We here at Serendipity Farmhouse are in the midst of our Lenten observances. For us, that means there is no meat on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On the other days, meals are based on basic ingredients and we reduce our portions.
This self-imposed austerity, however, does not mean that we can’t have a good meal or try out something new in the soon to be famous SFH Test Kitchen. And so it was yesterday when we prepared Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream from Julia Child’s book The Way to Cook.
I will spare you all the cooking details because you can easily view the whole process on the Youtube link we have provided. Instead, I will recount for you two highlights of our most recent foray into the Julia’s world of cooking.
Highlight 1 – Send in the Cleaning Crew: Julia always, always cautions her viewers when preparing to sauté to add oil to a pan before adding butter. This will reduce the chance of splattering or burning, she says. We always, always, always do just as Julia says. Unfortunately, the laws of physics and thermodynamics do no respect us as they did Julia. – – Last night turned out to be an unbelievable display of snaps, crackles, pops, splatters, stings, burns, and ouchie-ouches. Poor, beautiful spouse was directly in the line of fire. She suffered considerably and almost, but not quite, lost her usual cool and composure.
In an attempt to reduce her injuries, precious wife, handed me the tongs, and innocently said, “Dear Hubby, perhaps you would not feel so left out if you had the opportunity to sauté this fine chicken. I’m gullible, naive, and easily charmed by this wonderful woman who has dedicated her life to me. Without hesitation or thought I readily took over for her in front of the ricocheting globules of hot oil and grease. Oh, how I wish I could learn how to hesitate and think in situations like this.
Well, I survived and the Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream turned out to be a true culinary delight. The kitchen, however, was a disaster. The stove was covered with splatters. The walls were covered with shining bubbles of grease. The floor was slick with oils spots and you could see greasy footprints where we had walked through the mess.
So, we called for the special duty SFH Test Kitchen cleaning crew. There was no response. Spouse and I had to handle the mess ourselves. – – – Today, there was still a residue and sheen on the stove. Wise and precious wife had mopped the floor and cleaned the mats so that neither of us would encounter undesirable slips, trips, or falls.
Highlight 2 – Chef Monte Rejects a Wonderful Offer: During the rather memorable, but somewhat unpleasant, event recounted above, thoughtful and innovative spouse came up with a perfectly grand idea for an improvement in the SFH Test Kitchen. “Wouldn’t be wonderful if the entire Test Kitchen staff had their own personal apron with a memorable “SFH Test Kitchen” logo printed on it.”
So, while I was taking the brunt of the splattering oil from the pan of chicken, she went up and did a quick Internet search. “Hubby!” she called. “They have just what we need and we can get them in just the right sizes – even for Mr. Monte.”
Now you must understand, yesterday was Chef Monte’s night off. I suspect, if he had been the lead chef, we wouldn’t have had such a mess. But, since it was his night off, he was napping in the bedroom, a long distance from the kitchen.
Now, that was when my adorable spouse made her big mistake. She looked at me as I was dodging splatters and said, “You know, perhaps an apron wouldn’t be the right thing for Mr. Monte. Maybe, we should get him a bib instead. Wouldn’t that be a better choice?”
Suddenly, from the direction of the bedroom, there was 20 pound shudder and thump. The sky outside clouded up. Darkness surrounded the house. The wind stopped blowing. Then we heard in the most indignant cat voice ever heard in this or any other lifetime: “NoooooooooooWWWWaaaaaayyy!!!” “NoooooooooooWWWWaaaaaayyy will the great Chef Monte ever wear a bib!!!”
Beautiful wife quickly changed the topic of discussion and pretended that she had never said a word. Mr. Monte entered the room, with ears back, with eyes narrowed, and with sharp teeth slightly displayed. The room grew quiet. I sautéed chicken. Wife withdrew quickly to a place of safety.
Here are the ingredients;
Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream – – Serves 4
#103 – To Prepare and Sauté mushrooms:
1 tsp olive or peanut oil
1 Tb unsalted butter
½ Tb minced shallots or scallions
2-3 cups sliced or quartered mushrooms
Salt and freshly ground pepper
#101 – To Prepare Sautéed Chicken:
2½ to 3 lbs. cut-up frying chicken
2 Tb unsalted butter
1 Tb olive or peanut oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ tsp dried tarragon or thyme, or Italian or Provencal seasoning
1 Tb minced shallots or scallions
½ cup chicken stock, canned or homemade
½ cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 Tb butter
2 Tb minced fresh parsley and/ or chives or tarragon
#102 – To Prepare Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream:
½ cup heavy cream
Sautéed Chicken – from #101
Sautéed mushrooms – from #103
You can find the video set of The Way to Cook on Amazon here. To see how Julia does it, click on the Youtube link below and go to sections:
103 Mushrooms: To Prepare and Sauté – Time: 7:47
101 Sautéed Chicken – Time: 1:33
102 Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream – Time: 6:22