Posts Tagged ‘chicken cordon bleu recipe’

(Some time has passed, so here’s another big chunk in the story.  Anybody new to this site, please go into the Archives and click on the July 16th posing, They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1) to begin this crime novel work in progress.  For those up to speed, let’s finish cooking.  Thanks for dropping by.)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xxxviii ) continues…
     Terrance opened the packages of ham and swiss cheese, picked up his beer and took a long swig, smacking his lips as he set the bottle down on the counter.
      “Here’s the sequence-” he said, “we take a piece of chicken, and top it with a slice of each.” He took a flattened breast from the stack, then placed the ham and the swiss slices on its center to demonstrate. “Then we roll it up, and Parker, you put a toothpick through each end and one in the middle, to hold it together.” He took one end of the chicken then rolled the slab around itself and the inner slices tightly, holding it in place. Parker began to insert each toothpick as if he were performing major surgery.
      “Don’t need to be fancy, Park,” Terrance chuckled, “we want to eat this while we’re still young.”
      Toothpicks in place, Terrance picked up a two- tined carving fork. He took one of the platters on the countertop and placed it next to the bowl of flour. He stuck the fork into the chicken roll, then placed the piece into the bowl holding eggs and milk. “Just swish it like this until it’s covered, hold it up and let the excess drip off.” He moved to the last step, “Finally, put it in the flour, take the spoon and sprinkle it over the top. And, like so,” Terrance said. He took the coated piece and placed it on the platter, then held it down with his index finger, and pulled out the fork, “you are done. Think you got the idea, gents?”
      Parker gave the ‘thumbs up’, Becker took a long swallow of the Grey Goose. “Will do,” he said.
      “Then have at it,” Terrance said and crossed to the stove, poured the canola oil into the skillet about a half- inch deep, then turned the gas jet below it to high flame.
      Becker and Parker were laughing, fumbling along with what Terrance had made look so simple. Occasionally they would get sidetracked by the commentator on the TV describing the action of the game, and would pause to watch an instant replay. Terrance took the flour bag back to the pantry and returned with a sack of Tostitos, tossing them onto the counter under the microwave. He went to the fridge and removed a package of shredded, Mexican- blend cheeses and a large bottle of salsa, then opened an upper cabinet door and took out four plates and four small bowls. All these were placed with the chips. Parker watched his father through the corner of his eye, while he worked with Becker. He liked visitors at the house. Snacks that were usually off- limits became fair game when his parents entertained.
      Terrance pulled a long set of tongs from the caddy and began to set the completed chicken rolls into the skillet. Each piece sizzled as it made contact with the hot oil, and the smell reminded Terrance of weekend visits home, back from college, and family dinners his mother prepared.
      He flipped the rolls in the liquid, their bottom portions now golden brown and crispy. He went and pulled off another long stretch of paper towel and folded it in half twice, then laid it down on the counter, in the space between the cookie sheet and the skillet. He took the prepped pieces out and transferred them to the paper towel to wick off the oil. They were replaced with new rolls from the assembly line; both Becker and Parker nursed their drinks, eyes glued to the ballgame, their task completed.
      “All right, fellas,” Terrance broke in, “let’s get this stuff rinsed off and in the dishwasher.” They emptied the bowls into the trash, and brought everything over to the sink. “Park, you rinse, Mase you load.”
      Becker flipped the washer door downward, “any special way you want these put in here?” he said.
      “Fill it as much as you can,” Terrance answered, Lana’s gonna rearrange them anyway.”
      Parker sprayed each article with the rinse hose and handed them to Becker. Terrance finished frying the remainder of the chicken and placed them on the paper towel, then shut off the burner. He ignited the gas jet below the double- boiler, which already contained water, to a medium flame, then set the upper oven’s temperature to 350 degrees to preheat. Ripping a sheet of aluminum foil from its roll, Terrance lined the cookie pan with it. He distributed the chicken evenly onto the sheet and discarded the oil- soaked paper towel.
      Parker and Becker had wrapped up. Becker wiped down the island countertop with a dishrag. The oven’s chime sounded and Terrance opened the door and placed the pan of chicken on the middle rack. He checked the clock hanging over the refrigerator, figuring in about twenty- five minutes to bake.
