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Art of knitting luncheon at The Center

The art of knitting will be featured at both a luncheon program on Jan. 29, and at a new class beginning Feb. 4 at The Center, 12700 Southwest Highway, Palos Park.

On Tuesday, Jan. 29, from noon to 2 p.m., Master knitter Georgann Ring (pictured in hand-knit sweater) will discuss the art and history of knitting, and will display a variety of her hand-knit sweaters, scarves, shawls and socks. Ring knits many of her own clothes, including all her own socks. The luncheon begins at noon, costs $16 per person, and requires reservations.

In the six-week knitting class, beginning Monday, Feb. 4, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Ring will teach beginning knitters to use the knit and purl stitches, to cast on and bind off, to manage simple increases and decreases, and to read a simple pattern while completing two simple projects, a dishcloth and then a scarf. The class fee is $84 and requires pre-registration. Students need to bring a ball of light, solid color Sugar n' Cream yarn and a pair of 10" size 9 aluminum knitting needles. Students will choose and purchase yarns for their second project during the class.

Call The Center at 361-3650.

Wolfgang Puck's Kitchen

by Wolfgang Puck

A taste of summer picnic food for midwinter

In the depths of winter, it can often feel like summer and its many eating pleasures are a long way off. If you live in a colder climate than my home in Southern California, a glance out the kitchen window might reveal a picnic table covered in snow. Even here, I sometimes feel a little wistful when I see water from LA's seasonal rainstorms pooling on our patio furniture, while our outdoor grill huddles underneath its weatherproof covering.

But then, I remind myself that cooking and serving just the right recipe can have the power to change the way you see the world. If you prepare a spring or summertime favorite, it can seem as if the sun is suddenly shining in your kitchen and dining room, even when it's cold and damp outside.

It always felt that way during my childhood whenever my mother and grandmother made us fried chicken for Sunday dinner in our little cottage in the southern Austrian village of Sankt Viet. Golden-brown, crispy, juicy, and full of flavor, that simple familystyle main course offered proof with every bite that good food can brighten your spirits as wonderfully as rays of sunshine breaking through a cloudy sky.

My recipe for Austrian-style fried chicken is fairly easy to prepare, especially because it starts with boneless, skinless chicken pieces you can find in supermarkets everywhere. A simple dipping process-turning it first in flour, then egg, and finally in breadcrumbs-produces a coating that adheres well and cooks to a crunchy, golden-brown surface.

Speaking of breadcrumbs, take note that the ingredients list gives you the option of using the Japanese breadcrumbs known as panko, which are available more and more in supermarkets today, either in the Asian foods section or where regular breadcrumbs are shelved. These are coarser and drier, yielding the extra-crispy results that many people enjoy in Japanese-style fried foods.

Take special care when deepfrying the chicken, using a deep, heavy pot on your stove's back burner and a deep-frying thermometer to monitor the temperature; keep children away, and be extra cautious to avoid spattering of the hot oil. Or buy a good quality, relatively inexpensive electric countertop deep-fryer, which removes some of the guesswork with its built-in thermostat and safety features.

I hope you enjoy sharing this with your friends and family. (As with all fried chicken, any leftovers are also excellent cold for lunch the next day.) Put together a fresh green salad to serve alongside it, or maybe your favorite potato salad recipe. You might even want to set the table with your best gingham tablecloth and napkins, to make it seem even more like you're having a summertime picnic in the middle of winter.


Serves 6 to 8
Vegetable oil for deep frying
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups dry breadcrumbs or panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
2 lemons, cut into wedges
Lemon-Rosemary Butter Sauce (recipe follows)

Pour the oil into a heavy, deep pot to a depth of at least 4 inches, or into an automatic electric countertop deep fryer. Heat the oil over high heat until it reaches a temperature of 365 F on a deepfrying thermometer, or set the automatic deep-fryer's thermostat to the same temperature.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken into pieces about 2 inches wide and season them evenly all over with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a large, shallow bowl or soup plate, the beaten eggs in another, and the breadcrumbs or panko in a third, side by side. Place a clean platter or tray nearby.

Bread the chicken pieces: First, dredge each piece in flour; then, dip it into the egg to coat evenly; and finally, roll it evenly in the breadcrumbs before putting it on the platter.

When the oil is hot, working in batches as necessary to avoid overcrowding the oil, carefully place the breaded chicken pieces one at a time into the pot or deepfryer. Deep-fry the chicken until cooked through and evenly deep golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, carefully turning the pieces over with a wire skimmer about halfway through.

While the chicken is frying, prepare the Lemon-Rosemary Butter Sauce.

Transfer the chicken to a tray lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with some salt and squeeze a little lemon over them.

