Peach pie for dinner!

Chicken and peach pie
2-3 lb. chicken (best with skin and bones, which add flavor, but a smaller amount of skinless/boneless chicken can be used)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
2 ribs celery, in 2-inch pieces
1 leek with a little green, in 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 whole cloves
5 medium peaches (1 1/2 lb), peeled*, pitted, and sliced into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup white wine
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp. cold water
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. water (optional)
double pie crust for 9-10-inch pie pan

Rub the chicken all over with salt, pepper, and ginger. In a large pot, lightly brown chicken, onion, celery, and leek in oil over medium heat, about 15 minutes. Add stock and whole cloves; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 1 1/4 hours. Remove chicken, reserving cooking liquid and vegetables, and cool slightly. Remove and discard skin and bones; cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Mix meat with peaches, wine, garlic, ginger; cover and chill. Remove cloves from the cooking liquid and discard; puree liquid and vegetables. Chill (may quick-chill by freezing about 45 minutes) and skim off fat. Combine puree and cornstarch/water mixture, add to chicken, and stir until well-blended. Grease a 10 x 6 1/2 x 2-inch casserole or 9-10 x 2-inch round dish and line with 1/8 inch thick pie crust dough, leaving 1 1/2 inch overhang. Fill with chicken mixture. Top with second crust and seal with water. Pierce top and brush with egg if desired. Bake 30 min at 400F then lower oven to 350F and bake another 20 min. Allow to cool 10 min. before serving.

Adapted from: Cooking with fruit : the complete guide to using fruit throughout the meal, the day, the year / Rolce Redard Payne and Dorrit Speyer Senior. Wings Books, 1995.

*See following recipe for the easiest way to peel peaches.
———

If you bought extra peaches (and who wouldn’t be tempted?) how about drying them for later snacking:

Oven-dried peaches
Blanch peaches in boiling water for a few seconds and quickly remove to cold water; skins should slip off easily. Halve and remove pits; cut into smaller pieces if desired. Optionally, place in acidulated water to prevent discoloration. Arrange pieces cut-side down on a wire rack over a foil-lined baking tray; place in a 225F oven, leaving door slightly ajar. Dry 24-36 hrs for halves, 12-16 hrs for quarters, 8-12 hrs for smaller pieces, turning pieces halfway through drying.

Adapted from: Preserving fruit : 101 essential tips / Oded Schwartz. DK Pub., 1998.

More about peaches.

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Apricot stuffed chicken

2 whole boneless chicken breast halves, with skin
1/2 cup dry stuffing mix
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 lb. fresh apricots, halved (about 4)
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Place chicken skin side down and flatten slightly with a mallet. Combine stuffing mix, onion, butter, and 1/4 tsp. ginger; place in a strip along center of each breast half and top with apricot halves. Wrap chicken around filling; tie with string every two inches. Barbecue 15 minutes on a rack about 5-1/2 inches above medium-hot coals, turning once or twice. Mix apricot jam, vinegar, and remaining 1/4 tsp. ginger; brush over chicken rolls. Grill another 5-10 minutes, until done.

Adapted from California Apricots

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Newsletters: 19 Oct., 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 19 Oct., 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the garden
This being our designated planning-for-the-winter week, it seems only right to give you a run-down of what will be going on out there over the winter. Here’s a summary of what the WSU Master Gardeners tell us.
• Nov.: Mulch. Move container plants inside (if you haven’t already). Be careful not to over-prune your roses.
• Dec.: Pot up paperwhites for forcing. Fertilize for the winter.
• Jan.: Do a little winter weeding. Start planning next year’s garden, including crop rotation.
• Feb.: Don’t be fooled by good weather into exposing your roses or getting a start on your spring pruning. Instead, go slug hunting or start your brassica seedlings indoors.
• Mar.: NOW you can prune and feed those roses. Transplant your brassicas outside and start tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants inside. Sow hardy vegetables such as beets and spinach.
• Apr.: Sow carrots. Start squash and cucumbers indoors. You should probably mow the lawn, too.
• May.: Plant dahlias, gladiolus and calla lilies; fill containers and deadhead bulbs. Sow corn and beans, and transplant tomato, pepper and squash starts, if and when it’s warm enough.

In the kitchen
The cold weather is here, so I guess it’s time to talk about nice hearty soups again.

