Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
More and more, goats, chickens, sheep, and cows are becoming integral parts of the modern organic farm. At the most recent EcoFarm Conference, farmers and ranchers dig into the challenges of running farms with barns.
So if you love enchiladas, but aren’t crazy about making them; or if you simply crave an easy-to-make hearty one-dish meal that will please your entire family, here is my recipe for Cheesy Enchilada Casserole. The main recipe uses chicken but I’ve also included a vegetarian alternative that uses butternut or acorn squash at the end. Both are great choices for an easy and hearty dinner at home.
When I’m weary and sick I want chicken soup. I don’t care if it’s fancy. Heirloom turnips and herb pistous are not necessary. Just chicken soup, please — nice and brothy with big chunks of chicken and minimal vegetables. Rice, pasta or matzo balls are all fine as long as the soup is homemade.
I’m not talking about buying one of those birds encased in a plastic shield at the grocery store — the ones that were supposedly cooked on a rotisserie earlier that day — but really… who knows when it was roasted? I mean preparing a chicken that you cook in your backyard or on a deck — slowly with the seasonings you like. I’m talking about taking the chicken off the spit with your own hands and then eating it while it’s hot and juicy. Sounds primal but delectable, right?
Bastilla. Real bastilla made with real Moroccan pigeon. Of course, I thought that the pigeons caught and prepared for my meal might very well have been from some other country and merely had the misfortune of landing in the wrong spot at the wrong time, but I let that go. I was about to eat them baked with almonds, spices, and eggs into the flaky pastry of my favorite Moroccan dish of all time. And in Morocco, of all places, too. I longed to nearly suffocate myself under it’s heavy layer of powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Nothing says comfort food like a chicken pot pie. After all, this relative of the savory meat pasty contains the homiest of ingredients: butter crust and gravy (oh yeah, and chicken too). As I mentioned last week, making a pot pie is a great way to use leftovers from a roasted chicken. But you shouldn’t think of this dish as only a method for getting rid of that dark meat or white meat no one wanted on baked chicken night. After all, pot pies — with gravy bubbling out of the cracks of their buttery crusts — are so good that I often roast a chicken simply so we can have pot pies the next day. And, unlike other dishes, this meal tops the favorites list for both kids and adults alike, so everyone is happy on chicken pot pie night.
Now I realize that many people don’t like to make a whole chicken because they think it’s difficult and time intensive. But, just like pudding and pancakes, nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike boneless and skinless breasts, which often need to be dolled up in a pan with other ingredients because they become dry and a bit tasteless when baked on their own, a whole chicken is a simple endeavor that has juicy results. In the name of full disclosure, I need to admit that baking a chicken takes between an hour and an hour and a half, but other than the first 5-7 minutes of prep work, this is all baking time.
As my mind turned to thoughts of lunch for the week, I couldn’t make up my mind as to whether I should make a batch of chicken salad or egg salad. The annoying old chestnut “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” came to mind? Frankly, I had no idea. It’s a frustrating scientific/philosophic question that has no business complicating my luncheon plans. But I thought about it some more.
I’ve been reading a lot about the rising cost of food. The general media is painting a fairly dim picture of the current state of food prices and accessibility, and Jennifer Maiser’s recent articles on BAB helped enlighten us about the politics behind these stories and the reactions to them. Anyone who has walked into […]
Lucky me, the flu came visiting last week. Even after three days of sleeping in bed and swallowing nothing more than bananas and Advil, I could tell my uninvited guest had no intention of leaving. Time to get serious. Cooking was out of the question — I could barely stand up straight with the long, […]
Ah, the impending new year is all about lists, isn’t it? Well, here’s yet another one. Recent tragic events, human and animal alike, at the San Francisco Zoo has me doing several things: 1. I’m snatching up my very plump and extremely domesticated cats and kissing them all over, while demanding to know how their […]