It's spring break, which is a notoriously slow week in the restaurant business in Vancouver, so I wasn't entirely shocked to get the mid-afternoon phone call offering me the night off yesterday. I cheerfully accepted as I don't like working slow weekend nights, or busy ones for that matter either but that's another story, but then was left with a bit of a problem as to what to do about dinner.
We are a "one cell phone" family and wife and daughter had headed downtown for a movie "sans" cellphone. As they would be expecting me to be leaving the house around 4pm I had no way of knowing whether they would return home for dinner, taco fixins for two in the fridge, or stop for pizza/WhiteSpot/Earl's whatever. I decided to shop for dinner and then see how things played out.
As luck would have it we all arrived home at the same time, 5:15ish so dinner at home was a go, however plans were delayed by a visit with the neighbours and I didn't get started on dinner until around 6:30. My initial plan to roast a chicken were nixed by my time frame so I de-boned the breast to make cutlets.
The boneless chicken cutlets were dredged in flour seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme and oregano then the cutlets were sauteed in olive oil and butter while broccoli and saffron rice were prepared. While the chicken rested I made a pan sauce and the whole thing hit the table around 7 o'clock.
Daughter was thoroughly enjoying dinner and asked what the sauce was, I said I'd "just deglazed the pan and mounted the reduction" then realized that she had no idea what that meant.
I explained that after removing the chicken from the pan I'd added white wine and scraped the pan to incorporate the carmelized goodness into the liquid, this was then heated to reduce by half and then a knob of butter was added, monte au beurre, to add richness. Once the butter was melted I strained the sauce, adding any juice from the resting chicken et voila.
At this point daughter looked at me as if to say: "so this is burnt bits off the bottom of the pan with boiling wine and fat added to it ?" but actually just said "Gee, thanks daddy, I really didn't need to know that." Sometimes I talk too much, I should've just said it was gravy and left it at that.
On a more sombre note Hammy passed away on St. Patrick's day. Daughter is inconsolable, but getting a bit better every day, seeing her in such true emotional pain is very hard on wife and I but things will eventually return to normal. Already we've come down from "I'll never have another pet again" to "well I don't think I could deal with another hamster".