Chicken with 40 Cloves Of Garlic

Chicken with 40 Cloves Of GarlicFall, Fires, and Garlic
September is a weird time in California. While the rest of the country is thinking about colored leaves, pumpkin spice, and has started pulling out their light sweaters, we here on the west coast are still battling 90-degree heat and, sadly, forest fires. What’s happening in Tahoe is heartbreaking. What would normally be a gorgeous Labor Day weekend to celebrate the last days of summer (at least according to the calendar) is now an ash-filled hazy orange nightmare. Makes talking about food trivial but, we still gotta eat…

There are a lot of reasons I chose this week’s recipe. First, this dish is the very essence of comfort food. French comfort food. With everything that is going on locally as well as across the globe, we could all use a little comfort right now. And, I think Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic will do just the trick. There are multiple versions of this classic dish, the most obvious being from Julia Child. I personally like my modified version of the James Beard’s classic.

Rosh Hashana starts Monday at sundown and for those who celebrate, this recipe is a tasty and flexible melt-in-your-mouth way to feed a small family or a large crowd depending on the size of your Jewish New Year feast. This is the second reason I chose this recipe.

The third reason is because you put it in a pot, throw it in the oven, and walk away for over an hour. (Preferably with a lovely, very cold glass of white wine). Since my daughter has practice that runs fairly late in the evening, a recipe like this is a great way to have a hot meal ready when she gets home and is ravenous.

Paired with crusty bread and your favorite salad on the side, this is a classic satisfying meal no matter what your reasons for choosing to make it.

That being said, thank you and Godspeed to our firefighters! L’shana Tovah to all who are celebrating. And, Go Falcons!

Chicken with 40 Cloves Of Garlic Recipe
Adapted from James Beard
Serves 8 Read more…

Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos With Watermelon SalsaWatermelon Sugar High
I have a melon patch that I planted with cantaloupes and mini watermelons. Both varieties have apparently been enjoying the warm weather as the number of melons on the vine has tripled in recent weeks. One of those watermelons looks like it’s ready to be picked. But, I am hesitating.

Just like knowing which watermelon to choose at the store is difficult, knowing when to pick a watermelon from the vine presents its own challenges. I have an unfortunate tendency to pick a number of the things I grow too early—much to the detriment of my crop yield as well as my family, who tries to eat said crop yield. Nothing worse than an unripe melon when you are expecting the taste of sweet ambrosia.

Since this is the first time in a few years that my melon growing venture has been successful, I don’t want to screw it up. So, I have been looking everywhere on the internet to get tips on how to know when your watermelons are ripe for the picking. And, I have found some interesting suggestions.

The first is the same thing they tell you when picking out a melon in the store. Look for the yellow spot on the bottom of the melon. This sounds easy enough. But, I have chosen too many yellow-spotted melons that weren’t great to trust that trick of the trade too much.

Another tip is to look for the tendril on the vine closest to the melon stem. If it is dried up and brown, the melon is ripe. If it’s not, you need to be patient. Patience is not one of my virtues. The tendril next to my melon isn’t quite dried out yet. So, now I’m on tendril watch. Hopefully, my tendril dries up and the melon is sweet ‘cause I’m looking forward to this recipe for Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Salsa.

Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Salsa Recipe
Adapted from Eric Kim and Food 52
Yields 8 tacos Read more…

Fondue Bourguignonne

Fondue BourguignonneBoiled in Oil
Have you ever experienced hot oil hot pot? Me neither. That will be remedied this weekend. To be honest, I have done the hot broth version. But, the hot oil kinda scares me because I am that person that no matter how many precautions I take when frying something like chicken, I get burned. Not badly but enough to remember it. Maybe I should get one of those heat suits you see in the movies. You know the silver ones with the square windows in the helmets? Or maybe I should just chill out. I have been told that a time or twenty…mostly by my children.

So this weekend I will face my fears and give hot oil fondue a go. I was not aware that this was even a thing until I went fondue-crazy after Christmas. I knew about Asian hot pot, of course, but not this.

