Today was full of blessings.  First of all, Alan did not have to work today.  Second of all, Mom, Sarah and I had lunch with Nicole at Peking Garden.  Nicole recommended that PG might be the perfect location for a rehearsal dinner, instead of the reception (especially since I think the tables seat ~80).  Alan and I are leaning more heavily toward having the reception catered at Grammy’s house.  And, PG holds many memories for us, since the owner of PG translated my sister’s adoption papers for my parents (meaning that we, as a family, have been eating there for as long as I can remember), and it was also the first place where Alan and I had dinner together (and it was also where I met Sarah and Andy!).
After we ate lunch, I asked Nicole to be my bridesmaid, and she accepted.  Nicole is a very important part of my life, as my former pastor’s wife of 12-ish years and surrogate sister.  Plus, her sons (especially her middle and youngest) were very close with Sarah and me when we were younger, so they really are family.  We’re just missing the paperwork.

The, this evening, Katie, who has been my best friend since eighth grade, and Mark, her fiance (who has been my friend since preschool), came over this evening to make dinner with Alan and me.  We opted for Parmesan-Crusted Chicken and Boursin Creamed Spinach (from a Cuisine at Home magazine Mom received), and Grammy dropped off a coconut cake (that she decorated with tiny red roses and green leaves and piping, and then said that it wasn’t very good), which we ate for dessert.  Katie and Mark also brought some Oreo truffles, the recipe for which she found on Weddingbee.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 C. coarse, dry bread crumbs
  • 1 T. chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 C. grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 450F.  Flatten chicken breasts.  Mix egg whites, cornstarch and lemon juice to create dipping mixture.  Combine remaining ingredients in a wide, shallow dish.  Dip chicken into dipping mixture and then bread crumb mixture.  Place on a baking sheet and cook until done.

Boursin Creamed Spinach

  • 2 C. diced onion
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/4 C. flour
  • 2 C. skim milk
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 2 pkg. Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs cheese
  • 20 oz. chopped spinach
  • 1/4 C. grated Parmesan
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper and cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 C. coarse bread crumbs
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.  Saute onion in butter on medium heat until soft.  Add flour and stir to coat onion.  Gradually whisk milk and cream into onion mixture, stirring constantly.  Simmer for one minute.  Stir in Boursin until melted; remove from heat.  Add spinach, Parmesan, lemon juice and seasonings.  Pour into a shallow, greased baking dish.  Mix remaining ingredients and top spinach mixture with crumbs.  Bake approximately 20 min.

It was nice for the four of us to cook together and then dine and fellowship with one another.  Alan and I talked about Shooter’s graduation like those parents who celebrate their children “graduating” from fourth grade to fifth grade (For the record, everyone’s child moves from fourth grade to fifth grade.  Your child is not special, and you are celebrating mediocrity if you are celebrating that “graduation.”  High school graduation is also included.  As is the earning of a bachelor’s degree.  If you want to celebrate your child’s achievements, wait until she has a master’s degree or a doctorate in hand.), and we ate delicious food.  I was quite impressed with the way everything turned out, from the taste of the food (since Alan and I have a habit of throwing things in without measuring) to the fact that everyone enjoyed it (Katie and I are lactose intolerant, and I strongly dislike meat).

Have you ever tested a new recipe on company and been delightfully surprised (or mortified)?