pairitwithped

  • #PairItWithPed: Chicken...Again?

    August 31, 2020 16:19

    #PairItWithPed: Chicken...Again?

    The recipe for the Moroccan Chicken with Roasted Lemons and Green Olives seen above was another effort to flavor up the bird.

    In the early years of our marriage, which came with a ready made family including two step-children, I became the cook. Ed and I worked full time and I needed to come up with recipes that were quick and on the table early enough to get everyone fed and into bed so they were ready for school the next day. Chicken typically played top billing in the weekly menus.

    First let me back up for a moment. These #pairitwithped posts are written with my son Joe in mind. He came up with the title that I now use each month when I share stories about food, wine and experiences. He is also the one who came up with "Chicken...again?" when he was a boy about his sons' age. While it was a joke in our house in those early days that we indeed ate too much chicken-boneless skinless chicken breasts to be exact, the refrain became common. I bought them by the score at Costco and, while we didn’t exactly have it EVERY night for dinner it was on the table frequently. And Joe would ask “Chicken….again?”

    In those early days I learned the finer points of flavoring up this bland protein mostly with garlic and onion. Chicken itself is a great vehicle for many different types of flavors from Chile Lime to Garam Masala to Five Spice. Marinating in white wine, garlic and rosemary is still Ed’s favorite way to fix it these days as well as his more recent Chile Lime concoction. I’ll have to admit we buy whole chickens or chicken thighs these days-our tastes have changed. Could it really have been too many boneless skinless chicken breasts? We prefer the flavor of the whole bird, skin and bones add flavor and keeps the chicken moist. On hectic evenings or boat nights I am known to pick up an already roasted chicken at the store-time saving and so convenient! But there is nothing like time on our hands these days during the pandemic to sharpen our culinary skills. Spatchcock anyone? Here are some of my favorite dishes including my notes on each recipe.

    Chicken Scallopini a la Phyllis

    Fast food--at home?  Sure you can do it—I love to find recipes that don’t take forever to fix—a meal in 30 minutes is my favorite type during the week.  And a glass of wine is the perfect match.  Here is one of my mom’s recipes—delicious with our Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

    Chicken with Prunes & Chiles

    Growing up "Dry Creek" means we knew what it was to be the "Buckle on the Prune Belt". Prunes were the major part of ag in Sonoma County, and none more than here in Dry Creek Valley. Yes, that wonderful, rich sweet flavor of a dried plum with chiles and chicken-you'll be so happy you made this and paired it with our Zinfandel or Merlot.

     Coq au Zin

    30 years ago the organization known as ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) was born because California's grape was unique and unknown to many outside of the state. Margaret Smith was the first executive director and she collaborated with Jan Nix to publish one of my favorite recipe collections: Zinfandel Cookbook: Food to go with California’s Heritage Wine. This recipe is a take on Coq au Vin-get it? Easy to fix, flavorful and a wine friendly combination. Pair it with any of our Zinfandels of course!

    Basilico Chicken

    Featuring those boneless skinless beauties this is a marinade packed with flavor in seven ingredients. Over the years we have developed many marinades yet they remain in our heads rather than on paper. This one is typical by using a combination of herbs and spices to flavor up the chicken. The fun of finding the right combination has tripled during COVID-cooking at home definitely challenges us to go beyond the usual suspects. Pair with our Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

    There is a moral to the story or perhaps I'd call it karma. Joe mostly cooks chicken these days and his son Jordan ONLY eats chicken… And for more ideas on what to do with chicken visit my Recipe site here

     

  • PairitwithPed: Mascarpone & Summertime

    July 28, 2020 16:13

    PairitwithPed: Mascarpone & Summertime

    #PairitwithPed is an idea from our son Joe St. John-who texted me one day from Whole Foods where he had found our Mother Clone Zinfandel on the shelves. He was inspired and suggested I write about pairing wine and food. I added experiences and put them all under this hashtag. They have become a regular feature now.

    This month the food is mascarpone cheese-and how the memory of this simple dessert accompaniment has stayed with me for nearly 30 years. I was reminded of it when I was reading Janet Fletcher's Planet Cheese newsletter (Janet is also a prolific cookbook author besides being a cheese maven).  She was talking about making ice cream with mascarpone and it brought back memories of the dessert I had at a restaurant in McMinnville OR all those years ago-it was that delicious!

    Setting the stage for the experience: It was this time of year when Ed and I traveled to Oregon to work the market. Back in those days I was representing the winery and he was selling cork and winery equipment for fp Packaging. Once our work days were done we would meet for dinner at a local restaurant. We were in McMinnville and had heard that Nick’s was the place to go. After a wonderful meal the dessert list was brought out and the waiter announced a seasonal choice of ripe summer fruits over mascarpone cheese. We ordered it and we LOVED it-with perfectly ripened peaches, nectarines, blackberries, marionberries and raspberries. All topped over freshly made mascarpone in a parfait glass-wow wow wow! We have eaten many meals out over the years and I can think of just one other dessert that topped this one-fresh peaches in Moscato d’Asti when we were visiting Piemonte Italy mid summer-there’s a theme here…

    But let me set the record straight-mascarpone is not *really* cheese and when made fresh resembles whipped cream without the air-dense and rich.

    The second part of the story is about a cookbook I happened upon just a year later entitled Dinner Party: The New Entertaining by Jane Freiman. While I was leafing through it I came across a recipe for Lemon Tirami Su which included a page on making mascarpone at home. Two ingredients: heavy cream and lemon juice. It does take some time for the whey to drain out and you need a few general kitchen items like a colander and cheesecloth/coffee filters. Sometimes it takes overnight until the whey drains out and makes a cream that is spreading consistency. The recipe for it is here.

    Once I was reminded of this dessert gem I made the mascarpone and paired it with fresh peaches. Quite simple and captures summertime nicely. So we have the food, the experience and now for the wine. I would recommend our friends.white to go along with the summer fruits and rich mascarpone. This white wine blend is fruity and floral on its own. A perfect #PairitwithPed combination.