      “Time for a little food before the food,” Terrance said, producing a smile from Parker and a look of confusion from Becker, “Park, separate those plates and pour out the chips. Mase, salsa goes into each bowl, if you please.”
      Terrance crossed to the fridge and took out three more eggs, two sticks of butter, a small plastic bottle that Becker noticed looked like a lemon, and a bundle of asparagus in water held by a plastic quart soup container recycled from a previous Chinese take- out order. And another Miller.  He set the items on the island, picked up the beer and twisted the bottle cap off, then drained half its contents in one gulp. The game caught his attention as the quarterback slung a long pass for a touchdown across the small screen.
      “Mase, sprinkle the cheese on the chips and nuke each plate for a minute.”
      “Way ahead of you,” Becker said, placing the first plate of chips and cheese into the microwave, “this kind of cooking I’m familiar with.”
      Terrance opened a cabinet in the island and pulled out a nine- by- nine inch, shallow Pyrex dish and set it on the counter, near the asparagus. The microwave beeped.
      “Son, take the nachos and dip into your mother, please.”
      Becker handed Parker the plate, who watched the small cheese bubbles popping. He picked up a bowl of salsa and headed for the door. Hands full, Parker turned around, then backed up, to swing the door open.
      “You’ve got a good kid there,” Becker said.
      “Thanks,” Terrance said, then finished his beer and tossed the bottle into the bin, “I think we’ll keep him.”
      “He looks a lot like his mother.”
      “Got lucky on that count.”
      Parker reentered.
      “Hey bud, grab yourself a plate and go watch the game on the big screen,” Terrance said, “thanks for your help. Couldn’t have done it without you.”
      Parker took the chips and salsa, then headed back to the door before his father changed his mind.
      “You ever think about settling down?”
      Becker picked up the vodka and drank.
      “Right woman hasn’t come along yet?”
      Becker swirled the glass and watched the ice float counterclockwise in the liquor.
      “Maybe I should shut up.”
      “I did have someone…once. She was taken from me.”
      “Taken?”
      “AND THAT’S THE END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, WITH DETROIT STILL AHEAD OF SAINT LOUIS, SEVENTEEN TO THIRTEEN”
      Becker finished his drink.
      “Mase, you’re the best cop on our squad,” Terrance said, “best cop I ever met. But I really know nothing about you. And the last couple of days…”
      “Some things are best left buried.”
      “Sorry to open up an old wound, man. You know I’ve got your back. Just know I can listen, too. Anytime.”
     “Appreciate it.” He set his glass on the countertop, “What do we have to do with those?” he said, pointing to the plastic container.
      “The asparagus? We gotta roast ’em and make the hollandaise.”
      Terrance took the container to the island sink and dumped out the water. He set it back down near the Pyrex dish.
      “First, we got to get rid of the tough ends on the stalks.”
      Where do you keep the knives?”
      “Don’t need one. You snap them apart. Here.” Terrance said, picking up two asparagus spears, handing one to Becker. Terrance demonstrated.
      “You take the top between your thumb and fingers of one hand, and the bottom end the same way with the other. And then you,” Terrance started to bring his hands toward each other. The spear began to bend in an upward arc, then fractured and separated from the tensile pressure.
     “You chuck out the tough,” Terrance said, tossing the bottom end into the trash, “and keep the tender.” He placed the spear in the baking dish. “Got it?”
      Becker followed suit and his spear broke in two. Lana entered the kitchen with a china platter and covered dish. Terrance turned up the heat under the double- boiler.
      “The table’s set, Terry,” she said, placing the dishes on the island, “how are you doing out here?”
      “Mase just popped his first asparagus,” Terrance said.
      “Oooo,” Lana said, “today you are a man.”
      “Cant wait to make the entry in my diary tonight,” Becker droned.
      “Mason,” Lana said, pointing to the empty glass, “one more?”
      “Please,” he said, “and that’s ‘last call’ for me.”
      “How much time left, sweets?” Lana asked Terrance.
      “Be ready in about fifteen, twenty minutes.”
      “Excellent,” she said and left the room.
