A very long time ago, a friend took me to a wonderful restaurant where Santa Monica Blvd meets Beverly Blvd. in West Hollywood, California. The restaurant was called Figaro, and my friend said I should order his favorite salad. I don’t remember what it was called, but I have always remembered how good it was.
Years later, when this same friend came back into my life, I told him I had a surprise and presented this salad. He was so happy he almost wept, saying he never thought he would have that salad at Figaro’s again – as the restaurant had closed quite some time before.
I really like watching America’s Test Kitchen, and follow them on Facebook. So, when they announced a Kitchen Challenge to make Chicken à la King, I just had to take up the challenge. What makes my Chicken a la King different? Well, it’s barbecue season, and my Weber was sitting outside, crying that it couldn’t join in the fun. I thought to myself, why not? Pimentos are nothing more than very mild chili peppers. I had some lovely yellow, orange and red sweet peppers, and I had some mushrooms and shallots. I also had a chicken breast. All those could go on the grill, couldn’t they? Sure, they could get a lot of flavor to add to a dish that I already really like.
The America’s Test Kitchen challenge is to cook like it’s 1917. Charcoal was developed from waste wood scrap in the Ford Motor Company in 1920, and renamed Kingsford thereafter. Kingsford was a relative of Henry Ford. The Weber grill was not invented until the 1960s but I’m sure that people were barbecuing in some sort of fashion in 1917 – how else would Henry Ford have been able to sell charcoal? I think I’m okay with the time-line, don’t you?
I am a practicing Catholic. What does that mean? It means I go to Mass every Sunday where I have Communion , I try to go to Confession once a month (and definitely before a Holy day), and I share the Good Word with others. When I was growing up I heard about the Passover Seder, and my mother had friends who were Jewish, but we never went to one. It was not until a year after I went through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) that I went to any form of Seder, and that was put on by a lovely Catholic couple. I thought it was such a nice way to help celebrate what God has given us, that I decided that I was going to have my own Seder. Last night was that first attempt, and was the start of a new tradition in our small family. I did not do a full Seder, I just presented a Seder plate, said some words of explanation where we all participated, and then I served a great dinner that brought it all together. I will share that with you here.