What's better than great food, great friends and a great photo to capture the moment? That is what this blog is - creativity from kitchen to camera. We are having a blast looking for challenging recipes (or making up our own!) and documenting the cooking process with serious photographic effort.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gregg's White Wine Lemon Chicken Fettucini

I want to make it crystal clear what this blog is not going to be. Despite our inaugural posting, this is not going to be a bunch of exceptionally elaborate and time-consuming recipes which look and taste phenomenal, but which no one will ever make. There are a few reasons for this, one of which is that I’m really, really lazy, and I’ve read in medical journals that blogs (“It’s short for ‘web log’, doll face,” Trent whispered huskily as he sipped his Macallan.) …that blogs should have more than one entry per year. More importantly, this will be about how we really cook moreso than about how we occasionally cook.

What’s so great about having an awesome homemade meal every couple of months if we’re microwaving hot dogs the rest of the time? I absolutely make really lame dinners on a regular basis, but most of the time I put forth the effort to do something a little… extra. I don’t know if it’s pride or ego, (I have both, though I’m too dumb to know the difference), but I want ‘the reaction’.

I explained in the first entry that I have a tendency to experiment. What I need to develop is a tendency to ‘taste as I go’ during my experiments. And I need to develop this tendency so my family doesn’t have to try to disguise involuntary gag reflexes with fake smiles that look like infants trying to vacate some Gerber’s. My family used to be too thoughtful to fix my bad experiments. Correction: Tammy used to be too thoughtful to fix them. Derek long ago began the practice of adding a big squirt of barbecue sauce to his plate before sitting down to dinner - ‘Into the mouths of babes’.

Where am I going with this? I completely lost my train of thought, and you should keep your speculations to yourself. Oh, right! This is about experiments that work, and my pride and/or ego will have you know that this happens more often than not. And one experiment that works – even the first time, though it’s changed each time since then – is White Wine Lemon Chicken Fettucini. Speaking of tendencies, I’m developing one of combining the name of a creation and the shopping list. Remember I said this if/when I blog about my Chicken and Artichoke Pesto Pasta.

What is it? It’s some chicken and some pasta and some green beans, which excites no one, but I came up with a way to give boring ingedients a little ‘wow’ factor even on a week night, when I get home at 7:30. It gets lots of flavor from minimal effort. Here is a look at everything I used.

Step 1: Fill a pot of water to boil.

Step 2: Add the chicken stock, little bottle of white wine, Lea & Perrins Chicken Marinade, lemon zest & juice (if you don’t zest before you juice you’ll feel stupid - trust me), and a big squirt of dijon mustard into a pan and boil.

Step 3: Drop raw chicken breasts into the sauce to… poach? I don’t know, but it cooks in the boiling sauce and absorbs all that flavor. Meanwhile boil the pasta only about 6 or 7 minutes before straining, and now would be a good time to pop the bag of frozen green beans in the microwave.

Step 4: Remove cooked chicken and add pasta to sauce to finish cooking. The sauce will continue to reduce, and the starch from the pasta will thicken it further. Keep checking pasta doneness, and when it’s close, return the chicken to the pan to warm it back up.

Step 5: After rereading this it’s clear the ‘steps’ appear arbitrary, so just organize all of the steps in your format of preference, but it’s probably time to plate. I looked into my fridge for a bottle of minced garlic to flavor the green beans and spotted a jar of pesto. An eyebrow went up of its own volition, and a spoonful later ‘Pesto Green Beans’ was born.

The plate seemed too beige and green, so everything got covered in a little paprika. (Just so you know, everything almost got covered in a little cayenne pepper.) In retrospect, I hate with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns the fact that I forgot to chop up some green onion for garnish, but that’s a form of neurosis I’m working on.

The first time I made this dinner I remembered to chop up some green onion for garnish. As payment for my attention to detail, Derek looked at it and asked, “Is that really necessary?” Since I was still in the work clothes I had arrived home in 45 minutes earlier after a ten hour day at the office, Derek received a stare he really didn’t deserve.

But it got me thinking: No, it isn’t necessary. None of it was necessary. We could microwave hot dogs every night. We could have bread and water every night. But that’s not what I want to eat. I want delicious stuff. I want to create new delicious stuff. And this stuff has tons of great flavor from minimal effort, and it was pretty nutritious. That’s what this blog is mostly going to be about.

Did I mention everyone absolutetly loved it?

(Written by Gregg, Photos by Gregg & Tammy, Cooking by Gregg)