Sunday, May 4, 2014

French Roast Chicken Menu

Foodies love David Lebovitz. I think we are all living vicariously though him. An American expat living in Paris. Cooking in Paris. Perusing the markets in Paris. Eating French bread and and cheese and butter (I've touched on my love of French butter before)... swoon. I read his blog, I follow his Pinterest boards, I get excited when he has a guest post on The Kitchn. He has a new book out. My Paris Kitchen. I think I need to own this book, considering I have now make three recipes from before even touching it. God how I love the Internet.

Eat Your Books has a round-up of recipes from My Paris Kitchen from around the web. I took one look at the list, bookmarked a few recipes, and then realized they would be perfect for dinner Saturday night with my BFF, her boyfriend, and his daughter. Greg and I had been planning to go for a run in preparation for a race we are have entered next weekend. The plan was to run the route. Cold rain and wind derailed that plan. It was pouring when we set out for our run, it was still pouring when we returned a wet 7.25km later. And wouldn't you know it, the sun was breaking through the clouds ten minutes after we got back. Son of a...

Regardless, we still had a good run. I feel much more prepared and less intimidated by the thought of next weekend's 7-mile race. I usually run by myself and I realized yesterday that it makes it seem much easier when running with someone else. I haven't decided yet whether that is because of the company and conversation, or if having a partner sharing in the torture makes it more tolerable- I do love running, but there's always a moment on every run when I think "what the Hell am I doing?".

The rest of the evening was a blast as well. The kids played together great despite their age difference (Parker being almost 4 and Greg's daughter being 9) while we made dinner and then they helped me do the dishes (without even being asked!). While men retired to the couch and talked football Erin, the kids, and I had a dance party in the kitchen to YouTube videos- the kids being hopped up on sugar and chocolate, Erin and I being hopped up on wine. Fun times had by all. Is it weird that I get a strange satisfaction from being told by a 9-year old girl that I'm fun and she wants to come back and visit?

Here's our menu. I will make each of these dishes over and over again. They are also effortlessly gluten and dairy free (except for the goat cheese in the lentil salad of course). I don't know much about wine and food pairing aside from I like wine and I like food... but a French Sauvignon Blanc seemed to go well with this meal.

Chicken Lady Chicken 
I used quarter chicken legs rather than a whole chicken as the chickens at the grocery store were really small. The legs worked perfectly. It did take two pans to make the all the chicken, and through this I learned that a well-seasoned cast iron skillet works best. The skin stuck to the other pan, but fared great in the cast iron. The chicken was delicious- juicy, and made it's own delicious pan sauce.

Leeks with Mustard-Bacon Vinaigrette
Fantastic. The kids didn't love these, but the adults did. I didn't steam the leeks. I cut them in half, placed them in single layer in a glass dish, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Covered tightly with foil they went in the oven with the chicken. Once the chicken was done I removed the foil and left them in the oven to brown while the chicken rested. Next time I would increase the heat to 425 or even 450 for the final browning.

French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
I forgot to buy walnuts as called for in the recipe. It was still great without, but I will remember to include walnuts next time. I used the same dressing for this salad as called for in the leek recipe above rather than making two vinaigrette. I also added some thinly sliced radishes at the end for some fresh crunch as the other vegetables in the salad are cooked along with the lentils.

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