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.
Since we didn’t make a big Holy Thursday Seder meal this year, I thought it would be nice to make something memorable for Good Friday. Catholics are bound not to eat meat on Good Friday. I was at the market on Thursday picking up some last-minute things, and the butcher brought out two lovely pieces of Ahi tuna. I already had purchased Blood Oranges at the Farmer’s market earlier in the day. I also wanted something simple for Friday night because we would be spending a good deal of our day in the church for the Stations of the Cross and The Seven Last Words of Christ.
I have to say I was proud of my son. Our church has the kids from the middle school put on a play, complete with Roman soldiers and a real wooden cross. Spane said to me, “Mom, can we leave, it’s really sad.” Later, I saw he had a tear in his eye, and I knew that he had finally GOTTEN it. We will be going to Easter Vigil on Saturday night (Sunday according to the liturgical calendar), so we will once more be joyous again.
After all that, I was kind of tired when we got home. I looked on the Internet for tuna and blood oranges, and everything was pan seared. I wanted broiled, so I went my own way. It was delicious, and I suggest you try it. You can even do the whole thing on the grill, just make sure you have an oven safe pan for the sauce.
Last night was the 86th Academy Awards show, and the first time Spane had watched it with me. We had seen several of the nominated movies, and he’s old enough now, at 10, to appreciate and understand the ceremony. Of course, he had a lot of questions, like “When is dinner!?”
I wanted to make sometime special for the Oscars, even though our Oscar party was just the two of us. I thought I had white wine, but at the last minute realized I only had red, and I didn’t want to miss any of the red carpet show before the awards. Red wine is strong, so it needs strong flavors to go with it. Instead of vegetable or chicken broth, I used beef broth, and blue cheese goes great with beef, and has a good strong flavor. I added cherry tomatoes to give the dish some color.
I love living in Southern California. It’s not too cold, and it’s not too hot. It’s like somewhere that Goldilocks would like to live. We had a little bit of rain last night, and that gives me and excuse to make soup!
I wanted to make a healthy and hardy soup. It’s Friday, and in our house, we don’t eat meat on Fridays. We eat vegetarian or fish. Tonight, we’re going to have our Yoghurt Lentil Soup with Fish and Chips, so we’ll be a little British and a little Armenian. Why not? It’s 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.
Whilst at the local grocery store this morning trying to figure out what I was going to make with the defrosted chicken in my refrigerator, I came across some lovely large mushrooms, perfect for stuffing. I don’t know about you, but I love mushrooms, and stuffed ones even more.
The Braised Chicken with Onions and Mushrooms that I am making for dinner also calls for bacon, so it was just a matter of cooking off a bit more to add to my stuffing. You will love the way these taste, I had fun eating the little bit of stuffing that was left in the bowl!