Every skiing wife who commutes to the slopes on winter weekends has a problem—how to feed an extravagantly hungry household and its guests and still have time to ski herself. If she belongs to the growing number of families who have discovered that owning their own A-frame or chalet is the most economical way to ski regularly, she often finds the rigorous routine of weekend skiing enough to make a Sherpa blanch. After the long Friday night drive from metropolis to mountains everybody wants a Yankee-farmer-size breakfast Saturday morning—fruit juice, hot cereal, eggs, ham or bacon, hot breads, coffee; this also stokes the body's furnace for a cold and vigorous day. Lunch is more of a refueling operation at the ski cafeteria than a meal—a bowl of soup or chili, a hot dog, a cooky or fruit—so that when the sun drops over the hill and the lifts shut down for the night the stage is set for something really hearty.
This can be the hour that the housewife dreads—but instead of being a frightful chore Saturday night's cocktails and dinner around the chalet fire can be the best part of a ski weekend. Here are some easy ways to make them so.
First come the hot hors d'oeuvres to keep the cocktails company. Croque-monsieur can serve here, a favorite lunchtime snack of the French that is simple and delicious: a sandwich of white bread, Swiss cheese and boiled ham, sautéed in butter on both sides until the cheese is melted and the bread golden. Quarter the sandwiches before serving. Equally hearty and easy to make are baked cheese and onion rolls. Roll out packaged refrigerated biscuits until they are flattened into 5-inch squares, then cover them with slices of Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard, a thin slice of onion. Roll them up, secure them with toothpicks and bake in a preheated 425° oven for 10 or 15 minutes.
Hot soup to start off dinner can be served either at the table or in mugs around the hearth. Easy, yet spirited, are two varieties originating in cans: green turtle soup with finely chopped sautéed mushrooms and sherry added; and cream of mushroom soup to which are added canned or frozen crabmeat and plenty of sherry.
For the main course, here are three dishes that can be cooking over the fire or under the broiler while housewife and guests are enjoying cocktails: steak an poivre, skewered lamb or beef, and grilled chicken marinated in lemon, garlic and paprika. With any of these, a green salad, French bread, fruit and wine make a meal fit for a skier's Saturday night. The lemon chicken, here photographed at the end of a day of skiing at Sugarbush, Vt., can be put into its marinade when everybody—including the cook—goes off skiing in the morning, and be ready for an effortless cooking at night, when the cold wind blows, a birch fire glows and conversation and appetites grow.
GRILLED CHICKEN WITH LEMON (serves 8)
4 two-pound broilers, split and flattened
¾ cup olive oil
¾ cup dry white wine
1½ lemons, thinly sliced
Juice of 2½ lemons
4 cloves garlic, split
1½ tablespoons Hungarian paprika
1½ teaspoons salt
Arrange chicken halves in shallow baking dish, pour the marinade over them and let them marinate in a cool place for 8 hours or longer. Discard the lemon slices. Cook the chickens for 15 minutes each side on the grill or in a broiler preheated to 550°, basting frequently with the marinade. Serve with a garnish of lemon slices, their edges rolled in paprika.