My 10 year old nephew is a funny little guy.
His tastes run from football to soccer to chess.
It seems that he has been playing chess online. With some success.
He has only played chess in real life with his dad. But online, he has played with people from all over the world, of all ages.
Recently he got it into his head that he would like to play in a chess tournament. So like a good little 21st. century citizen he hit the internet and found himself a tournament. Problem is it was the Pennsylvania State Tournament. Did I mention that he only played chess on the internet or at home with his dad?
Now my sister and her husband are good parents. They encourage their children to branch out with their activities. So when Cal told them the good news of finding a tournament, off Calvin and his dad went (with tongue in cheek and many warnings from both mom and dad that maybe, just maybe, he wasn't quite ready for the big time).
I mean, come on, is this any way to treat an impressionable kid? He is only 10 years old. He has never played a local or a regional, let alone state tournament. Weren't they setting him up for defeat, maybe even humiliation? But off they went.
After 2 days of grueling matches, Cal came home with a trophy. Seems he won the 2010 Pennsylvania State Tournament Unranked Player award. Overall, he placed 13th. in a field of 100 K through 6th. graders.
When he was younger he wanted to be batman when he grew up.
Now he wants to be a professional football player and when he retires (or tires) from that he wants to be president.
You know, I think the kid has a shot.
Have you ever encouraged someone to follow their dream? Has anyone you know overcome what we mere mortals think of as obstacles? Tell me your success stories!
Chicken with Almond Butter Sauce (serves 4)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into 4 pieces
Pound each chicken breast on the non-skin side until 1/2 inch thick.
Season with Salt and pepper. Then dredge in flour (both sides)
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Saute chicken until browned on each side, about 8 minutes total.
Remove cutlets from pan and keep warm.
Add shallots to pan and saute until soft over very low heat, about 3 minutes.
Add almonds to pan and saute until toasted, about 2 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the wine (or broth), scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened.
Remove from heat and swirl in the butter, one piece at a time.
Serve sauce over chicken.
A Cook's Notes: I am serving this with yellow rice and steamed baby bok choy.