Since my surgery last week, I haven’t done much in the way of cooking. Although I am left-handed, I grew up in the days when special accommodations were not made for the those of us who leaned to the gauche side, so much of what I do is right handed, including using a knife. Not being able to chop, slice or essentially use my right arm has definitely impacted what we’ve been eating this week at home. And, when you factor in the painkillers, I’ve been taking…well, it’s probably just as well that I can’t hold a knife since I’d probably be a menace.
I had taken some chicken out of the freezer and initially imagined a stir fry – thinking to myself “hey, the husband is home, let’s put him to use.” Stir fries were one of his signature meals back in the day, but I mistakenly discouraged his cooking in the pre-dishwasher early days, due to his insistence upon using separate bowls to hold each individual ingredient. He’s never really recovered, unfortunately, from this rejection and thus doesn’t really do much cooking. Anyway, something came over me, in the middle of the afternoon and I developed a strong craving for chicken parmigiana. Since the boys aren’t tremendous fans, I knew I could I prepare simple drumsticks for them and breasts for us and hopefully satisfy everyone. The chicken was egg-dipped and rolled in bread crumbs while some garlic browned in olive oil. I added the chicken to the pan and got it nice and crispy on the outside before placing it the oven at 375 to finish coking through, approximately 20 minutes for the drumsticks, closer to 30 minutes for the huge (Dolly Parton huge) breasts. The alternative, of course, would have been to pound the breasts with a mallet, but I was essentially working with one arm and wasn’t able to manage anything quite that physical. Especially since I don’t have a mallet and generally use my marble rolling pin which is really heavy. While the chicken finished baking, I threw together a quick tomato sauce – olive oil, garlic, a can of crushed tomatoes, a generous squeeze of anchovy paste and salt. During the last 5 minutes of so (total sauce cooking time = about 20 minutes) I tossed in some chopped fresh basil and some chunks of fresh mozzarella reasoning that it would just that much easier prep-wise, plus I really like the crunchy bits on the chicken and they can get lost when covered with sauce and cheese. Tom gallantly cut my chicken up for me, and I served some cavatelli with the cheesy tomato sauce on the side as I considered my good fortune – home with the family enjoying a wholesome dinner. Life is good. And so was dinner.