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Cook It!

Mom's Meal

By Gretchen Giles

She endured perhaps as much as 48 hours of agony, gained an ungodly amount of weight and lost it again, subjected herself to the indignities of both the human body and the medical profession, didn't get a full night's sleep for well on years, has pretended to actually enjoy Cheerios and spinach, has relearned algebra, feigned interest in the rules of soccer and memorized all the Disney song lyrics, and what does she get? One single day.

That single day this year is Sunday, May 8, and Mom deserves at least one carefree meal for the pain and joy and suffering and blessings of which motherhood is variously composed.

The breakfast-in-bed route is certainly welcomed, but allow us to suggest adding a family-made dinner to the menu. The following recipe, adapted from that which chef Andy Wild of Andy Wild Catering recently printed in the Stag's Leap winery's newsletter, uses the abundant roses of the season in an easy and elegant meal that will wow everyone. As a plus, pounding chicken breasts is a marvelous exercise in outsourced aggression for young cooks, and picking a rose from the garden and then cutting it up for dinner is a thrill that knows no age limit. Rose water is found in the mixers section of the hard-liquor aisle for reasons we're too unsophisticated to understand. For ease, serve over a bed of regular boxed rice pilaf, being careful not to use any that's too spiced--you want the flavors of this glory to shine.

Andy Wild's Rose Petal Breast of Chicken
2 whole boneless breasts of chicken, skin on
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1/4 c. dry sherry
2 tbsp. rose water
1 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. minced chives
1/4 c. slivered almonds, toasted
1 c. rose petals julienned (please only use those whose growth you're familiar with; you don't want to eat commercially grown roses)
1 rose for show

Lay chicken skin side down between two sheets of wax paper and pound to a uniform thinness. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat sauté pan with oil over medium heat, add chicken skin side down, cook until golden and then flip and cook until juices run clear. Remove to warmed platter, cover and place in low oven to stay warm.

Add ginger and garlic to sauté pan, and cook until garlic is golden. Add sherry, rose water and honey. Simmer for two minutes, adding half the rose petals.

Slice chicken into strips, and lay over rice pilaf. Pour sauce from pan over. Garnish with chives, almonds and remaining of rose petals. Add another rose to the plate for that special lady. Happy Mother's Day!

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From the May 4-10, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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