Having proven himself with the manly task of digging into shale to plant some shrubs as a border for our new paver-stone patio behind our modest town home, bob forgoes exercising on the Tony Little Gazelle machine after work, leaving it to ani for a change, who in turn skips her Pilates for a short token run on the Gazelle. Leaving bob to deal with the thin sliced chicken breast and 99 cent a pound seasonal asparagus (cheap in 2004!) snatched on the way home. Chicken marsala was already on his mind after a previous evening's report on a restaurant visit by his mom about a veal marsala dish that was slightly off. We can do better was the intent, with chicken slightly more healthy and less guilt-laden as a choice considering the horror stories of how young cows are mistreated to produce commercial veal. At least this time. We still do veal. We're inconsistent.
We'd already done Marcella's veal marsala recipe a few times in the past. The distant past since the details were no longer stored in accessible memory. Instead of pulling out her book bob looked into the approach taken by the food scientists at the America's Test Kitchen Cook's Illustrated magazine kitchen, in particular in their cookbook Classic Italian, a group effort led by the team member with the classic Italian grandmother who inspired him all the way into the food business. But their recipe had pancetta, mushrooms, tomato paste, they advised sweet Marsala (we prefer dry, based on untested prejudice against sweet wines in general, not particularly relevant in cooking). We had no pancetta or mushrooms and did not have tomato paste in our vision. Their advice about garlic, lemon juice and keeping the chicken warm in the oven while doing the more complicated sauce did help us with the simpler route we were looking for though.
So we threw together an amateur mojito with superfine Splenda (sugar substitute) since we were out of superfine sugar and this year sugar is bad anyway (carb awareness kicks in nationwide), hence the Splenda on hand for ani. Fresh mint was the third key buy on the way home. A little mojito mix and Bacardi light rum and we were in business, using a not-meant-for-shaking tall traveling coffee mug with a couple of small drinking and air holes in the removable top that had to be covered with two fingers during shaking. Over the sink. We prepped the asparagus first before doing the grilled asparagus with parmesan, again not following the recipe in Classic Italian. We're food rebels. But not without a cause.
The chicken came together pretty well, while the asparagus was finished off in the broiler (oven). Oops, no pasta or rice or potato to keep them company. Banned from regular consumption by the new food order. And we were too lazy to put a salad together. A few reheated brussel sprouts help out, and some whole wheat pita bread for bob, with more size to feed than ani. The Marsala, especially with the lemon-garlic accent, is a real success. Who would have thought? We're all bozos on this bus, but sometimes the clowns get the job done.