I love fall, when the leaves turn color and the temperatures are a little cooler. Recently, in Los Angeles, we just got through a heat wave, so I was very happy this morning when I saw thick clouds in the sky, knowing it might be a little cooler today. This evening, we even had thunder and lightning!
When I asked my son what he wanted to dinner, pork or chicken, he said chicken. Whilst looking in my pantry, I came across a box of gnocchi. I had received the gnocchi as a gift from a friend, and I knew it was high time I used it. Gnocchi is an Italian dumpling made of fluffy potatoes and flour. Marsala is a Sicilian wine, produced in the region near the city of Marsala. It is fortified for export.
I like to make something special on Wednesday mornings because Spane goes to school late on Wednesdays. Spane wanted pancakes, and as I looked in the pantry to get the ingredients out, I spied a can of peaches. I love peaches, and I especially like them with rose preserve and Marsala.
Rose preserves are made from real rose petals and sugar. Roses taste like they smell, and they are very good for you. They have lots of vitamin C, so I try to cook with roses, or drink rose juice during flu season. I’m staying healthy! You can usually find rose preserves at Mediterranean markets, or you can purchase rose preserves on-line at Amazon or other food web sites. They are also delightful on ice cream and a variety of other desserts. Don’t be afraid pf eating flowers, they taste good, and they’re good for you!
I have a friend who has a chicken, who I have named Coq Au Vin. She’s a big orange chicken, and she is going to live a nice long life in my friend’s yard, with plenty of food, water and melon treats. Coq Au Vin even recognizes me when I go and visit with her. Why did I name her that? Well, when she is quite old, and not laying eggs anymore, then she will have the glory of becoming a real Coq Au Vin. It will be a good day for her to die because she will know that she is going to make a wonderful dinner.
Well, until that time, I’m not waiting to eat chicken. I bought a chicken, some nice boiling onions, and large mushrooms, most of which became Bacon Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms. I buy most of my produce at the local Armenian store, and they don’t usually have the kind of wine I would need to make Coq Au Vin, but I did have some Marsala in the pantry. I also had some dried leeks in my pantry, which also went into my dish.
Whole vs Precut Chicken
A word about whole chickens vs precut chicken. You know, you pay more for the meat-packing company to cut the chicken, and you don’t even know if it’s all coming from the same bird. When you purchase a whole chicken, you know everything is from the same bird, and you save money by cutting it up yourself. It takes about a minute, and you can find plenty of videos on Youtube showing exactly how to do it. Here’s my chicken, all ready to go.
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?
I love to find things on sale, especially things that would usually be expensive, like ground veal.
I love cream. Why do I love cream? I love cream because you only need a little, and it stays fresh in the refrigerator for quite a long time. I also like it for those occasions when I have run out of milk for my coffee. I prefer milk.
That’s what happened to me this morning, I ran out of milk last night, and not wanting to the store unwashed, I used a little cream in my coffee. I’ve had that cream in my house for quite a while, and I knew today was the very last day to use it.
When we were at the supermarket today, someone was buying red sauce for spaghetti. That almost sounded good, but I wanted to use up what I had in my refrigerator. No problem, I thought, I can make spaghetti and meatballs, but use the veal, and make the sauce with the cream.
Veal has very little fat, so these meatballs are a good choice for those watching their weight. Omitting the cream makes the sauce another good low calorie choice. If you have vegetarian friends, serve the meatballs separately.