Hot oil fondue, or Fondue Bourguignonne at it is actually called, is a Swiss invention. It was the inspiration of field workers who did not have time to go back home for a meal. So, they started bringing pots of oil with them that they heated and then stuck chunks of meat in to cook. It got the name Bourguignonne from the imported French beef from Burgundy that was the most widely used.

Beef is still the most popular and most traditional meat for hot oil fondue. But, really you can use whatever meat or fish you want as well as you favorite vegetables. Just make sure the pot is stable….

There is a wealth of information on the internet about hot oil fondue if you want to dig a little deeper. This Chef’s Notes blog post was particularly helpful.

Our classic recipe is delicious. And, it can be the basis for experimenting with sauces and flavors. And, of course, a good fondue cookbook is always a good idea…

Fondue Bourguignonne Recipe
Yields 4 Servings
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse and The Food Network

Our basic recipe prepares the meat beautifully. And, the real star of this meal is the selection of dipping sauces. This is where you can get creative, and we recommend that you choose at least three favorites. The variations are infinite!

Some great recipes for sauces are Harissa Mayonnaise, Cilantro Sauce, and Fig Sauce. You can also stop by our Cheese Department and pick up a container of one of our house-made dipping sauces like Dixie’s Dipping Sauce or our Blue Cheese Dressing and Dip. Then we carry a variety of delicious BBQ sauces like Everett & Jones, and dipping sauces like the Jade Sichuan Peanut Sauce or Mekong Ginger Sauce. Read more…

Chanterelle Mushroom and Chicken Wellington

Chanterelle Mushroom and Chicken WellingtonOn The Chopping Block
Over the weekend, my family held another Chopped competition. We did this once before and it was so much fun that the kids have been asking to do it again. And, since we didn’t have anything else to do, we switched up the teams for another round.

Since there are only four contestants to make up the teams choosing isn’t hard—except that my daughter is the ringer. Any team with her on it is going to have an advantage because she cooks on a regular basis and spends much of her time watching shows on the Food Network. Last time she was paired with her brother and they ended up making a pork bun and stir-fry dinner that took first place. That happened because my son, smartly, just went with what she said and did her bidding.

This time she was paired with her other brother. But, I was adamant that he had to actively contribute to the recipe discussion. No riding her coattails. I was pleasantly surprised at what he brought to the discussion given his penchant for eating whatever is the easiest to prepare. This is why we call him the Cereal Killer.

For this round the ingredients consisted of the following:

One whole chicken
Canterelle mushrooms
Purple sweet potatoes (a.k.a. Ube)
Blood oranges
Frozen puff pastry

Now, as someone who has been cooking for over 30 years, there are a number of recipes I could think of to make with this mix of ingredients. However, the dish that ultimately won the competition was one I never would have thought of—or, at least never would have thought my family would think of. I knew the puff pastry was going to present a challenge. I figured I would get at least one puff pastry empanada, and I was right. What I didn’t think I would get was a Wellington.

Wellington is traditionally made by wrapping puff pastry around a fillet of beef with a little fois gras and baking it. I’m simplifying things, but that’s the basic idea. It is not something I make often. In fact I don’t think I have ever made it. And, I am not entirely sure that my kids have even tasted it. So it came as a big surprise when my daughter made a chicken and mushroom Wellington for her Chopped dish. I can only assume she saw it on one of her favorite shows. Either way I was beyond impressed.

The final dishes were a Blood Orange Braised Chicken with Purple Sweet Potato Purée and Asparagus Mushroom Empanada and a Chicken and Mushroom Wellington with a Blood Orange Purple Sweet Potato Puree and Baby spinach salad with Blood Oranges and Balsamic dressing.

Both dishes were outstanding. We all agreed on that. Everyone upped their game and it was a good night of eating. Ultimately, the Wellington dish was the winner—but it was by a razor thin margin. It was the level of difficulty of making a Wellington that did it.

So, my daughter is now two for two in Chopped challenges. My husband was so closeto getting his first win. But alas, it was not meant to be. Next time, they will be paired together which should be entertaining as all get out.

Since no one used actual recipes, I adapted one from the Food Network if you would like to try making a Wellington.

Chanterelle Mushroom and Chicken Wellington
Adapted from the Food Network
Yields 6 servings Read more…