      “Finish the rest of those off, Mase,” Terrance said, “I’ll get the sauce going.”
      He took a bowl and a small plate from their stacks in an upper cabinet and set them on the counter. One stick of butter was unwrapped and dropped into the bowl. Terrance unwrapped the second stick, but picked up a spatula and used the blade edge to cut the stick in half, then dumped one portion into the bowl, rewrapped the remainder and returned it to the fridge. He covered the bowl with the plate and went to the microwave. Setting the bowl inside, he shut the appliance door and pressed the MELT mode. Becker brought the dish of spears over to the oven.
      “You went to town on those,” Terrance said.
      “Well, you know what they say,” Becker quipped, “once you go asparagus…”
      Terrance’s roar filled the kitchen with a reverberating burst, as he picked up the eggs in one hand and set them on the counter near the trash bin. Becker munched on the nachos and checked the score on the TV. Five minutes remained in the game. Terrance opened the oven door. The chicken was quietly crackling and he took in a long breath. He place the vegetable dish on a lower rack and close the door.
      “That smells good,” Lana said, as she entered with Becker’s drink, “guess I can put Mario’s number away.”
      “You got that right, young lady,” Terrance said, as he opened a drawer and withdrew a butter knife, then returned to the eggs. He took one and held it upright, between the thumb and index finger of his left hand and gently tapped around the egg’s midsection. He put the knife down, then separated the halves, holding one in each hand like two dainty cups. Terrance tilted the halves one side to the other, and the yolk plopped back and forth in the shells, until all the whites had dribbled into the trash. He dropped the yolk into the top pot of the double- boiler and discarded the shells, then repeated the process with the other two.
      “I’ll take care of the water glasses,” Lana said, and pulled a clear pitcher from a cabinet, then filled it in the dispenser, recessed in the refrigerator door. Terrance grabbed another whisk from the caddy and began whipping the yolks.
      “Take the butter out of the microwave, will you Mase?” he said, and picked up the lemon bottle, squirting juice into the frothy eggs. He pulled a small jar of cayenne from a spice rack on the back wall, removed the cork top and added a dash into the pot, while continuing a vigorous churn with the whisk.
      “Where did you learn all this shit?” Becker said.
      “I had a roommate in college,” Terrance said, “Business Major, but he loved to cook. He used me as his guinea pig to try out recipes. I leaned by watching and assisting.”
      “You’re talking about Ronnie?” Lana said.
      “Right. He kept me eating good for three years straight,” Terrance said, decreasing his mixing speed. “Mase, start to pour in the butter, slowly. Just drizzle it.”
      Becker poured and Terrance continued to stir. The color of the liquid went from deep to creamy yellow.
      “Anyway,” Terrance concluded, “we eat at his steak house, every time we visit my folks, Upstate.”
      “Which reminds me,” Lana said, “your Mom called, wondering when we’re going up there again. The leaves are turning.” She turned to Becker, “Mason have you been through the Adirondacks in the Fall?”
      “Years ago.”
      “The mountains are gorgeous, all red, orange and gold. And the quaint little shops, scattered all over.”
      “I hear the makings of another expedition for hidden treasures.”
      “Never mind you.”
      Terrance looked at Becker, “Mase, we go up in a car, come back in a U- Haul.”
      “No sense in wasting a trip,” Lana said, then headed for the door, “let’s plan a visit soon, honey.”
      “Mmm Hmm.” Terrance turned off the oven, then kept stirring. Becker put the empty bowl in the sink.
      “Bring over the china, buddy.”
      Becker took the dishes from the island and placed them on the counter near the stove. Terrance pulled a wooden spoon from the caddy, dipped into the sauce, then tasted his creation.
      “Oh, that’s good,” he said, putting the cover on the pot, then tossing the spoon into the sink. He opened a drawer and pulled out what Becker thought had to be the largest oven mitts he’d ever seen.
      “Damn, T, those look like something from the bomb squad.”
      “Yeah, I got them on-line.”
      Terrance opened the door on the oven and removed the sheet of chicken and the Pyrex dish. He took the spatula and transferred the items to the platter and the dish. He lifted the pot, uncovered it and poured the hollandaise over the middle sections of the asparagus, then grabbed the lemon pepper from the spice rack and sprinkled granules over the sauce. He covered the dish, handed it to Becker, then picked up the platter. “Let’s eat.”
