I have the kind of personality that loves being home. I have a home office and I’ve created a routine that works for me. I’m working diligently on my cookbook, Le Kitchen Cookbook—at the moment, I’m struggling a little to organize the recipes and the chapters—so I have a task.
But being home only really works if I have something to look forward to—hence, my love of entertaining. It’s a good balance that allows me to spend time alone and time with friends.
I'm not used to the isolation; none of us are. So finding a way to connect with friends in an attempt to find some sort of normality in my life is important, and I believe it will be even more important as time goes on. We need not only take care of ourselves physically but mentally as well.
As I mentioned in last week's blog, our daughter, Olivia, put together a virtual birthday happy hour for us to celebrate her birthday. It was so much fun that Mark and I decided to host a virtual dinner party—an idea I love because it’s something we can look forward to and we'll get to spend time with good friends!How exactly are we going to pull this off?
Once that’s accomplished, we have to figure out what we are going to eat; that’s where it gets different and interesting.
Here are some ideas I came up with:
Whichever method we choose, we'll all be eating at the same time just like we would if we were in the same place.
I wrote out the courses, starting with drinks, water, wine . . .
When we gather for dinner with our friends, we often end with an after-dinner drink so we can keep the conversation going. Clearly it isn’t essential but it is a nice way to end the evening.
But we’re not done yet. If it’s a dinner party, you have to set the table and create an atmosphere the same way you would if your friends were actually coming over. Think about the flowers, lighting, candles, plates, glasses, etc.
Our dinner party is this Saturday night at 7:30. We sent out invitations and everyone is coming. I included a Zoom invitation so we can all be on the screen at the same time. It is free but you do have to download the application.
In the invitation I attached my Coq au Vin recipe just in case anyone else wanted to make the same recipe. The recipe is good, can be made ahead, and freezes really well.
For appetizer; I thought if I can find smoked salmon I can serve it with creme fraiche, lemon, and dill on black bread that I have in the freezer. Simple and good.
Dessert: our farmers market should be open and I’m sure I can find apples to make a rustic apple pie—that is one where the crust is roughly folded over the outer edge of the apples.
In the Coq au Vin recipe below I have noted the things that are optional in case you don’t have them and can’t find them at the store. It’s a very flexible recipe that is best if you include all the ingredients but doesn’t need them to be good.
I’ll take pictures Saturday night and show them to you next week.What are you doing to try and maintain normality? I’d love to hear.
Adeline’s Coq au Vin
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
Adjustments for Covid 19 lack of ingredients: I wrote what's optional next to the ingredients you can leave out. The recipe is best with everything in it but sometimes you have to make do.
Ingredients¼ pound lean salt pork or thick bacon sliced into thin strips (optional)
20 minutes before the chicken is ready, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Ten minutes before serving, add the noodles and cook as instructed on the package.
To serve, either place the coq au vin and the noodles in separate bowls or in individual plates. Spoon the stew over the noodles and serve.
* There will be lots of flames, but as the alcohol burns off the flames will die down. Use the lid only if the flames get out of control.
P.S. If you make the Coq au Vin, take a picture and post it on Instagram and mention me I’d love to see it. @adelineolmer
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Having a party again is simply wonderful. Every summer, Mark, my husband, makes a gigantic paella and we invite friends to watch the process (trust me, it is a show) and eat the amazing results. The party always occurs between the 4th of July and the 14th, Bastille Day. Are you wondering why we make a paella to . . .