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Norman Rockwell Dinner for the VP Debate

October 13, 2012

After last week’s disaster of a presidential debate (disaster for me since I’m a FrObama supporter), all I can say is that at nearly 70 years old, Joe Biden was refreshing. I invited some of my girlfriends over for dinner before the debate; one of them had the foresight to bring a huge bottle of wine in case we needed it, which given how the last debate went and given how all our weeks were going, the wine would come in handy. 

In typical “me” fashion, I planned most of the dinner about a week before. I got 3.5 pounds of potatoes in my last CSA share and I wanted to make something delicious and comforting since the weather decided to drop about 20 degrees. The change from summer to fall always reminds me of fall in New Haven, where I experienced seasons for the first time in my life (I’m from California). About this time three years ago, a few friends and I made truffled mashed potatoes in their tiny cramped kitchen and we ate it sitting around the floor.

That was my last fall in New Haven and I’ve been a little nostalgic, so I decided to make truffle mashed potatoes as an homage for the debate, featuring Fightin’ Joe and P. Ryan. I also decided to finally try a recipe I found a while ago for baked honey mustard chicken tenders and they turned out surprisingly well thanks to the garlic powder and dried thyme I mixed into the honey-mustard “dredge.” The key is to use Japanese panko breadcrumbs for crispiness if you’re baking them vs. frying. And if you don’t have a baking rack, just be sure that you cook them on a greased baking sheet and let each side crisp up before flipping, about 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees.  

For the potatoes (Serves 4-6 sides)

1. Peel and boil 4-5 medium potatoes until soft. 2. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and bring one cup of skim milk to a simmer; add the garlic. 3. Mash the potatoes and incorporate the garlic-infused milk. Salt to taste. 4. Stir in truffle butter or truffle oil while the potatoes are still warm. 

For the chicken (we bought pre-sliced raw tenders for ~5)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. 1. Mix together 2 tbsp honey, 1/4 cup dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp dried thyme. 2. Coat the chicken in the honey mustard mixture and let marinate for 20 minutes. 3. Coat the tenders with Japanese panko crumbs, preseasoned. 4. If you have a baking rack, place the tenders on the rack and bake for 25-30 minutes. If you don’t have one, grease a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, flipping in between. 

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