Or sort of, anyhow. The restaurant and I have amicably parted ways—I wasn't exactly what they needed, and they weren't exactly what I needed, and that was (as they say) that. They're some very nice businesspeople and I would work for them again in the future, if the opportunity presented itself.
Once again, that leaves me here to contemplate life, the universe, and everything—and to cook delicious food and present it to the lot of you!
Last week, I returned to the Phoenix Café, with two dishes for the assembled masses: From New Vegetarian Dishes by Mrs. Bowdich, 1892, a preparation of Green Beans (which I purchased fresh at that week's Tuesday Market at Eastern Market,) and Chicken Cacciatore.
1 shallot, minced
1 pint (473 ml) tomato juice
1 pound (453 g) green beans, steamed and shocked
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) pepper
a blonde roux of 1 oz (28 g) flour and 1 oz (28 g) olive oil
1. Sweat the shallot, and add the tomato juice. Whisk in the roux, Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer about half an hour.
2. Season with pepper and salt. Add the Green beans in, and thoroughly re-heat.
(When I prepared this, I used tomato purée instead of juice, and a bit of garlic instead of a shallot. I think the results were comparable. This is a very simple dish, and I like it that way—even though my compulsion is to complicate it overmuch.)
On to the second recipe: Chicken Cacciatore. It's a recipe that has existed more or less in the same manner for many years; I have a cookbook from the turn of the 20th century called "The Cook's Decameron" that includes a recipe for Cacciatore; indeed, "Hunter-Style" food is a common item in many cuisines, usually containing more "rustic" (or wildly available) items like mushrooms, as well as "spicier" things like bell peppers. (French cuisine includes "Forestière" sauce, for example.) I've figured out a way to make the recipe cook more quickly, so that I can serve it in under an hour from start to finish.
2 pounds (907 g) chicken meat (I used breasts,) boneless, skinless, and cut into 1" (2.5 cm) cubes
2 Orange Bell Peppers, Julienne
2 Green Bell Peppers, Julienned
2 White Onion, Julienne
1 pound (455 g) White Button Mushrooms, Sliced
2 28-oz (794 g) cans Diced Tomatoes
Dry Red Wine
Salt and Pepper
1. Salt and pepper the chicken, and sear it in hot oil. Set aside.
2. Heat more oil and begin to cook the onions. When they have become somewhat translucent, add the bell peppers. Cook until slightly softened.
3. Add the chicken back in, and the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are softened.
4. Add a good quantity of red wine (it will depend on how large your cooking vessel is how much you want to use,) and cook until mostly evaporated. Add the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, and a good amount of oregano. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
I apologize I don't have any pictures of either of these dishes at this time—hopefully I'll add some soon.