’Tis season for giving to all — four-legged friends included

(Dec. 28, 2012) Hello, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Sir Charles and I am an orange Persian cat with white paws. My residence has a new address, but I like my new surroundings. The little blue house is surrounded with love and much care.

Some of the feline critters are intimidated by my size. Twenty-five pounds keep unruly siblings on their best behavior when Miss Debbie is at work. Things have changed since I arrived on the scene; I do not tolerate any back talk or anyone to raise their paws in a fit of anger. It’s neat how Miss Debbie senses when one of my brothers or sisters is getting ready to cross the path of misbehaving. She must see it in their eyes or body language.

Complaining is a word that should be stricken from our vocabulary. When I was young, it was not a given that food would be always on the table. Sometimes we had to go out and fend for ourselves. This is not the case with Miss Debbie; wet food, dry food, cat treats and cream are always on the menu. Unlike some of my brothers and sisters, I never take it for granted. I know too well what it is like to go to bed hungry.

I have much to ponder about as time passes through the hourglass. I must confess, in my current state of being, I pretend not to see the various prisms of birds. There was a time I would have pounced on this opportunity.

Speaking of birds, every other week Miss Debbie cooks chicken for us. We prefer the white meat, which is fine with her. She even brines the meat for us. Most cats have no idea what brining is. To be honest with you, I would devour the chicken even if it were not especially tender. But I know it’s the small touches that reveal what’s inside ones heart. Just think, if everyone made an effort to be extra kind, what a wonderful world it would be.

As I peak into the slider, I notice mother is taking out the chicken. I immediately put the word out that we are going to have a special dinner. We have an exceptionally large family and I know mother sacrifices a lot so we can have a good life. I do not know if it is fate or chance how we became the Walker family. All I know is when I say my kitty prayers at night. I ask God to bless us, all the other animals and people who are sad and need help.

 

Chicken Marsala

4 skinless chicken breasts (brined)

all-purpose flour for dredging

several shakes of garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons Herbs de Province

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces Prosciutto, thinly sliced

8 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

kosher salt, fresh ground pepper to taste

 

1. Using favorite recipe, brine chicken for 24 hours and rinse thoroughly.

2. Wrap dry chicken filets with plastic wrap, pound with a flat meat mallet until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Place flour, garlic powder, Herbs de Province, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl, mix well.

3. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Dredge both sides of the chicken in seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.

4. Sauté each side for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Note: brined meat has a tendency to cook faster. Remove the chicken and set aside.

5. Immediately lower the heat to medium, add Prosciutto to the drippings and sauté for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and parsley and cook for 3 minutes, constantly stirring.

6. Add Marsala and chicken stock, allow broth to slightly reduce. Stir in butter and return the chicken breasts to the sauté pan and simmer for 1 minute. Taste the sauce, as adjustments in the seasoning might be necessary. Serve immediately.

 

Secret Ingredient: Fellowship. “Pity is best taught by fellowship in woe” … Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

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