My cousins, Leslie and Neil are coming for a sleepover this weekend. We get together at one or the others’ houses a few times a year, beginning with New Year’s Eve. It’s our turn.
I have known Leslie all my life. She is a year younger than I am and our mothers were sisters. Close sisters who saw each other all the time, so so did Leslie and I.
It’s the best of things. We are like sisters but we don’t have the sibling rivalry thing and didn’t share the relationships, with all that means, regarding parents.
Leslie is the one woman on earth I can say anything to and confess anything and she will still love me. If you can ever have a person like that in your life, I say, you are very lucky.
We always have an apple pie when they come, because Leslie and I both love that and the two of us nibble at it all weekend and polish off almost an entire pie between us.
Over the years our menu has changed, depending on the season of course, but the weekends always had plentiful amounts of wine and food.
We have sloooooowed down over the years. Last time we got together we only had one bottle of wine for the entire 2 days. We also don’t eat as much. We’re down to breakfast and dinner plus a few snacks in between.
As for the snacks, if I had kept menus of these weekends I probably could have made a culinary timeline and seen how much the ingredients and style has changed. In the old days it would be stuffed mushrooms and now it would be more like beet chips with crumbled goat cheese and toasted almond sprinkles.
But the ONE hors d’oeuvre that never changes is the chicken nuggets. Can’t get enough of these. I usually have a supply in my freezer. You don’t even have to thaw them, just place them in a single layer in a preheated 425 degree oven and bake them, turning them over once or twice for 8-10 minutes or until they’re hot.
2 whole boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking sherry (or use white wine or sherry)
1-1/2 cups ground almonds (or use bread crumbs)
vegetable oil for frying
Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and put them in a large bowl. Add the egg white, cornstarch, salt and sherry and mix until the chicken pieces are uniformly coated with the mixture. Dredge the chicken pieces in the almonds, pressing to coat the entire piece. Set aside, preferably on a cake rack, for 20-30 minutes to air dry slightly. Heat 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough to make an almond crumb sizzle, fry the chicken pieces a few at a time for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Do not crowd the pan when frying the chicken. Makes about 36 pieces. Serve hot.
These may be reheated in a hot oven (425 degrees) for 2-3 minutes per side (more if the nuggets have been frozen or refrigerated and cold).