Monthly Archives: July 2013

Making It Easy for Mom to Enjoy Her Family Here in Sun Valley


linzer torte Patty's Cookies 1 Chicken Marengo melange of oven baked veggies overnight scrambled egg bake

Above, some of the dishes served

This assignment was just what I had envisioned my catering services to supply.  Mom Robin J. was here briefly with her family of 7.  She has always done it all but wanted a break from cooking so as to be able to relax and enjoy her family more.  The following is the 7 day plan she and I came up with.  It was fun for me and I think that the family really enjoyed these dishes.  I cooked them all here in my condo and Robin came over daily at about 4pm to pick them up.  I wrote out directions for her as to how to serve, etc. I also gave her a soft notebook with all of the recipes. 

Easy food serving is the name of the game!!!!

Description of Catering for 7 Performed by Margot’s Table to Yours for the Johnstons

June 28th—Complimentary pint of homemade no-churn Mango Ice Cream and 1/2 a loaf of Strawberry-Nut Quick Loaf

June 28, Friday           Planning and Grocery Shopping                         4 hours

June 29, Saturday       Grocery Shopping; Pat’s Plumped                     2 hours

Raisin Cookies;Prepping

June 30, Sunday          Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes;                          4.5 hours

Overnight Scrambled Egg Bake;

Mélange of Oven Baked Veggies

July 1, Monday          Shopping; Mac&Cheese a la Italiana;

Bouillabaisse for 8 & Rouille                                 7 hours

July 2, Tuesday      Smoked Salmon w/ Endive Platter with                4 hours

Cream Cheese Dill Sauce, Bagels, Artichokes

and it’s sauce;

Fennel& Rosemary Beef Tenderloin w/Creamy

Mustard Sauce;

Pommes de Terre a la Provence in 8 Ramekins

July 3, Wednesday      Pat’s Plumped Cookies; Linzer Torte                  2.5 hours

July 4, Thursday           Shopping                                                                   0.25 hour

July 5, Friday                Chicken Marengo; Rice                                           2 hours

Total hours spend                                                                                           26.25

Chicken Marengo (the slower but more authentic way)


Chicken Marengo

Chicken Marengo Recipe #2—A More Authentic Version?

Serves 4

Once again, I am telling the historical tale of this dish because I think it’s so cute and the outcome is so delicious. Napoleon and his traveling chef, Dunand, were the men who made this dish famous. After the battle at Marengo (Piedmont, Italy), Napoleon demanded from his chef a quick meal—imagine this after a treacherous journey over the Alps in mid-May. Cooking legend has it that even in these hinterlands, Napoleon’s forever challenged chef found a chicken, tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, olive oil and crayfish.  He cut the chicken up with his “saber” and made a dish very much like this recipe. Reportedly being thoroughly French, Dunand also added a dash of cognac from Napoleon’s flask.  Napoleon liked the dish immensely and since he won the battle, considered Chicken Marengo lucky.  So he asked for it often just as Dunand had originally made it.  My other recipe is a bit less time consuming to make, however, this one is really excellent and worth the time spent.  This dish will be cooking for a total of 1 hour—stove top.


  1. 1- 2 ½ lb. chicken cut up
  2. 1/3 to 1/2 C. flour laced with pepper, salt and a splash of cayenne (to dredge the chicken pieces)
  3. 2 Tblsp. olive oil (if you need more, go for it and same for the butter)
  4. 2 Tblsp. butter
  5. 2 or 4 Tblsp. chopped/minced bacon
  6. 1 peeled carrot-chopped fine
  7. 1 stalk of celery-chopped fine
  8. 1 garlic clove-chopped fine
  9. 1 small shallot-chopped fine
  10. 2 or 3 LARGE tasty fresh tomatoes, cut into CHUNKY pieces or 4 plum tomatoes cute into Chunky pieces (you can use canned if you drain the whole tomatoes and cut them in Chunky pieces)
  11. 1/2- 3/4 C. dry white wine in which 1 ½ -2 Tblsp brandy has been put. (Once again if you think you need more wine, go for it.)
  12. 1 Bouquet Garni (I made mine from fresh parsley, some fresh rosemary and fresh French tarragon and a bit of crushed bay leaves. Place these in a good sized piece of cheese cloth which you can form into a small bag; tie the bag with kitchen string or non-flavored dental floss so that your herbs stay enclosed.  Place the bag into the stew and discard it before serving.)
  13. 8 or so poached shrimp and 8 or so whole button mushrooms also poached. (These should be poached in a chicken stock/white wine, stove top, at simmer, for 3-5 minutes or till shrimp are pink and mushrooms are somewhat tender. You don’t have to use both ingredients—it can be one or the other. And if you wish, you can poach them together. Furthermore, if you have access to crayfish, all the better.)
  14. Black olives— combo of whole and rough chopped
  15. 1/2 Lemon to squeeze at the very last
  16.  Croutons (optional)


  1. In a paper or plastic bag, shake the flour with the S&P and paprika; when well mixed, introduce your chicken pieces into the floured bag.  Shake vigorously so that the pieces are floured evenly however not heavily—they need to be “lightly” doused.
  2. In a large heavy pot that has a good lid and on an oven top burner (medium-high heat) bring the oil and butter and some of your minced bacon up to a nice light sizzle (remove the bacon with a slotted spoon); introduce your chicken pieces into the oil/butter and turn the heat down to the point where your pieces are browning evenly, turning frequently, and are not burning. Golden colored is what you wish.  Don’t crowd them so it may take several sessions to do this. As well, I would say it might take 2-3 minutes per chicken side to get them brown just right.  Set them aside on a platter.
  3. Now, introduce the remainder of your bacon plus the set aside bunch and in the remaining oil, etc. in your pot, brown the veggies mentioned in ingredients 6-9.  When they have softened somewhat (3 minutes or so) introduce the major portion of the tomatoes, however save about 1/2 C. for later); let the mixture simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Reintroduce your perfectly browned and golden chicken pieces along with your Bouquet Garni.;over all, pour your brandy/wine combo and let simmer very gently on stove top for 30 minutes— tightly covered.
  5. After 30 minutes, place the additional tomatoes on top (don’t stir but make sure that you have enough liquid collected and taste to see what you think); simmer gently, tightly covered, for another 25 minutes.
  6. For the last 5 minutes, top the dish with the poached shrimp and mushrooms and add the chopped and whole olives. Simmer well covered once more.  Make sure the chicken is done (I’m sure it will be and FINIS—Napoleon would be delighted).
  7. Before serving (don’t forget to remove your Bouquet Garni), top everything with freshly chopped parsley, give a hearty squeeze of fresh lemon and there you are.
  8. Additionally, if you wish, you can place toasted croutons on top. Sometimes it’s fun to make your own shaped croutons (1-inch diameter) for a dish as this.
  9. This goes very well with rice and a light salad.
  10. Sounds like a simple peasant dish doesn’t it?  Well, after you’ve made and served this, you’ll say: “I don’t think so” or maybe you’ll say “Peasant dishes are the best!!”.
  11. As always, from Margot, Bon Appétit.