The dinner that sealed The Deal

When Loving Boyfriend first asked me out, it sounded like a sympathy date. Yes, it's true. He gave me some line about how my roommate and everyone else I knew in Eugene (I had only been there for a couple of weeks) was out of town, and then offered to let me tag along with him, Mr. Popular, to a party. This came directly after my honest question, "Are you M. L.?" and his smartass answer: "Who wants to know?" After which, I was completely taken aback and thought he was a bit of a turd. But he was right, everyone I knew was out of town, and I wanted to meet more people, so I decided to go anyway (I knew that my roommate knew him). He proceeded to play cards and ignore me the whole party! But then he asked me afterwards to come over for tea and was so cute and charming, I gave in. I'm glad now that I gave him that second chance.

For our first 'real' date, he cooked me dinner (he must have known the way to a foodie's heart)...I brought the wine, he had a movie...and the rest was well, history. But I'm convinced that it was the dinner I made him that sealed the deal for the long haul - I cooked, we danced in the kitchen to Jerry Garcia's "Sugaree," ate and laughed, and I've been cooking for him for almost three years now (although, mind you, he's also a very good cook). Yesterday, with the first sunshine (don't you just love the way that word rolls off your tongue?) we've had in a month shining through the whole day, I was in an upbeat, lovey-dovey mood and I wanted something quick and easy for dinner. I decided to go back to that first meal I made for Loving Boyfriend: Parmesan Chicken topped with Lemony Greens. We also had a bit of roasted fennel on the side, because I just love roasted fennel. The roasting mellows the anise flavor and gives it soft, rich texture that is simply divine.

This is simple, and delicious. I think I actually got it from Cosmo back then (Gosh, *blush*).

Parmesan chicken: Take two small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and pound them out to 1/2 an inch thick (or thinner if you would like) between two sheets of plastic wrap. Place some flour, salt and pepper on one plate. On a second plate, add breadcrumbs (try home-made!) and grated parmesan cheese (you can use seasoned breadcrumbs or season them yourself - I added basil and oregano). Then in a wide bowl, lightly beat one egg. Dip the chicken breasts in egg, then the flour mixture, then egg again, and finally the bread crumbs. Press down lightly when you do the breadcrumbs to get a little thicker layer of them on top. Heat a small pat of butter and a bit of olive oil together in a pan, then cook the chicken for a few minutes on each side until cooked through. The coating on the chicken sounds easy, and it is, but it's taste far outshines it's simplicity.

For the lemony greens: In a large bowl, juice one small lemon (I used another Meyer lemon!), and then gradually whisk in 2 tbsp. of good olive oil. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Next, add two large handfuls of mixed greens and toss them with the lemon vinaigrette, then place a handful on top of each chicken breast. Do this right before serving.

Roasted fennel: Preheat the oven to 350F, then cut the bottom of the fennel bulb (the white part only) into smaller peices. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper (you could add a bit on lemon juice here too) in an oven-safe dish or pan and roast for 35 minutes or until soft and carmelized.

That's it. That's how I caught my Loving Boyfriend. I guess all the rest of the nights I've spent slaving over the stove is how I've kept him? Hopefully he's not expecting me to stay "barefoot in the kitchen?!" Honestly, though, I fell like a rock, and even after all this time, I'm still smitten. He still makes me laugh, and although he's still a turd sometimes, now I just love him despite it!


We're off to ski for the weekend (well, LB is going to ski and I'm going to try not to break my legs, back, tailbone, arms, head, or torso; spend the day hanging out chasing the kiddos on the bunny hill yelling, "wait! show me how to do that!"; and the night drinking peppermint patties and trying to drown out the pain I've inflicted upon myself during the day. But hey, why be technical about it?) so I'll 'talk' to you all after our return!

12 comments from you:

vlb5757 said...

So maybe now you should come and cook for me for Pete's sake! It sounds really good. I happen to have some fennel in the refrigerator and am going to use it but never gave a thought to roasting it. Now I have another method to consider. Thanks for the tips! You are such a peach!

Kitchen Queen said...

I hope you have a wonderful time!

Easily Pleased said...

have fun!
love your blog - 'specially the baked items. YUMMMM. lemon kurd. now i have a craving. thanks.

Paz said...

I love your lemon curd cupcakes below. Makes me want to take my finger and swipe through the screen for a taste!

I love your story about meeting the Loving Boyfriend. Love to read stories like that. Your meal does sound like the one that would seal the deal. Very tasty-sounding meal.

Have a fun and safe weekend!


ilva said...

I actually prefer to cook barefoot in the kitchen! Anyway, it sounds divine! And have a nice time!

Tijen said...

I wanted to stop by when I saw your message. thanks for it. I'll be updating the blog with greens today. and I'd very much like it if you add my blogs address to your links. I'll do the same..
thanks and pls. ask anything related to turkish food or so..

Nerissa said...

Have fun on the bunny hill. You're a braver soul than I. I almost have a paranoia about skiing and the state of my knees.

Sounds like a great dinner :D

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Michelle, it's a really fancy looking and delicious menu. Good for you :)

Have a great time...

Shauna said...

Dancing in the kitchen in your bare feet? Now that's love. (gosh, you're making me wish I had someone now, and I thought I was fine with being alone!)

He better know how lucky he is. This dinner sounds lovely, my dear.

J said...

hi michelle, thanks for sharing such a wonderful story - and what a lovely meal you've just lovingly described! he's a very lucky man

Kat said...

How sweet.

I've always wanted to incorporate fennel into my diet but have never found a satisfying recipe. I never thought of roasting it! I will be sure to try your recipe in the near future.

Thanks and having fun skiing!

michelle said...

Hi Vickie!
I'll come and cook for you anytime, my dear! Roasted is my favorite way to eat fennel, but if you do something else, let me know so I have new ways of making it too!

Hi Kitchenqueen! I did, thank you!

Hi Easily pleased! Thanks for visiting! Baking is my secret love! I hope you'll come back!

Hi Paz! Thank you, my dear. You're welcome to come swipe some frosting anytime. I'm glad you like our story - I do to!

Hi Ilva!
Hee hee, I would too, except that in the wintertime our house is freezing! And with my luck, I'd drop a knife, or at least some boiling water on my toes!

Hi tijen!
Thank you for visiting my site - I can't wait to see what you've posted while I was gone...I'm so interested to learn about Turkish food and culture from you! I'll add you to my links!

Hi Diningdica! Really, I'm not brave - I'm terrified of it! And terrified for my poor knees (and neck, and back, etc. etc. etc.)...

Hi Melissa!
Not fancy, just easy and tasty! Hugs right back to panama for you!

Hi Shauna! I'd dance barefoot in the kitchen with you too - perhaps over some delicious gluten-free meals? You're not alone, either, I know lots of people there and all over the world who love you! And I have to say: I'm lucky too :)

Hi J! Glad you could stop by! I wish my meals looked as beautiful as yours though! Then I really would have gotten him! I just feel lucky LB and I found eachother.

Hi Kat!
Thanks for visiting! I really like it roasted because it mellows the anise flavor and gives it a sweet, carmelized taste. I did have fun skiing, thanks!