Saturday, March 29, 2014

Coq au Vin

Plate of Coq Au Vin with Parsley garnish
Classic Coq Au Vin

Recipe Adapted from French: Delicious Classic Cuisine Made Easy

My mom used to make chicken with wine, and for years I’ve wondered how similar her recipe was to the classic French coq au vin. I’d never felt brave enough to venture into the French cooking world until my friend Lynn graced me with French: Delicious Classic Cuisine Made Easy last Christmas. Even with the simplification, this dish is much more complicated than Mom’s chicken, and it tastes quite different. After a frenzy of cooking activities, a slow simmer adds the real magic. Slow cooking is key to the chicken’s melt-in-the-mouth tenderness as well as its wine and mushroom flavor permeation. This is the richest “simply braised chicken” imaginable.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Citrus Pomegranate Fruit Salad

Individual Serving of Salad
Spring Colors with Last Harvest Fruits

Recipe adapted from Best of Sunset

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. As Seasonal Eating readers know, I’m crazy about retro cookbooks. The latest addition to my collection was published ‘way back in 1992. The Best of Sunset is a compilation of winning recipes from Sunset magazine’s not-so-distant past. Yet since Sunset has been serving up menu ideas since 1898, I suspect that this fruit salad recipe was first published earlier—around 1980 or a bit before. It’s from the years when honey-Dijon dressings suddenly appeared on menus everywhere, but we hadn’t learned to specify which “salad oil” they were made with. This salad is lightly dressed and even my friend Rox (not a big fan of mustard) rated it thumbs up.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Massaged Kale Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Pouring Dressing onto Salad
A Little Dressing & a Lot of Kale

Recipe by Robin

Raw kale is a nutritional powerhouse, but its sharp taste and unyielding texture make eating it a more healthful than delicious experience. However, the commercial solution of drowning the kale in an oily dressing to tone it down can reduce flavor and texture to a bland, soppy mess. Luckily, home cooks can achieve better results by massaging the kale by hand. Fear not, you won’t need extraordinary upper body strength! Most of the work is done chemically by lemon juice while you squeeze for just 2 minutes. Further mellowing of the kale is accomplished by marinating in an easy dressing.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Making Seed Bombs

Two California Poppy Blossoms
Easy Care Native CA Poppies

Inspired by Demo at the Maker Faire

Now that it’s raining again in California, and weather will become balmy throughout most of the US during the next few weeks, it’s time to think about bombing our landscape—with wildflowers. These bombs, made with recycled newspaper, will absorb water, break down, and with a little luck provide substrate to nurture the seeds inside as they develop. Making seed bombs is kid-friendly provided that an adult supervises or operates the blender. Whip up a batch and toss a few by your fence or in a weedy area, and see what happens.