Stinky beat me at Jenga last night.
It's getting harder and harder to find games where I get to win. Checkers, chess, backgammon, Risk, Loot... he wins them all. He can solve a messed up Rubik's Cube in a matter of minutes, while I still pop the corners off and reattach them in the proper configuration. He even beat me when we went bowling the other day... and he didn't have gutter bumpers! Now add Jenga to that list as well.
The category where I still have him beat? Word nerd games. You know... Scrabble, Balderdash, and the like. But he's starting to creep up on me there too. When does life turn around, and kids have to start letting the parents win every once in a while?
But he still needs me for things like food. Lucky for me he thinks I'm a halfway decent cook, or I might just be totally worthless. (Oh yeah, I can feel the teen-ager-nesss now!) He does like to help, but can't quite do it all on his own. And every once in a while I score a home run hit with a new recipe. Like last night's dinner...
adapted from Epicurious
chicken pieces with skin and bone (I used 4 breasts and 4 thighs)
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Turkish bay leaf
3/4 cup sherry (cooking) wine
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup vegetable stock (I used homemade)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
Rinse chicken with cold water and pat dry. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large pan until hot but not smoking. Add two chicken breasts to pan, skin side down. Cook for five minutes or until skin is slightly browned and crisp. Turn over and cook another five minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken. (Don't try to cram too much into your pan. I cooked 2 chicken breasts or 4 thighs per batch.)
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons oil from pan. Add shallots, garlic, and bay leaf to pan and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened. Add sherry and bring to a boil. Stir in cream, stock, crushed red pepper, cardamom, and Worchestershire. Add chicken so that every piece is at least slightly submerged and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. (I put in the bigger breast pieces first, then arranged them to accomodate the thighs.) Remove chicken from pan and keep warm, loosely covered. Boil sauce until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Discard bay leaf, then stir in lemon juice, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with salad and crusty bread, with sauce poured over chicken. The sauce is AMAZING for bread-dipping. Yummm! And the chicken turns out amazingly tender and flavorful with just a little "kick" from the red pepper. Everyone loved this meal, and I'm adding it to our regular rotation.