These dinners really are all about me. They are the perfect excuse to try new recipes from my favorite cooking magazines, spend an afternoon sipping a nice glass of white wine and listening to NPR, wear a apron, get the house cleaned up for company, find a new mixed CD to throw on the radio, etc.
It’s the simple things, really, that make me silly with happiness. Last night I cooked two chickens using the French Chicken in a Pot recipe from Cooks Illustrated. You slow-cook a chicken in its own juices for two hours in a Dutch oven, with a bit of garlic, celery and onion. One of the birds came out looking great, while the other needed another hour before it was ready. Thankfully the guests came in shifts last night and we didn’t play musical chairs or chickens. There was more than enough to go around. I let my roommate borrow my camera yesterday, so I didn’t have it around while I was preparing. These last-minute “let me take a photo of that before you eat it!” shots leave much to be desired.
I also heard from several folk that last night was the first time they’d had brussel sprouts. As the self-deemed “Veggie Fairy,” I kept passing this dish until they were gone. This recipe is simple and it got great reviews, although it can be a bit expensive if the nuts aren’t on sale.
The cauliflower steaks were the most aesthetically pleasing. From the same section of new vegetable recipes in the latest Bon Appetite, this recipe was simple enough. I added broccoli to the puree to make a great green creamy vegetable mix as a base.
Next week is potluck. My mom is coming into town to help with my fundraiser next weekend and the free time I have, I’ll be spending happily with her. So, why not invite some friends over to feed me in the meantime? See. I told you — it all seems altruistic, but really I’m quite crafty.
Mango and strawberry Jello, anyone?