What’s Cooking? Table for Two!

It started with a potholder. We use Ann Brauer’s wonderful patchwork potholders every day – and noticed that they were due for replacement. Hey, we could even spring for a fresh new color scheme. Once you get on that train of thought, you start thinking about all the little things that would make your kitchen or dining experience that much… better. You may already be a serious cook, or you’re simply spending a lot more time in the kitchen now. Perhaps you could be called a “closet cook”, and you’re just now discovering that you have a knack for combining ingredients in an interesting way – that applause from your family makes you even more creative!

A good, sharp knife is so important. Del Martin has a handmade knife for every use – carving, slicing bread, paring vegetables. Handsome wood cutting boards (pick one each from David Barclay, Josh Hannon, Stephen Strout) preserve the knife’s edge. And if you’re in the market for a super-absorbent handloomed dish towel, look no further than Kristin Kelley-Munoz.

Wouldn’t it be fun to wake up to a morning mug of coffee adorned with an Ian Buchbinder space dog? Soli Pierce’s distinctive salad bowls serve up any mix of greens artistically. Colorfully glazed dinnerware by Erin Moran adds some pizazz to your virtual dinner parties. And wait until you try one of Constance Talbot’s clay flameware pots and pans for stovetop cooking! Our cooking and dining Marketplace is loaded with ideas. Have fun browsing and see what treasures you can find.

Need more than a “Table for Two”? Here’s an idea to file away for the future. We replaced our ancient, sagging dining table last fall with a custom table by Bayley Wharton, and we love its beauty and functionality. Many of our furniture makers create dining tables and even whole sets. Even without a crystal ball, we’d guess that holiday dinner parties will be back. Each image links to an artist’s site where you can purchase current work. Some take you directly to their fully functional online store while others show collections of work that are ordered via phone and email. Just like at our shows, you are buying directly from the artist!

What else is cooking at Paradise City? Read this week’s tasty recipe for Chicken Mazzanti!

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This Week’s Recipe

We have been making this very easy recipe for a variation on chicken cordon bleu since we were first married. The recipe can be doubled or tripled, and it never fails to impress company. It can also be made without the ham, and fresh herbs are a nice addition to the batter when they are in season. If there is leftover batter, you can dust artichoke quarters or mushrooms with flour, dip them in the batter, and sauté and bake them with the chicken.

Chicken Mazzanti (serves 2)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 large egg
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. salt
Ground pepper to taste
1 minced clove garlic

Thinly sliced cheese, about 3 oz. (swiss, muenster, fontina, provolone or Monterey jack)
2 slices ham (not a sweet ham: Black Forest, smoked or even prosciutto)
Olive oil

Pictured served with parsnip “home fries”.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Place each breast between two pieces of wax paper and flatten with a mallet.
  3. Layer cheese, ham, cheese on the flattened breasts. Roll/fold up so the filling is covered with the chicken.
  4. Dust the outside of the chicken rolls with flour.
  5. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg, parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic.
  6. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Dip each floured chicken breast in the egg mixture, making sure to cover it completely with the batter, and sauté until browned on both sides.
  7. Place in an oiled baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350°.