Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Season

We are only a couple of weeks from Christmas. I am sitting in front of my decorated tree, watching the Texas Tenors sing their adorable heads off.  Very Christmas spirit type of this.

I wish I could put into words what listening to this type of music does to my is like my soul sings along with them. Heaven knows my voice can't.  But this type of music does resonate somewhere deep inside of me and gives me such depth of feeling but such peace all at the same time.  From the incrediable voices to the strings being played with such talent, the thrill of the sound brings tears to my eyes because of it's beauty.  I would be a puddle on the floor if I allowed myself.

I think this is one of the reasons I love this time of the year.  I love being able to enjoy the sense of goodwill that everyone is demonstrating.  I am full of the season.  My family not so much.  I am coming to the conslusion I may have to enjoy the season a bit on my own.  I can only create events that show the season.  They have to decide if they are going to embrace it.  On some level that makes me sad...I remember how excited they would get with Christmas around the corner.  Those of you who have young ones, please take the time to enjoy it with them.  It really is such a pocket of time that is here then gone forever.

There are so many things I would do differently...I was way too stressed about my kids bothering others, keeping the house clean, trying to keep messes from happening.  I really did not understand that my kids just wanted me!  Not the newest toy (that didn't hurt), not the next TV program.  They wanted their daddy and mommy; and that is why God gave us grandchildren.

But I can still make a hit with a meal.  And I did that the other night with homemade pasta and a chicken with Dijon mustard cream sauce that was dynamite.

I saw this pasta on America's Test Kitchen (click and view the video) and have been making it over and over.  We did this in our Middle school cooking class.  The kids loved it and some took balls of it home to roll out for dinner that night!
2 c of flour, 2 T. olive oil, 2 whole eggs, 6 egg yolks.  Mix is a food processor till it makes a sticky ball.  Remove the ball and using as little flour as possible
 roll it out into a log, about 6-8 inches log.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours (ours went about 6 and longer and it was fine).  Cut into 6 equal portions, cover the 5 not in use.  Pat into a 3 inch rectangle, then dusting your board with flour roll out.  Start in the middle and roll up, then the middle and roll down.  Flip and turn and do this over and over till the dough is very thin.  Lay on a towel, repeat with the rest.  Once they are all done, let the sheets dry for 15 minutes.
Fold the sheets of dough onto itself, making them about 2-3 inches deep.  Slice the dough into strips.  Unfold them, toss them with a little flour and you are ready to cook.  Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook your pasta for about three minutes.  Drain and enjoy.  It really is that easy.

I made my Winter Night Chicken with the home made pasta!

Winter Night Chicken-a nod to Kathleen Flinn and the amazing recipe I learned from her book, “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School”.

2 lbs of bone in, skin on chicken thighs & olive oil plus butter; kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper; 8 oz of cremini mushrooms, sliced; 2 springs of fresh rosemary and several of fresh thyme (purchase the poultry bundle and you will have several different ones); 3 T. Dijon mustard; 1 1/2 c heavy cream; 
In a heavy oven proof skillet (cast iron) heat about 4 T. olive oil and 2 T.
butter.  Once it is hot, lay the thighs skin side down to brown.  Walk away...let them brown.  About 6 minutes later turn the meat over, add the mushrooms, lay the springs of herbs on top, 1/2 t each salt and pepper, place in a 400 degree oven for another 20 minutes.  This will finish the meat cooking. 
Bring the skillet back to the stove top, over medium heat, remove the dead springs of herbs.  Mix the cream with the Dijon mustard, pour over the meat and let it come to a bubble. 
Meanwhile bring a lb of fettuccini to boil, cook till al dente.
Serve the chicken and sauce over the pasta.  As usual good crusty bread goes well with this dish. 

This is my tree that my dear friend Jackie helped me do.  My family has been gone working, working and more working, so with her help I got a lot of decorating done.

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