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Archive for November 7, 2016

RECIPE: One-Pan Chicken Dinner For Fall & Winter

Chicken & Fall Vegetables

Delicata Squash

[1] Winner, winner: quick and easy chicken dinner. [2] Delicata squash has an edible rind and a built-in scalloped edge (both photos courtesy Good Eggs).


Winner, winner chicken dinner!

This phrase is typically credited with originating on the Vegas Strip. Back in the 1950s, every casino had a $1.79 three-piece chicken dinner, which included a potato and a vegetable. At that time, a standard bet was $2. So if you won a hand, you’d have enough money to buy yourself a nice chicken dinner.

At the time, as in many places today, this simple chicken dinner was the cheapest dinner around. So you didn’t win the roast beef dinner.

But hey, don’t disparage a good plate of chicken and veggies. It’s one of America’s favorite meals.

This one is a winner because you make it all in one pan, as in: Winner, winner, chicken dinner with a side of delicata squash and brussels sprouts.

If you haven’t had delicata squash, it’s a great opportunity to try it. It may become a favorite.

  • Its orange flesh has a sweet and nutty flavor like acorn squash, but the skin is edible: no peeling required! That’s why it’s called delicata, Italian for delicate*.
  • It creates flower-like slices with great eye appeal for no extra effort.
  • Slices can be served atop green salads, with cottage cheese and/or Greek yogurt, topped with grains, potatoes, or other vegetables. It’s a winner.
  • You can roast it like any other winter squash.
    Thanks to Good Eggs, which delivers fine provisions in the Bay Area, for the recipe.


    You can have this on the table in 35 minutes. If you don’t like brussels sprouts, exchange it for something else.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 handful sage leaves, chopped roughly
  • 1 pinch chile flakes
  • ½ pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out and cut into ½ half moons

    1. SEASON the chicken thighs on both sides and set aside.

    2. HEAT a large (10-inch) cast iron pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken thighs skin side down and cook until the skin starts to turn golden brown, about 6 minutes. Remove the thighs and set aside.

    3. ADD a tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, sage and chile flakes. Cook until the garlic starts to color, about 4 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts and squash and cook for about 5 minutes. When the vegetables start to soften…

    4. NESTLE the chicken skin-side-down in the vegetables. Turn the heat to medium and cover the pan. Cook until the thighs are cooked through and the vegetables are tender and caramelized, about 25 to 30 minutes.
    *In fact, the delicate skin is why no American over 20 years of age grew up with delicata squash. The thin rind is susceptible to mildew which rots the crop. Thus, delicata squash all but disappeared after the Great Depression. Thankfully, a group at Cornell University’s Department of Plant Breeding took it under their wing around 2000, and bred a variety that was resistant to most squash diseases.

    †A handful is one of those imprecise measures that says: Use how much you want. More or less of the ingredient is not critical to the recipe’s outcome.


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    GIFT OF THE DAY: Emily G’s Jams

    Last year we received a gift of Emily G’s Jam Of Love, an exquisite artisan bramd. When the last jar was scraped clean, we were despondent.

    We taste a lot of quality jams, jellies, marmalades and preserves that are perfectly nice. But on rare occasions, we come across a knockout. That’s how we feel about Emily G’s Jam Of Love, a lovely line of artisan jams and other condiments.

    (If you don’t know the difference between chutney, jam, jelly, marmalade and preserves, we’ve got that covered in our Jam Glossary.)

    Emily Myer, a culinary school graduate, has great recipes and top-notch jam-making skills. Superb fruit flavor, exquisite texture, creative recipes: These are jams (and marmalades) to treasure. Made by hand in small batches with the finest ingredients, these jams deliver a depth of flavor and texture that can’t be bested.

    They’re a treat for the table, and a wonderful gift anytime. We love it for stocking stuffers and teacher gifts; and the heart on the label makes it a contender for Valentine’s Day, too.

    Not to mention, place settings for Thanksgiving: a bounty for guests to take home.

