I used that phrase the other day with my sister, and she asked if she was one of the birds I had set out to kill. She was, but today, I have different birds to shoot. First bird: at the advice of my kids, I downloaded an app to my iPhone, Hipstamatic. It turns your phone into a camera that shoots nostalgic looking photos, with red casts or yellow casts to them like the pictures of your childhood. For example, here is No. 1's cat Nickolas looking like he's from 1967:
And here's a scene I spotted while in Sonoma for New Year's looking yellowish with torn edges like a 1980s magazine shoot:
I used this app to document a cooking experiment I recently did, and thus the second bird. I have been cooking a good deal since I've been home after the holidays. I made some great cream of mushroom soup and some really great butternut squash soup with cider cream. I've made beef fillets with a smoked cheese sauce, sauteed lamb chops and other stuff I can't remember at the moment. Today, I made Martha Stewart's oatmeal cookies, using chocolate chips instead of raisins, and they're wonderful. And for dinner, I made chicken wellingtons from a recipe I found here. I didn't make beef wellingtons, because as I mentioned, I've just made fillets and lamb and enough with the red meat all ready.
As you can tell from the recipe, there is a point where you saute onions, mushrooms and garlic in oil and butter until they make this wonderful mess. Be warned that you may want to eat the stuff straight from the pan, but save it for the chicken. This is what this step looks like through the Hipstamatic lens:
You mix all the ingredients as instructed, and set out all the steps in a row. That's how I cook, at least, because it makes for an efficient process. You've got the chicken resting on the rolled-out puff pastry, and you've got a bowl of the onion/mushroom glop next to it, and a bowl of cream cheese mixed with mustard next to a bowl with a beaten egg and a bowl of water for sealing the pastry. You put it all together, bake, and here it is—a full meal with pan-fried potatoes and steamed snow peas:
The thing I've learned by using the Hipstamatic is that food doesn't always look so appetizing when presented with a yellow haze, but you get the idea. If I were to alter anything in this recipe, I would suggest you pound the chicken a little before cooking it and wrapping it with the pastry. The pieces I used were thick, and they made for a huge block of food on the plate. Husband thought it was like eating a giant piece of tofu—he thinks both chicken and tofu have the same amount of flavor, which is none, basically. So, thin the chicken out a little and cut it to fit the pastry, but the rest is great. I didn't have a recipe for mushroom sauce, so I reduced some white wine considerably and whisked in some whole-grain mustard and some creme fraiche to make a sauce.