A face made for Food Network, no? So we have an unauthorized guest-chef tonight. You may not recognize him immediately because he's recently shaved off his face-friend but don't be blinded by the dimples or nauseated by me. No, please don't let me put you off your lunch although good luck with keeping that appetite at bay when you see where we're headed.
I say "we" but he is "unauthorized" in that he did not volunteer or explicitly agree to be featured. But he was very patient as I bounced around nipping pieces of arugula and green beans with one hand and taking 86 photos with the other.
The plot was hatched at the kitchen table in Wicked Park as we worked out election night plans. Over Labor Day, he had my family whipped into a frenzy with this "simple salad" which I'm pretty sure had crack in it but needless to say my interest was seriously piqued when he decided to cook for us.
And then he started rattling off ingredients and he got all Greek with the mimicked cooking motions and hands and it was a done deal. The next thing I knew he had a hammer and he was pounding chicken paper thin.
So I'm going to get some of this wrong because as adept as I find myself to be in the kitchen, that man sneaks "a pinch of this and little of that" into everything. So bear with me... hopefully I'll get close to perfect on a plate.
So the chicken was pulverized Milanese-style then dredged in flour then 4 beaten eggs and then seasoned bread crumbs (J Note: Homemade is better if you have the time).
I was not given a job. Not any chopping, no peeling, no sauteeing. He did everything and at first I was going a little crazy but then there was wine and exit polls and this chubby little bit of distraction and it got easier to just take in the smells and watch the man work.
So while the chicken was chilling out, he got a start on these famous Greek green beans people were talking about so reverently. It started with some garlic, a half of a yellow onion and more olive oil than I would have previously thought wise. Color me reformed because then there was a can of tomatoes with onion and basil and then there was a chopped "live" tomato and can you SEE that? Can you SMELL that?
Then, with a very lovely knife to both hold and chop with (seriously, I need new knives), a bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley was chopped rather devoutly and then added to the onion mixture along with about a teaspoon of thyme and a pinch of oregano and another healthy pinch of cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon.
Then the green beans. And more olive oil. And they just sat in that red pan and marinated and drove everyone in the room completely insane until they were deemed done, which is to say until the green beans were tender to the bite and completely immersed in the flavors.
Now the chicken's turn to be in too-much-but-actually-just-enough olive oil. This is paper thin and it fries up quickly so keep an eye on it and get it nice and browned. 7-10 minutes.
Half a lemon over the top of all that beautiful chicken, in case things didn't smell good enough.
That would be a full box of arugula tossed with about a third of a cup of basil leaves and lightly coated in that cracked out vinaigrette that I refuse to go near recipe-wise until I can fully pay attention to him making it because it's not like he uses an actual measurement system. I can tell you that it for sure involves olive oil, lemon, red wine vinegar, salt pepper and I swear, crack.
The finish product seasoned with kosher salt and fresh pepper. And a little more crack.
There was a special run made to the store to find real, Greece-produced feta cheese. We did a taste comparison with some quality US-made variety and then olives.
The final product and it had warm bread to go with it and when you spear a little feta with the green beans and the chicken and the salad. I ate until I was uncomfortably full and then we all had pie and Barack Obama was elected President of the United States and I found out that it's quite alright with me to have a bipartisan kitchen if this is how we get to eat.
Sighs, swoons, carries self off to bed.