    Ten best-sellers are available year-round, with seasonal additions. Current selections on the website include:

  • Apple Pie
  • Blackberry Vanilla
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Fig Pomegranate
  • Jalapeno Raspberry
  • Peach Marmalade
  • Pear Honey
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Strawberry Chipotle
  • Strawberry Pineapple
  • Tipsy Onion and Garlic
  • Tomato Jam
  • Triple Berry
    All are superb, but be sure to get Cabernet Sauvigon and Tipsy Onion and Garlic. They’ll really expand your horizons.

    A 10-ounce jar is $8.50, there are different gift boxes with three jars (up to $29.99).

    The jams are sold on, and there’s a store locator as well.

    We [heart] you, Emily.

    Bread is a given, as is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In truth, we eat these jams right from the jar, a heaping tablespoon for dessert; or on a buttery croissant or fresh or toasted baguette slices.

    But here are 20 different ways to use [any] jam:
    Jam With Breakfast

  • Breakfast Cheese. Serve as a condiment with cottage cheese, ricotta or any breakfast cheese.
  • Hot Cereal. Use a dab instead of sugar.
  • Pancake/Waffle Topping. Substitute jam for syrup.
  • Yogurt. Add jam to plain yogurt to customize your perfect fruit yogurt.
    Jam With Lunch

  • Grilled Cheese. Sharp cheeses like blue cheese and cheddar are perfect pairings for jam. Grill the jam with the cheese or serve it on the side as a condiment. For more flavor, use rye or a textured whole grain bread.
  • Salad Dressing. Warm a spoonful of jam and whisk it into salad dressings.
  • Sandwich Spread. Spread jam on the bread with a sandwich of cheese, ham, lamb, poultry or roast pork. To cut the sweetness, you can mix the jam with plain yogurt.
    Jam With Appetizers & Snacks

  • Canapés. Top a cracker or slice of baguette with cheese, ham, turkey or other favorite and a bit of jam.
  • Cheese Condiment. Wonderful with a cheese plate (more cheese condiments) or atop a baked Brie. The popular appetizer of jam poured over a brick of cream cheese or a log of goat cheese, and served with crackers, is vastly improved with fine jam.
  • Dipping Sauce. Mix jam in a small bowl with sriracha, a hot chile and vinegar-sauce; or with plain hot sauce plus vinegar. You can also make a dip with fresh grated ginger and soy sauce.
  • Pepper Jelly. Mix in some red pepper flakes or dried or fresh minced chipotle, jalapeño or other chile (the different chile types).
  • Pretzel or Breadstick Dip. Mix with Dijon or other mustard. For a sweet-and-hot profile, add some hot sauce.
    Jam With Dinner
  • Condiment/Garnish. Serve with fish/seafood, chicken, lamb, pork.
  • Meat Glaze. Particularly delicious on poultry and pork. Mix with fresh herbs and garlic.
  • Sauce. Use jam with wine or vermouth to deglaze the pan. Add some to the pan while you’re cooking chicken or pork chops and let the flavor coat the meat.
    Jam With Dessert

  • Cheesecake. Fine jam makes a wonderful topping or a condiment on the side. Cookies. Thumbprints and rolled cookies with a jam swirl are classics.
  • Crêpe Filling. Delicious plain or with fresh goat cheese or mascarpone.
  • Dessert Sauce. Mix with plain or vanilla yogurt or sour cream.
  • Ice Cream & Sorbet Topping. Crown a scoop of sorbet with a dab of fine jam. Lightly warm the jam so it flows like a sauce over ice cream.
  • Layer Cake Filling. A coat of jam between the layers is a classic: Think Sacher Torte! Apricot or raspberry jam is delicious with chocolate cake; any flavor works with lemon cake.
  • Tarts & Tartlets. Fill tart or tartlet shells with jam. Top with a dab of crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, mascarpone or sour cream.
    Enjoy your jam!


