Monday, September 03, 2012

Culinary shifts

The Boy has noticed some changes in the household now that Crash is away at WJU. The laundry has decreased and the variety of possibilities for dinner has increased.

When I was growing up in a large family, my mother rotated through a fairly small set of dinner menus (roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans or meatloaf, mashed potatoes and get the drift). No fussy presentations, no fancy sauces. Think Midwest, 60s, farm (though we didn't live on a farm and my mother grew up on Long Island).

As far as Crash is concerned, food is fuel and/or background for interesting conversation — and should arrive on the table with as little fuss (or spice) as possible. He's a solid and conscientious cook. He would have fit right in at the table when I was growing up (metaphorically anyway, physically, there was no more room on the deacon's benches that the kids used instead of chairs), though his palate has admittedly grown a bit more adventuresome over the last couple of years. Still, I suspect last night's dinner would not have been to his taste.

Hot Spinach and Chicken Sandwiches

One loaf of Brother's Bread (see note below)

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
leaf spinach (fresh or frozen, we used frozen)

2 large bone-in chicken breasts, skin on
seasoning (pepper, orange rind, salt and ginger)
1 cup of chicken stock
2 tsp flour

Pat chicken breasts dry. Season skin liberally. Place chicken in an oven proof skillet. Bake oven at 400F for 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350F and cook until juices run clear (internal temperature of 165F). Remove from oven, take chicken from pan, and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir flour into drippings in pan, heat briefly while stirring. Slowly add the the chicken stock, scraping up any baked on bits and making a smooth sauce.

Remove most of skin and bones from the chicken and slice thinly.

In another skillet, melt butter in olive oil. Saute garlic in olive oil/butter mixture, then stir in spinach. Cook until spinach is tender.

To serve, place two slices bread on a plate, cover with chicken and spinach, then ladle about 1/4 cup of sauce over the top. Serve hot.

As we say around here, this one is a keeper.

Brother's Bread is a single rise loaf from The Secrets of Jesuit Breadbaking, and comes from Wernersville's kitchens. My dad gave me the book years before I ever ventured to the Jesuit Center on an 8-day retreat, and the bread is one of my boys' favorites. I know the recipe by heart: (2 1/4 cups of water, 1 tbsp yeast....)
A good substitute would be a sturdy white bread or large loaf of Italian bread or good torpedo rolls.


  1. That sounds so very good!

  2. My diet has so radically changed since I was Crash's age. Who knows... .????

  3. Sounds amazing! I'll be forwarding it to Big Brother as it sounds like something he'd be willing to make for himself--AND keeping a copy for myself. Sounds like a perfect soccer-practice-night dinner (1 kid finishes at 5:15, other kid starts at 5:30. Yikes.)

    1. Yikes, indeed! You prep pretty much everything ahead and zap it. The Boy reheated leftovers the next day which smelled great....

  4. And I have that book but haven't made Brother's Bread, so I'll have to remedy that situation :)

    1. Hope your team likes it as much as mine does....