December 29, 2010

Recipe redemption

I have a recipe book that's been fighting for its spot on my recipe shelf.  

The book is so cute and the recipes are seemingly so tasty and effortless that I want to love it.  And keep it.  

But it's been fighting for this spot because the recipes I've made from it always seem to fail or backfire in some way.  Granted, until last night I've only made two recipes from the book, but they've both bombed and two for two is a pretty high failure rate!  

How cute, right...?

The book is organized differently than most cookbooks, dividing recipes by what color they are.  A little annoying if you're say, in the mood for a chicken dish and want to see all chicken recipes, but overall it's one of the things that drew me to the book in the first place.  It was creative and cute and I didn't mind it in one recipe book...

I also liked how sweet and personal the  book was.  She begins each color with a memory of that color.  Kind of fun...

And the recipes all have a rustic, "at ease in the kitchen, wanting to make something wholesome for your family" quality about them.  She just seems like the kind of gal you'd like to sit in her kitchen with, sipping tea or wine as she breezes around tossing things into a bowl.  And the food photography is always pretty...

As you can see, I've marked several recipes for trying...

But after this first one I made, I was a touch skeptical.  It tasted pretty good, but my apartment at the time, and every single nook and cranny of it, smelled like garlic and tomatoes for literally a week.  I'd pull clothes out of my closet and they would smell.  I went to a class at the gym with a friend and she told me she could smell my heated up workout clothes!  Um...that's bad!  You can't live like that!

Then, last weekend I thought I'd try her white bread recipe for some homemade bread for leftover Christmas ham.  My loaf looked nothing like the one in the picture, and I firmly believe it was not operator error.  It's a straight forward recipe, and I'm not a yeast bread novice, so I really don't think I'm to blame.  There was just something about the recipe that didn't seem right, but I thought I'd try it anyway.  While it pretty much tasted fine, it wasn't at all the fluffy loaf I imagined we'd be making sandwiches on...

It was after that, I declared to Todd the book is teetering on the edge of the garage sale box.  I had one other recipe I had already bought ingredients for and if that one didn't work out I'd give it the final push in.  So, last night I tried the Chicken Cutlets with Tomatoes and Capers.

I modified it a little because she likes to overdo it on the olive oil.  I added more sage, garlic, and a bit more capers and tomatoes (mostly because I was doubling the chicken plus some) and instead of using water or wine as she suggests, I used caper juice (this was mostly because I was down to the last of my capers and it wasn't worth it to keep only a few in the jar. And, I figured, a little extra caper juice never hurt anyone!).

THIS recipe was a success!  Todd yelled from the living room that it was smelling good, and confirmed it after he took a bite.

The recipe book saved itself in the eleventh hour.  I will keep it for a little while longer and give a few more recipes a shot.  Now that it knows I mean business maybe the book will redeem itself, earning a permanent spot on my shelf instead of a probationary one...

Chicken Cutlets with Tomatoes and Capers

Olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced (I used 3 very large cloves because I love me some garlic!)
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved (I used a cup of cherry tomatoes and also roughly cut 2 regular tomatoes into chunks.)
4 chicken cutlets or tenders (I couldn't find "cutlets" at the store, so used a full package of about 9 tenders.)
Flour for dusting
2 sage sprigs (I used a whole plastic container of sage like you see in the herb section of grocery stores.  And I only used the leaves.)
4 tbsp. of white wine or water (This is where I just used the caper juice from the jar.  I didn't have a bottle of white wine open and wasn't about to open one for the small amount used here.)
1 1/2 tbsp. drained capers (see above)
1 1/2 tbsp. chopped parsley (I used the flat leaf kind and guesstimated the amount)

Heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the garlic, but don't let it get brown.  Add the tomatoes and a twist or two of salt from a grinder.  Simmer until the tomatoes release their juices but not so long that the juice begin to evaporate.

Remove the tomatoes from the pan to a bowl.

Sprinkle the chicken lightly with a little salt and pepper.  Put about a 1/2 cup of flour on a plate and lightly cover the chicken.  Shake off any excess.

Heat 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil in the same skillet.  Cook the cutlets in the oil until one side is golden-y brown.  Turn them over and do the same.  Add the sage, making sure it lands in some oil to help it crunch up.  This part was tasty!  You may have to add a tiny more oil as everything cooks, but judge that as you go along.

When the chicken is done on the inside, add the capers and juice/wine/water choice, the tomatoes, and parsley.

Let heat through and serve!


  1. That's really different. I don't like the idea of dividing by colors, but love the looks of the unique. Hope the rest of the recipes turn out good, because this chicken one sounds like a keeper. I love the shoes on the front.

  2. The shoes on the front look just like a pair that Tess has, and I noticed that the Authors' name is Tess-a, but close none-the less. The book itself looks really cute, but yeah the whole color coded thing would be annoying if you wanted to look up something specific.


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