Monday, July 25, 2011

A welcome back dinner fit for a king:

fancy royal menus

your table is ready, your highness

"Ooooh!" I exclaimed, peering into the frozen case. "Look David, a pheasant!" David glanced back at me from the line at the cash register, skeptical. "Do you even know how to cook a pheasant? What are you going to do with it?"

"I don't know, something." I replied petulantly, yanking open the door to the case, and selecting one of the locally raised pheasants. As we left Findlay Market, I was still coming up with ideas on how to cook the bird. BBQ? Maybe some sort of coq au vin style dish? The possibilities!

Hey, what can I say. Some women impulse buy shoes, jewelry or purses. For me, it's poultry.

After arriving home, the pheasant took up residence in our freezer, where it remained for 5 months. Paralyzed by choice, I kept changing my mind about how and when to make it. Finally, though, I made up my mind that I was going to keep it simple and roast the pheasant with some herbes de provence. David's latest welcome back dinner presented the perfect opportunity.

After giving some thought to where I thought a pheasant might usually be served, I came up with the idea of a fancy medieval style feast. A few things come to mind when I envision such an event. The first is giant turkey legs.

It's very likely that I've been conditioned by years of Renaissance festivals to associate the two, and any historical inaccuracies aside, the turkey legs were always delicious. For an appetizer, I made goat cheese pate pinwheels, which are simple and require very little prep time.

Rosemary mashed potatoes and green beans amandine completed the main course. As for dessert, I eyed the fancy Valrhona chocolate in the cabinet and decided to use it to make chocopots.

I used a duck egg to make the chocopots as well as fancy cocoa

Speaking of chocopots, have you heard a certain Cincinnati blogger's serenade to the choco pot?

I generally have about two hours to get dinner ready before David arrives home from Michigan, which is usually around 8 PM. I leave work at 6. Cooking an entire 3 course meal with a cute but entirely useless cat as a sous chef can be challenging, to say the least. This past dinner required the use of the oven for four of the items, which called for a critical path chart. I also used a Gantt chart to further organize my thoughts on the order of prep.

graphs can be sensible and pretty

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