Because I have a cooking column and a nationally published cookbook, many people think I spend all my time in the kitchen, making complicated recipes that only a seasoned (no pun intended) chef could create. Well, they’re right about one thing. I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen — doing dishes (no, I don’t have a dishwasher). And perpetually cleaning up after five cats whose favorite room is the kitchen.
When it comes to recipes, though — well, as my regular readers should know by now, I’m the shortcut queen. Oh, sure, I enjoy watching the master chefs on TV as they prepare awesome dishes straight out of the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. But as delicious as the results look, I’m not going to go to all that trouble, believe me. Experience has taught me that for every kitchen masterpiece that takes a day out of your life, there’s usually a simpler version that will put just as big a smile on your face.
And there are also many dishes that have impressive names but are actually a snap. Like Chicken Marsala. Ooh, chicken in a wine sauce — how French and therefore intimidating. Actually, Chicken Marsala is a traditional Italian dish — Scallopine di pollo al Marsala — from the Marsala region of Sicily. Scallopine di pollo are chicken scallops — chicken breasts pounded thin and cut into small portions, or scallops. Chicken Marsala may cost you a bundle in a fine restaurant, leading you to assume that it’s beyond the talents of the ordinary cook, but it’s actually one of the simplest recipes in the world. As long as you can buy a bottle of Marsala wine and have a half an hour to spare, you can make Chicken Marsala, trust me.