Sunday, February 1, 2009

Saturday night dinner

I have got to say how NICE it is reconnecting with old friends, and finding out that you still REALLY like them!

Not only did we have a great time last night, but old and new friends got along extremely well, which is definitely a bonus.

These are people whose parenting style I have ALWAYS admired. Their kids are 16 and 17 and were little when we became friends. I loved how well mannered their kids were, how their kids ate everything, weren't shy and how relaxed this couple was with their kids. They never treated them like children, but like intelligent people. Yes, there were fights and arguments, but you could see that these kids were happy to be around their parents.

In fact, the monkeys still use the baby blankets my friend made for them :)

Their older daughter is graduating this year and is going to Vassar. Their younger daughter is a social butterfly and very independent. I just hope my monkeys turn out as well as theirs have.

I decided to buy lobsters again, since they are still relatively cheap. The recipe I used here is still the only way to go, as far as I am concerned. To go with the lobster, I made these potatoes here (I used a mix of Yukon gold and purple Peruvian). Since my friends friend was coming with her, and she doesn't eat lobster, I also made chicken (which was so tasty and looked beautiful). I also was not sure if my other friend who didn't eat meat, ate lobster so I also made a pasta dish I have been thinking about for a long time.

Roast Chickens with Black Pepper—Maple Glaze


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
Coarsely ground pepper
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Two 3 1/2-pound organic chickens (I used one 5.5 lb chicken)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the maple syrup and 2 teaspoons of coarsely ground pepper. Remove the glaze from the heat.

2. On a large heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet, toss the sliced onions with the olive oil. Season the onions with salt and pepper and spread in an even layer. Season the chickens inside and out with salt, then arrange them on top of the onions. Loosely tie the chicken legs together with kitchen string.

3. Roast the chickens for 45 minutes. Brush the chickens all over with half of the maple glaze and continue roasting them for 1 hour longer. Increase the oven temperature to 425°. Generously brush the chickens with the remaining glaze and roast for 15 minutes longer, or until the cavity juices run clear and the chickens are richly browned.

4. Transfer the chickens to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Pour the onions and pan juices into a large glass measuring cup and skim the fat from the surface. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the chickens. (I never do the pan juices because I am too lazy, but I do serve the caramelized onions on the side, YUM!!)

--Maria Helm Sinskey

This recipe originally appeared in April 2004, Food & Wine Magazine.

Penne a la Betsy

1 pound of extra large shrimp. It should already be peeled and deveined.
olive oil
1 small onion (diced)
2 cloves minced garlic
8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup wine
3/4 lb. penne pasta

Rinse shrimp under cool water. Heat about a tablespoon of butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the raw shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove and let cool.

Cook penne. While penne is cooking. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in skillet. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add garlic and onion and begin cooking stirring occasionally.

Take the cooked shrimp and pull off their tails and cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Add wine to garlic mixture. Then add tomato sauce and stir well. Now add heavy cream.

Add shrimp, 1 tablespoon parsley and 1 tablespoon basil to mixture. Stir well. Add cooked noodles, mix and Enjoy!!!

Since I was already making lobster I omitted the shrimp this time. Next time I will add it. Also, I didn't have tomato sauce so I used 4 tiny diced tomatoes and some Italian seasonings. Next time I will use tomato sauce. I did add the fresh herbs at the end. Also, I used fat free half and half. It's hard for me to use full fat products.

So, even though I TOTALLY butchered this recipe (and I feel horrible because I LOVE Ree, the Pioneer Woman) I LOVED it the way I made it, and think I will love it differently when I make it the right way.

Here are some picture of my monkeys, the older monkeys friend and our "old" and great friends.


coldspaghetti said...

Great recipes -- thanks!!

Scandalous Housewife said...

Mmmmmmmmmmm! I'm so hungry right now and your recipes sound divine!

Lana said...

Awe. From the pics, looks like a fun night was had!

bernthis said...

I could never eat lobster. Why? b/c I won;t eat anything that looks like it could get up off my plate and walk away at any time.

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

I love cooking because I can get creative and even if I start off with a recipe in mind I don't have to end up with the same thing the original author intended. I think your changes sound great.