Monday, February 22, 2010

Petits Coquelets Dijonnaise / Cornish Hens in a Mustard Cream Sauce

It's been a while. School and workouts have officially taken over our household. Somehow, it's nearly March, and I'm not sure what happened to the end of January. There hasn't been a ton of exciting cooking going on in our house lately. Scott has classes three nights a week and music one night. I'm working on my correspondence courses in the evening and attempting to keep us caught up on housework. In our "spare time" outside of homework, housework and work, we've been going to the gym. Damned blood pressure anyway. We did get around to making two recipes out of the big book for Valentine's Day, but that ended up being scaled down from the three we had initially planned. What else has been going on? We threw a big birthday party for Scott up at his parents' house in McCall. It was a hit. We opened a 9 liter bottle of wine. Yep, 9 liters. I can't remember the end of the night bottle count, but it was huge. We appreciated all of our friends and family coming out to join us. I made two cakes out of The Gourmet Cookbook. They were delicious. And that's about the only other thing we've done outside of the normal lately.

Back to Valentine's Day. We'd already decided we didn't want to go out for dinner that night. It tends to get expensive, and it's incredibly crowded. We hit up one of our favorite restaurants for lunch earlier in the day. Not only does Bittercreek have fantastic food, but they also support local farmers (including my mom's business, Lazy Dog Gardens). We weren't smart enough to plan ahead on dinner, and finally got around to making a shopping list around 5:30 that evening. Go us. Scott has his heart set on the Cornish game hens, which turned into a bit of a run around to find. He'd thought that he'd seen them at the Co-Op, but they apparently don't have a source. We ended up with the frozen Tyson ones. Next time, we'll try to plan ahead a little better.

The recipe was pretty simple. Brush the birds with mustard. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spoon creme fraiche or heavy cream over them. Roast until they're brown and delicious and turn the pan juices into a sauce with a little red wine and broth. There was an accompanying recipe for greens sautéed in a little bacon fat with garlic and splashed with red wine vinegar. We followed dinner up with a Breton pudding that I'll put in another post.

Needless to say, we ended up eating a little bit late that evening, and we didn't get our usual in progress pictures. We were just happy to be getting back to cooking a little. The end results were a little average. I know part of it had to do with the meat we ended up using. The texture was a little mushy. I do want to try the treatment again with one of the local chickens from Market this spring. I think it'll be amazing. Surprisingly, the greens ended up being our favorite part of the meal. Scott's always been a little wary of cooked greens, but these were delicious. He's actually looking forward to the Swiss chard my mom always plants. The red wine vinegar brightened the whole dish and played incredibly well with the garlic and bacon. We wished we'd made more greens.

We served dinner with a 2006 Gary Farrell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Not my favorite in style. While she wasn't a slutty wine, she was definitely a bit promiscuous. The wine was a bit over the top and ripe, but that's almost to be expected from Cali Pinots. I know not everyone would agree with me, but we cut our Pinot Teeth in the Willamette Valley.

We'll try to get back to cooking and blogging soon. We're just working on figuring out our new routine.


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