Spaghetti Carbonara

In college, I spent a summer in Florence.  I remember being homesick and not loving my living situation, but nonetheless, absolutely falling in love with the city. The smells.  The amazingly old architecture.  The gardens.  The bustling market.  The street … Continue reading

Pasta Cravings and Kitchen Rules

I love spaghetti.

This is not an understatement.  I would eat spaghetti six times a week.  Maybe seven if Brad didn’t feel like cooking.  And even without switching up the sauce or anything.  Just spaghetti and red sauce out of the jar.

I studied in Florence, Italy in the summer of 2004 and I was surrounded by amazing Italian food.  I took a class that was called “Italian Cooking” every Wednesday night where we would make these INCREDIBLE italian dishes with this large Italian man named Stefano.  I loved Stefano.  I also took his “Italian Wines” class, so he kind of wined and dined me – true Italian style.  AND he could pronounce Bylsma.  That is a major in with me.  I remember I told him I was impressed he got it right ont he first try and he said:

“What, Bylsma?  That’s Dutch.  Everyone knows Bylsma.”

That was one of the reasons that I fell in love with Italy, I think.  No one knows what Bylsma is, where its from, or even close to how to say it.  Gosh, America, keep up.  Everyone in Italy knows Bylsma.  Duh.

But anyway, back to spaghetti.  I might have had that one fantastic meal with Stefano every Wednesday night while I studied in Florence, but the other six nights a week, I went to my favorite little market and made myself pasta with red sauce out of the jar.  Of course it tasted amazing because I was in Italy.  And I was a poor college student.  And especially because the Euro/Dollar conversion was not exactly in my favor.  Best spaghetti I’ll ever have.

But nowI have this (sort of) problem.  I crave spaghetti.  I leave work at midnight and just want spaghetti.  And spaghetti is not the best thing for a girl’s figure at midnight.

I sent this picture to a girl I work with at 11:42 pm after we had closed down the bar together and I told her about my spaghetti obsession.

So last night I was home alone, doing some work and playing with my new iPad (!!!!) when I realized I was starving.  Of course, I had some spaghetti and red sauce on hand, but I decided to spice it up a little bit.  I cut up some chicken into strips and made me some “chicken parmesan” if you will.  And everytime I bread and fry something I am reminded of one of Brad’s kitchen rules.

Just to bring you up to speed if you have never been in our kitchen while Brad is cooking, there are what I like to call “Brad’s Kitchen Rules”.  I sometimes have to remind him that we are not in a professional kitchen and the health inspector is not coming by our apartment. (Which, actually one time she did for a completely un-kitchen related problem.  He likes to bring that up.)  Working in a kitchen 50-60 hours a week, the rules of the kitchen have been engrained in his head.

I also like to remind him that when we first met, I didn’t do dishes for a week.  They would sit “soaking” in my sink until they didn’t fit anymore and then maybe I’d throw them in the dishwasher.  Brad does not allow that to happen anymore.

The first rule that I will teach you is one of the least important in Brad’s mind, but it’s one of my favorites because if I screw it up I just have to wash my hands and start over.  And its probably the rule I’m best at.  So it’s a good place to start.

I present the first in an ongoing series of “Brad’s Kitchen Rules”.

Wet Hand/Dry Hand

So when I was making my chicken parmesan last night, I got my whole breading station set up.  I mixed together bread crumbs, garlic salt, italian herbs, lots of parmesan cheese, and chili pepper.  Then I beat an egg in a bowl.

The point of wet hand dry hand is to get all that chicken battered and not have your hand completely battered by the end of the process.  It can get very messy.  So I assigned my right hand to be the wet hand – the one that touches the chicken and dips it into the egg…

And my left hand was the dry hand that covered the chicken with the bread crumb mixture.  Since it never gets wet, it doesnt have big clumps of breadcrumbs sticking to it.  See?  (the thumbs up means I actually did a good job.  Minimal bread crumb stickage.  Brad would be proud.)

Basically, I melted a whole lot of butter (I mean, if you’re eating pasta at 11pm its already bad enough, you might as well add a lot of butter) and fried that chicken up.

Brad must have liked it because the pots are still in the sink.  That’s when you know you made something good – he forgot his own rule!  And that almost NEVER happens.  Even Stefano would be proud I think.