    Emily G Jams

    Peach Marmalade

    Pate With Berry Jam

    Jam & Ricotta

    Swordfish With Fig Jam

    Brownie Bites

    [1] A treasure in each jar (photo courtesy Emily G’s Jams). [2] A bread and cracker spread with 20 more uses (the list is below; photo Al 62 | IST). [3] Garnish paté and canapes (photo Vicki F | IST). [4] For breakfast, add to cottage cheese, ricotta or yogurt (photo © Kirsten Photo). [5] Swordfish with fig jam (photo courtesy Fresh Originals). [6] Brownie bites with berry jam (photo Emily G’s).



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    HOLIDAY: National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day

    November 7th is National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day (National Almond Day is February 16th, National Chocolate Day is October 28th, National Milk Chocolate Day is July 28, National White Chocolate Day is September 22).

    Most celebrants would run out for a dark chocolate bar with almonds. But think outside the wrapper; here are other ideas:

  • Chocolate bundt cake with chopped almonds.
  • Layer cake with chocolate frosting and almonds on the sides and/or top.
  • Flourless chocolate cake made with almond flour or finely-ground almonds.
  • Torte with an almond ganache filling.

  • Chocolate almond bark. Add pumpkin seeds for the season.
  • Chocolate almond clusters. Add some dried cherries or cranberries.
  • Chocolate almond fudge. You can add almonds to chocolate fudge or make a chocolate-peanut butter fudge recipe with almond butter.
  • Chocolate-covered almonds.

  • Brownies with almonds.
  • Chocolate chip cookies with almonds instead of pecans or walnuts.
  • Chocolate macarons (French macarons are made with almond flour).
  • Chocolate cookies with chopped almonds, or with a whole almond pressed into the top when the cookies come out of the oven.
  • Meringues with mini-chocolate chips and finely chopped almonds (use this recipe as a guide).

  • Chocolate almond cocktail (recipe below).
  • Chocolate almond milk (Almond Breeze, Pacific, Silk, etc.).
  • Hot chocolate, chocolate shake, smoothie, etc. made with almond milk.

  • Chocolate cream pie or chocolate silk pie garnished with almonds.
  • Chocolate tart with almond crust (substitute almonds for the pumpkin seeds in this recipe).

  • Chocolate bread pudding with whipped cream and almonds.
  • Chocolate almond mousse.
  • Hot fudge sundae garnished with almonds.

    The original concept, assembled by THE NIBBLE in 2005, has been widely copied.

    Check out all the American food holidays.

    We serve this cocktail for dessert. Nothing extra is needed, but a few Amaretti di Saronno are a welcome addition.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1/2 ounce amaretto almond liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce chocolate vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Bailey’s or other Irish cream liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce white creme de cacao

    Almond Chocolate Bar

    Chocolate Tart With Brittle

    Chocolate Macarons

    Chocolate Almond Cocktail Recipe

    [1] A chocolate bar with almonds (photo courtesy Royce USA). [2] Here’s the recipe from Giada De Laurentiis (photo courtesy Delish). [3] French macarons are made with almond flour; thus, chocolate and almond (here’s the recipe from [4] A chocolate cocktail with an almond cookie rim (photo courtesy Musings Of A Housewife).

  • 1/2 ounce Godiva or other chocolate liqueur (including regular creme de cacao)
  • 2 ounces half-and-half or cream
  • Ice
  • Optional rim: finely crushed Amaretti di Saronno, other almond cookies or chocolate cookies

    1. FINELY CRUSH the cookies and place them on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Moisten the rims of the glasses and twist in the cookie crumbs to coat. Set aside.

    2. COMBINE all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with the ice. Shake and strain into a Martini glass.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Before You Buy A Turkey, Ask These Questions

    Roast Thanksgiving Turkey

    Fresh Brined Turkey

    Live Wild Turkey

    [1] Which is your turkey: Frozen? Heirloom? Heritage? Brined (photo courtesy Reynolds Kitchens | Facebook)? [2] A fresh free-range brined turkey (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma). [3] What the Pilgrims ate: Wild turkeys are streamlined birds that look like marathon runners compared to turkeys bread to have more meat (photo by Larry Price | National Wild Turkey Federation).


