A summer weekend in the country as house guests of wonderful hosts – what could be better? We had a terrific one with friends who, like us, are writer/editor and photographer. We were joined by our mutual art director pal who kept us all performing at our style-book best. At cocktails, we were treated to Michel’s (our photographer-host) favorite pissaladière baked by Mado at her tiny bakery on Main Street in Chatham, New York. Michel made his famous beer can chicken sans beer can and coerced me into trying to duplicate his grandmother’s clafoutis (see my October 10, 2010 post on this very same subject). Trying to remember the recipe didn’t exactly work as I had hoped but the results were good enough to take Michel back to the warmth of his grandmere’s cuisine and the rest of us to cherry dessert heaven. Another extraordinary chocolate cake again baked by Mado expanded our dessert table. Michel decided that the chicken was over-cooked and I decided that it was simply “burnished” to a lovely patina. Joel, the art director, heard me say burnoosed and so, of course, beer can chicken sans beer can is now known as burnoosed chicken. The evening was exceedingly warm but the friendship and good time was even warmer. And, over-cooked or not, Michel’s burnished, smoky chicken was absolutely delicious.