Wine-Braised Chicken with Shallots and Pancetta
Guys, seriously this is the new awesome recipe of deliciousness. We’ve gotten into making one big pot of something on the weekend, then eating it throughout the week. The problem with this recipe is that it’s so damned good that there’s barely anything left. Seriously, if you are a chicken eater, MAKE THIS TONIGHT. OR TOMORROW NIGHT. I’M NOT PICKY JUST MAKE IT WHENEVER IT’S CONVENIENT AND THEN EMAIL ME TO TELL ME HOW AWESOME IT IS. Because it is awesome.
If there’s one thing that scares me more than public speaking, it’s cold calling. I generally don’t like talking on the phone to begin with, much less talking on the phone with people I don’t know when I’m asking them for something. Regardless, that’s how I spent a chunk of my morning – cold-calling building managers in the area on behalf of the farmers’ market near my work.
I’ve started reading a new book – Real Food by Nina Planck, daughter of two farmers that sell at the Courthouse market – and I suspect that I’m going to become even more insufferable when it comes to local eating. So far it’s all about how ‘real food’ – the sorts of things that we humans have been eating for millennia – is in basically every way superior to the processed stuff that we now eat every day. This coupled with an article that I read elsewhere (flaking on the source) about how we’ve commoditized home cooking has me extra inspired to think more purposefully about my eating beyond just thinking purposefully about the ingredients.
EDIT to add: Blogging Gastronomica: Convenience Food and Eating on the Go
Oh, a day of frustration. All small things, but all the sort of get under your skin frustrations that are really the worst (of the insignificant in the long run sorts of things). Went into work this afternoon to help with a training session, except got stuck in traffic and so arrived right on time instead of half an hour early, meaning that the training was rushed and disorganized instead of effective. Zucchini pancakes, intended to be the savory partner to tonight’s pork shoulder, were an unmitigated disaster, despite trying 3 different zucchinis and 2 different pans. Mushy, not crisping, burning on the bottom of the pan, looks kind of like potato salad, nearly crying sort of disaster. Fortunately Kevin and Jill are patient and fun guests, and I recovered with a spontaneous spinach, red onion, and tomato salad with a dressing made from the pan drippings (from the pork, not the pancakes).
The storm passed in the night, and the weather was incredible all day, so the four of us walked down to Buzz for treats and a game of Scrabble.
We’re down to 5-6 boxes left to unpack = hooray! Shane hung art and other hardware this afternoon, and apart from the piles in our bedroom, I think we’re really done. Also, today we learned that Mina and Basil are afraid of the washer and dryer, but apparently like oatmeal raisin cookies. Who knew?
A long, tired day, and I’m ready for bed at 9pm. Some good meetings and project planning, and other time just wasted trying to concentrate. I missed the 5:02 bus and so took a meandering walk through our new neighborhood instead of waiting 20 minutes for the next one – and in doing so, found an adorable Greek restaurant (!!!) that I can’t wait to try. Baked acorn squash and grilled chicken for dinner = yum.
Tropical Storm (Hurricane?) Hanna is supposed to hit this area tomorrow, which will directly get in the way of our farmers’ market routine. It’ll be nice to not have to do anything.
Things I haven’t had in way too long:
- sushi (although I’m still a wuss and can’t really do the fresh fish deal)
- Kopi’s tuna salad salad
- curry that didn’t come out of a microwaveable packet
- guacamole from Taco Loco
- Passover dinner with Hannah and Sarah
It’s pretty rare that I miss anything about Rockford other than my family, but right now I could really go for a Mary’s Market sampler. I was there something approximating daily when I worked at Wonderland - grabbing lunch, making the coffee run for my coworkers, picking up bread or treats on my way home. It’s the first place I really learned to like coffee, and we all know how well that’s served me since.
I’ve spontaneously made really fantastic meals the last two nights out of things we just had lying around. Last night was chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and seasoned with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and a LOT of chives, then baked on parchment paper until awesome, along with a take-and-bake baguette, which is pretty much the best thing ever. Tonight, while waiting for SB to get back from the gym and my LEEP class to start, I poached chicken breasts in leftover spaghetti sauce, seasoned with fresh sage and thyme and enriched with more goat cheese, which we ate with the rest of the bread from last night. About 90% of evenings I just want to order a pizza (tonight included), so making easy but fantastic meals has been a nice change.
I’m currently reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which I’m really enjoying. It’s less preachy than The Omnivore’s Dilemma, though still pretty self-righteous. The idea of living off the land and/or only eating local is incredibly appealing to me – on the other hand, I just sung the praises of take-and-bake bread from Trader Joe’s. Mainly this book has me craving consistently warm weather so that I can plant pots of things on our balcony (or perhaps in a community garden if we can get a share) and resume our weekend trips to the farmers’ market. Springtime can’t come soon enough.
Have I mentioned how much I love canteloupe? Because it just may be my very favorite fruit.
- Red Ink, a soft grassy sheep’s cheese, Appenzeller cheese, and jamón ibérico (!!!!!!). The jamón was a birthday gift from Shane, and oh what a gift it was. We have a bit more in the fridge, and I plan to savor it at some point this week. Some girls get chocolate for their birthdays – me, I get expensive Spanish ham.
- brunch at the Corcoran, which wasn’t all that exciting in and of itself, but it was a very nice atmosphere and I enjoyed the souffle.
- the always reliable veggie options at the Hut.
- one more opportunity to see the Annie Leibovitz exhibit at the Corcoran. Our memberships paid off today when we didn’t have to wait in line for the sold out show. The galleries were packed with people, so the exhibit lacked some of the intensity of our first visit, but I’m awfully glad we went again.
- staying in to watch Helvetica and Paris, je t’aime, two very different films but both quite good.
- our new sofa arrived on Saturday and promptly exerted its dominance over our living room. I showed it who’s boss by taking a nap on it later.
- meeting a new friend at the Arlington Animal Shelter. She can’t possibly replace Sid in our hearts or memories, but she will Basil on his toes and the two of us in stitches. We’re hoping to bring her home in a few days, once she’s healed from her spaying and they’ve made sure that no one is going to come claim her.
- lots of quality time with SB. The last few weeks have been very hard, and very tiring, and it was wonderful to have a lot of lazy downtime together.