Of my four brothers, I would say probably only one of them is a true foodie. So on my side, I have a sore lack of foodie family. Which I didn’t necessarily miss because my foodie friends provide many opportunities to share and glory in the obsession. However, there is a certain envy I have of those who spend hours on the phone and weekends away with their sisters. I used to beg my mom to give me an older sister (yes, older) as my birthday or Christmas gift. She had the same reaction as I do now when my kids occasionally ask me for another sibling: hysterical laughter tinged with fear.
All this background to say that I had a wonderful girlie weekend with two of my cousins. Our three mothers were sisters, and sadly there’s only one sister left. Thus our time retelling family stories, rediscovering forgotten facts and bantering Wood family history has become precious to us all. And at the center of our chatter, there’s always amazing food. It’s not always fancy or elaborate, but certainly tasty. A couple of weeks ago, the nearer cousin, Claire, and I jetted off (actually, we drove) to Rhode Island under the cloak of surprise and appeared on Mair’s doorstep. We had secured an evening with her through her stealth husband. On the menu: gourmet cheese platter with grapes, pomegranate mojitos (click for a great video recipe), Chicken Marsala, salad with a delicious vinaigrette and Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie Cake from Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way.
I love this slate cheese tray! I found one online here, along with another how-to video. These slate trays even come with a pencil so you are able to label the cheeses.
I hate to say that I didn’t write down the measurements for Chicken Marsala, however, this is a basic dish that begins the same way as many others. First, slice the boneless chicken breasts in half horizontally. Pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until uniformly thin, then dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Fry lightly in olive oil and transfer to an oven-proof dish to keep warm. After all the chicken has been cooked, add a few tablespoons of butter and saute diced shallots and mushrooms and cook until softened. Deglaze the pan with a cup of Marsala wine and simmer, adjusting the seasoning to taste. Pour the sauce over warm chicken. Yum! And cheers to the best older sisters I could ever have wished for.