Today, reader, I’m 26.
Hitting the second half of my twenties, unlike all of the previous birthdays, has me thinking about the next five years more than anything. The big 3-0 used to be something that you’d see twenty-somethings dreading. But not this girl.
When I was younger, I noticed a recurring theme on sitcoms and in dreaded sentiments from older people on birthdays — people complaining about age. And once, on my dad’s birthday, I asked him if he hated getting older, too.
His response was different. He told me that age was an accomplishment. And we should be proud of every year we live.
It was a great shift from the general “I hate birthdays” and “oh no, wrinkles” grumbles. Or the classic response from teachers and relatives when I’d talk about the excitement of getting older and growing up: “Oh, honey, you’ll get over that. That will change.”
Nope, I still get excited about birthdays. And you know what? The years only get better and better. Each and every year, each and every candle makes me happy about the life I live, the people I love, and amazing world I wake up to every morning.
Today, I’m celebrating my birthday by setting up a giveaway for you! I’ve been pretty obsessed with Knork flatware for the past two years — my former roommate and amazing friend Kristen introduced me to the brand when she first moved into her own apartment. And since then, I knew that I would want a set for myself when I moved into my own place.
The Knork concept that I love is that just one utensil blends the function of a knife and a fork into one beautiful design. My own mother taught me to cut food with the edge of a fork, so I’ve been doing this for years, but Knork takes it to the next level — the edges of the forks are beveled, making it easier to cut your food. They have finishes in both glossy and matte brushed silver (if they ever get a line of gold flatware, I’ll be first in line).
I’ve already had people over for dinner parties and explained the brilliance of the flatware to my friends. The general reaction is “but isn’t that dangerous? Will I cut myself on the edge of the fork?”
Come on, friends. They’re not that sharp — if you’re dining on a hearty steak, then you’ll probably need a knife, too. But the Knorks were exactly what I needed to enjoy this plate of chicken marsala.
So, like the communications professional I am, I stalked them online and got in contact with their communications team — and Knork will be sponsoring a 20-piece flatware set for the winner of this contest!
To enter, check out Knork’s pretty flatware selections on Knork.net, and leave a comment below — be sure to let me know which finish (matte or shiny) of the flatware you’d be interested in!
One week from today, I’ll use a random generator to select a winner — and we’ll get in contact so I can forward your information to the folks at Knork, who will promptly send your flatware set!
I honestly can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday with you via Sweetsonian. Good luck!
Chicken Marsala for two
2 cups chicken broth
1 shallot, minced
5 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1 package cremini mushrooms, sliced
A few sprigs of fresh sage, leaves julienned
All-purpose flour, for dredging
4 thin-sliced chicken breast halves (or two breasts pounded thin with a hammer)
3/4 cup dry Marsala wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
Juice from 1 lemon
In a small saucepan, bring your chicken broth to a boil. Let it reduce to about half it’s original volume.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, and melt about 3 tablespoons of the butter. Then, saute the minced shallot until brown — this should take just a minute or two. Add mushrooms, and sprinkle with sage, salt, and pepper for seasoning. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, letting the mushrooms sweat a bit to give some liquid to the pan. It should take about 10 minutes for the mushrooms to brown. Once they do, transfer the contents of the skillet to a bowl and set aside.
Pat the chicken breasts dry, season with salt and pepper, and then dredge in flour. You don’t need a lot of flour — just a light coating is sufficient. Heat a tablespoon of butter in the skillet, and saute the chicken. Do not crowd the pan, or else the chicken will not brown. Flip the chicken once, when it turns golden and is clear that it’s cooked halfway through. Repeat with each side and each slice of chicken.
Once cooked, remove each slice of chicken and set aside.
Then, add about 1/2 cup of the Marsala wine to the skillet and bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Then, add your broth, mushrooms, shallots, and heavy cream. Stir occasionally and let the broth thicken a little — it should only take a few minutes. Then, stir in the remainder of the wine, and a few squeezes of juice from a lemon.
Plate your chicken, and generously top with your mushrooms and marsala sauce. Garnish with remaining sage.