Best. Chicken Breast. Ever.
If this seemingly endless remodel has taught me anything, it is how much I value setting a nice table. I used to love using my real silver and my great-grandmother's china when I had a dinner party. Even every day meals called for nice china and decorative flatware, with cloth napkins and pretty placemats. Even a crummy day can be at least partly rescued by sitting down to an attractively presented place setting.
I miss those days!
Paper plates are all very well at picnics and barbecues, but I miss having a plate stiff enough to carry across the room without risk of collapse and one that doesn't leak through to the oilcloth table covering at each meal. And, speaking of oilcloth. Okay, whatever I thought was charming about that concept has diminished over the months. Yes, you can wipe it off with just water, but I keep imagining the growing colony of bacteria that are thriving between the threads. It's better than a bare table top (the table top being a tired glass garden furniture-come-indoors-for-the-meantime one), but only just barely.
Okay, enough bitching.
As it turns out, a good meal still tastes good, even served on paper. And, even with my limited cooking options, I can occasionally turn out a really kick-ass meal, such as the one we enjoyed last Friday evening. I made Jamie Oliver's chicken breast dish, the one you bash with the bottom of a frying pan to flatten. I've talked about it before on this blog, so I'll content myself with a link to the recipe. It's pretty quick, it's killer-delicious (I'm pretty sure his Italian wife came up with this one), and it has pretentions to elegance, something I am missing just now.
And bashing those chicken breasts goes a long way toward releasing the frustrations caused by collapsing paper plates.