Clove-scented onion soup with Madeira and paprika
0.25 c unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 lb. onions, peeled and thinly sliced
6 c beef broth
3 Tbsp. golden raisins
1.5 tsp. paprika
0.5 tsp. ground mace
8 whole cloves
salt and pepper to taste
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
0.25 c dry Madeira wine
Cook onions in the butter and olive oil, stirring occasionally, 20 min. or until the onions are wilted and golden. Add broth, raisins, paprika, mace, and cloves. Bring to a boil; partially cover, and simmer 30 min. Season. Stir 1/4 c of the soup into the egg yolks. Add the yolk mixture to the pot and cook, stirring, for about 4 min or until slightly thickened. Stir in Madeira.
From: Adriana’s spice caravan / Adriana & Rochelle Zabarkes.

Healthy Oatmeal Soup
10 cups chicken stock
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 large ripe tomato, finely chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1 cup quick cooking oats (more or less, according to desired thickness)
Salt to taste
Boil chicken breasts, tomato, cumin, and coriander in chicken stock until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken meat from the bones and cut or tear into small pieces. Return meat to broth and stir in oats. Bring to a boil, stir occasionally for about 2 minutes. Boil for about 15 minutes.
Source unknown.

Crock Pot Barley Soup
1 lb. stew beef in 1/2″ cubes
1 med. onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
3/4 c. barley
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
6 c. beef stock
Slow-cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
Source unknown.

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Newsletters: 14 Sept. 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 14 Sept. 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
The eggplant, also called an aubergine, belongs to the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. Like tomatoes, it is really a fruit. When immature it contains toxins that can cause illness (but it grows out of it). People with arthritis and related issues should consider avoiding eggplant and its relatives, because the solanine they contain can be a problem for them. However, eggplant has also been used to reduce other kinds of swelling and bleeding, and to treat dysentery, so you’ll have to make up your own mind whether to eat it or not. Eggplant is full of bioflavinoids, and the skin of the purple varieties contains another kind of anti-oxidant, anthocyanins. It has some nice B-complex vitamins, but it is more known for its minerals, especially manganese, copper, iron and potassium. It is also a very low-calorie fruit and provides plenty of fiber.

Eggplants probably originated in India or Southeast Asia, and was cultivated in China as early as the 5th century. The Moors brought it to Spain in the 8th century, and the Italians were trading with the Arabs for it in the 13th century. In India it is called brinjal, Australians call it an eggfruit, and West Africans call it garden fruit. Some use it to treat scorpion bites or frostbite.

In the kitchen
I went looking for some nice leek recipes because they looked so pretty, and of course I immediately ran up against my collection of Welsh recipes. So here are two traditional Welsh soups and a fairly modern chicken, just for variety.

Swp cennin a thatws (leek and potato soup)
3 leeks
1 lb. potatoes
2 oz butter
1 oz flour
3 pints chicken stock
1 c milk
3 sprigs parsley
salt, pepper
Trim leeks, wash thoroughly and slice finely. Peel and dice the potatoes. Place leeks and potatoes with 1 oz butter in a large saucepan. Cover and heat gently 5 min. until the leeks are very lightly coloured. Shake the saucepan gently to prevent the vegetables burning. Pour on the stock and simmer 3/4 hour. Melt the rest of the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour using a wooden spoon. Stir in the milk, making sure there are no lumps. Simmer 2-3 min. on a gentle heat and add to soup. Stir well and bring back to a boil. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.
From: The Welsh dresser : more recipes from Wales / by Sian Llewellyn. Cardiff : Emeralda, c1986.

Cawl Aberaeron (Aberayron broth)
1.5 lb. bacon
1 lb beef
1 white cabbage
1/2 lb. carrots
1/2 lb turnips
1/2 lb parsnips
1 lb potatoes
2 small leeks
oatmeal
salt, pepper
Wash and shred the cabbage. peel and cut up all the other vegetables. Dice the bacon and beef. Place the meat and all the vegetables except the leeks in a large saucepan; cover with water and season to taste. Simmer 2-2.5 hr. Add the leeks and continue heating for a further 10 min. Serve hot.
From: The Welsh kitchen : recipes from Wales / by Sian Llewellyn. Cardiff : Emeralda, 1972.

