Last night I made MOOSE hamburgers, thanks to Dennis’s friend whose dad was hunting in Alaska recently! I just had to share that because it was a new food experience… and I always love trying something new. But on to other things, I went to Vashon Island this weekend to visit Alan and Amy. Originally, I was just planning to have dinner with them, but I ended up staying overnight and spending the following day with them going to yoga, the saturday farmer’s market, the bookstore, helping out with some garden work, and taking in some sun on their deck overlooking the Olympic mountains and the bay. It was sublime. Friday evening we celebrated my birthday by making a French supper: summer chicken, chocolate mousse, and a viognier (french white) made by their friend and winemaker who lives just down the road. The recipes are below along with some pictures from the Island. What a life!
The view from the porch on Vashon Island, WA
Summer Chicken (a la Francaise)
1 whole chicken
Bunch of fresh basil, washed with stems on
6-8 cups Chicken broth
5 Red or fingerling potatoes, whole or halved
Bunch of Green beans
Bunch of Carrrots, cut into chunks
4 tbsp Butter
4 tbsp All purpose flour
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup creme fraiche
Salt & Pepper
Cook: Heat chicken broth in a large pot to to immerse chicken in, but not to cover. Stuff fresh basil in the bird, place chicken in pot (broth will not cover), and boil for about 50 min-1 hour or until chicken is fully cooked. Meanwhile, blanch vegetables in boiling salted water: 20 min for potatoes, 12 min for carrots, and 7 min for green beans. Do not overcook. Set aside. When chicken is done, set to rest on cutting board and put broth in a microwavable cup, skimming of any fat with a large spoon. Take basil out of bird and chop coarsely.
Sauce: Heat 2 tbsp butter in a small saucepan until melted. Add flour and stir without browning for a minute. Meanwhile, heat chicken broth in microwave for 2 minutes (will be very hot!) and add to saucepan slowly, whisking vigorously. Whisk while roux simmers for a minute. Add dijon, creme fraiche, the chopped basil and salt and pepper to taste. Mixture should reduce into a thick sauce. Pour into a serving pitcher or gravy boat.
Prepare: Heat 2 tbsp butter in a large frying pan and saute vegetables with fresh parsley, salt and pepper. Slice chicken and arrange pieces on a large platter. Add vegetables to platter with more fresh parsley. Pour some sauce on chicken and serve the rest on the side for people to pour themselves. Serve with crisp white wine. See dessert suggestion below.
Bottles of Viognier, french white wine, made locally from a friend
A neighbor’s chicken coup (best eggs I’ve ever had!)
Chocolate Grand Marnier Mousse with Berries
1 cup bittersweet chocolate (chocolate chips work great)
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp sugar
2/3 cup whipping cream
4 tbsp espresso, cold (brings out chocolate flavor)
2 tbsp Grand Marnier
Whipped cream, cocoa nibs, mint, & fresh raspberries for garnish
1. Melt chocolate with a bit of butter in a double boiler (or rest a large glass bowl over a small pot with a small amount of boiling water) and stir. When melted, set aside.
2. Whisk egg yolks with sugar in a medium bowl until creamy and has a ribbon effect. Add chocolate, espresso and Grand Marnier to bowl.
3. Whip cream in a chilled metal bowl until stiff peaks form (but do not over-whip). Gently fold cream into chocolate mixture with a spatula.
4. Whip egg whites until they become stiff and form peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture until mixture is uniform but still frothy.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours, 4 hours for individual portioned cups. Place in bowls and garnish with whipped cream, cocoa nibs, fresh raspberries, mint, or whatever you like!
Ta da! This is so easy to make (no baking required), great for a summer evening, and fit for a birthday dessert. Cake is so last year. 🙂