Apr 07 2011
Well, I had a few more “where is my head” moments when I tried to order a replacement lens filter. I shoot 99.9% of my pictures with two lenses, a Sigma 50mm Macro lens for most of my close-ups and a Canon 50mm lens for everything else. I have UV lens filters for both lenses; they’re an inexpensive way to protect the lens. (You know, for when you stop thinking for a moment and dunk your camera into your dinner.)
When I went to order the new filter, I decided to also order a filter in blue to help enable me to take better cooking pictures in my kitchen, to show you the progression of making a certain dish, since my previous in-kitchen pictures all had a yellowish cast. I was SO excited the day my order arrived…until I realized I ordered filters for the wrong lens.
So then I searched for the filter for my Sigma. I apparently wasn’t thinking (again), and I ordered the filter in a 52mm size (the size filter my Canon lens takes). I realized my mistake immediately and canceled the order, then searched for a filter for my Sigma.
I ordered the correct filter but somehow ended up with the wrong size. Sigh.
I canceled that order and placed yet another order (Amazon must love me), this time for a Sigma 55mm filter that would fit my Macro lens. Words cannot describe how happy I was when I finally received that filter! It’s an inexpensive purchase to help save a not-so-inexpensive piece of equipment for my “what was I thinking?!?!” moments. (Those moments really don’t occur that often, but when I make one mistake, I get flustered, and things snowball.)
This post marks my first using the blue filter in my kitchen, a filter I likely would not yet own had it not been for the little mishap when shooting the picture of my cashew chicken.
It also marks my finally coming up with a recipe for chicken parmesan that I’ll want to use again and again. Though I adore panko bread crumbs, I finally stuck to just plain bread crumbs that I seasoned myself (as opposed to purchasing Italian-seasoned bread crumbs), and made a point of seasoning the chicken with each step of the dredging process. I believe this was the most important step in the success of this recipe. Okay, making sure the oil is hot enough is a very close #2. But making sure the chicken tastes good is the most important part of ensuring a successful dinner; who wants to eat bland chicken?
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons shredded or grated parmesan
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Neutral flavored oil with high smoke point
Marinara (or favorite jarred pasta sauce)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella (preferred whole milk mozzarella)
4 ounces shredded parmesan (preferred Parmigianno Reggiano or Grana Padana)
Place chicken in large plastic Ziploc bag or between 2 sheets of waxed paper. (If using a bag, close it most of the way, leaving an inch or so open to allow air to escape.) Pound with a meat mallet to ¼ inch thickness.
Combine flour, salt, and pepper on a large plate. Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, and Italian seasoning on another large plate. Mix eggs with salt and pepper in large dish with sides (a pie plate works well).
Coat chicken in flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs and set on a clean plate (place waxed paper between layers of chicken, if necessary). Refrigerate breaded chicken until ready to cook.
Preheat oven to 375*F. Spray a baking dish large enough to accommodate all chicken breasts in a single layer with cooking spray.
Heat oil over medium-high heat in large skillet until it shimmers. Fry one or two breasts at a time in the oil until well-browned on each side. Remove from pan and place in prepared baking dish. When finished browning all chicken breasts, spoon pasta sauce over each breast and top with a generous mound of mozzarella and parmesan. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and beginning to bubble.