Sunday Dinner Party


I decided to put my culinary talents to the test and had a dinner party on Sunday night. We invited three other couples, one of whom turned us down. Another just flaked out and never showed up.

I’d been ruminating on the menu for two weeks. The main course was Alton Browns Chicken with Garlic and Shallots. I’d made it before and it smells awesome and tasted equally great.

For an appetizer, a work friend had brought some Vietnamese Spring Rolls to work and I got the recipe from her. It was a little sketchy so I went looking on the net and found another one, which had pictures, which helped with the folding. Lastly I had made home made ice cream in two flavors in our new ice cream maker.

This didn’t seem enough, so we added a salad with dark lettuce and mash potatoes. Alton said if you mix the left over garlic, shallots and oil from the chicken in mash potatoes you will “impress your friends and frighten your enemies”.

When I went to the second grocery store I found a recipe for portobello mushrooms with and oriental sauce. I grabbed it because I had some mushrooms in the fridge and I thought it would make a good side.

The Cooking

The chicken takes the longest so I started it first. I wanted to make the chicken with the skin on it this time to see if it would be moister. Earlier in the week I had bought a whole chicken and cut it up, but didn’t like the way that had turned out. It was in pieces, but not the most even ones. I noticed they have cut up chickens so I bought one of those. Well they are cut up, but the bones are still in the breast, so I ended up doing some carving after all.

Mistake number one. Parsley and cilantro look alike, but can’t be switched for each other. So the chicken came back out of the oven after about 10 minutes for me to pick out the cilantro and add in parsley.

Once the chicken was in the over, I started peeling potatoes. As the clock was ticking, I asked my wife to be sou chef and peel them while I started the mushrooms. Eventually she ended up cooking them completely.

Never put portobello mushrooms in a cast iron skillet that has been on a high heat. Or at least don’t leave them there. To avoid a fire, then smoking mushrooms and my skillet ended up on the back drive way.

But the sauce still got made and turned out to be great with the spring rolls.

Oh, I almost forgot the bread. I’d watch the Good Eats on toast the night before and he’d suggested an Italian garlic bread. You toast the bread and when it comes out of the oven you brush on some olive oil and then cut a head of garlic in half and rub each piece of bread with it. Worked well, even if the head had a tendency to break up.

Everything was coming together, though I felt we were rushing. The guests were a little late and I was just getting the spring roll appetizers done when they arrived.

The chicken came out and I plated all the food and we ate. I put the left over oil, garlic, and shallots in a bowl for people to mix in their potatoes, which one of the guest did and really like.

Everyone said the food was great and I was pleased with everything. The chicken was much moister with the skin on than it had been skinless.