“Is there anything you’ve missed that I haven’t made in awhile? Or anything you’ve really had a taste for?” I asked.

“Chicken kiev. My mom used to make them and I loved them,” Joe replied.

And so, off I went on a kiev-making mission. Truthfully, I loved them when I was little, but I hadn’t thought about them in ages—well, except when they came up in culinary school. We didn’t make them in class, but they were in one of our textbooks, and were discussed since they’re kind of well-known.

Fundamentally, they’re very easy—it’s basically just an herbed compound butter stuffed into a chicken breast which is then three-step breaded and lightly pan-fried. Those are the basics, of course; your variations lie in your seasoning and bread-crumb-selection prowess. Not to mention your selection of pan-frying fat.

Mine turned out quite nicely, and he liked them quite a lot. And then confided in me that these weren’t the kievs he was looking for.

“When my mom made them, they had spinach and swiss cheese.”

“Oh! I can do that, too. But those aren’t kievs,” I smiled. “They’re closer to cordon bleu.”

(It’s all relative anyway, and mostly down to a timeline rather than a sense of place—it’s not as though chicken kiev is actually Ukranian in origin anyway. ;))

Last night, I made the requested chicken dish, only changed slightly. I stuffed it with a mixture of baby swiss, a lovely white American we had (really buttery and nice—not the kind that comes in the individually-wrapped slices), and some chopped spinach. Three-step-breaded those stuffed breasts and melted one more piece of the baby swiss on top.

Result?

“This is really good.”

“Thanks!”

A few minutes of contented munching pass. I believe we were watching Last Man Standing.

“This is really good.”

“:D”

A few more minutes of contented munching pass.

“That’s good chicken.”

“It must be, this is the third time you’ve mentioned it! ;)”

“Put that on my “favourites” list.”

“No problem! :D”

Voilà! The power of cheese. 😉

Now, off to work on tonight’s masterpiece, which I believe shall be a Provençal-esque plum tomato tart.

It’ll be better in August, when I’ve just picked the tomatoes out of my own garden. But the ones I’ve found are quite lovely, so this will hardly be a bad thing. I wouldn’t try it in January, though. I loved those Bunnicula books as a kid, but am decidedly less enamoured of tomatoes that look as though they’ve been his willing and sanguine victims.