She twirls around, flitting from makeup counter to handbag displays, all the while garnering an entourage. “Oh look at those shoes!,” the women say. “She’s a beauty.” The makeup women take her photo and offer her samples of makeup and creams she clearly does not need, and my toddler walks around with them on her wrist, as though she’s shopped at Bloomingdale’s her entire 20 months of life. She’s just met Santa Claus, Claw as she calls him, and wasn’t thrilled. “Someday I’ll be your very best friend,” Claw told her. She was nervous there on the 8th floor, but here she is happy, confidently roaming the black and white checkered ground floor with her little red bags given to her with admiration.
Now it’s time for lunch. Thanks to In Demand I’ve finally seen Julie & Julie (going to a movie theatre is so not an option), and Julie made a chicken with mushroom cream sauce in which she learned not to crowd the pan with the mushrooms. It’s a dish I must have, and so we run home from Bloomingdale’s and make this dish full of cream, butter and brandy (how can you go wrong?)—so fitting on this very cold day on which she first met Claw.
1 cup chicken broth
1 ounce dried mushrooms (I like to use a mix of shiitake + cremini)
1/2 stick butter
4 skinless boneless chicken breast, halved
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup brandy
Make the dish
Bring broth to simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat and add dried mushrooms. Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 30 minutes. Drain and reserve soaking liquid. Remove stems and discard, then slice caps. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and sauté until almost cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer chicken to plate.
Add all the mushrooms and chopped onion to same skillet. Sauté over medium-high until almost all liquid evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Add cream and brandy, then mushroom liquid. Boil until almost thickened to sauce consistency, under 10 minutes. Return chicken and juices to pan. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to plates and serve with sauce.