Monday, May 31, 2010

Dinner for One

Today is Memorial Day and it has been pretty sucky so far. My husband went boating all day and then off to a BBQ, while I stayed home with the boy and cleaned the house with a pending case of bronchitis. Seriously, I feel like Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio from "The Abyss" when she purposely drowned herself and Ed Harris brought her back to life. Lungs full of liquid, burning chest. If that fine ass Ed Harris was here it might make me feel a little better. Lord a Mercy that man was fine! But to digress, with the boys out of the house at the BBQ, I got to do something that I have not done in a long time. I made dinner for myself.
It was fabulous. I made whole wheat rotini with lemon cream sauce, roasted chicken, pancetta and asparagus. Had a big ol' glass of wine (which I'm sure doesn't help the bronchitis) and was able to eat my entire dinner SLOWLY. No getting up five hundred times to get a refill of orange juice, a napkin, a nothin'. It was vanglorious! So I am going to let you enjoy my dinner as well, try it at home and I ask that you sit down by yourself and enjoy dinner for one.

Rotini with Roasted Chicken, Pancetta and Lemon Cream Sauce
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 5 slices pancetta
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1/4 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • olive oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat rotini
Preheat oven on broil setting. Lay slices of pancetta on a prepared sheet pan. Place pancetta in the oven and cook until crispy. Once crispy, lay pancetta slices on a paper towel and allow them to cool. Once cooled, crumble slices into small pieces and set aside.
Take chicken breast and salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breast. On either a hot pan or cast iron griddle add a little olive oil and sear both sides of the chicken breast. If in a pan add yellow onion, thyme and chicken stock. If on a griddle transfer chicken to a pan and add the previous ingredients. Place a lid on the pan and reduce heat. Roast until chicken is cooked through and then let chicken rest for 5 min before pulling chicken apart. Set shredded chicken aside for later.
Begin boiling water for rotini. Once water comes to a boil add rotini. In a medium sized sauce pan, add olive oil and bring to medium heat. Add shallots and cook until shallots become soft. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Once garlic becomes fragrant add heavy cream and reduce heat to medium/low heat. Slowly incorporate Parmesan and stir until Parmesan is melted into cream. Add butter and zest to sauce. Take a ladle full of pasta water from rotini and add to sauce. This will thicken the sauce.
Drain pasta once al dente and add to sauce along with chicken and asparagus. Cook until the ingredients are coated with sauce. Place in a serving bowl and top with pancetta and more shredded Parmesan.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Universe Trust Fall

So I again I will start this blog with the usual apologies for staying away so long. Sorry! It has been a very demanding month. To say that recent events don't have me scared out of my mind would be a bold lie. My friends tell me that when you take risk you should be scared. But being scared is very uncomfortable for me and talking about it, puts me in a place of vulnerability that I have never been comfortable being in.
In 10 days we close escrow on a building that will be the home of our first restaurant. It's an amazing two story building that will house "Eight American Bistro" on the bottom floor and live/work lofts on the second. The later phase will be a penthouse on the third floor. The whole project will be a "green" project. Over 40% of the build will be with recycled products and the other 60% sustainable products. Everybody that is working on the project is soooo excited. It stands to be a catalyst for "green" urban infill in Sacramento. There is just one little problem. Though we have heavy investor interest to back the project once we own the building we still have not been able to rally all the funding towards the down payment to buy the building.
We had investors that were interested before we went into escrow to fund the entire project and entered into escrow based on initial meetings, but disagreements on the details of the deal led to a parting of ways.
So now here we are with the building of our dreams, and more than 165K short of making those dreams come to fruition. I'm trying to find a more poetic way of saying, "This fuckin' sucks!" But lack of sleep is depriving me of such eloquence at this time. The thing that scares me the most really is not that we may lose this building, it's everyone that is so excited about working on this project. From project contractors and consultants to future chefs and serving staff. This whole thing is bigger than Ian and I having the restaurant that we always wanted, it's the community that we have the opportunity to build. The new jobs that will be created, the shift in the way we construct buildings, how we responsibly tackle urban infill and how we take control of the food we eat and make, to ensure we live healthier longer lives....I'm scared to lose all that. It's bigger than just a fabulous location, though it is an amazing location, it's a year and a half of wanting something better for my community and fearing that it could all be gone because of 165 thousand stupid dollars. It keeps me up at night, it makes me cry in the shower so that no one can see, it has me praying to a God that I haven't had a relationship with in three years. It has me scared.
An advisor told me two months ago that I need to move forward with everything that I am doing to make this dream come true. That there will be times of uncertainty, but I had to trust in the Universe. That sometimes people hesitate to make moves because they feel they might not have all their ducks in a row. He said, "Make moves like you do have all your ducks in a row and the Universe will catch you."
And so far it has.
But I get more scared as we near this deadline and attempts to acquire the rest of the down payment just keep not working out. Maybe this is the part of the journey were I need to turn around, cross my arms over my chest, close my eyes and just fall.