I haven't read any of those books that begin with "Fifty Shades of … ." I know they have been on the New York Times Book Review Combined Print and E-Book Best Sellers for more than half a year (numbers 4, 7 and 8, as of Nov. 25). I also know that nearly everyone knows about these books, but that most people I know will not admit they have read any of them. I do know one couple who have said they read all of them. But trust me, and I know you do, I have never read them.
It isn't as if I don't read "dirty" books. I was allowed to read anything I wanted when I was a preteen, from those magazines that included girls who went "all the way," got bad reputations and sometimes got pregnant. In Troy, N.Y., we not only had a big library but, at Frear's, a department store, we had a paid library where you could get best sellers for 5-cents a day.
I wanted to read "Lolita." I was 12 at the time. The librarian wouldn't let me get that book, so I walked over to my parents' store and told my mother what happened. She wrote a note saying I could get any book I wanted. I'm not sure I should have been reading it, but I did. I don't remember if I understood it. And in high school I had a copy of "Peyton Place," and I dog-eared all the good parts and my girlfriends and I giggled at the "bad" parts.
But these days I'm not terribly interested in men controlling women at all and as I grow older, I like to read books and magazines and newspapers that I find interesting. So when I got a book from Clarkson Potter, an eminently superb publisher, I couldn't wait to open the package. Inside was "Fifty Shades of Chicken" by FL Fowler. The subtitle calls the book "a parody in a cookbook." Please put this book under the menorah or Christmas tree for friends, cooks and, especially, mothers, daughters and sisters. Not only are the recipes delicious, but the narrative and the photographs are hilarious.
Crispy Chicken Tenders with Cashews and Coconut Curry
From "Fifty Shades of Chicken" by FL Fowler (Clarkson Potter, New York, 2012)
Tenders are indeed the most tender part of the bird, but you can use boneless skinless breasts cut into ½-inch wide strips. The pounding is optional, depending upon how much your chicken wants it.
Yield: serves 4 to 6
1½ pounds chicken tenders, patted dry with paper towels
½teaspoon coarse kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
½ teaspoon Asian fish sauce or soy sauce
¾ cup roasted, salted cashews
¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
¾ cup cornflakes
lime wedges for serving
cilantro springs, for serving
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
Using the side of a rolling pin, gently pound the chicken tenders into submission; they should be ¼-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.
In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste and fish or soy sauce.
In a food processor, pulse together the cashews and coconut flakes until finely chopped. Add the cornflakes and pulse until just blended. Transfer to another wide, shallow bowl.
Dip the chicken tender in the coconut mixture, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Then dip the chicken in the cashew mixture, turning to coat evenly. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake, turning once halfway through, until golden all over, about 10 minutes total. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro.
It has been way too long since I'd been at Pizza Cucina. It's just minutes from my house but, like not enough of a good thing, we tend to take for granted those standbys.
When friends called early one day and suggested we meet at this terrific restaurant, I got excited. Their pizzas are superb and all the pastas make me swoon (my favorite, pasta carbonata, I rarely order because it is so, so rich), but my mainstay is the house-made with meat sauce. I have tried to duplicate the marinara sauce but have failed. Why should I even try when Pizza Cucina is so close?
111 Boston Post Road
East Lyme, CT 06333