Orange Chicken with White Wine and Mouse part 3

After John left for work yesterday morning Lola and I came downstairs and the house had that empty, super quiet feeling.  Then it hit me… the pantry door was open and the mouse traps were gone!    I ran into the pantry and flicked the baseboard calling “Jerry?!? You in there li’l buddy?”  It was like going to visit a friend in the hospital, walking into their room and finding the bed empty and the sheets pulled off.  Had to call John right away and it went like this:

“Where’s Jerry?”
“Who’s Jerry?”
“You know damn well who Jerry is – our mouse!  What happened?”
“I dumped him out behind the grass clippings.”
“OMG!  Is he… was he… you didn’t kill him did you?”
“No, he was in the trap and I dumped him out… just looked a little dazed is all.”
“Did he look happy?”
“Hard to tell, it’s a downpour, he just looked wet.”

So Jerry’s relocated (for now), Moe’s nervously pacing trying to figure out where his new best friend went, and Lola’s bummed because Moe’s food dish is back in the pantry, behind the barrier where she can’t slurp up his food.  But at least I can stand in the kitchen without wondering if some little critter’s going to be running over my feet.  And to finish up that wonderful meal from last week – the chicken!

Chicken in White Wine with Orange Zest

1      Orange
4-6  Chicken Breasts
4      Tablespoons butter
1      Red onion, small, minced
1/2   Cup sweet white wine, like a Riesling
Majoram, about a tablespoon

– Pound chicken breasts until about 1/2″ thick and season w/salt & pepper
– Finely grate about a tablespoon (or more) of orange zest then squeeze juice into small bowl.
– Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat and saute chicken until golden.  Remove to separate plate, pour 1/2 of the orange juice over chicken and cover.
– In same pan, melt an additional 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Add minced onions until opaque but not brown.  Add the wine, marjoram, remaining orange juice, and zest.  Stir, scraping up browned bits until sauce is bubbling and slightly reduced – just a few minutes.
– Transfer chicken and any juices back to pan for a few minutes.  Serve with sauce spooned over chicken.

This is a really fast and easy dish with a lot of flavor.  You know I kinda miss Jerry.  I was thinking too… if Moe had actually caught Jerry, I wonder if he’d say he tasted just like chicken.

Roasted Broccoli w/Parmesan Breadcrumbs, plus Mouse

Last night was a cooking kinda night – chicken with orange zest, scalloped potatoes, and roasted broccoli with parmesan breadcrumbs.  Tonight, well tonight might not be a cooking kinda night since Moe the Terrorist Cat has been chasing a mouse all around the house since this morning and the last mouse sighting was behind the cabinets in the kitchen next to the stove (note to cabinet makers: don’t leave the overhang on cabinets open).

And we wait….

This isn’t the first time we’ve played Catch-a-Mouse.  Living in the country you get occasional mice.  Usually we leave the garage door open so they can just walk in, but I’m sure there’s plenty of little cracks & crevices that they’ve found to sneak in – just in case we make it tough by closing the doors.  Moe is usually an indoor cat, unless he escapes in which case it’s Lola’s job to go chase his fuzzy butt back into the house.  I guess giving him a pile of play mice doesn’t allow him to hone his mousing skills though.  Even with all the little designated cat toys, he finds stuff like make-up brushes, especially the big fluffy blush brushes and my paint brushes great substitutes for toys and he’ll wake me up around 3:00 am screwing around on top of the bed pounding the crap out of them.  It happens enough times that I don’t bother turning on the light, just reach down, grab the “toy” & toss it into the beside table drawer.  I’m like an elementary school teacher with a drawer full of contraband.  There was the night though that Moe was messing with my sleep and I grabbed his toy only to realize through my sleep haze that I’d grabbed a real mouse.  I really did say “EEEEK” and threw that little sucker across the room.  Moe was highly offended but tough on Moe.  A couple weeks later, I woke up one morning to find a mouse head on my bed which made me think “this cat is sending me a Godfather message”.

Then there was this incident from last fall when I awoke to a lot of banging on the baseboards in the foyer.  If you have the volume on you might notice that after Moe bangs on the baseboard, the mouse bangs back and then after Moe’s flushed the mouse, Lola comes galumphing downstairs to “help”. Talk about screwing up a free lunch.

Don’t worry, the mouse doesn’t get hurt but after it got away by sneaking up in the opening under my kitchen desk (open cabinet bottoms!), I pulled out the drawer and told the two numbnuts to get the mouse while I ran out to the store.  Grabbed my purse and the rodent popped out of my purse, up my arm and took off with Big & Little chasing him as I stomped out the door.

So back to the broccoli… if you just have the broccoli try this with parmesan, garlic, and breadcrumbs.  If you have a mouse, throw that on the grill.

Roasted Broccoli w/Parmesan, Garlic, Breadcrumbs

1      Medium head of broccoli
1/2   Cup breadcrumbs
3      Tablespoons olive oil
3      Tablespoons butter
4      Garlic cloves, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/4   Cup grated Parmesan cheese

– After trimming the stringy outer layer of broccoli stems, cut into chunks and spread on cookie sheet.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast in oven at 375° for about 10-15 minutes.
– While broccoli is roasting, melt butter and olive oil in pan on medium then add minced garlic and pepper flakes for a couple minutes.  Stir in breadcrumbs, adding more oil or butter just so breadcrumbs are moistened.
– Remove broccoli from oven & sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top, then top with parmesan cheese.  Put back in the oven for another few minutes until cheese has just melted.  May also squirt a little fresh lemon on top.