Sunday, October 24, 2010

Candy Corn

I have never been a fan of Halloween.  But I love Halloween candy.

"I bought you a bag of candy corn."
"Candy corn?"
"Yes.  Candy corn. You love candy corn."
" I know, but I don't buy candy corn.  I walk past every bag in the market so that I won't eat the candy corn."    
" You only eat candy corn once a year and you're not overweight."
"Thank you, that was very thoughtful."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Remembrance of Things Past

John and I had just finished off a bag of Maria's biscotti which we came across at a farmer's market in western New Jersey. They were black olive biscotti.  Perfect with a glass of wine or as an accompaniment to an antipasto platter.

It got me thinking. I've made savory biscotti in the past, but not for a long time.  As I started to look around for inspiration, I came across this recipe which very much reminded me of the delicious cheese straws I used to make in my youth for all of our dinner parties. They were light, flaky, buttery twists filled with sharp cheddar cheese and spiced with cayenne pepper. They were also labor intensive and time consuming. My youth has long since passed, and I no longer spend my time twisting cheese straws. So I thought why not combine the flavors of those gorgeous flaky treats with the ease of biscotti?

Of course, me being me, I had to tinker with the recipe adding butter and playing with the amount of flour.  They didn't turn out as expected, so I went back to the original.  These biscotti lack the buttery flavor, and I  do think a bit more tinkering may be in order. But  they hit the spot when you want something uncomplicated with a touch of heat.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Fall Dinner

Fall appeared in all its glory this past weekend, and it brought with it the desire to cook something for the season.  Since T and J were coming for dinner on Saturday night, it was a good excuse to cook up a favorite one-pot meal of chicken fragrant with honey and cinnamon and simmered with apricots and golden raisins. 

Pre dinner nibbles

The chicken was served on a platter over couscous and accompanied by a Shiraz
And an apple crostata for dessert

Adapted from a recipe by All-Clad

1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 chicken, 3/12-4 lbs., cut into 8 pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2-3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Heat oil in a dutch over medium-high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Brown chicken well, about 5 minutes per side. Remove chicken.  (At this point, I remove the skin from the chicken as I do not like the mouth feel of stewed chicken skin.  Leaving it on while browning, helps retain its moisture and add flavor.)

Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pan and saute 2 minutes. Add honey, cinnamon, salt, pepper and turmeric.  Stir, adding a small amount of the broth to deglaze the pan. Cook for 30-60 seconds.  Return the chicken to the pan and add the rest of the chicken broth. Cover, turn heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add apricots and raisins and cook for 30 minutes longer until chicken is done.

Brown almonds in the butter and sprinkle over chicken to serve.

Note:  I smelled this recipe being tested three years ago in a department store, and I've been a fan ever since. I often use a larger chicken or add thighs to the recipe.  If you choose to do that, the recipe is very   forgiving--just add a little more broth and season to taste.  Enjoy!