It was a year ago last Friday that I sat down at my computer and, with a short preamble, wrote down what I had for dinner that night. Thus began Dinner with Jonny. I started it solely for my own amusement, and that’s pretty much the same mindset I retain; I figure that if I’m entertained by what I write and share, then people who read my writing will be as well. If I, an amateur cook, make a kick ass dish, others might have similar success.
I also have kept in mind that a great many people are intimidated by cooking and I seek to ameliorate that problem by showing that a bit of levity and less convolution in trying to cook make the world a better place. The best teachers understand this as it relates to any subject, and as a teacher, I can’t help applying this principle to whatever I do. For example, language acquisition scholars will tell you that, if you want to learn a language, have some drinks with native speakers of that language; it loosens you up, and after a few beers, you’ll forget that you’re shy about trying to speak another language (you’ll also realize that most native speakers love when people try to learn their language and you’ll make lifelong friends). While I won’t go on record that I promote alcohol consumption in learning new skills, the idea behind it resonates a truth: you learn more if you’re having fun, so lighten the fuck up, world.
Before I share the recipe for this beautiful and healthful dish, I think it’s high time that I share some insights about the general public that I have gleaned since I began writing this blog. You see, WordPress keeps statistics on a great many aspects of a blog: what countries read my blog, the busiest times of day, my most popular posts, etc.
One of the most fascinating features is the record of what search terms people use that bring up my blog via google, yahoo, or any other search engine. So for this blog post, I’ve decided to give you a sampling of the keyword searches that have brought up Dinner with Jonny in some regard since its inception. Just so you know, the three most common terms that brought up Dinner with Jonny are “burritos,” “torta rustica,” and “croutons,” in that order.
But here is a sampling of some less benign doozies, and reader discretion is advised:
- drop your panties drink: ‘Tis fair enough, I suppose. A man’s gotta eat.
- drink panty greaser: As an English teacher, I struggle understanding this, yet I’m intrigued. Is it a new form of Spanish fly?
- forme pussys made of torta (sic): I have spent considerable time processing this one to no avail. If you have an idea, post it in the comments section.
- cream my tight c**t: I’m guessing one of my creamy dishes helped this lady out marvelously. Hopefully.
- roast chicken porn video: It must be southern. In fact, it has to be.
- having cazzo for dinner: “Cazzo,” for your information, is “dick” in Italian. I admit, I have offered this to both my brothers a few times, but never literally.
- pussy pot pie/ penis pies: If you search long enough, I bet you can find a penis pot pie, too, kids. Don’t limit yourselves.
- Canada penty hot sexi porno lady (sic): It seems that I actually got Borat to read my blog. I’m honored.
- make a frog sandwich: This could be a French delicacy or a French porno, if you think about it.
And my favorite,
- candied nuts and students: It’s must be a fund-raiser or a person with considerable issues.
As always, my gimcrackery leads into an exceptional dish. This is yet another example of a Weight Watchers’ dish that’s easy to make, filling, and damn tasty. 1 1/2 cups of this is a 5 on the old Weight Watchers system (PointsPlus and 360° can fuck off very well), and if you serve it with two slices of tubed polenta, you’ve got a huge dinner for 7 points. I’m guessing you can make a sausage and pepper sandwich a la New Jersey just as easily, but you would need to adjust the points accordingly because of the bread.
Chicken, Sausage, and Capers with Polenta
Old Weight Watchers 7
2 tsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (two small or one large), cut into 1″ pieces
1 18 oz. tube of pre-cooked polenta (Trader Joe’s has a fine one)
1/4 lb. precooked turkey or chicken Italian sausage, hot or mild, cut into 1/2″ slices
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. grated parmesan plus a bit more for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large non-stick skillet. Saute the chicken pieces until they’re golden and no longer pink, about 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pieces to a bowl and set aside.
Slice the polenta into eight disks. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay the slices on it. Bake these for 20 minutes. They should be ready when the main dish is ready to serve, fyi.
In the same skillet, add in the sausage and brown them briefly. Add the red wine vinegar until it almost evaporates in a minute or two, scraping the fun stuff off of the bottom of the pan. Add in the bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano. Cook this until the peppers get soft, about 6 minutes or so, stirring fairly often.
Stir in the tomatoes, broth, and capers, and bring it all to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet and add in the parmesan. Reduce the heat a bit and let it simmer for about 5 more minutes until it thickens a bit.
Place two polenta disks on each plate and divide the chicken mixture between the four plates. Top with some parmesan and you get this:
For those of you that read this blog regularly, thank you for letting me indulge in my passion for cooking, eating, and writing for the last year. Still, I hope none of you is responsible for those search terms above, either.
Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.
©Jon Marino 2013