Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Good Home Cooking

The post lady came by yesterday with a good sized box. It's always fun to get mail and, even though I had requested a copy of The Good Home Cookbook, I had forgotten, so it was a nice, unexpected treat. Thank you Amy!

A browse through the cookbook shows that the recipes really are classics, many something that you would have found on the table in the mid-1950s. There are also casseroles that have graced pot lucks to this day, lots of basic breakfast things, including a number of variations on omlette fillings. Lunch sandwiches include the dependable Tuna Melt and Patty Melt, as well as the Hot Brown so popular for Derby Day weekends. Good directions, pretty standard pots and pans and spices make this a good cook book for novice cooks, too.

Although you don't find as many references to canned creamed soups as I found when I assembled old family favorites a decade ago, you'll still find frozen vegetables, bacon, cheese, butter and cream in use a bit more heavily than I generally do now.

The recipe I tried tonight, Chicken Picatta, was really good. Olive oil was used for sauteing the chicken. In the old days, this would have been butter or margarine. The combination of chicken, lemon, parsley, capers and butter was a hit with my Sweetie. He didn't even add soy sauce, which is a rare thing in our household. I think the capers helped.

Although the previous recipe, Chicken Parmesan suggested pasta and marinara sauce on the side, my recipe and a number of chicken recipes following had no suggestion for side dishes. I decided to go with fusilli pasta to catch the sauce, and steamed zucchini and carrots. I used a little of the chicken broth and lemon juice for steaming them, so their flavors went well with the chicken and pasta. I took the chicken breasts and butterflied them rather than pounding them. It worked fine. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as given, although I used canned broth.

I would recommend this book if you'd like a good compendium of classic recipes. The reason they are classic is they are still popular after many years and most of them are not too complicated to cook. The Chicken Piccata was delightful, the directions were clear and, once the prep work was done of preparing the breasts for sauteing, chopping the parsley and juicing the lemon, it went together fairly quickly. Check out the photo. Don't you want to just sit down and dig in? Thank you Richard J. Perry and The Good Home Cookbook Team.

Chicken Piccata
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth 3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained
3 tablespoons butter

1. Trim the fat fromt he breasts and remove the white tendons running through the tenderloins. Place each breast between sheets of wax paper and gently pound witha meat mallet until less than 1/4 inch thick. Dust the chicken with the flour until well coated on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Use tongs to add the chicken breasts ina single layer and saute for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until firm. Remove to a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

3. Add the broth and lemon juice to the pan. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen all of the browned bits stuck to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture is reduced to about 1/3 cup, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley and capers. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.

4. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately. Serves 4


  1. Anonymous2:46 AM

    That chicken piccata looks lovely thanks for the recipe i am always looking for new chicken recipes and i wouldnt mind getting that cookbook for christmas..

  2. james...hope Santa gives you that cookbook. It's a keeper.