Lately I have been reading a lot of books by Michael Connelly, and I just got through reading Trunk Music, one of the Los Angeles detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch series of books. I really liked this one, and there was even a part where Harry cooked dinner for this friend, Eleanor Wish.
It’s getting a little colder, even though we just had the Summer Solstice, but that’s LA for you. What Harry and Eleanor has for dinner sounded really good, and I had most of the same ingredients.
This will remind you a lot of jambalaya, and Spane thought it was at first. I just said it was chicken and rice and what ever we had in the pantry. It was good, we had seconds.
I really like watching America’s Test Kitchen, and follow them on Facebook. So, when they announced a Kitchen Challenge to make Chicken à la King, I just had to take up the challenge. What makes my Chicken a la King different? Well, it’s barbecue season, and my Weber was sitting outside, crying that it couldn’t join in the fun. I thought to myself, why not? Pimentos are nothing more than very mild chili peppers. I had some lovely yellow, orange and red sweet peppers, and I had some mushrooms and shallots. I also had a chicken breast. All those could go on the grill, couldn’t they? Sure, they could get a lot of flavor to add to a dish that I already really like.
The America’s Test Kitchen challenge is to cook like it’s 1917. Charcoal was developed from waste wood scrap in the Ford Motor Company in 1920, and renamed Kingsford thereafter. Kingsford was a relative of Henry Ford. The Weber grill was not invented until the 1960s but I’m sure that people were barbecuing in some sort of fashion in 1917 – how else would Henry Ford have been able to sell charcoal? I think I’m okay with the time-line, don’t you?
So, a few weeks ago I was at the market and there was a package of Uncle Ben’s Taco rice in the Manager’s Special section. I thought, hey, why not? It might be good. I prepared it according to package directions on Tuesday. When Spane tasted it, he made a face. I tasted it, and I made a face, too. I even put Tapatio on it, and sour cream, and it still tasted like dirty, old socks. Mind you, I’ve never tasted dirty, old socks, but I imagine they probably taste like that rice – horrible. Moral of the story, don’t by Uncle Ben’s flavored rice.
After that debacle, I was determined to make good Mexican rice, but my stove, Bertha, is on the fritz. I had to find another way to make it.
I also had a pork loin roast, and I wanted to marinate it, but, it too, could not be roasted in Bertha. I had to find another way for that as well.
Sundays are the day in our family where we really try to keep the Sabbath day. We go to Mass, and I try to not get on the computer. No working on Sunday, sometimes not even to get email.
Spane really likes going to the 5:30 p.m. Mass, the Life Teen Mass, mainly because it is a more youthful Mass, with a band that plays guitar, drum and piano, with really good jazzy singers. I like going to the earlier Masses because I really like listening to Holy Family’s award winning choir. I like to sing, too.
Usually, we go to 5:30 Mass, so I don’t have that much time to make a real “Sunday” dinner, but today we went to 11:00 Mass, so I did. I thought that this was a good opportunity to praise God with a nice dinner, and Italian is always a good choice.
Well, it’s that time of year again. Until I was in my late thirties, it always rained on my birthday, then it stopped raining on my birthday. I was rather amused when I looked a the weather forecast and saw that it was supposed to rain on the 16th of February, 2011 in Los Angeles.
As we have just moved in, and some things are still not completely organized, I thought I would make a simple dinner and a simple cake. It turned out I did not have to make the cake, my friend Adel brought a great cake from the bakery for me. But what to make for dinner on a cold, wet day?
Chili, of course, was the answer – but not any chili – no I wanted something special for my birthday, and I remembered that I used to make Great Northern White Chili. I had not made it for years.
The like this chili because it’s not too hot, so it’s perfect for people who don’t tolerate heat very well. I love a lot of heat, but I know a lot of people don’t. This chili is also rich because it has cream in it. This chili also does very well in the crock pot, just precook the ingredients and let the beans cook in the Crockpot.
Recipe: Great Northern White Chili
Summary: This is a great change from the usual bowl of red
1 package Great Northern Beans
2 Pasilla Chilies
1 Green Pepper
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Chicken Breasts skinned and boned
3 cans Chicken Stock
1 tablespoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Basil
1 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 cup Cream
Rinse beans. Fill a large pot with beans and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes. Cover and remove from heat, let sit, covered for 2 hours. Drain beans and set aside.
Char and peel chilies and green pepper.
In food processor with chopping blade:
1. Chop charred peeled chilies and pepper.
2.Chop onion and garlic.
3. Chop cut up chicken breast.
Reheat the pot and add oil. Add chilies, pepper and onion and sauté until the onion is translucent.
Add chicken and break up with a spatula as you sauté, about 5 minutes.
Add beans and broth.
Cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until the beans are almost tender. Remove the cover and allow some of the broth to reduce.
Add the cream and reduce further, stirring to prevent scorching.
Serve with sour cream and cilantro.
This is also a very good dish for a Pot Luck.
You can make this in the Crockpot as well. Sauté the onions, pepper and chicken separately, then add them to the beans and liquid and cook for 8 hours.