Sunday, February 1, 2009

Casual Weekday Dinner

My mother was in town early last week for the first of her spring semester classes at the New School where she teaches graduate film. She drove down from the Catskills accompanied by my Uncle Hitch and the two arrived hungry in the late afternoon. I had a couple of friends over as well which made for a lovely dinner crew and after a few minutes of deliberation we decided to dine together. Hitch and I thought it would be best to not get overly excited about cooking given the pressing feeling in our bellies. The two of us went to the gourmet grocer and bought a few things that could be assembled simply into a light dinner before hitting the wine shop. We bought a plump rosemary roast chicken from the deli counter and a few other things to throw together. I find when they are done well a grocer’s roast chicken is a worthy substitute for a home cooked bird. I simply carved the chicken and arranged it nicely on a platter served lukewarm in the center of the table for people to pick at according to their fancy.

In addition to the chicken I made a big salad of mache, roasted beets pickled in a bit of balsamic (seriously one of my favorite things ever), chopped hazelnuts, and gorgonzola dolce. Hitch wanted me to make a simple green salad but I love to jazz things up with textures and tastes using vinegar, cheese, and nuts to dress up mild greens. For the cheese course Hitch and I selected two cheeses; St. Marcellin in a pretty ceramic dish and Idiazábal made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk hailing from Basque country. We concluded our casual weekday dinner with some fresh golden raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries tossed with Meyer lemon juice and sugar. Berries are completely out of season so these happened to come from Chile though they were organic and had some semblance of flavor.

I brought a 2003 Chablis from a large chateau whose name escapes me and Hitch brought two bottles of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, a New Zealand wine from the Marlborough region with a strange top note of green bell pepper. The Chablis paired perfectly with the chicken and the Cloudy Bay cut through the fat of the cheese and the sourness of the mixed berries. Overall it was a very enjoyable quick and easy meal that left us wholly satisfied without the burden of a messy kitchen. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

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