White Wine–Poached Fish

Awards Season
My daughter is graduating from high school at the end of the month. For those of you who have been through it, you know that this means that the last month of school is filled with AP Tests, Ditch Days, and plenty of awards banquets. It is a lot of fun, but also just…a lot. Throw in birthdays for four of the five members of my family and, yeah. We are busy, y’all.

I am a weirdo in that I love awards nights/banquets. I mean sure, of course, you are going to enjoy seeing your kids and their friends succeed at something and achieve their goals. But, it extends into other areas for me as well.

The morning they announce the Oscar nominations I am right there making a list of the movies I have and have not seen so that I can make a point to seek the films I missed before the big night. I try my best to see them all. And, I am alarmingly disappointed when I can’t manage to do it. Life tends to get in the way of my fixation.

I am equally as obsessed about the James Beard Awards.

My anticipation of the James Beard Foundation Awards might seem obvious to most people since my days consist of talking about food, writing about food, and selling food. So, my interest in awards which honor talking about food, preparing food, and writing about food is rather on the nose. I anticipate their release every year and use the lists of nominees, semi-finalists, and finalists to educate myself on who and what is hot in the industry. And, let’s be real, create a wish list of new cookbooks or future dinner reservations.

If you are curious, this year’s list of James Beard Foundation Awards Finalists can be found here. Get your planner out before you click…and don’t do it when hungry!

Lest we forget, James Beard himself was a force in the culinary world. And, he eventually came to be known as the Dean of American Cuisine. If you don’t have a copy of his American Cookery in your library, consider seeking it out.

White Wine–Poached Fish Recipe
Adapted from James Beard
Yields 4 servings

I am all for drinking and cooking with simple wines that don’t cost an arm and a leg, said James Beard. In this simple and comforting recipe, the wine gives the sauce its subtle delicacy. Read more…

Coq Au Vin Blanc

Coq Au Vin Blanc in a dutch oven ready to serve

Wine Country Chicken
Living as close as we do to The Napa Valley is a very cool thing for those of us who occasionally enjoy a nice sip of wine. Spending time amongst the vines and sunshine is always a great way to enjoy your day even if you’re not wine tasting. (Eating your way through the area isn’t a bad pastime either except, perhaps, for your waistline.)

While the Napa Valley is known for its big Cabernets and oaky Chardonnays, personally I prefer the lighter wines. I admit, I am a Sauvignon Blanc kinda gal. A crisp cold glass while relaxing on my patio after a long day at work sounds like heaven to me but I would not turn down a lovely Rosé either.

I am the same way when cooking with wine. I will almost always substitute a white wine for a red except for those recipes where you just cannot like this Beef Bourguignon https://piedmontgrocery.com/beef-bourguignon/. One exception to that philosophy that I have found is coq au vin.

I love coq au vin any time of the year, although most people think of it as a Fall dish. However, if you use a white wine or even a Rosé, this Coq au Vin Blanc dish lightens up considerably and transforms into a great meal for a warm spring evening. I mean, you really can’t ever go wrong with wine, chicken, and garlic together in any form. And, if you can find fresh morel mushrooms, even better.

I used rosé in the recipe below, but you can always swap it out for your favorite white just be sure to save a little for sipping as you wait.

Coq Au Vin Blanc Recipe
Yields 4 servings
Adapted from NY Times Cooking Read more…

Chicken Stoup Provencal

A bowl of Chicken Stoup Provencal

Veggie 911
The last few weeks have been full of merriment, which has left me and mine way too full. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of fun. But, to be frank, there weren’t too many vegetables on the buffet table unless they were paired with cream and butter. And, our bodies are feeling, well, sluggish.

It goes without saying that I have been making lighter more veggie-forward meals since Christmas (With a brief pause for more gluttony on New Year’s Day). Even the kids were on board. This tells you something since my dudes are usually all meat all the time.

The first thing I made was this Chicken Stoup Provencal recipe inspired by Rachel Ray. I have made it a few times and every time it is a hit. She calls it a stoup, a cross between a soup and a stew since there is less liquid than in a soup but more than in a traditional stew.

The use of Herbs de Provence is what makes this recipe. And it is non-negotiable. The stoup comes together quickly for a weeknight meal to warm your bones. Something most welcome after the recent rains…

Chicken Stoup Provencal
Adapted from Rachel Ray and The Food Network
Yields 4 to 6 servings Read more…

Peppermint Meringue Kisses

Red and green Peppermint Meringue Kisses on a marble tabletop

Holiday Kisses
When I was a kid, a family friend would always make us a Christmas cookie assortment. I looked forward to them every year—mainly because there were a lot of spritz cookies in the mix. I love anything with that much butter.

I was always fascinated though by the separate container that accompanied the main box. This container had the meringue cookies. I thought it was weird that these particular cookies got their own container. Now that I have made them myself, I get it. You don’t put the time in to make the meringues only to have them shatter in a box full of sturdier cookies.

Meringues are a delight for the mouth. They are light as air and melt on your tongue. They can come in so many different flavors. My daughter is partial to espresso-flavored meringues. Personally, I like all versions. But, for a holiday box, I like to go with Peppermint Meringue Kisses as a change from all of the chocolate and nut flavors in the box. A palate cleanser of sorts.

The kisses below were included in my cookie boxes this year. Streaking the piping bags with food coloring is a fun way to add color and also signal the flavor.

Something to keep in mind when making these: just like French macarons and bread making, the weather outside matters. If the air has a lot of humidity, the meringues can take a little longer to dry and when the air is too dry, they can crack pretty easily. Read more…