Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scrumptious chicken thighs with carrots

Print Friendly and PDF I almost called this post:"Cathy's chicken thigh's with carrots",and then thought that maybe my dear readers would think I am half woman,half chicken.HA!

A couple of ingredients...Use generously.

I get my chicken thighs...there I go again with the INSULTS! I shop for chicken thighs at my regular grocery store. They have a small section of meat that is organic/no hormones/you get the picture. These thighs are more than twice the price but when you taste them, you will THANK ME. Besides the excellent taste and incredible moistness, I ended up with the most delightful YELLOW FAT in the pan. I believe it was a combination of olive oil,and chicken fat (schmaltz) and I just had to scrape it up and save it for something else. I came up with this recipe because I had a whole bunch of organic carrots in the fridge, and a half carton of chicken stock. I tend to throw too many ingredients into these simple braises,but not this time. In fact, after the P-Man and I had devoured the chicken for supper and then lunch...I took the leftover carrots/chicken broth mixture and stirred it into some whole wheat pasta with some freshly grated cheese, and it was creamy and rich and delightful...

The Recipe.

8 organic chicken thighs sprinkled with salt,pepper,and hot chili flakes (room temperature meat.)
1 bunch organic carrots(about 8)scrubbed but not peeled,cut about 1 inch thick on the diagonal.
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
olive oil
sprinkle of dried marjoram

Use olive oil to grease a pan large enough to fit the chicken. Chop the carrots and garlic and add to the pan in an even layer,and sprinkle with dried marjoram.When the chicken thighs are room temperature, rub them all over with salt,pepper,and chili flakes,and place them on top of the carrots.Pour the chicken broth around the chicken and place pan into a pre-heated 350 degree oven,uncovered,for 1 hour.
These are even better the next day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery- SPUD

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I started something NEW a couple of weeks ago. On Fridays, a strange man pushes my apartment buzzer, and I run down the stairs to meet him! When I open the door, he hands me a large plastic tub...we say goodbye...and I head for the elevator with visions of recipes dancing in my head!

I confess...I have become addicted to the taste,and convenience of a weekly organic produce box...and I couldn't be happier!


I am not a particularly 'time-starved' person.In fact,I am almost the opposite of busy.I like to live my life on the 'slow' side.I take time to do stretches, walk 1/2 an hour to buy a cookie, or have 3 hour lunches while reading a magazine on sunny patios at the beach. Why then,am I having groceries DELIVERED? I like to think that for the same reason I could not design a dress or a top until I saw the fabric, sometimes I like to cook with ingredients that are chosen FOR me. As a woman who has been married for 26 years, and as a daughter who did almost all the grocery shopping from age 11 on...I am not as keen to wander around the grocery store as I once was.I have also discovered that I have a habit of purchasing the SAME ingredients, and cooking them the SAME way.This weekly organic produce box has shaken things up for me, and I am loving it.


Last week's box contained some kind of green melon that was so flavourful and juicy my whole kitchen smelled like flowers and fruit. The P-Man and I ate that melon BEFORE supper, as sort of an appetizer, with chunks of Parmesan cheese and raw almonds. It was like that scene in Julie and Julia, where Julia Child is eating something spectacular in a Paris cafe and is temporarily speechless, it was just so good! The lettuce has also been great, as has the spinach, and beet greens (I completely INCINERATED the poor little beets that were on the other end of the greens...but that is another blog post!)

The other thing that I have noticed these last couple of weeks, is that I have been cooking MORE, and have been trying NEW recipes. I have also been eating more fruit. The new Weight Watchers Points Plus Program has almost all fruit and vegetables with a 0 points value! Snacking on delicious fresh fruit has been such a nice change to my diet. The pleasure of having something as simple as 2 perfect peaches ripening on my counter is a real novelty.
So...I am happy to keep my weekly liaison with SPUD, my guilty pleasure. No more wandering through aisles and aisles of lacklustre produce,or driving to a variety of small farm stands to find 1 item great, and 3 more not. Or trying to remember to drive up to the local farmers market on Sunday, when I would rather be lunching at the beach!


I would also like to share some excellent customer service I have received from SPUD. Last week there was an envelope in my tub with my customer code and my name on it. I opened it up and found a nice hand written card that read:

Hi Cathy,
Welcome to Spud, your local food movement. Please don't hesitate to contact us should you have any questions,concerns,feedback,or suggestions.
Happy Eating,
Vancouver Customer Care.

Good food, nice people, good service...It's going to be a beautiful friendship...


Friday, June 10, 2011

Alice Waters and spicy warm lentils.

Print Friendly and PDF It has been a very long time since I picked up a cookbook and learned something I did not know. I am a self taught cook, and am a little shy on technique. I tend to cook because I like to eat and if I am hungry,which I am a great deal of the time, I like to make things FAST. Learning a specific technique in the kitchen always seemed to take too much time and effort so I just kept cooking. I checked a book out of the library last week and not only enjoyed reading it, but I learned something. I learned some 'things'. Things like: If possible, you should season the meat you are going to cook with a day or so in advance with salt and pepper. The difference between stewing something, and braising something. A generous amount of salt and olive oil will make almost anything you cook taste amazing.

The book is called:

The Art of Simple Food-Notes,Lessons and Recipes from a delicious revolution by Alice Waters.

I liked the way the book was organized, as well as the way the techniques were explained. In addition, variations were given for nearly EVERY recipe. If you read this blog, you know I am BIG on variations!

One of the recipes I decided to try turned out beautifully and the P-Man and I ate the whole thing for supper the other night. He pronounced it: Absolutely Delicious...and demanded to know why I had never made it before! Cheeky Bugger...

Lentil Salad
4 servings

Sort and rinse:
1 cup lentils
Cover with water by 3 inches and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until tender all the way through.(adding more water if necessary),about 30 minutes. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
Toss the lentils with:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar ( I used 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar)
Fresh-ground black pepper

let sit for 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt and vinegar if needed. Add:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions or 3 tablespoons finely diced shallot(I used 3 tablespoons of finely diced red onion)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Stir to combine. If the lentils seem dry and are hard to stir, loosen them with a bit of the reserved cooking liquid.

Even though a warm lentil salad in spring might seem a little strange...the fresh snappy parsley and red onion gave it incredible flavour.
This really is a great book...cook or not...I highly recommend it.