Thursday, August 7, 2008

Trying My Hand at French Cuisine

I am a little embrassed to admit that before tonight I have never really delved into the world of French cooking. I mean it seems like it would be an obvious starting place since the French pretty much invented culinary arts. But it took Julia Child to inspire me to give it a try, and . . . WOW!
I found this recipe in a "Cooking Light" cookbook, but I did my best to add the fatting, yet tasty things, back in.
Chicken Francais:
Ingredients: 2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used a little apple juice and some dijon mustard for kick)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Combine the eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, white wine, lemon juice, salt, hot pepper sauce, and garlic in a shallow dish. Set aside.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper and pound to 1/4-inch thickness. You really do want the breasts a little on the smaller side for this as the very large breasts will pound out to nearly the size of your skillet! If this happens you'll end up cooking the chicken breasts one by one... Once pounded, dredge chicken in flour and dip in the egg mixture.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add chicken breast halves (don't crowd the pan); cook about 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Repeat the procedure with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and the remaining chicken, wiping the drippings out from the pan between each batch.
After the last cutlet has been cooked, melt butter in pan. Add 1/4 cup wine and 3 tablespoons juice. Bring to a boil; cook for 10 or 20 seconds. Serve over chicken.
I served with with a quick and easy arborio rice salad. I just cooked the rice, added a diced tomato, some red onion and green pepper and tossed in some greek salad dressing, thyme and oregano. Also on the side I cooked up some spinach.
For Dessert:
Apple Tart
1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated crescent dough (such as Pillsbury)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (I used rehydrated food storage apples)
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the top:
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
Combine apples and spices. Place in center of dough and bring up edges. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in 350 oven° for 15 to 20 min.
You will be humming La Vie en Rose the rest of the evening.
Bon Appetit!