Since my postings this year have been nothing if not erratic, sporadic, and ... nomadic, I give you my Valentine's Day feast! I roasted broccoli and green beans - you simply must roast green beans if you never have! Wonderful. I mashed up some celeriac and potato with cream and butter; and the star of the show was chicken breast with mushroom sauce. The sauce was really good.
When I was a girl - actually this continued into college years - my father gave us Valentine's Day bags full of candy and trinkets. It made my sister and I feel special and loved every February 14th, while simultaneously setting a standard for the future men in our lives. As an adult, after some disappointing Valentine's days with disappointing boyfriends, I think I have learned that I have to cultivate that feeling instead of expecting it to arrive from elsewhere. So I planned a special meal and made a special dessert for my valentine. Then I got on the phone with my sister and made a pact to send each other things every V-day to recapture that childhood sensation that we both miss.
I did not end up making Valentine cookies for the neighborhood, as I thought I would way back on December. Did I really think I would? I was just glowing from all the neighborhood connections I made while I dropped off my sugary Christmas creations.
I would like to celebrate Valentine's Day at the end of April, the way I recall the Catalans doing in Barcelona. It was April, right? I'll look it up. Anyway, it was el Dia de San Jorge (Jordi) and girls got flowers while boys got books. I would rather have a book, actually. So I think that I shall make a San Jordi feast this year - after I look up the date - and work in the garden and read a book.
I'll send my sister some flowers and a book too. Won't that be nice.
Supreme of Chicken, adapted a bit from Jacques Pepin's Fast Food My Way
1-2 T olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup minced shallots
1 cup diced white mushrooms
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 T ketchup
1/2 cup water
JP says to cook the breasts in the oven at 180 degrees for 10-30 minutes. Mine were raw after 20 minutes, so I cooked them in a skillet with the olive oil instead. Also, his recipe uses four breasts, but I like a lot of mushroom sauce, so I used two and kept the same amount of sauce.
Remove the breasts and add 1T butter and the shallots, cooking over medium-low heat for about one minute. Add the mushrooms and stir, then leave them alone so that the water is released after a few minutes. When the mushrooms are sitting in their own juices, turn the heat to medium-high until most of the juices evaporate and the mushrooms caramelize. Add the vinegar and ketchup and continue to cook for one minute, scraping up the bits. Add the water and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the remaining 1T butter, and stir to incorporate. Serve over chicken.
JP serves this with sauteed corn and peas, seasoned with salt and pepper, butter and chives, I liked my celeriac and broccoli.