Today Bunneh, my adorable sweetheart, is guest blogging to talk about the Mother’s Day dinner he made for me yesterday. I lurve this man.
Mother’s Day Dinner 2012
Bunneh here. I’m sure I’m not revealing any secrets when I confess that I like to cook. I especially like to cook for someone else. Making food for me usually ends up being fuel, but making food for My Kitty or our boys or friends is an act of love and creativity.
With mommies day just last Sunday I had a chance to make a special meal for my special wife. It all started about two weeks ago when I began pestering her for what she wanted. “I don’t know, let me think” is the answer. So I asked again. Nope. So I asked again. “I want something like cordon bleu” she says. So then I asked again, because I forgot what she had said. I definitely never said anything like “are you ever going to tell me what you want for Mother’s Day dinner”, because that would just be rude. Kitty reminded me that I had been told already. And when my blank stare convinced her that I really didn’t remember, she even told me cordon bleu again.
Whew. Ok, now I have an idea for the menu. That means I can go shopping and pick up things and figure out the rest of the menu. When I went to the store for chicken, I found a package of dried wild mushrooms that I grabbed because I knew there had to be a way to use it. Also some M&Ms…. Uh… for creative fuel… yeah, that’s why.
The basic cordon bleu recipe. Scale to your own needs:
First take the chicken breast and use Alton Brown’s method for smooshing it flatter. Score the underside of the breast if it’s very thick. Place the breast on a sheet of plastic wrap. Sprinkle some water on the chicken breast. Put another sheet of plastic wrap over the top. Sprinkle some water on top of the new layer of plastic wrap. Then, using a wide heavy pan, pound the chicken using a downward and then sliding motion. Once the chicken is thin enough, layer ham and cheese on it, and then roll the breast up, tucking in the ends to form a nice package. Place the rolled breast into a pan, and repeat as necessary for the remaining chicken breasts.
Put the rolled up chicken in the fridge to firm up. I left mine in for about 3 hours, but I’m sure longer would be fine. Then prepare two dishes, one with an egg wash (beaten eggs and water) and one with seasoned bread crumbs. I only added salt to the panko. Heat a heavy pan of vegetable oil to around 375 degrees. Roll the breasts in the wash, and then in the panko. Put immediately into the oil, turning it to brown each side. When the surface is all toasty brown, place the chicken on a rack over a cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven.
Cook in the oven for a further 25 minutes or until the internal temperature hits the “safe-to-eat-poultry” temperature. Be safe. Don’t undercook your chicken. But be careful not to blast it to a cinder either.
To accompany the dish I made wild mushroom risotto, and Kitty added a spinach and strawberry salad. The risotto is pretty easy, just really time consuming. The basic recipe I followed was:
2 cups Arborio rice
8 cups stock (hot, but not boiling)
Wild mushrooms (8 oz)
Heat enough butter to heavily coat the pan you are using over medium low heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until they are soft and fragrant. If anything turns brown you are cooking to hot. Add the rice and cook stirring constantly for like 5 minutes. When the rice starts to have clear edges, add enough stock to cover the rice and stir frequently as the stock evaporates. At this point I turned my flame up to medium. Once the pan is almost dry, add more stock to just cover again. Continue stirring frequently and adding stock until the rice is creamy and soft. It took about 60 minutes and all 8 cups of stock. Your mileage may vary depending on the vapor pressure in your kitchen that day. (Heh. That is science nerd talk for weather and altitude conditions.)
The stock I used was homemade chicken stock with the strained water I used to rehydrate the mushrooms. I’m glad I strained it because the cheese cloth had what looked like dirt from the mushrooms after their soak.
Once the rice is creamy, add the mushrooms, and grate in some parmesan cheese and a touch of nutmeg. I also added a bit of salt at this point to brighten the flavors.
Serve warm under the cordon bleu, and you will be sure to have a fantastic meal just like we did.
Serving this meal to my sweet wife was a joy. She is a wonderful wife and mother and I’m a lucky Bunneh to have found her.