Monday, November 2, 2009

girls' night in

When I was a kid, sleepovers meant staying up late, talking about boys, making beauty treatments with things like raw eggs and oatmeal, and watching Clue in our NKOTB sleeping bags until we drifted off to sleep. All pretty typical twelve-year-old girl stuff.

Last week, I had an early-morning haircut appointment in the East Village, so my co-worker and friend Courtney let me stay at her apartment, which is just around the corner from my hairstylist. Sleepovers are way more fun when you're an adult. You don't stay up quite as late, but there's no homesickness and teary calls home to Mom. There is wine, and good music on the iPod, and dinner is much better than delivery from Domino's.

That said, we kept the menu pretty simple. Unlike twelve-year-olds, we had worked all day and were pretty exhausted by the time we got to Courtney's apartment. So we kicked off our shoes and nibbled on cheese and crackers over wine, then cooked up fried chicken cutlets topped with a peppery arugula salad--a fast and tasty dish that has become one of my weeknight staples.

Dessert was chocolate chip cookies. Some things always stay the same.

Sleepover at Courtney's
Cheese and crackers
Fried chicken cutlets with arugula salad
Chocolate chip cookies

Fried chicken cutlets with arugula salad
The chicken is sort of a Milanese, dredged in parmesan and flour and fried in olive oil until golden brown. Instead of serving a salad on the side, I just toss some arugula in lemon juice and olive oil and pile it on top of the warm chicken. I also add whatever vegetable I have on hand--this time, cherry tomatoes, but I also like thinly sliced fennel, or roasted veggies like mushrooms. Feel free to mix it up.
(Serves 2)

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling on top
1 egg
1 package thinly-sliced chicken (about 4 strips, or two chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded thin)
2 large handfuls arugula
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lemon
Olive oil
salt and pepper

In a small bowl, beat the egg and set aside. In another small bowl or plate, combine the flour, parmesan, and a pinch of salt. In a large pan, pour in olive oil until it is about 1/4 inch deep, covering entire the bottom of the pan. Heat over medium-heat. When the oil is ready, a bit of flour will bubble when sprinkled in the oil.

Dunk each piece of chicken in the egg and then in the flour, coating it in flour thoroughly. When the oil is hot enough, place the chicken in the pan. Fry the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Set aside the cooked chicken on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt.

In a medium-sized bowl, toss the arugula and tomatoes with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 2 Tbsp. olive oil.

To plate, place two pieces of chicken on each plate and squeeze the other half of the lemon over them. Add the salad on top and sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese.


Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

Aw, jealous! What are we making for dinner next week?

Unknown said...

This would also be perfect for an evening alone. Because of my husband's job he's gone a lot and I'm always looking for great dinner's for one.

Lisa said...

Casey: Hmm...yes, we need to think about this!

Nikkilooch: This is a perfect meal when you're cooking for one. I've made it that way many times!

Daniel said...

Yes, I could have made this for myself during my lonely night at home while you were having your sleepover. Instead, it was a take-out bahn mi salted with my tears.

Lisa said...

Daniel: Oh, pobrecito!


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