Two things that some of you may know:
1. I've been in a cooking slump as of late.
2. My in-laws appreciate my cooking and are particularly fond of French food.
Well, I had my MIL and FIL over last night and enjoyed getting back in the kitchen and warming up the house w/ the smell of home-cooked food. There's nothing like it. The scent of rich chocolate slowly melting, the earthy allure of mushrooms sauteeing, the engorged sweetness of beets roasting in the toaster oven...my culinary self was re-awakened.
Here was my menu:
Cream of asparagus soup w/ Dungeness crab
Salad of roasted beets, green beans and orange supremes w/ mustard tarragon vinaigrette
Chicken riesling w/ buttered egg noodles
Chocolate mousse w/ whipped cream
My photos of the meal are linked below. I improvised w/ the first two items and then modified recipes from Balthazar for the chicken riesling and Les Halles for the mousse. The meal evolved nicely, and I served an Alsatian riesling to naturally complement the chicken dish.
I really liked the contrasting temp. across the meal w/ the soup being hot while the crab was chilled. Salad and mousse were also well-chilled while the chicken was rich and warming but not as heavy as a red-wine braise like coq au vin. I normally favor fruit desserts, but a classic chocolate mousse just felt so right...the Les Halles recipe is fantastic and seemed lighter than other recipes that used all or mostly yolks. Don't get me wrong, it was plenty decadent and creamy...
Since I'm getting back into cooking and posting, I'm going to end it here and would be happy to answer questions or elaborate on recipes if anyone is interested.
PS. Thanks to whoever gave the tip long ago that if you overwhip your heavy cream, all you have to do is add more cream to reverse the effect. I was distracted and when I peeked into the stand mixer, cream was past stiff peaks and the tip worked like a charm!