Monday, December 20, 2010

A Letter and Chicken Cordon Bleu


The housekeeper fired me. Yup. I got dumped.

Seems that Otilia doesn't think I need her anymore. With you gone and Jake and Julia away at college the house just doesn't need as much keeping as it used to. 

Zach and I pretty much live in just a few rooms of this old house and even those rooms (for some reason) don't need as much tending. 

So she dumped me. In the kindest way. I asked her to stay until the New Year and she agreed. After that I'm on my own in keeping this place in tip top shape. 

I noticed that in the kids' bathroom some of the grout in the shower was coming loose. I went to Home Depot this morning and bought a grout saw, grout, a rubber float and grout sponge. I spent the morning sawing out the old, loose grout, then regrouted. After it cures for 24 hours I'm going to rechaulk.

YOU taught me how to do that. Remember? When we were building and renovating this old house some of the work (to save money) we did ourselves. 

We laid the tile in the kitchen and bathrooms and after I knew enough about the wet saw and tiling and grouting I did the backsplash in the kitchen all by myself. 

Those were the days, weren't they? We were either too young, too dumb, or too broke to hire someone to do the work for us so we dove right in. We did pretty good too.

Thanks for teaching me some of the things I need to know.

Love you, miss you.

The Good Cook

TBHITW had a few recipes up his own sleeves. This recipe is one of his old stand-by's when he was out to impress me. It is the best Cordon Bleu I have ever eaten. Impressive for family and good enough for company. He taught me one or two things. 

Chicken Cordon Bleu (serves 6)

3 whole skinless chicken breasts pounded flat*
8 ounces Swiss cheese, sliced
8 ounces sliced ham
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine**
1 chicken bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon stock base
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 cup half and half, milk or heavy cream (depending on your cholesterol level)

Spread chicken breasts flat; fold cheese and ham slices to fit on top and fold breasts over filling and fasten edges with toothpicks.

Mix flour and paprika in a shallow bowl or pan and coat chicken pieces.

In a large skillet over medium heat melt butter until hot. Add chicken pieces and brown on all sides. Add wine* and bouillon. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until fork tender and juices run clear. 

In a cup, blend the cornstarch, milk, cream or half and half until smooth. 

Remove chicken to a plate, remove tooth picks, slice into 1/2 to 3/4 inch rounds and  tent with foil to keep warm.

Add the cornstarch blend to the pan with the juices and simmer until thick and smooth. 

Top the sliced chicken with the sauce and serve immediately.

*Pounding isn't pounding at all. Turn the chicken, shiny side down (skin side) and beginning at the center, use a sweeping motion to "pull" the chicken flat and thin. 

**If you are avoiding alcohol simply substitute chicken broth and omit the bouillon. 


  1. Great letter and delicious recipe!

  2. The recipe sounds far easier than I would have imagined Chicken Cordon Bleu to be.

    I doubt you make much of a mess these days. Perhaps the busywork of dusting and vacuuming will be good for you.

  3. (((TGC)))) Sweet letter....recipe sounds delicious...blessings to you and your loved ones. XX

  4. Love chicken cordon bleu. Can't wait to try it.

  5. It's very satisfying to be able to do a project like regrouting... it's great that he taught you some of those skills. And I haven't thought about chicken cordon bleu for ages, but it sounds good, and not impossible. I think I'll try it.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing one of his recipes. I'm sure it is as impressive as he was. Sorry about your housekeeper. I have my old one back and she is so wonderful she is house and dog sitting while we are gone. She will only clean the top story, however. The lower one is all mine to do.
    It's okay, I'll take what I can get.
    Thinking of you this week.

  7. Beautiful letter. I don't know how to do any of that stuff...I'm impressed.

  8. Very impressive that you can fix the grout. TBHITW sounds like he was a very good teacher (and cook). Take care.

  9. My sincerest, lovingest wishes for a good Christmas, my friend. Treasure the fond memories, but leave room to build new. And welcome into your heart those who would help you to build them.

    God bless!!!

  10. What a great letter and recipe! I'm going to definately try this. I'm impressed with your grouting story.... You are blessed that he left you with such good skills. You make me appreciate my hubby more. Have a wonderful holiday with your family.

  11. What a great post. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Really.

  12. I am sticking around to try and catch up a little... My thoughts are with you.


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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