Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Homey and Thrifty!

It seems that when one thing improves, another falls off; party #47 had a perfectly executed timetable.  The post for party #47 is a more than tardy.  I have no excuses worth discussing.

Over a week ago, prep for this meal began the morning of, and caused quite a stir between me and the husband. I had apparently mentioned the possibility of biscuits with the meal.  The final draft of the menu included hearth breads.  For most, this is acceptable, however for a husband expecting biscuits on a Sunday not so much.  Many hours and a few passive aggressive comments later, we had hearth breads and a table of happy diners.

Back to the prep; with completed breads, pie, and a beautifully set table I began to prep my chickens.  Thanks to my summer farm share, I had two farm fresh chickens delivered for our dinner.  There is a lot of truth to Food Inc. Once placed in the roasting pan, my chickens looked more like cornish game hens.  Luckily an additional organic free range chicken was a mere five minutes away.  When I first began this blog, I waited for my guests to arrive before beginning the main course.  (remember the disastrous party #12)? In the wise words of Amy Sedaris, "Nobody wants to see a raw bird go into the oven." I began roasting the chicken an hour and a half before my guests arrived.  When they finally did, guests were met by the wonderful smell of roasted chicken, and a bread board of apples, hearth breads, and borsin cheese.  As we enjoyed a glass of wine and a few appetizers, the husband grilled corn while I prepared the meal's pride and joy: gravy.

A mere forty minutes into cocktail hour, we met round the dinner table ready to dig into the rustic and homey meal.  All seemed perfect with the exception of the roasted potatoes.  How is it that a 4 pound chicken can bake in 2 hours but a potato sliced in half is still hard in the middle? After pushing all potatoes to the side, I enjoyed the fantastic chicken made even better by the star gravy.  Once our Star-Singing guest confessed the desire to bath in the gravy boat, I called the meal a success.

Moving on to peach pie, the second star of the evening as never has a baked good been more appreciated. As one guest swore to the difference made in my homemade crust, another confessed its superiority to her grandma's.  It was a proud moment.  About an hour later, as conversation slowed and one husband completed the dishes as another napped on the couch, it seemed time to call it a night.  As plans for future dinner dates were set,  the last piece of pie was packaged to-go and placed in a bag with recently canned vegetables.  What a wonderful way to spend an evening, and an even better way to begin the week.

Cooking Notes:
Pie Crust: I used Tyler Florence's Basic Pie Crust for this creation.  The fresh lemon zest added a citrus flavor that balanced the sweet peach filling perfectly.  I highly recommend it for your summer fruit pies.
Gravy: I usually reserve gravy making for the holidays however the next time you need a little comfort food, I recommend a roasted chicken and gravy.  If that doesn't lift your spirits, have another glass of wine.
Leftovers: Monday afternoon, faced with a rainy day, the leftover chicken and roasted vegetables were the makings of an unbelievable chicken pot pie.  Add to that the four quarts of chicken stock made from the roasted bones and you have the meal that keeps on giving.

The Party In Numbers:
Parties Completed: 47
Weeks Before Deadline: 6
Bottles Consumed: 3
Justified Purchases: zero! 

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