My daughter returns home

After Niki graduated from college she moved home for a while and had apparently picked up some expertise in a cooking class that she took while in Florence.  Then I caught her red-handed.  I walked in on her while she was watching a cooking show on tv!  Who was this person?  Could she have any of my genes?  Why was she watching cooking shows?  Although she’d tried to help in the kitchen many times when she was young, she’d never really shown any particular aptitude in that area.  Usually the results were edible although presentation definitely needed some work.

Niki’s come a long way since this colorful birthday cake and she actually does enjoy cooking.

Thinking that she might like to try more interesting recipes, Niki brought home Giada’s Kitchen by giada de laurentiis.  I knew things would be very different in our kitchen.  When I showed my husband this cookbook, he took one look at Giada’s picture on the cover and declared that she looked like a really good cook.

I agree with my husband that Giada looks really good, as a cook or otherwise and although I hardly look like Giada I decided to try one of her recipes.  I started with her chicken piccata because I actually could identify all of the ingredients and it seemed fairly easy enough for me.   I served this over wide noodles and it was absolutely delicious!  Definitely one to repeat.

Since I got so many compliments on this dish (see how devious my husband is – compliments my efforts so I’ll do it more often), I decided to also check out her website on the food network.  If the chicken piccata was delicious, I can tell you that the chicken with marscapone cheese was out of this world.  This is definitely my go-to recipe for company or when my daughter comes home now for some comfort food.  If the chicken marscapone wowed John and Niki I can tell you that I got a standing ovation for Giada’s chocolate honey almond tart!  I’ve since served these dishes to guests and had so many requests for the recipe that I finally typed them up to copy on request.  And that’s how it all started….

When my daughter moved to her apartment she would call me to find out how I made various dishes.  Rather than just write them down, she would call me again when she wanted to make the same thing.  I finally just started a recipe file of all the likely recipes that she might ask for which I would then email to her.

Last Christmas it occurred to me that I had a decent recipe collection and hundreds of photos from Italy.  As I’ve mentioned I love playing with photos and decided that a collection of these photos with family recipes overlayed would be a nice gift for her and save a lot of time on the phone.  I made 8.5 x 11″ photos and stacked them in an acrylic frame which can be hung on her kitchen wall.  When she needs a recipe, she can just move that to the front of the frame & it protects the photograph from splatters.  This particular photo is one that Niki took from the Venice canals of a very unique dress shop.

The Recipe, courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis :


1 to 1 ½ lbs     Boneless chicken breasts
2 TBL              Olive Oil
5 TBL              Butter, divided
1 Cup             Chopped sweet onion
1 lb                  Mushrooms – cremini or baby portabella
2 TBL              Garlic, minced (more is fine)
1 Cup              Marsala wine (or I’ve sometimes used Vermouth
1 Cup              Marscarpone cheese
2 TBL              Natural stone ground mustard (seeds)
2 TBL              Chopped fresh Italian parsley
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Serve on wide noodles or fettuccine

Pound the chicken breasts to tenderize, then sprinkle salt & pepper.  Heat oil in heavy skillet over med-high heat.  Add chicken until just browned (about 4 min each side).  Move to a plate & cover to keep warm.

Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter to the same skillet over med-high heat.  Add onion & sauté until tender (about 2 min).  Add the mushrooms & garlic and sauté until the mushrooms are tender & juices evaporated (10-12 minutes).  Add the Marsala wine or Vermouth and simmer until reduced by half (5 minutes).  Stir in the marscapone and mustard.  You can serve the chicken as cutlets or slice into slices.  Return chicken & juices to the skillet.  Simmer, uncovered over med-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through & the sauce has thickened slightly (just about 2 minutes).  Sprinkle with parsley and top with fresh Parmesan cheese.

After cooking pasta, melt remainder of butter (3 TBL) on top.  Serve chicken & sauce on top of pasta.

(This may seem like a bit of work but it really isn’t and it cooks up fast so have the pasta water boiling.  It is the most delicious sauce I have ever had!)

10 thoughts on “My daughter returns home

    • You can do so much with the transparency option. And yes, Niki’s photos are what inspired me – I’m hoping that when she gets a little time that she’ll be able to join me on the blog & use some of her photos. Of course in Italy there were just so many opportunities for capturing great pictures – pretty much point your camera anywhere & snap.


  1. Pingback: Clams Casino – “the recipe” | Photographs and recipes

  2. I’m sorry, but your husband doesn’t like Giada because she looks like a good cook, he just likes her cleavage. I guess she does know how to cook, but she just bugs me. By the way, I have the same photo of that dress shop!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think my husband might have noticed her cleavage :). I don’t watch the cooking shows mainly because I don’t know how to turn the tv on but I have to say that every recipe of hers I’ve tried have been really good.
      Is that the coolest dress shop in the world or what? I design and sew and have always have dreams of owning a little shop with an apartment above and if I could choose one location to have it, this would certainly be it.


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