This morning, as Colin and I lay in bed discussing what adventure we should embark on today, we decided that we would go on a pursuit to find the ingredients for, and produce a MIND BLOWING meal for this evenings dinner. The day was hinting to be a rainy one, as the wind rustled the leaves outside and the grey sky let us know that a day inside of cooking would be the perfect way to spend our Saturday together. We debated on what this meal should be for quite some time, discussing the potential of poultry, beef, fish or vegetarian…. Low and behold, by the influence of Julia Child and the thought of crispy chicken skin, we chose a pan seared chicken with a creamy wild mushroom sauce…
and then desert came into the debate. Chocolate cream pie! Yes! Not the kind that you can find at a road side diner, the kind that resembles a big fluffy, yokey cool whip cake with a hint of chocolate syrup flavor.. bleckk! No, we will make the real deal, a smooth dark chocolate cream pie.. made with eggs and cream and butter…
We are quite happy with the local variety of grocers available to us where we live. I think that where and how your food comes to you is just as, if not more important, as eating it! I want to know that my food was grown by somebody, ideally a happy somebody, who loved and cared for the earth as it grew, who didn’t inject it with super vegetable hero powers. and I want to ensure that this somebody continues to grow happy vegetables, EVEN if I have to pay 50 cents more for them.
We drove out to the Hawthorn Valley Farm Store in Ghent NY, and the REAL FOOD co-op in Chatham where we were able to find all of the ingredients we needed for the day. Hawthorn Valley Farm is a Biodynamic farm that is part of a not-for-profit organization dedicated to agriculture, education, and the arts. It is a Waldorf school for children as well as an organic, self sustaining farm. The REAL FOOD co-op in Chatham is a member run food cooperative that supports local agriculture. The folks that work in these stores are kind, unique, and beautiful people. If your cashier doesn’t look at least as happy as the one in my pictures…your not shopping at the right places! Milk and cream, eggs that came from happy chickens and a giant Amish butter roll… Stone ground wheat flour, Himalayan salt, fresh vegetables, dark chocolate, dry vermouth…
On the way home, the radio announced that there was a tornado warning in effect for our county. By the time we got home, the wind was wild and the rain was so heavy I worried about the thin glass windows we have cracking! Colin turned on some music to help drown out the storm, and we began our lovely process to the sound of wind swaying the trees outside, and Van Morrison.
We tackled the pie first- making a dough, folding cream, chocolate, butter and sugar together at the right temperatures. I used a mix of milk and dark coca chocolates, and a heavy cream from some happy cow that lives in my neighborhood. This was my first chocolate cream pie I ever attempted to make, so we fumbled a bit- but as Julia Child would say- “Nothing is too much trouble if it turns out right, and nothing is learned if no mistake is to be made”
and then, our main entrée needed to be prepared… A secret for you culinary-challenged folks… if you want your chicken to have crispy, golden brown skin- you have to pat it dry before you pan sear it. Otherwise, it will just steam in it’s own juices. I used chicken breast on the bone, with the rib side cut off, seasoned with lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper. just before the chicken goes into the hot pan… give it a good pat down. and happy searing.
For the sauce… oh… cream, butter and vermouth, you belong together! A mix of shiitake and button mushrooms, some fresh parsley and some roasted mini brussles with shallots and pearl onions… now pour that goodness over your chicken, and watch out…. this was one MIND BLOWING meal! The cream sauce was heavenly, the crispy chicken was perfect and the roasted mini cabbages were divine!
and the pie… oh the pie! It turned out exactly what we had set out to accomplish today. It was beautifully decadent. Silky smooth, rich and creamy… the way a chocolate cream pie should be!
Colin was quite content tonight as we settled in for an evening movie. What a wonderful day spent with my husband, searching for the perfect food, for the perfect meal.