Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Taste of Italy...and some cologne too!

I was in a cooking mood today, and the "two Jerrys" reaped the benefits. "Little" JerBear had to pick up his car today and he brought me a present!!...I'm thinking Carolyn might have helped him with this...

 I also received a copy of our family picture...and yes, this is just the immediate family...Grandma (we lost Grandpa in November), her eight children, spouses of the eight children, grandchildren and their spouses or "spouses to be", and great-grandchildren...

...and we do get together for every holiday!

Today I visited with Giada De Laurentis...she was in my kitchen and I was making her Chicken Parmesan...such a coincidence...

If I knew she'd be visiting, I would have gotten dressed {notice how cute she's dressed, is that Lily Pulitzer?}. I have always preferred to cook in my pajamas comfy clothes, and today was no exception...

Giada's Chicken Parmesan requires a batch of her SIMPLE TOMATO SAUCE...her idea of a simple sauce is quite different from mine.  I was brought up my an Italian mother...a very Italian mother. Sauce never came out of a jar or a can. I remember wanting to try Spaghettios so badly! I'd go to the supermarket with my mother {we only went there when the "Italian Store" was closed} and I'd beg her for a can of tomatoey- heaven....I truly believe she would have bought me a pack of Marlboros before relenting to canned pasta. I'm sure that I am the only girl in my neighborhood that spent her babysitting money on Spaghettios. I never got sick of them, but even today at the ripe age of 52...when I see a can, my Italian guilt kicks in. Anyway, here's Giada's simple sauce...it is yummy, but I kick it up a notch or it's too bland for me...


1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil { I've used regular virgin olive oil and I did not burst into flames}
1 small chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped {I use more}
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper {I also add red pepper flakes}
2-32oz cans of crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
4-6 fresh basil leaves
4T unsalted butter

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5-10min.
Add celery, and carrots, and season with salt and pepper
Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5-10min.

Add tomatoes, bay leaves, and basil .

Simmer for an hour and remove bay leaves
If the sauce tastes acidic, add the butter 1T at a time {I add all the butter because I find it very acidic}

In a food processor, add 1/2 the sauce and process until smooth.
Continue with remaining sauce.

If you want to freeze the sauce, let it cool and pour 1-2 cup portions in freezer bags. It will freeze for up to 6 months.

I used most of the sauce because I made two pans of the Chicken Parmesan...

Chicken Parmesan

3T olive oil
1tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1tsp chopped fresh thyme
1tsp chopped italian parsley
salt and fresh ground pepper
8 thin chicken cutlets {I washed them and patted them dry}
1 1/2 cup of Simple Tomato Sauce {I used quite a bit more, we Italians like to "sop up the sauce" with a great loaf of bread}
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella {I used more}
16 tsp grated fresh parmesan cheese {I did not count out 16 tsp, I added quite a bit more}
2T unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F {I cook at a lower temp in a convection oven, about 15 degrees less}
Stir the oil and herbs in a small bowl to blend.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Brush both sides of the cutlets with the herb oil {I ended up making more herb oil because I season everything rather heavily}

{I also added chopped garlic to the herb oil}

Heat a large skillet over high heat, add cutlets and cook until slightly browned, about 2 minutes per side.
Remove skillet from heat {I transferred chicken to a baking pan, but if you used an oven-proof skillet you can bake the chicken in the skillet}
Spoon tomato sauce over and around cutlets.
Sprinkle 1tsp of mozzarella and 2tsp of parmesan on cutlets {I used more...surprise!}

Bake until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted, about 5-6 min.

I didn't take any pics of the cooked product...at this point Son #1 walked in followed by Big Daddy, I took a pan over to Lisa's, and when I returned the animals men were already eating. 

Jerry never leaves my home without a bag filled with leftovers...

Before he left he also informed me that he "borrowed" my frequent flier points..I'm guessing that gift he gave me had a few strings attached...he is his father's son!!

And since I mentioned my mom...

I believe this was 1949

My Wedding in 1979
My mom, her grade school friend Florence (Flo'), her sister Olga, her friend "Muffy", (Flo's sister!), and  Lucia (Lou), my mom's baby sister!

Cooking in my kitchen (1993)

I had an Italian mother. She didn't view what I was doing as really a profession. She viewed it as recreation. I said, "Gee Mom, I'm going to be the head coach of the New York Giants." And she said to me, "When are you going to get a real job like your brother the banker?"”

 Bill Parcells quotes (American Football coach (NY Giants, NY Jets, NE Patriots), b.1941)

...Still can't seem to correct my spacing problems :(


  1. I just LOVE Jadore!! It is my favorite. And your recipe looks yummy, I am going to try it out!

  2. OMG...not only do I have the same slippers, but also the pajama pants!! :-)

    I'll have to come back later and read this in its entirety. I am so stressed at the moment. Been having MAJOR Blogger problems all afternoon!!