Chicken Stew by Douglas

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Chicken Stew

This recipe is courtesy of Spane’s father, Douglas. When we were dating, before Spane was born, he came by and offered to fix dinner for us. He went to the store and bought everything he needed, except the spices. He knew I had myriad spices and that I would have just what he wanted.

I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty this was. I thought of it this weekend and made it, but I reduced the amounts for just Spane and I. Spane was hungry, he got three thighs! Actually, with a salad, or other side dishes, this could easily make enough for 12 people, if each person is allocated one chicken thigh.

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Cobb Salad

Recipes in this PostCobb Salad

I should not even have to write this post, but considering the awful salads I have had that called themselves Cobb, I think it’s time to set the record straight.

How do I know this? I know it because I am old enough to have actually had a real Cobb Salad at the original Brown Derby in Hollywood when I was a little girl. You don’t forget things like that, especially when they are so good.

A real Cobb Salad is a chopped salad. What does chopped mean? It means small pieces, like the size of a pea. A lot of cooks think that a Cobb Salad is just a Chef’s Salad, but with specific ingredients. Well, it’s not – it’s a chopped salad, usually with bacon, blue cheese, egg, tomatoes, avocado, spring onions, and chicken all chopped up into little tiny pieces with a unobtrusive vinaigrette like the Original Brown Derby Dressing.
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Fettuccine with Sauteed Chicken and Asparagus

Fettuccine with sautéed Chicken and AsparagusRecipes in this Post

So, Friday, I bought asparagus and didn’t use it. Saturday was the 4th of July, and asparagus just didn’t seem to want to go with Nesco ribs, potato salad, and beans. They are much too delicate and cultured a vegetable for that, although, if I were able to grill in Glendale, they would do nicely there as well.

This is a very easy dish to throw together, and makes a nice Sunday meal. It’s quite filling, and goes nicely with a light salad.

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Better Best Foods Parmesan Chicken

Recipes in this PostBetter Best Foods Parmesan Chicken

It’s Better than Best

So, the main point of this cooking blog is that I use fresh ingredients, mostly everything made from scratch. And yet – and yet, I use store bought mayonnaise. Why? Because I really like the way it tastes. My mother made home made mayonnaise once, and I didn’t like it because it tasted flat. I have been told that homemade is better, but, for now, I’m sticking with Best Foods.

Can I tell the difference between mayonnaises? Yes, I can. A friend of mine who thought that was impossible took my regular jar, filled it with another brand, and put it back in my refrigerator. The second it hit my tongue, I could tell it wasn’t the same.

I’m not the only one, either. When the Northridge earthquake happened, I was working at Dean Witter in Beverly Hills, and one of the brokers came to me and said he was moving back to Chicago because his wife said that even though the quake was frightening, not having Hellman’s was enough to make her hate California. I told him to tell her that it was Hellman’s in the East and Best Foods in the West – they stayed, and as far as I know, they are still living in the land of bovine foot massages.

Better Best Foods Parmesan Chicken

I have seen the recipe for Parmesan Crusted Chicken for years, and today, when I was running out of time, and hungry, I decided to try it. Of course, I have to change it to make Best Better.

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Ruby Red Grapefruit Roasted Chicken

ruby red grapefruit chickenRecipes in this Post

A few days ago, someone asked me for a different way to roast a chicken, and I have her this recipe. I haven’t made this in a long time, and it was a welcome change from the ho-hum regular roasted chicken we all know and love.

Spane and I both love grapefruit, and I was lucky to get some beautiful ruby-red grapefruit at my local corner store. Today, I’m going to go to the local farmer’s market and get some more. Did you know that grapefruit is really good for you? As a member of the citrus family, they are packed with vitamin C, have low sodium, low sugar, high lycopene, high potassium, and fat burning enzymes.

binder clips bind chicken skin together

Binder clips bind chicken skin together

I have to tell you, binder clips are great in the kitchen. I use them mainly to close up bags, especially bags of frozen vegetables. When I was making my chicken, the skin on the breast tore, and I needed it to cover the grapefruit slices. What to do? I heard some TV doctor yelling “Clamp!” in my head, got some binder clips out of the drawer and clamped it up. When the chicken was finished cooking, it was just a matter of removing the clips, and the skin stayed nicely together. Clean up was simple, too, and unlike twine, I can reuse my clips after thoroughly washing them.

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Chicken with Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

Chicken with Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

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My best friend’s mother, Joan, used to make the best chicken. I was very close to Joan, and paid attention when she cooked. I think this was my favorite, and she was nice enough to give me the recipe.

I loved Joan for other reasons, too. Joan was the manager of a high-end gift shop in Beverly Hills, and she had very good taste. Her house was beautifully decorated, and well-organized. Everything had a place, and everything had a job, even the legs on the cast iron dining room table. It’s job was to bite us on the toe as we passed by it and weren’t paying attention.

Joan taught me a lot of stuff. She taught me the right jewelry to wear with what outfit, she taught me the importance of being organized, she taught me how to make the Hot Dogs with Mashed Potatoes and Cheese (Spane’s favorite), and she taught me how to make this chicken dish. She loved me like her own daughter, and I loved her like the mother I lost when I was 15 years old. When I moved out of her place, she gave me metal prep bowls and a stainless steel wok. Despite all the moving I have done, I still have those bowls and that wok, and use them frequently.

Fresh Water ChestnutsThe only thing Joan did not teach me was about fresh water chestnuts. My grocer taught me about those. They look like ginger fingers, and sliced thinly, they are very crisp with a nice flavor. I don’t know about you, but I always avoid water chestnuts when I find them in Chinese food because those have no flavor. But, the fresh ones? They have a very subtle flavor, almost like a potato. If you can find them, I highly recommend them.

Sadly, Joan died just before Spane was born, but I know she watches over us. I love you, Mom!

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