There are only a few weeks left before everyone will be taking off in opposite directions: some to internships, some to summer volunteer jobs, some home for the summer. Seniors will be dispersing to all corners of the globe as they start their shiny new jobs. Carpe diem! Enjoy your time together while you’ve got it. It’s time to draw everyone together again with a dinner party before they get busy with the crush of finals.
The menu tonight? A delicious lemon-tarragon chicken with sides of wild rice, asparagus and pineapple, followed by a tasty dessert of angel food cake with homemade chocolate whipped cream icing. The traditional wine pairing for poultry would be a white, and a pinot would match the meal nicely. But we decided to shake up the norm a bit by pairing the meal with a delicious merlot.
The following menu is meant to serve 4-6.
Angel Food Cake with Chocolate Whipped Cream
Our tip: Make Betty Crocker angel food cake. It’s easy — all you do is add water and mix it before sticking it in the oven — and no one can tell the difference. If you really want to make it homemade, our favorite recipe is from the children’s storybook “High-rise Glorious Skittle Skat Roarious Sky Pie Angel Food Cake.” The real key to this dessert is the whipped cream.
1 (.5 pint) carton whipping cream
.5 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
.25 cup cocoa powder
Put all ingredients together in small mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on high until soft peaks form. When the texture is that of whipped cream (soon after peaks start), stop, and spread on cake immediately. Don’t over-beat, as over-churned cream turns into butter. After icing the cake, keep refrigerated until serving.
Start cooking this right before putting the chicken into the oven. Pour rice and water into a large pot, with three parts water to one part rice. Bring to a strong simmer. Simmer covered for about 45 minutes, until rice pops open like a hot-dog bun. Drain. Add salt and butter to taste.
Lemon Tarragon Chicken
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (remove the white gristly stuff)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon tarragon
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken into glass baking dish or foil-lined pan. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Bake for 1 hour, basting (spooning sauce from pan back over chicken) every 5-10 minutes. Serve with sauce.
You need 2 bunches.
Rinse. Trim off bottom inch and discard. Cut remainder into thirds (about 2 inches long). Place into pot with just enough water to cover bottom. Simmer water with lid on to steam asparagus until they turn bright green but are still somewhat firm, then drain and serve, with butter and salt to taste.
Fresh pineapple are currently in season. Pick out a good one — the color should be slightly golden, and the leaves on top should be relatively easy to pluck out. If they fall out without a tug, the pineapple is overripe.