Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! Want a gift card?

I love surprises, and when this landed on my doorstep, I'll admit that I was quite surprised.

Okay, I'll admit that I knew that a basket was coming from my friends at Safeway. I just didn't realize that the basket was going to be so huge. And heavy. And huge.

But it's not just for me. Nope.There's something in there for YOU, too.

Do you see it?

Look closely.

See? That's a $50 Safeway gift card (also accepted at other Safeway-family stores) that I'm giving to one lucky somebody. Because it's Thanksgiving and I'm thankful that I have such great fans and great sponsors.

Sure, you won't have it in time to go shopping for your Thanksgiving groceries, but you'll have it in time to splurge on something for Christmas.

No you don't get the basket. I've already unpacked it. Although I'll have a recipe using basket ingredients later. So that's something. Right?

Meanwhile, I did make something from the basket. I had an emergency craving for peanut butter cookies, and this happened:

Good luck!

Safeway provided me with the basket and contents at no cost to me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lemon Vinaigrette and a review of The Kitchn Cookbook

I've been a big fan of the website The Kitchn for quite some time, so I was pretty excited to see that they had a cookbook.

Once it was in my hands, I was a little surprised to see that the first part of the book - I'd say roughly a third of the book - is all sorts of tips about what tools you need in your kitchen, how to organize, how to clean, how to stock your pantry, and a whole bunch of tips for basic food prep.

It's all good information for someone who's just starting out, but I've been cooking so long, I'm pretty unlikely to change what I do.

So I wandered straight to the recipe section. There were a lot of recipes I wanted to try, from brined pork chops to pasta recipes to cocktails to desserts. But after a lot of gawking and paging through the book, the two that I zoned in on were a lemon vinaigrette and braised green beans with tomatoes.

The photo of the beans was compelling. It looked like the kind of dish that I could eat for lunch all by itself.

But I'm a sucker for lemon and I have this crazy theory about cookbooks. I like to try a few simple, inexpensive recipes before I go out and buy expensive stuff and spend my time on complicated recipes.

I liked this dressing - which I expected - but I have to note that this isn't just for salads. I drizzled it on some artichokes and it would be amazing on asparagus. Or a dressing for a pasta salad. Or... wherever you want lemon. Which, for me, is pretty much everywhere.

Lemon Vinaigrette
Adapted from The Kitchn Cookbook
By Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a 1 cup or larger jar. Shake vigorously until everything is well mixed.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Refrigerate until needed.

I actually liked this better after a day, since the shallots had a chance to mellow a bit, but it was good right away, as well.

If this sits for a day, you'll probably need to shake again, but I made this a few hours ahead and it hadn't separated at all. And it really didn't take a lot of shaking to get it to emulsify.

I received this book from the publisher in order to do a review.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Got-no-time Chicken with Wine and Rosemary

Sometimes you just want an easy dinner, and this certainly fills the bill. There's almost no prep work - I bought sliced mushrooms because they looked good and they were the same price per pound as the whole mushrooms.

If you buy whole mushrooms, you can leave them whole, slice them, quarter them, or whack them into random pieces. It really doesn't matter.

As far as the chicken, I used chicken thighs, because that's my favorite for stewing or braising.

The bad thing about stewing any kind of chicken is that the skin tends to be ... well, not crisp. Actually, it's sort of flabby. I like cooking the chicken with the skin on for flavor, and in fact I brown it first. But don't necessarily eat it.

If you prefer, you can remove the skins before cooking. Or buy skinless, boneless thighs. Whatever makes you happy. The idea here is that this is a super-simple meal, so do what's easiest for you.

This recipe uses Holland House cooking wine. I posted one sponsored post for them and have another one coming little later, but meanwhile I'm working with the products for fun, and in fact I've purchased more of it because I'm finding that it's really handy to have around.

You could substitute your own favorite wine. If you're not using a cooking wine, add salt to taste, since cooking wine includes salt.

Chicken with Wine and Rosemary

2 tablespoons butter
5 chicken thighs (more or less, as preferred)
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Holland House white cooking wine
1 sprig rosemary
Rice, for serving

Melt the butter in the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot - like a Dutch oven. Brown the chicken pieces on all sides, then add the mushrooms.

Cook for a few minutes more, stirring to get the mushrooms in contact with the bottom of the pot for a few seconds of browning.

Add the white wine and rosemary and cover the pot. Cook for 20 minutes, then uncover, stir, and cook until the chicken thighs are cooked through and the liquid has reduced a bit - another 10 minutes or so.

Discard the rosemary sprig.

To take advantage of the flavorful liquid, serve with rice. Or potatoes. Those would be nice, too.

This is NOT a sponsored post. I received products from the company for other posts, but since then I have purchased more of their products for my use.
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