Chicken braised with leeks and figs
1 T butter
3 c coarsely chopped leek (ca. 4-5)
2 T flour
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
4 chicken drumsticks, skinned (4 oz ea.)
4 chicken thighs, skinned (4 oz ea.)
2 c dry white wine
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T honey
6 parsley sprigs
1 sprig thyme
16 medium light-skinned fresh figs, halved (ca. 1.5 lb)
1 T chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
thmye sprigs, for garnish
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over med-high. Add leeks; saute 5 min or until tender. Remove leeks from pan and set aside. Combine flour, salt, pepper, chicken in a plastic bag and shake to coat. Place chicken in the skillet and brown on all sides, ca. 10 min. Return leeks to pan and add wine, vinegar, honey, parsley, thyme. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 15 min. Add figs and simmer another 10 min. or until chickien is done. Remove parsley and thyme sprigs. Sprinkle with parsley and thyme garnish if desired.
From: Cooking light, Aug. 2004.

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Newsletters: 21 July, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 21 July, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

I’d like to break from my usual theme of good fresh food in the sunshine and share with you an idea for keeping in touch with those loved ones — seniors or not — who for one reason or another you don’t actually connect with as often as you should. Get some postcards and put the person’s address and a stamp on them. Store them somewhere handy and pick a time each month to send one — the first of the month or every Monday or on payday, or even a random event like whenever you have a math quiz. When that time comes, take a prepared card, write some personal news on it — the weather, a garden report, a grandchild’s drawing — and drop it in the mail. That’s it. You can write longer letters or send pretty greeting cards, but the beauty of a postcard is that it fills up quickly (you’re supposed to be sending them frequently, so there won’t be a lot to say). It’s the contact that counts, the fact that you thought of them, not the content. I used this system to keep in touch with my grandfather when he went into a nursing home, and not only did it free me from feeling guilty for neglecting him, but it was a nice tangible reminder for him when his memory got a little weak.

And if you find you like to send postcards, you might be interested in Postcrossing.

Cooking, and reading about cooking

In keeping with this week’s senior theme, here are a couple of recipes for… let’s just call it smaller households; what I think of as “singles and doubles.”

Chinese barbecued Cornish game hen
1 Cornish game hen
sauce:
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp dry sherry
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup chicken broth
Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add the hen and turn until it is coated with the sauce. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Place the hen in a small roasting pan. Reserve the marinade. Roast the hen in a 350F oven for 1 hour, basting with the marinade twice.
From: Fearless cooking for one / Michele Evans. 1980.

Oven barbecued chicken breast
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup catsup
1 T cider vinegar
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup water
2 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper
1 tsp chili powder
dash liquid hot pepper seasoning
1 large, whole chicken breast, halved
In a small saucepan, combine the onion, garlic, catsup, vinegar, Worcestershire, water, brown sugar, salt, pepper, chili powder, and hot pepper seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until it reaches a barbecue sauce consistency, about 20 min. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 375F. Brush the breast halves generously with the sauce and place in a shallow baking dish. Bake, basting frequently with the sauce, 30 min. or until chicken is tender and done.
From: Cooking for two today / Jean Hewitt, Marjorie Page Blanchard. 1985.

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Newsletters: 17 Jan., 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 17 Jan., 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

A new year, another couple of recipes

It’s only January, but I have to talk about Valentine’s Day this month because the February newsletter will be too late. If, like me, you’re too practical and down-to-earth (and aggressively single) to enjoy all that mushy stuff, feel free to roll your eyes. Next month I’ll talk about the cold, dark winter and the patience of seeds in the dark warmth of the earth, I promise.

My favorite Valentine’s Day story is about a young couple (no, not Gift of the Magi; I think this was a Reader’s Digest filler) who agreed not to buy each other Valentine’s Day gifts, to save money. So the Day came, and the young man produced a package for his beloved, which turned out to be a small volume of love poems. His wife was delighted, but objected that they had agreed not to buy gifts that year. With a grin, he pointed out the library stamp, and the due date.

The thing is, it is possible to be romantic without spending a bunch of money. Going out for a fancy dinner and show is a lot of fun, true, but I submit that staying in for dinner and a show can be just as good a date. In fact, staying home has some advantages — if only that the couch is a far more comfortable place to neck than movie theater seats. You can of course rent a movie, but I encourage you to emulate the young man in the story. The library has movies for free, you can usually keep them longer, and if the hold line is too long to get the one you want soon enough, why not pick up some silly old musical or even a “B” horror movie? I mean, how much of it are you really going to watch, considering that comfy couch and all?

About that food…
I went looking in Isabel Allende’s Aphrodite for a discussion of food erotica — basically, reading cookbooks in bed, dreaming of all that rich and succulent food — but instead found an interesting discussion of the seductiveness of culinary ability in men. So, knowing that many men are more comfortable in front of a grill than at a kitchen counter, I thought a little commentary on barbecuing in the winter might be useful to my gentlemen readers.