Arrange the chicken pieces on a heated serving platter or individual plates. Pass lemon wedges and the Lemon-Rosemary Butter Sauce on the side.


Makes about 1/2 cup
4 ounces unsalted butter
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 lemon, juiced

Put the butter and rosemary in a small saucepan. Melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour through a wiremesh strainer into a warm sauce bowl.


by Jay Bobbin

(NOTICE: Ratings for each film begin with a 'star' rating - one star meaning 'poor,' four meaning 'excellent' - followed by the Motion Picture Association of America rating, and then by a family-viewing guide, the key for which appears below.)

STARTING THIS WEEK: "END OF WATCH": Writerdirector David Ayer knows how to do a gritty police drama, as he proved with his "Training Day" script, and he shows it again with this effective tale that draws one of Jake Gyllenhaal's standout performances to date. That actor and Michael Pena ("Crash") play patrol partners who suddenly find themselves in dire danger after running afoul of a drug cartel. Ayer smartly uses a variety of unusual angles to tell the story, which also sets this apart from - and above - many other entries in the genre; Anna Kendrick and America Ferrera also star. DVD extras: five "making-of" documentaries; audio commentary by Ayer; deleted scenes. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

"FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL ...": Lauren Miller, who also cowrote the movie, and Ari Graynor ("Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist") star in this expectedly edgy comedy as former college mates who aren't any better matched years after graduation. Nevertheless, they try to put their differences aside to make a go of a phone-sex business. The venture's success leads them to form a friendship - but inevitably, something arises to threaten their smooth sailing. Co-stars include Seth Rogen (Miller's husband), Justin Long, Nia Vardalos and filmmaker Kevin Smith. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

"THE PAPERBOY": An impressive cast gives life to a sinister story, as director Lee Daniels ("Precious: Based on the Novel Push' by Sapphire") brings novelist Pete Dexter's backwoods Florida 1960s crime tale to film. Matthew McConaughey and David Oyewolo play reporters determined to prove that a lessthan- upstanding resident (John Cusack) is innocent of a sheriff's murder; Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron also star as others who assist them. Scott Glenn and singer Macy Gray appear as well. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

"SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN": The recipient of much acclaim at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival - to the tune of two awards - this documentary traces the literal search for Rodriguez, a musician whose meant-to-be-huge album barely caused a ripple in the 1970s. Its reputation grew over the following years, though, thanks to a bootleg that got play in South Africa ... and inspired two of the artist's devotees to determine what became of him, despite suicide rumors. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary; audio commentary by Rodriguez and director Malik Bendjelloul; Q&A session. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

"DEATH RACE 3: INFERNO': The literally hard-driving action franchise continues with this made-for-video adventure, casting Luke Goss as a convict - known as "Frankenstein" (as was David Carradine in the original "Death Race 2000") - who has to win one more race to earn his freedom. Since the "course" is the Kalahari Desert, the challenges awaiting him are many, especially since others are eager to see him lose his life as well as the competition. Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo ("Machete"), Dougray Scott and series regular Robin Shou also star. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary; audio commentary by director Roel Reine; deleted scenes. ** (R and unrated versions: AS, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

"METHOD TO THE MADNESS OF JERRY LEWIS": A solid dose of the comedy icon, both then and now, is provided by this documentary profile - originally shown on the cable channel Encore - that also includes tributes from such celebrity peers and admirers as Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Carol Burnett and Eddie Murphy. Lewis also comments on the career that saw him team with Dean Martin, then become a solo auteur (famously revered in France) by generating such screen classics as "The Errand Boy" and "The Nutty Professor." *** (Not rated: P)

COMING SOON: "THE COLD LIGHT OF DAY" (Jan. 29): After some of his loved ones are abducted while vacationing in Spain, a stock trader (Henry Cavill) learns of his father's (Bruce Willis) secret life. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

"HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA" (Jan. 29): Dracula (voice of Adam Sandler) operates a resort for other monsters in this animated comedy-fantasy; Kevin James, David Spade and Selena Gomez also are in the voice cast. (PG: AS)

"SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS" (Jan. 29): A dog's abduction entangles a screenwriter (Colin Farrell) with lethal criminals; Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell also star. (R: AS, N, P, GV)

"ALEX CROSS" (Feb. 5): Tyler Perry assumes the role of novelist James Patterson's psychology-driven detective, who considers a job switch while on a serial murder case. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

"CLOUD ATLAS" (Feb. 5): Several stories of different eras suggest that all people are connected through time and space; stars including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant have multiple roles. (R: AS, P, V)

"HERE COMES THE BOOM" (Feb. 5): A teacher (Kevin James) decides to raise the funds to keep his school's extracurricular programs by becoming a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. (PG: AS, P, V)

FAMILY-VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.