      Becker led the way toward the door.
      “Hey Mase, you plan on shooting anything at the table?”
      “Huh?”
      “Your sidearm. You want to lock it up with mine?”
      “Yeah. Right. Didn’t even think about it.”
      Becker always removed his weapon first thing, when at home or in friendly surroundings. In the last two days he never let it out of his reach, even in bed. What changed things on Friday night? he thought. It bugged him, through the meal and after. He dreaded the old feelings, rising within him.
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(All right, time for another chunk of the story.  New?  Please go to They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), located on the July 16th posting, in the Archives section. Otherwise, let’s move along…)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xxxvii )…
     NORA FINISHED PACKING HER BAG for the gym. She tossed in a couple of extra towels, and zipped it closed.
     It weighed a lot more than usual.
     She planned on a long, rigorous workout.
     And time in the steam to erase the pain.
Chapter ( xxxviii )…
     LANA HAD BEEN POURING LEMONADE for Parker and was returning the pitcher to the fridge, trying to stifle laughs behind the open door.
      “I can handle that for you, Mason,” she said, and gave Becker a pat on the shoulder as she exited the kitchen through the swinging door to a hallway.
      “Let’s wash up,” Terrance said.
      Becker went to the sinks on the counter. Terrance guided Parker to the one on the island. He ran the water and made sure Parker used soap from the dispenser. Becker let the stream flow over his hands, looking blankly through the window, wishing his phone would ring with urgent news needing his immediate attention.
      Terrance stepped over to the paper towel rod mounted on the wall near Becker and yanked a long portion out with his left hand. He placed his right hand on the roll and tore off the hanging section. This left a gargantuan damp imprint over the remainder hanging on the wall. He separated the piece into thirds, handing one to Becker then another to Parker.
      “First things first,” Terrance said, “set up our assembly line.” He opened an island cabinet door at the end furthest from Becker and pulled out a trash bin, then dropped his used paper towel in it. Becker rolled his towel into a ball and tossed it in an arc over Parker’s head and into the center of the bin. Not to be outdone, Parker began to take jump shots, then scampered around Terrance to retrieve his misses from the floor. Frustrated, he decided to give a pass to Becker.
      “Take one from downtown,” he said, as he flung the wad of Bounty, wide of Becker’s reach. The ball whizzed past Lana’s head as she swung open the door, returning to the kitchen.
      “Didn’t take you long to turn my kitchen into a gymnasium, Terry,” she said, then handed Becker the Grey Goose and ice, with a wedge of lemon perched on the rim of the short glass.
      Terry was busy collecting ingredients from the refrigerator, “Every thing’s fine baby.” He took out deli- wrapped packages of sliced swiss cheese and ham, the jug of milk, then balanced three eggs on top of the packages, while he removed a bottled beer from an inner shelf on the fridge door.
      “T has mentioned you worked at a hospital,” Becker said, “but he never told me what you do.”
      “Queens Memorial,” she said, “I’m involved in the Administration offices there.”
      “Heads up,” Terrance yelled, as he underhanded a saran- wrapped, foam plastic tray of chicken breasts toward Becker, who caught the bundle against his chest, sloshing the vodka in the process.
      “It’s getting too dangerous in here for me,” Lana said, “I’m going back in to appreciate my centerpiece and enjoy some quite reading. Call me back at your halftime.” She pushed the door toward the hallway, then looked back smiling, “Terry, please don’t injure our son during your cooking game.” She left and the door swung back into place.
      “Game!” Parker said, “Dad, the TV?”
      “Go ahead, but keep the volume down,” Terrance said, as he picked up a metal bowl off the island, handing it to Becker, “rinse the chicken off with cold water and put them in this.” He set the articles from the fridge on the butcher- block, taking care to keep the eggs from rolling.
      “Park,” Terrance said, as he arranged two bowls near the edge of the island top. Hearing no reply, he looked up to find both his son and Becker gazing at the televised ball game.
