One of the main ingredients is Italian breadcrumbs, and if they exist at an Aberdonian grocery store, I have yet to find them. When I asked a grocery worker where they could be found, she fixed me with a blank stare, which usually means they don’t have it or they call it by some other term that we’ll never in a million years be able to communicate to each other even though we “speak the same language”.
Refusing to admit defeat, I looked up a recipe for homemade breadcrumbs, and just like that, my simple, throw-it-together recipe turned into a 2 hour labor of love. Making breadcrumbs is easy enough if you have a food processor or even a blender. However, if all of your kitchen appliances are in a shipment container somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, it can become a bit more labor intensive. It is still possible to make them by hand; it’s just going to take all afternoon.
All you do is toast 3 or 4 slices of bread (more or less depending on how much you need) and then crumple them into the smallest pieces you can. Then place them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with any spices you choose. Since I was aiming for Italian, I added basil and oregano. Place the bread into the oven and bake on 250 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the bread is completely dried out. Then, grind the pieces of bread into the finest powder that you can by using whatever kitchen tools you have at your disposal, preferably a food processor.
The best resource I had available was a water glass. Grinding bread crumbs by hand takes about two hours and will replace any triceps workout you were thinking about doing for the day. Ouch. And it’s not a task for a slightly OCD perfectionist because every stubborn crumb that refused to grind down into a finer powder would annoy me to no end. I’m seriously still having nightmares about it. It's also quite a messy process.
Once the breadcrumbs were made, cooking dinner was easy breezy. The most painful part about it was tossing the leftover breadcrumbs away. Absolutely excruciating. Fortunately, a lady from the AWA (American Women of Aberdeen) tipped me off to a place called Wowzie that sells American products. I went in looking for graham crackers, which I didn’t find, but I did a happy dance when I spotted these on the shelf.
And as a bonus, I splurged on some sour patch kids as well.
Below is the recipe I use for Chicken Parmesan, which my dear friend Kathryn shared with me during a girl’s weekend on Lake Conroe. I don’t have my recipes with me, so I’m writing this from my not-so-precise memory. Remember, cooking is an art, not a science.
Kathryn's Chicken Parmesan
1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
Pound the Chicken Breast to about ¼ of its original thickness.
Mix breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a Ziplock bag.
Dip chicken breasts in beaten egg and then shake in ziplock bag until chicken is covered in breadcrumbs and parmesan mixture.
Bake on 325 degrees for 25 minutes.
Serve over pasta and Spoon Pasta Sauce on top of the chicken.
It’s wonderfully healthy and delicious, and easy enough as long as you don’t have to make your breadcrumbs by hand.
And in other news: Our Air Shipment is being delivered today. Woohoo! I'm going to be sleeping like a baby on some Egyptian Cotton sheets tonight. Take that, JetLag!