Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mustard Maple Glazed Hens, Cocktails and Old Neighbors

This is an old bad picture, taken with my point and shoot. Not that it would have been better with the new camera...

Heather and Walt used to live next door to us. Then they had babies and moved. We like to think it had to do with wanting cul de sacs and such and not that they were afraid of the influence we would have on their offspring. They come over and eat dinner every once in a while to keep from hurting our feelings. They're nice like that.

I'm pretending it's fall outside, so despite the fact that it's still stinkin' hot, I decided on a fall-like menu.

Cocktails: The Parker

Maple-Mustard Glazed Hens
Roasted Sweet and Russet Potatoes
Asparagus with Ginger

We had the whole 60s vibe going, with some Sinatra playing, a fancy cocktail, company for dinner, and me in pearls and a pair of pumps and a pretty dress. Well, OK, so I was wearing flip flops and a Captain Caveman t-shirt. I can't really pull off "elegance". Not on my person, anyway. Food and accompaniments, I can handle.

Suggested Musical Accompaniment
This was a weeknight, and I do have a day-job that doesn't involve Sinatra and cocktails, so I picked a menu that was quick and easy. Prep start time 5:00. The chicken is one of my favorites for fall, the potatoes and asparagus were prepped lickety split, and I was out of the kitchen playing Freecell and reading The Bloggess and Hyperbole and a Half putting on my pearls and some lipstick and doing some last-minute house spiffying by 5:31.

The chicken marinates in a mixture of mustard, maple syrup and some spices. Then I just put them on a foil and parchment lined roasting pan and they sat and waited for the grill to heat up.

I didn't get a picture of them cooked. They look like this, only browner.
You can take the marinade and boil it down and turn it into a very nice sauce. Which I did. The potatoes were just one large sweet potato and one large russet potato, chopped into large chunks, tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper, and roasted at 400F for about 35 minutes. The asparagus I simply steamed, then topped with sauteed minced garlic, ginger and some soy sauce.   The Parker is the cocktail I chose for the evening. It's summery enough to handle the actual weather we're having, rather than the pretend weather I created for dinner. It's a close approximation of a cocktail we had in New York City years ago when we were visiting with my in-laws. We stayed at the Algonquin and had drinks in the downstairs bar a couple of times. What a cool place.

A long time ago in a bar far, far away...
The Parker was named after Dorothy Parker, and near as we can figure it, it's 1 part vodka, 1/2 part chambord and the juice of half a lemon. It's close enough. Pootie is actually drinking one of the Algonquin's daquaris in that picture. This is The Parker.

This is Pootie playing Cafeteria Worker in the Algonquin hotel room with the shower cap.

We don't get out of the house much.

Anyway, I had a Parker ready for Heather to try out when they arrived. She liked it. Walt stuck with beer.

The hens went on a 400F grill for about 40 minutes and they were ready. Roasting things, in my book, is the way to go for a fast, low-fuss dinner. And judging by the plates when dinner was over, everything was received well. Yep, ply them with enough booze and food, and people will come see you!

Hey. It works for me.

Here's the .pdf of the chicken, if you'd like to try it.

Cheers, y'all!

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