F the “Skinny Bitch”

February 18, 2009 at 6:58 pm (Good Eats & Drinks, Napa Valley) (, )

So January started with the idea of following the “Skinny Bitch” diet!  It lasted about a week (and that could be exaggerating!)  But, even though I wasn’t a strict adherent to the intended diet, I for some reason lost my zest for cooking.  Because really, how good can lasagna be when it has to be made with tofu cheese?

There were no post-its marking recipes in my foodie magazines, there was no meal planning, there was only ad hoc Chinese take out and delivered pizza…just because I was trying to follow some silly rules set up by some “skinny bitches”!  For some reason it just took a while to see some holes in the plan!  Like… I might be better off indulging myself in something I want to eat, than buying food that I actually really don’t want to consume!

But, now I am back.  Cooking is happening in the kitchen once more.  The new goal…2 experiment/new dishes a week.  The rest of the time, good ole stand by favorites.

So here we go…tonight…something I have never actually prepared myself, but have had many, many times…mussels!  Thank You, Thank You Bon Appetit magazine for the inspiration…god knows I needed it!

Steamed Mussels with Sausages and Fennel
Bon Appetit, February 2008
(I cut the recipe in half, so it serves 4…my version is the one below)

1 # Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage, sliced into 1″ chunks
1 large onions, sliced
1 large fresh fennel bulbs, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 t crushed red pepper
1 1/2 C dry white wine
3 # mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1 baguette
EVOO for drizzling
Chopped fresh Italian parsley

1.  Preheat oven to 450F. 
2.  Heat large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sausage and cook until browned, turning occasionally.  Add onions, fennel, garlic, and crushed red pepper.  Add white wine and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer until sausages and veggies are cooked through (about 12 minutes). 
3.  Add 1/2 C of wine and mussels to skillet; transfer skillets to oven and roast uncovered for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove skillets from and top each skillet with enough baguette slices to cover completely.  Return skillet to oven and bake uncovered until mussels open and bread slices begin to brown (about 5 minutes).
4.  Drizzle bread with olive oil and sprinkle with parsley.  Serve mussels and sausages directly from skillet
Note:  Super yummy when I drank it with my friends Rose.

Super yummy for your tummy!


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Rainy Sunday and Roasted Chicken

February 15, 2009 at 5:16 pm (Good Eats & Drinks, Napa Valley) ()

I am completely loving the rain! 

The Pitter, Patter sound on the windows.  The clean smell.  The gray clouds rolling over the Mayacamas mountains…NVS anyone?

The rain hasn’t stopped all day, and I really hope it doesn’t anytime soon!  Because of the rain I am actually inspired  to stay at home and get stuff done.  Things that seem so awful to do when it is sunny and bocce is calling my name. 

And when the rain is coming down in buckets and buckets, what is more fun than roasting a little chicken?  Not much, unless it is Pot Roast, or Lasagna, or short ribs.

But, today i roasted a chicken and it was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!  So delicious that I was actually inspired to share it with you…so here it goes…

Special Sunday Roast Chicken
Bon Appetit, February 2009

2  12-oz unpeeled russet potato, cut into 1″ cubes
1 12 oz yam, peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
2  Large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
3  medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
1 1/2 T EVOO
3 T unsalted butter, @ room temp
2 T finely chopped fresh sage
2  garlic cloves, pressed
1 4# chicken
1 lemon, quartered
1 t kosher salt
8 C torn mustard greens
1 shallot, minced
1/2 C dry white wine
1/4 C water

1.  Toss first 5 ingredients in large roasting pan.  Mix butter, sage and garlic in small bowl.  Place chicken in center of vegetables.  Spread sage butter under skin as well as on top.  Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Stuff lemons in the cavity.
2.  Preheat oven to 400F.  Roast chicken and veggies for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven to 375F; continue roasting until instant read thermometer reads 165F and veggies are tender.  Stirring veggies once after about 1 hour.
3.  Place greens and shallot on large deep platter.  Spoon 3 T fat from juices in pan and drizzle over greens; toss to coat.  Using slotted spoon, transfer roasted veggies to platter placing atop greens.  Tilt chicken, allowing juices to flow from cavity into pan.  Transfer chicken to work surface.  Cut into serving pieces and arrange with veggies atop the greens.
4.  Add wine and 1/4 C stock or water to roasting pan.  Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring to scrape up browned bits.  Simmer until slightly reduced
(about 3 minutes).  Season sauce to taste with S&P.  Transfer to a small pitcher and serve alongside chicken.

WaLa – dinner on a rainy Sunday!

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