Monday, November 21 –
Today we added a new face to this project, LightsOn (sorry, it’s an inside joke that I just couldn’t help). He’s new to the idea, new to the project, and new to my cooking. So much bravery all in one go! 😉 We also had WingWoman, Roommate Extraordinaire, and of course my Wonderful Boyfriend.
This dinner was chicken soup, two different kinds of cooked Brussels sprouts, french bread baguette, and dessert made by WingWoman. So I started with the chicken soup by chopping all the veggies and getting them into the pan with the butter. I used dried spices instead of bundles of fresh (it’s the week of Thanksgiving, so please don’t judge me!) and used one rounded palm-full of each. I also skewed the chicken a little by chopping the chicken while it was raw into mouth-sized pieces and dumping them into the boiling chicken broth. I stirred it altogether and let it simmer until it was done. I whisked the cream and the egg yolk together and scooped out a couple of cups of broth that I added a little bit at a time so the mixture would come up to temperature and blend well (good trick for most recipes that add dairy or egg to anything warm). Then I just let it simmer together to blend the flavors together.
The Brussels sprouts I did two different ways because WingWoman can’t have gluten (so no beer) and I don’t normally like beer, so I wanted to give myself another way to enjoy the combination of soup and greens. The recipe from Belgium has you simmer them in beer (I used a German beer because I was rushed and that’s all Safeway had), then strain them and saute them in butter and salt. The other way I cooked them, how I normally cook them, is in bacon fat. I cooked about five strips of bacon, which were cut up into pieces, pulled the bacon out, threw the sprouts and about a half of an onion in, added some garlic salt and pepper, and let them get crispy and browned. At the end I throw the bacon back in and serve it. Everything is better with bacon, I swear it!
Roommate Extraordinaire took care of slicing, buttering, and garlic salt-ing the baguette, which we toasted in the oven just long enough to brown it a little. We both thought it would be better in soup if it had a little crunch.
Roommate Extraordinaire brought beer, two different Belgian styles that he and Wonderful Boyfriend both agreed were delicious. LightsOn brought two different wines, which were amazing and went perfectly with the dinner.
WingWoman made the dessert, which was simply heaven. Pure, sugary bliss in a cup. The photo doesn’t really do this amazing dessert justice, believe me. It was blended strawberries, cream, and sugar on the top with strawberries and Grand Marnier on the bottom. Make it, savor it, and thank her for the recipe. I’ll add it to the recipe page so it will live on forever where everyone can find it.
Things I have learned: Asking guests to bring wine and dessert makes this whole adventure a whole lot more fun. (Not that my diet would agree…) Adding more people to my blog list has become a fun and unique challenge to find fun names for them. And I look forward each week to the different flavors this journey helps me create. Four and a half years? To go around the world with my friends and loved ones? To learn to make all of these fun recipes? Priceless.
Waterzooi de Poulet
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 leeks, chopped, rinsed and dried
- 2 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
- Salt and white pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 leaves dried
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley, plus a handful chopped for garnish
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 8 ounces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg yolk
- Crusty baguette, warmed, for passing
Directions: In a deep pot over moderate heat melt butter and saute the vegetables for 5 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper. Tie together bay, parsley and thyme and add to the pot with stock or broth. Cover the pot and raise heat to bring liquid to a boil. Add chicken to the pot, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Poach the chicken 10 minutes. Uncover the pot. Remove chicken and slice. Whisk cream and egg together. Add a ladle of cooking broth to cream and egg to temper it. Stir cream and egg mixture into the waterzooi and stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken. Add chicken back to the pot along with chopped parsley. Adjust seasoning. Ladle waterzooi into warm shallow bowls and serve with crusty baguette for dipping.
Brussels Sprouts in Beer
- 450g/1lb Brussels Sprouts, trimmed
- Approx. 480ml/16fl.oz. Dark Beer
- 1/2 teasp Salt
- 3 tbsp Butter
1. Place the sprouts in a medium saucepan and pour in enough beer to cover.
2. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender, adding more beer if necessary.
3. Drain well then return to the pan, season with salt and add the butter. Stir over a low heat until the butter has melted and coated the sprouts. Serve immediately.
Belgium Strawberry Mousse
- 1 Pound Strawberries — sliced
- 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Kirsch Or Grand Marnier
- 1/2 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1 1/4 Cups Whipping Cream
Directions: Place half the strawberries in bowl and sprinkle with the granulated sugar and kirsch. Let macerate for 15 minutes. Puree the remaining strawberries together with the confectioner’s sugar. Whip the cream into stiff peaks. Reserve a quarter of the whipped cream for garnish and refrigerate. Carefully fold the remaining cream into the pureed strawberries. Arrange the macerated strawberries in 4 wine glasses, reserving a few slices for garnish. Fill the glasses with strawberry cream, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours. Pipe the reserved whipped cream through a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and decorate with sliced strawberries.