    If you just grab the nearest Butterball from the freezer case, you have a plan. It’s a fine plan: We actually chose the Butterball in a blind tasting of heirloom, heritage and organic turkeys.

    But with more and more people interested in the fresh turkey experience, there are other options to consider.

    Whole Foods sent us this turkey advisory from master butcher Theo Weening, Whole Foods Market’s global meat buyer. He suggests that you ask these questions when searching for your perfect bird.

    1. How Fresh Is Fresh?

    The fresher the turkey, the faster it cooks. If you’re paying for a fresh turkey, the question to ask is: Exactly how fresh is this “fresh” turkey?

    Fresh turkeys are processed and stored just above the freezing point to keep them juicy and tender…but for how long? Many conventional grocers advertise “fresh” turkeys that are actually harvested nine months or more before Thanksgiving!

    Whole Foods and other quality vendors sell turkeys are processed just before the holiday season, to give you the freshest and best-tasting turkey possible.

    2. Antibiotic-Free & Organic Turkeys

    The question here is: Where and how was this turkey raised?

    The best birds are raised with the highest standards, and a great butcher will steer you to a turkey that meets the highest quality breeding stock and practices: no antibiotics, no animal by-products in the feed, no added growth hormones, animal welfare standards, and audits by third-parties like the Global Animal Partnership.

    While you can find all these qualities in non-organic birds, organic-certified* turkeys continue to grow in popularity each year, and WFM butchers agree that they are some of the most flavorful birds around. They’re raised on organic pastures with outdoor access and fed non-GMO, organic feed. They are available from 10 to 20 pounds, sometimes a bit larger.

    3. Heritage and Heirloom Birds

    Most Thanksgiving turkeys are bred to have huge breasts with lots of white meat. In fact, large commercial producers have bred the breast so large that the top-heavy turkeys can no longer fly†. More and more people we know are choosing to make Thanksgiving more “authentic” with an old-style bird.

    Heritage turkeys are bred for flavor. Raised slowly and traditionally, they are rich and succulent birds with a more robust turkey flavor.

    Unlike supermarket birds, they are not bred to have a huge double breast that delivers a preponderance of white meat. Rather, these breeds are the closest you’ll get to what the Pilgrims ate, which makes them a new experience for most people.

    Heirloom turkeys are breeds that date back to the early 1920s-1930s, heirloom turkeys strike a balance between the wild turkey of the heritage breeds and the milder flavor of Butterball and other modern breeds adjusted to the preferences of many Americans. Heirlooms have offer more white meat than heritage turkeys. They can be up to 28 pounds.

    4. Brined Birds

    Fans of brining will tell you that the technique produces a more tender and flavorful turkey. The technique requires soaking the bird in a saltwater solution for 4 to 24 hours before roasting. You can buy them pre-brined.

    Note: Kosher turkeys have already been salted, so brining will create an overly salty bird.

    If you want to try it but not for the first time on the most important turkey day of the year, mark a date on your calendar; New Year’s Day, perhaps? A roast turkey is great football food.

    1. Order Ahead.

    Some of in-demand turkeys can sell out before Thanksgiving. Now’s the time to call or visit the butcher to reserve exactly the type and size you want.


    2. Consider A Fully Cooked Turkey.

    If you don’t have time to cook your turkey, don’t have space in the oven, want to minimize stress, etc., let someone else do the work for you. You can order a cooked turkey prepared for reheating.

    You’ll know the turkey has been professionally cooked—no mistakes—and can focus your time on the more memorable sides.

    *USDA organic certification requires time and expense devoted to paperwork and steps required by the auditors that don’t improve the flavor of the turkeys. There are family farmers who produce all-natural, top-quality poultry but elect not to invest their resources in organic certification.

    †These big-breasted turkeys are also too top-heavy to mate. The females must be artificially inseminated.

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