We were invited to dinner last Saturday night. We are so lucky to have such good and supportive friends. And to think that we met them because of our respective blogs. The “Other Penny”, as we sometimes refer to each other, has a lifestyle blog that has detailed her many talents in whispering houses back to life. She and her husband both know what a house needs to make it a comfortable home. Her blog, The Comforts of Home, chronicles the projects and ideas that can improve any house. But she is also a fantastic cook. Penny is well aware of our upcoming trip to France (Probably because that is all I talk about). Both she and her husband have been to France and have shared many tips with us. For our Bon Voyage dinner Penny made a French meal.
One of France’s national treasures is the Gourgere. These small cheese puffs are made from pate a choux dough. In its sweet version the dough is used in cream puffs stuffed with sweetened whipped cream. But when you want a savory appetizer you add Gruyere cheese to the dough and allow them to bake, puff and form a hollow center. They melt in your mouth. They are made all over France, but the Burgundy region claims them as their own. They are served in many restaurants there as an appetizer with the local aperitif. We had them with a lovely white wine. Here is the recipe from Barefoot in Paris.
Coq au Vin, the classic French chicken in red wine is one of the dishes that I have served many times. But Penny’s version, made with white wine, is a perfect alternative. The one thing that has always bothered my about the original recipe is the burgundy color that infuses the chicken. It just doesn’t look natural. White wine is a good thing for this dish. Penny also uses boneless chicken thighs which cook faster and retain their juiciness. Her rendition keeps the smoky bacon flavor, the earthiness of the mushrooms and the silkiness of the onions. It is winey and earthy at the same time. The mashed potatoes (David’s favorite) and the braised carrots are the perfect finishing touches. You can find her recipe here.
Dessert was a spectacular lemon meringue tart. The recipe came from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris. The mood has been set and we are ready for our trip. Thanks for a great meal Penny.