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Dinner for six in two hours. It can be done.

I had a wonderful girls weekend this past Friday and Saturday. It was a nice time to get away from the normal pace of raising two small boys, dealing with the laundry or the cat litter (two of my least favorite things), and generally preparing and organizing all that goes on around here.
My husband, meanwhile, invited two couple for dinner on Saturday night. I got home at 5:30 and our guests started coming at 7:15.
Less than two hours after coming home, dinner was not served, but we had fun. We ate lots of hors d’oeuvres and drank a few glasses of red wine. Dinner was served at 8.

Julia Child’s Potage Aux Epignards (Spinach Soup)
It was pretty good, anything with that much butter and cream can’t taste that bad. It took no time to prepare. French cooking doesn’t have to be hard. It can be, but it isn’t always.
Brick Fried Chicken
from Lynne Rossetta Kasper’s How to Eat Supper. It was wonderful and juicy. You actually cook a butterflied chicken in a skillet with a brick on top of it. Don’t let the title fool you; this is sauteed, not deep-fried. I heard once that sauteing was a snobs way of frying. However, you get some of the crispy skin, but it is not coated like that brand formally known as Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Arugula Salad
with strawberries and polenta crisps (I used this recipes, but cut them a lot smaller for crisps) I dress most any salad with balsamic vinaigrette and this was no exception. I keep a bottle on the counter all the time. It’s easy to make and a little goes a long way. (1 part balsamic vinegar, 2 parts extra-virgin olive oil, a tsp or two of Dijon mustard- depending on how much you’re making. Blend together with a whisk or right in the cruet.)
(we skipped this, because there was already enough food on the table and I had really forgotten about it until the last minute.) I have made this recipe before, though and it is a great, easy side dish. My husband would prefer that I add roasted pine nuts or walnuts next time; he likes the crunchy nutty taste with the chewier taste of this oversized couscous.
Steamed Asparagus
Vanilla Ice Cream with homemade chocolate sauce and orange zest
This I adapted from Julia’s chocolate sauce. I added a little orange zest, because, why not? Her recipe is great plain, but it comes in a much longer recipe for profiteroles. Those are a thing of beauty, but not for a dinner in two hours.
I didn’t have time to take photos of the event, but here are some taken of the aftermath. Well, this is what was on my counter the next morning. I was so exhausted, that I didn’t clean up until Sunday morning.

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