I’ve written before of the self doubt that arrives when I have French people over for dinner. They have all of that history of fine food and they’ve eaten it all of their lives. So I was having two couples over. Both of the men were French (and there’s Maurice too) and one of the women was a gourmet cook. She’s incredible in the kitchen. She could be on one of those cooking shows where they give you five ingredients and say, “Go”. She would win hands down.
So I was a little nervous when I was planning the dinner and I found a really good recipe for chicken that I tried out with Maurice first. It was chicken breasts pounded thin then rolled up with fried bacon, braised shallots, lemon zest and parmasean cheese. It has to all be held together with toothpicks which is tedious, then browned in a skillet and baked in the oven. After they are finished, you remove the toothpicks and slice the rolls into decorative discs and place them in a little arc on the plate and put a fantastic sauce on top made of wine, chicken broth, and cream. It tasted fabulous so I decided to make it for my dinner guests.
I had the chicken ready before they were due to arrive thinking it would hurt to keep the chicken warm in the oven for thirty minutes or so while we had drinks before. Well, being French they were of course late but the main problem was that they came by car and there just isn’t any place to park in our neighborhood, especially with work going on installing the nearby tram. Everyone came in our apartment except the driver who drove around looking for a place and he didn’t find one for almost one hour. We had already poured champagne for everyone thinking he would arrive at any minute and by the time he finally came it, it was flat as we kept waiting for him. My vegetable side dish of zucchini and carrots was soggy by now. But when we finally ate the very dry chicken which was so overdone that I could barely get the by now soft tooth picks out and couldn’t cut it into nice little discs either, but everyone said loved it. I was really upset which I kept to myself I think. We ended dinner with that great dessert that I posted about earlier and that was the high point of the meal. We had a fun time and I think that was the important thing. I just need to discover a dish that can sit for a couple of hours without becoming to dry. At least with barbeque that’s not a problem.