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Engagement Chicken

December 14, 2011

Image: Courtesy of

Years ago, I remember reading the “Engagement Chicken” article in Glamour magazine. It circulated for a while among my single girlfriends. Do you recall? It was a simple recipe for a roasted chicken with lemon and herbs, and upon making it, many women were later proposed to by the respective consumers of that gorgeous meal. The recipe (and article) can be found here.

It got me thinking about those recipes we pull out when we’re trying to impress. These are meals that set the bar a bit higher than others, but that doesn’t mean they require 15 kitchen gadgets to make. Most often, I’ve found the dishes that appear gussied up really are just simple ways of cooking. In this season of holiday madness and loads of kitchen time that’ll happen between now and New Years Day, here are some of my takes on special meals—most of which require very little effort, except good, high quality ingredients to make memorable bites.

One of my favorite desserts is when my sister-in-law bakes her individual little molten lava cakes. There’s just something so beautifully decadent as the rich chocolate oozes out of individual cakes the second it’s punctured with a spoon. You can find the recipe here.

I’ve been on a mussel kick lately. Which means that everywhere I go, if it’s on the menu, it’s my order. Steamed mussels really are a cinch to make, so I’ve heard. Before 2012, I’d like to attempt the ones here. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than a broth composed of garlic, shallots, butter, herbs and wine all waiting for sweet mussels to take the stage.

According to my husband, his sweet grandmother (who I wish I could’ve met) made a very special beef braciole with egg this time of year. I’d like to make him this showstopping recipe here, no matter the season.

Mussels, chocolate, braciole, a few simple ingredients, plenty of friends and family to share it with, is there anything better?

I suppose a proposal.