      “Yo, guys. You want to eat today? Parker, go in the pantry and get the flour and toothpicks.”
      “OK, Daddy.”
      “Mase, please rinse the chicken.”
      “OK Daddy.”
      Becker tore open the plastic, set the faucet head to shower mode, and began rinsing each piece, then placing them into the bowl. Parker came out of the pantry with a ten pound bag of flour in both arms, holding the toothpick box steady on top of the bag with his chin. Terrance transferred the skillet and double- boiler to separate burners on the stove top, then placed a large cookie sheet on the counter next to it. He leaned down and opened a cabinet, taking out a jug of canola oil along with a roll of aluminum foil. He set them on the counter, then removed a whisk out of a nearby utensil caddy.
      “Parker, please take a scoop and put some of the flour into that bowl,” Terrance said, pointing to the one closest to his son. He dropped the whisk into the other bowl near the edge of the island, and took out a twelve- by- eighteen inch, plastic cutting board from another of its cabinets, setting it on the countertop at the end near Becker.
      “All cleaned, Boss,” Becker said.
      “Put them next to the board,” Terrance said, then picked up an aluminum meat tenderizing mallet, with its raised, patterned grid of diamond shapes on each striking face of the hammer’s head. He handed it to Becker, “You should enjoy this part.”
      Becker looked at the business end of the mallet, considering the damage that could be inflicted if it fell in the wrong hands.
      “Take each piece and pound it flat,” Terrance said, then looked down at Parker’s end of the island to find half the flour being scooped was missing the mark, falling on the countertop or floor. “Hold on there hombre,” he said to his son, and walked over to lend a hand.
      The sudden smack of metal to plastic gave both Terrance and Parker a start, and flour flew upward in a poof from the scoop in Parker’s hand. There were footsteps in the hallway and Lana swung the door open looking for the source of what she thought a gunshot.
      All three stood looking at Becker, who was motionless, holding the mallet upright in front of him, inspecting his handiwork. A chicken breast, the center of which was missing, drooped over the handle like a floppy horseshoe.
      “What?” Becker said, then shrugged his shoulders, “you told me to pound. I pounded.” He picked up his glass and took a long draft.
      “All right,” Terrance said, “lightly tap the chicken, Mase. We want it flat, not pulverized.”
      “I can call down to Mario’s,” Lana interjected, “have something here in an hour or so.”
      “Never mind that,” Terrance said, “rookie mistake… everything will be everything.”
      Lana raised her eyebrows and mouthed “O-K” to her husband. “Mase, can I freshen your drink?”
      “Big ‘affirmative’ on that,” he said, handing her the glass.
      “Coming right up,” she said, then pushed the door, and headed for the living room wet bar.
      “Let’s get this all in one place buddy,” Terrance said to Parker, holding the bowl just below the island top edge and pushing the flour from the countertop into the bowl with the scoop. Becker had resumed his duties.
      “How’s it going now, Mase?”
      “Tapping lightly.”
      “Excellent. Gonna make a chef out of you yet.”
      “Wouldn’t bet the farm on that one.”
      Terrance picked up a pepper mill and handed it to Parker, “Grind this on top of the flour, son.” He went to the center portion of the island, then cracked and emptied the eggs into the remaining bowl. To these he added about a half cup of milk, then returned the jug to the fridge. He pulled open a nearby drawer and removed a large spoon. “Enough pepper,” he said to Parker, “now shake in some salt and mix it all together.” He set the spoon next to the bowl of flour, then picked up the whisk and whipped the eggs and milk.
      Lana slowly pushed on the door and stuck her head through the partial opening. “All safe to enter?” she said.
      “Doing just fine,” Terrance replied.
      “Here you go, Mason,” she said, setting his filled glass on the island, “ is the chicken being a little more cooperative?”
      “I think I’ve got the hang of it,” Becker said, as he stacked the thinned- down poultry on the corner of the cutting board, then then stopped to take a sip of vodka, “but keep Mario’s number handy.”
      “Hey, none of that talk,” Terrance said, “we’re ready to put it all together. You squared away, Park?” His son nodded and brought the seasoned flour over to his father’s side.
      “Carry on, gentlemen,” Lana said, and left the room.