Crispy Chicken Thighs with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette & Escarole

April 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

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At my house, chicken thighs spent years at the bottom of our poultry totem pole (…your family doesn’t have a poultry totem pole?). Chicken breasts are lean and kind of fancy, the kids clamor for drumsticks, and we all love wings.  Chicken thighs failed to make an impression. UNTIL.

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Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

March 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

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When I was a kid my mom and I went grocery shopping once a week at the local Giant.  As I write, I realize what an inhospitable name that is … Giant Supermarket …. but that is where we went once a week, usually on Sunday.  My mom had a grocery list that sat on our kitchen counter and we would add things to the list through the week.  By Sunday, our list was long and we went to the store with a plan.  Lunches, dinners and breakfasts for five days. One big shop, time efficient and cost effective.

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Now I am the main provider of meals for my family and my approach is very different (‘approach’ sounds too intentional).  Life happens, and I find myself at a grocery store nearly every day of the week.  It’s the opposite of time efficient and cost effective, it is time sucking and expensive.   « Read the rest of this entry »

Chicken Salad with Preserved Lemon and Herbs

March 3, 2014 § 2 Comments

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Yesterday my husband gave me the gift of BBQ from Kau Kau, his favorite source for roasted meat in the International District.  Sweet man.  I ate the Roasted Pig right away (I don’t know why they don’t call it ‘pork’, but neither do I anymore). To eat the roasted chicken also, in one sitting, would be unseemly.  So I tucked it in the fridge, anticipating the leftovers. Today at lunchtime I realized I had every ingredient I needed to make a fine chicken salad, even celery. Twice blessed by roasted meat.      « Read the rest of this entry »

Wild Rice Salad with Kale, Sweet Potato and Pomegranate

February 10, 2014 § 3 Comments

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In my last post I described the comfort I find in frying chicken, and a before that I waxed rhapsodic about brown butter.  Now let’s turn to food with a lower fat content.  Here is a recipe that is virtuous and delicious: a wild rice salad.  It took me a long time to overcome my reluctance to cook with whole grains and I still stubbornly refuse many whole grain alternatives that I know are good for me.  But I have embraced salads made with chewy, nutty grains like farro, barley and wild rice (which is actually a seed).  These dishes make sense to my mouth in a way that whole wheat pasta never will.

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Skillet Fried Chicken Wings

January 30, 2014 § 6 Comments

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As Superbowl fervor has grown and game day snack recipe ideas are trumpeted across the land, I cannot get my mind off of chicken wings.  I have no idea how football and chicken wings became so dearly intertwined, but they certainly are and we have been hearing about wings nonstop for the last month.  How could I not fall prey to this tempation? Two weeks ago I made a batch of chicken wings that was very well received.  They were marinated, baked, then broiled and they were a fine, healthful rendition of hot wings.  But my itch, it was not scratched.  My true desire was to fry wings.  So inconvenient, so smelly, so time consuming.  Today, as I type I have a slight sheen of grease on my forehead, my hair smells like fry oil, and I have a smile on my face.  Beside me sits a sheet tray with row upon row of beautiful fried chicken wings, cooling.  I haven’t even eaten these wings yet and I know it was totally worth the trouble.

Sometimes we cook to relax, to recall, or to meditate.  For me, frying chicken is all of those things – the ultimate in comfort cooking.  You need to stay right there, stand by your stove and watch the oil bubble and the chicken turn golden. You can’t walk away and help the kid get that thing down from that place, or write an email.  Must stay with chicken.  The sound of the gurgling oil is kind of mesmerizing, and when you lift the chicken from the pan, if all has gone well, it looks just like store bought. I find that strangely satisfying.  For years my husband has tried to talk me out of frying chicken at home.  We have a few very decent fried chicken joints in our neighborhood, why bother going through all of this effort? Our little house smells like a fry basket by the time I’m done, and we have to open the windows, and close off the bedrooms. But I will not be dissuaded.  Where is the love in fried chicken that somebody else made? Accept this chicken as a token of my love, light a scented candle and quit yer moaning. « Read the rest of this entry »

Brown Butter Pecans, with Beet Salad

January 27, 2014 § 5 Comments

Let’s see,where was I….  It has been a year and a half since I wrote here.  But I’ve missed documenting recipes and writing about my successes and screw-ups in the kitchen.  And right now I have the luxury of time, so I thought: Heck. Revive the cooking blog. So here we are!  Thanks for reading.

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Today I will share with you a very simple recipe that produces an extraordinary little nut.  A nut that is elevated, better than all of the other nuts.  It is the brown butter pecan.  Mother nature does not create these beauties without the help of human hands, because Brown Butter Pecan Trees would be irresistible. Men would wage wars over them and empires would fall, tragedy would ensue.  But you can create these objects of desire in your own kitchen.  And you can eat them all and not share a single one, because let those other folks make their own damn brown butter pecans.  I would not know about these tasty morsels if my friend John hadn’t told me; he’s a great chef and I take his cooking advice whenever he gives it to me.  So when John told me to coat toasted pecans in a copious amount of brown butter and a bit of salt, I did it.  And dang, they were GOOD. In retrospect, they were obviously destined to be delicious: a toasted nut, slicked with nutty butter, and a sprinkling of sea salt. Yeah, it makes sense.

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What the World Needs Now Is Parsley Sauce

May 23, 2012 § 4 Comments

I’ve been wanting to write this post all winter, but I needed to wait until parsley season. I didn’t know parsley had a season until I started making Parsley Sauce.  When you eat tablespoons of Parsley Sauce straight off the spoon you notice that sometime around October the quality of parsley takes a dip.  And one necessity for this recipe is a decent bunch of parsley. But very soon farmers market tables will be covered with big fat freshly cut bunches of the stuff , and parsley will be selling cheap.  The time has come.  I am here to tell you about Parsley Sauce, The Wonder Condiment. I became enamored of Parsley Sauce when I realized my six year-old would eat anything coated with it.

    

ME: Sweetie, I see that you’ve stripped the chicken of all of it’s delicious crispy skin.  Now will you please eat the bland, bare meat?

HER: NO!

ME: Why don’t you dip the unappealing meat into an emerald green pool of nutrient-rich Parsley Sauce?

HER: …scarf scarf scarf scarf….

Drizzle it on roasted meat or vegetables.  Stir it into risotto. Add a dollop to soup.  Dip bread in it. Drink it from a mug.  There’s nothing fancy about Parsley Sauce – it’s mostly parsley & olive oil.  But there are two ingredients that make people cock their heads after a taste and wonder ‘What is that..?” It’s tarragon & fennel seeds.  They don’t make a fuss, but they somehow boost the parlseyishness of Parsley Sauce.  Another selling point: Parsley Sauce will keep in the fridge for three weeks or more.  And you can freeze it.  The Wonder Condiment in name and deed.

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