Face to Plate

A Favorite Cookbook

In Chicken, Cooking, Hospitality, Italian Recipes, Sauteing on January 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I have loved this cookbook ever since I was 10 or so (around the time of my green eggs and ham experiment…).  It is called Cooking Up World History: Multicultural Recipes and Resoures, by Patricia C. Marden and Suzanne I. Barchers (Englewood, CO: Teacher Ideas Press, 1994).  The recipes are compiled from countries all over the world, from Africa to Australia, South America to Scandinavia to Scotland.  All the recipes are pretty simple, but delicious.  One of my favorites is Pollo alla Cacciatore (Chicken Cacciatore), from Italy, of course.  In fact, I’m making it tonight.

Ingredients:
1 4-pound chicken, cut into pieces (I use 3-4 chicken breasts, cut in pieces)
1/4 cup flour (I usually use more than this)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. basil
1 cup sliced mushrooms

Steps:
1. Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces.
2. Cover chicken pieces with flour.
3. Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat.
4. Stir in onions and garlic.
5. Add chicken pieces.  Brown on both sides.
6. Add rest of ingredients.
7. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hr. Stir frequently until chicken is tender.
I change the last step – saute the chicken until it’s cooked thoroughly.  Then add the rest of the ingredients and warm the whole thing for a while.  It’s much quicker this way.

This goes really well with garlic bread and salad, as, of course, most Italian dishes do.

Experiment #1

In Chicken, Cooking, Experimenting in the kitchen, Sauteing on January 8, 2011 at 7:18 am

So my other random kitchen obsession is experimenting while sauteing chicken.  It usually turns out great, but the thing is I just throw stuff in the pan willy-nilly, so I don’t know exactly how much of each ingredient is in it by then end.  I’ll try to remember what happened last night.

First, saute garlic and fresh onion (about 2 tablespoons dried garlic slices and 1/4 of an onion) in olive oil.  Add chicken, in bite-sized pieces; saute for a while.  Then add dried parsley (and when I say add, I mean pour, because that is what I accidentally did, and surprisingly, it was so good).  Sprinkle about a teaspoon of sage over the chicken.  Generously season with salt and pepper.  Pour a tablespoon or two of white wine vinegar in the pan.  Lastly, give the lemon pepper a good dash.  And there you have it.

Yesterday I served this chicken on a simple salad – lettuce, tomatoes, onions, red pepper, and drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the whole thing.

Next time I experiment, I will try my hardest to actually measure things out…

I Will Not Eat It in a House or With a Mouse

In Hospitality on January 6, 2011 at 4:17 am

Hello and welcome!  First off, the reason for this blog.  I’ve always loved being in the kitchen and sharing my creations with the people around me.  When I was around ten years old, I cracked a couple of eggs into a frying pan, threw in some ham and topped the whole thing off with a couple drops of green food coloring.  Trust me, it looks more appetizing in the book.  I thought it would be an exciting treat for my 3-year-old brother, still in the Dr. Seuss stage of life.  He wouldn’t taste it.  I didn’t really want to either, but I did, and looking back, I realize I made the green eggs and ham for me, because I was and still am, in the Dr. Seuss stage of life.

Kind of an odd start to a pursuit of hospitality, but there you have it.  I still experiment with food (not so much with food coloring anymore) and I always like to share it with people.  Thankfully, my skill has increased over the past ten years, and my family members are always happy to be my guinea pigs.  I hope you too will benefit from recipes I’ll post here, and mistakes I learn from, as well as tips and quotes from favorite books and people who inspire me.  Oh the places we’ll go!