A couple weeks ago, Matt's sister Katie (of the incredible strawberry jam) and her husband Greg came to town to help us use one of the Green Zebra groupons. As it happened, my little sis was also in Chicago with Jefferson again, so everyone came over Friday night for a big, whole foods meal. Aside from a brief coffee Matt and I once shared with our respective moms, this was the first time anyone in our families had met, and it ended up being a pretty fun evening.
And the food was delicious.
Above: crispy parmesan chicken breasts topped with a light lemon vinaigrette salad. Matt was in charge of hammering the chicken breasts flat, which I then dipped in 1) flour, 2) egg, 3) a mixture of grated parmesan and bread crumbs and fried in a little butter.
Hammering the chicken thin meant that it didn't need to stay long on the fryer -- just a couple minutes on each side -- and thus was crispy on the outside, but tender and juicy on the inside.
The salad was incredibly simple: I bought an organic lettuce mix, mixed equal parts olive oil and lemon juice, and topped with shaved parmesan reggiano.
Below: cream of mushroom and leek soup. A Barefoot Contessa recipe, found here, and I'm not going to lie, it was mostly butter. You can see the fat in a beautiful, delicious, creamy sheen on top.
For me, the soup could have used a little more depth of flavor -- its dominant notes were the thyme and white wine -- but its subtlety was nice in contrast to the sharp acidity of the lemon-parm chicken.
We paired it all with Goose Island's Sofie: a citrusy Belgian, and one of our favorite beers. I'd do a more thorough review for you, but it would be put to shame by Matt's brother Andy's description, which can be found on his kind of fantastic beer blog here.
Cooking for family is a reminder of why I want to live this way, eat this food; people have always come together over food, and with loved ones, the act of eating is a complete experience rather than a simple consumption of calories. And when the food is fresh and delicious, when you've put some thought into what you're sharing with the people you love, that experience is all the better.