Winter grilling by Kelly Iverson
(with advice from Barbecue Master Kevin Iverson)
So you want to grill steaks for your sweetie on Valentines Day, huh? Well, relax, winter grilling isn’t all that different from summer grilling; the basics remain the same but with a winter spin. You trade the T-shirt for a parka, flip-flops for hunter socks and boots and the cold beer for a hot-buttered rum. Seriously, it isn’t that different, the cold affects the heat that is produced by the grill so you either run the grill hotter or extend the time it takes to cook the steak. If you can be out of the wind, if there is one, is even better as the wind sucks the heat away even faster requiring not only a hotter grill but also more time. So grab those steaks and your parka, fire up the grill and plan on a great, winter-grilled dinner with your favorite person!

To finish off, here are a couple of dishes with supposed aphrodisiac qualities, from Aphrodite : a memoir of the senses / Isabel Allende. HarperFlamingo, c1998. I was going to suggest strawberries dipped in chocolate, which are a classic, but this is the wrong season for strawberries. I wonder if one could make a sort of dried-strawberry bark…?

Noodles with artichoke
1/3 c olive oil
1 c bottled marinated artichokes, chopped, liquid reserved
1 small jar pimentos
1/4 c pine nuts (optional)
1/2 lb. noodles, cooked and drained
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
6 large black or green olives, chopped
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
salt, pepper to taste
Heat oil, artichoke liquid, pimentos, and pine nuts. Combine all ingredients in the warm noodle pot. May also be made a day ahead and served cold.

Curried sea bass
1/2 small onion, quartered
1/2 carrot, sliced
1 bouquet garni
salt, pepper to taste
1 c water
2 sea bass fillets, skinned and washed
1/2 lemon
Boil onion, carrot, bouquet garni, salt, and pepper in water 15 min. Rub the fish with the lemon and place in a pot; cover with boiling water mixture. Cook 15 min. on low. Remove and keep warm. Reserve liquid for sauce.
sauce:
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tart apple, peeled and grated
pinch brown sugar
1 tsp. flour
liquid from cooking fish
1/2 c coconut milk
2 heaped Tbsp. grated coconut
salt, pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. cream
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Melt butter; stir in curry powder, vinegar, apple, and sugar. Add flour and cook 5 min. on low. Gradually stir in reserved fish liquid, coconut milk, and coconut; continue cooking 10 min. Adjust seasonings; keep warm but do not allow to boil. Add cream and egg yolk; pour over fish.

Well, and one more, just because of the name.

Chicken breast Valentino
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 c. cream
1/2 c. chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast (i.e. both sides), quartered
salt, pepper to taste
1 egg yolk beaten with a little milk
1 Tbsp. cooked, chopped red pepper
4 Tbsp. Kahlua
1/2 tsp. salsa picante
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c chopped roasted peanuts
Melt butter and mix in flour; add cream and chicken stock, being careful to prevent lumps. Add chicken and season. Cover and cook 30 min. on low, turning occasionally. Add egg yolk, red pepper, Kahlua, salsa, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook another 10 min., stirring gently. Sprinkle with peanuts. May be made ahead and reheated.

The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31.
— Marie Huston —

And love can come to everyone,
The best things in life are free.
— Lew Bowen & Buddy De Silva, Good news —

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
— H. L. Mencken —

There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary skill.
— Isabel Allende —

Who can give law to lovers? Love is a greater law to itself.
— Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae —

Quien bien te quiere te hará llorar (Anyone who loves you well will make you cry).
— Spanish proverb —

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Cinnamon orange chicken

3-4 lb chicken pieces
12 oz. orange juice
1 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
salt and pepper to taste
generous sprinkle of ground cinnamon (Saigon cinnamon* if available)

1 tsp. corn starch
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained

Place chicken in slow cooker and pour orange juice over it. Sprinkle with raisins and cinnamon and stir in. Cover and cook on med. for 1/2 hr., then low for 4-6 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove about a cup of sauce and combine it with the corn starch, mixing well and removing any lumps. Return the sauce-corn starch mixture to the pot and stir in. Add mandarin oranges, turn pot to high, and cook for half an hour.

Serve sauce over chicken pieces, or pick chicken off bones, stir into the sauce, and serve over rice or pasta.

From: Dana Huffman.

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*Saigon cinnamon is a particularly strong cinnamon found in specialty stores. Adapt the type and quantity of cinnamon to your taste, but I think this recipe is pretty bland without enough cinnamon to thoroughly coat most of the top.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.