Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Chicken at the End of the World

Dear Mouse, 

Happy Winter!

Xmas Tree on the porch of The Porches Inn, North Adams, MA

 It's 12:01 AM on 12/22/12, which means the Winter Solstice has passed, and we are all still alive, praise {Insert Mayan Deity Here}. You, A-Mac and MD have just left my place after our annual Solstice Dinner, which means I have been consuming wine since early 12/21/12. As such, I'll try to keep this short, sweet, and coherent.

I've been back in NYC for twelve days now since A-Mac and I returned from a two-week gig up in the Berkshires that was, on several levels, the stuff that dreams are made on. 

                                      Even though we had to wear our own faces all the time. 

(My) first snow of the year!! glimpsed from hotel window

Just another day at the office

                               Sabine, the Porches Inn Cat, stares at the fire. (There's a fireplace.)

I'm well aware that a lot is going on in our world at the moment. Certainly there's been enough new things to blog about in the time since I returned from AvantShangriLuminatiCamp. And I'm aware that if I AM going to yammer on about My Winter Vacation in the hills I could at least talk about the incredible Museum where we worked, the beautiful and challenging piece we were there to rehearse, the Dream Team Playwright/Director/Composer triumverate I have only dreamed of, or at least the memorable acoustic gig I played in a local sports bar/restaurant, singing in front of a popcorn machine between two flat screen TVs. These are all important.

But all I really want to talk about ...

... is breakfast.

So, you fill out the little card and hang it on your door at night...

... and in the morning, this happens.

(L to R (basically): chocolate croissant, juice glass, adorable silver 'lunchbox', black mug, grapefruit juice, half-and-half, coffee thermos, NY Times.)

Yes, the Porches Inn in North Adams, where we were housed for this gig, is a pretty stellar joint. It has a lot going for it : rural charm, proximity to famous museum, fireplace, 24-hour outdoor hot tub. But the feature which has ruined me for all Actor Housing going forward is

 - three words -

 Complimentary. In-room. Breakfast. 

Let's see it again, shall we?

I mean, if you can imagine a more Boo-Friendly amenity I'd like to hear it. 
You choose coffee or tea, type of juice, type of pastry, type of milk!!, and either local news or NY Times. Oh, and when I requested fruit instead of pastry? I got it. Apple & orange. I mean I still can't get over this . I really can't. 

I figured, well, I'll do that for the first few mornings. You know, until I get sick of it. 

(I never got sick of it. Oh, yeah, and all our meals were catered. And ... scene.)

But nothing gold can stay, and so it was that we finished the project with tears, laughter, harmony, weight gain, and good memories. I found myself back in NYC, forlorn, bleary-eyed, and - gasp! - having to fix my own breakfast.  Oh, the hardships of re-entry. 

Fortunately, we do have The Commons downstairs, and so far no one there has noticed when I'm wearing pajamas.  Also fortunately, the five-pound bag of The Roasterie 'Kansas City Blend' coffee I ordered (from, yes, Kansas City) arrived while I was gone. And most fortunately of all, I remembered that I like to cook

And when you find yourself in the kitchen feeling, for whatever reason, just a little out of practice (read: lazy/whiny), it's good to have a reaally simple, shall we say Foolproof recipe to which you can turn.

Chicken with Shallots, from Ina Garten's new cookbook, "Foolproof", which The Mother gave us both for Hanukkah. Good timing. 

This is the chicken I made for you guys tonight and I think I can say it was a hit. I recommend it for a busy winter week like this because it is FAST, Easy, and yet also somehow Fancy-Seeming and special. 

Happy Winter and Room Service for All!


The Boo

The Boo's Room Service Recovery Chicken, or Ina Garten's 'Chicken With Shallots' from 'Foolproof'

*I do not own an ovenproof skillet, so I browned the chicken in a pan on the stove and then transferred it to a roasting pan for the oven part. Also, Ina calls for "boneless, skin-on" chicken breasts which I couldn't find. My breasts had bones (you know what I mean) and it was just fine. *


4 skin-on chicken breasts
1/4 C minced shallot (1 large)
1/3 C fresh lemon juice  
3 tbsp heavy cream
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, diced, room temp
1/2 C white wine
3 tbsp canola or veg oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425. 
Heat oil in skillet over med high heat for 2 min until it starts to smoke. 
Place chicken breasts, skin down, in oil and leave them for 4 - 5 min.
With tongs, turn them over and put the skillet in the oven for 12-15 min. (or, like me, transfer to roasting pan, and put in oven.)
Meanwhile, on stove, mix shallots, lemon juice, and wine in a saucepan over med-high heat. Cook until reduced to about 2 tbsp.  
Add cream, salt, pepper and bring to a boil. 
Turn off heat and add the diced butter. Swirl the pan to melt the butter.  (Don't reheat, says Ina, or sauce will "break", something that the Mouse explained to me and I still don't understand what it is.)
Take out the chicken and pour the sauce over it. Serve. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh girlies...thank goodness you love to write and love to write and cook and love to write and cook and share your highs and lows and fabulous theatrical adventures here
you are as delicious as your recipes promise my deahs!