2. The diner should be careful lest the cook gets fed up. There are too many ways for the cook to teach the diner a lesson. Sorry, Mr. Arlene.

  3. Once in a while nothing will do but butter! And it would be excellent on pasta or rice/risotto. Thanks for visiting - time to start your education blog ....

  4. Oh Arlene I often read that column in Good Housekeeping and I know that they called in professional help and'd say let hubby be happy if he likes to add more sauce or condiments. Some men are just not gourmets or they like things spicy. At least you have the satisfaction that you are enjoying your meal they way it should be enjoyed :)

  5. Hi Arlene!
    Out of respect for the cook, he should eat it as served :)
    My 2 cents worth.
    He just needs a little food education. Be patient and reward...with dessert!

  6. What a wonderful blog and beautiful post!

  7. While there are times I'm annoyed when my husband douses a carefully seasoned steak with spicy A1, I love my condiments as well and have been just as guilty. I put chulula on pretty much everything I get in a restaurant, so I guess I'm just as bad.


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