Breaking the Fast


I had to essentially fast for a day for a procedure and it was torture.  I watched Top Chef Masters and then regretted it.  For some reason I thought that staring at delicious food would be satisfying a la Very Mary Kate.  It’s not.  I also don’t want green jello for a looong time.  Or anything lemon-lime flavor for that matter. 

I realized as I was literally salivating while watching Top Chef, that going a day without eating sucks hardcore.  It sucks for two reasons.  1) I was hungry.  But, I thought about the enormous amount of people around the world that are malnurished, and that I would never in my life be as hungry as they are.  2) I love food.  I know I love to cook and eat, but I didn’t really think about how much it ruled my life.  Every weekday, I look forward to noon, because that’s when I get to sit outside on our patio and eat and chat with co-workers.  I look forward to coming home afterwork because I get to see my loved ones, but also because I get to cook them delicious meals or enjoy a meal with them at a restaurant. 

This brings me back to the food is social idea.  Did you know that in French, the origin of the word friend (copain) comes from the person you break bread (pain) with?  Although Americans can’t claim the same food/social linguistic roots, the culture of food and friends holds strong here too.  I thought about eating my vegetable broth and jello at my desk that day, but got over the embarrassment of my meal (yes, it was questioned) because the desire to have my daily social/food ritual satisfied. 

Anyway, thank goodness it was only one day.  I broke my fast with greek yogurt, honey, and berries, and we made a delicious meal of chicken marsala with polenta and roasted broccoli that night.  There wasn’t much talking though the meal (it was that good) except for Stephanie saying that it may be her new favorite. 

Chicken Marsala with Polenta and Roasted Broccoli

feeds 4

1 pound of chicken breast sliced in halves and pounded to 1/4 inch thick

1 package of mushrooms, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

1/2 cup of marsala

3/4 cup of vegetable stock

GF flour for dredging

1 bunch of parsley, chopped

1 “log” of polenta, sliced

2 small heads or 1 large head of broccoli

salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375˚F.  Put the cut up broccoli onto a roasting pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for 20 minutes or until you deem ready (I like mine a little crispy).

While the broccoli is roasting, heat up some olive oil in the largest skillet you have, and when its hot, add the garlic and shallots.  Let them brown for about a minute, and then add the mushrooms.  Only cook the mushrooms for about 2-3 minutes, they will be cooking later in the marsala sauce.  Remove the mixture from the pan and keep it warm. 

Put some more olive oil in the same skillet and while its heating up, coat your pounded chicken breasts in GF flour of your choice (I’ve used rice and an all purpose GF mix).  WHen the oil is hot, brown the chicken breasts on each side and remove them from the skillet and keep them warm too!  Add the mushroom mixture back in the skillet with the wine and stock, scraping up the bottom to get the flavors all mixed in.  Let this reduce for 5 minutes and then add the chicken back in with the chopped parsley.  Salt and Pepper to taste.

WHile the chicken is finishing up, heat up some more oil in a small skillet, and when its hot (note the importance of the oil being hot) add the polenta slices.  They should sautee for about 4 minutes tops.  Both your chicken and broccoli should be done. 

Serve the marsala sauce with mushrooms over the chicken and polenta (and the broccoli, if you’d like, I kept mine separate).  Enjoy!

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