Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years

Henry is doing great. But part of "doing great" for him involves keeping his mother awake at al hours of night. She never got more than an hour of sleep at at a time last night, which is challenging since it means she isn't getting that deep REM sleep. She woke me up a couple of times to help change him, but that's about all I can do for the little guy right now.

My mom is visiting us this week. We celebrated with a special New Year's Eve supper. I continued my French theme...
  • Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Grapes
  • Bok Choi with Bacon
  • Gratin Dauphinois
  • Champaign

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Grape

from French Food at Home with Laura Calder

4 cornish hens, rinsed and dried with paper towel
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons cognac
salt and pepper to season
1 Pound green and red grapes, halved
1 cup chicken stock (homemade or low soduium store-bought)

1. Truss the hens. Mix the oil with 1 tablespoon of the Cognac, salt and pepper. Rub well all over the hens in a dish, and set aside half an hour to marinate. Heat the oven to 450ºF/220ºC.

2. Heat a roasting pan on the stovetop, as if it were a frying pan, and brown the hens well on all sides. Pour off any excess oil from the bottom of the pan and transfer the hens to the oven to finish the cooking, approx. 40 minutes or until the juices run clear at the leg.

3. Transfer the hens to a deep warm serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Pour the fat off the pan and discard. Deglaze the pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Cognac and the flame from a matchstick. When the flames die out, add the stock and boil to reduce by about half. Add the grapes and cook three minutes to warm through and barely soften them. Uncover the hens, pour over the sauce with the grapes, and serve.

*The same quantities apply if you prefer to cook eight quails instead of four Cornish hens. Cooking time for quails, however, will be 25 minutes, rather than 40. (Source)

Tay's Notes
I gave each person their own personal Cornsish Game Hens, but that might be a little too large a portion. So an alternative wolud be to split each hen to serve--but you'll need a very sharp, probably serrated knife.

She says to use the roasting pan to sear the hens. To do this, you need a pretty good pan with a nice thick bottom. Cooking with gas helps, too. Our thin-bottomed pan warped a bit and had uneven heat, so be aware. Also, the first few hens tend to have the skin stick to the pan, so I would suggest putting about a tablespoon of grape seed oil in the pan, first.

Otherwise, a straightforward recipe.

I made some of that great potato gratin dish I made a week ago. You can read it here (as well as my notes about it).

I also made up a delicious Bok Choi dish with bacon. It's really based on a recipe for Brussels Sprouts by Laura Calder...

Baby Bok Choi with Bacon

modified from Laura Calder

5 heads of Baby Bok Choi
8 slices bacon
1 Tbsp. Butter

Cook up the bacon in a sauté pan. Remove, cut into a 1/4 inch pieces, and set aside.

Add butter. Wait until foam subsides. The add Bok Choi stems (white part) first. A minute or two later add the greens. Sauté until deep green and stalks are al dente. Put the bacon back in for a minute of two, then salt and pepper to taste and serve!

We had some champaign and a friend brought cake for dessert!


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