We just booked our flights for our up coming trip to California last week. I've been thinking a lot about our getaway in the Sonoma wine country so it makes sense that this is my destination for Travel Tuesdays!
I don't make chicken wings very often and when I do I prefer baked ones versus the fried ones which are common around here. The chicken wings are high enough in calories without the added ones form frying them in oil!
This is a forgiving and flexible recipe - you can definitely mess with the proportions here!
While the chicken in the oven, you could just as easily use a barbecue. Definitely set aside some of the scrumptious sauce and once the chicken is cooked, coat them in a little extra! The addition of toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions provides crunch and depth of flavor.
Have your napkins ready for these tasty chicken wings.
Sticky Sesame Wings
3 pounds chicken wingettes or chicken wings 1 large garlic clove, minced 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, plus more to taste 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 2 tablespoons mild honey (I often halved this) 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil Pinch of cayenne or dash of Sriracha 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted 1 scallion, finely chopped
Heat oven to 425°F. Line a large shallow baking pan with foil and lightly oil it.
Stir wings together with garlic, salt, soy, hoisin, honey, sesame oil and cayenne or Sriracha until coated. Spread wings and any sauce that fell to the bottom of the bowl out on the prepared baking pan in one layer. Roast, turning over once, until cooked through, about 35 minutes. Transfer wingettes to a large serving bowl* and toss with sesame seeds and scallion.
* If you end up with a puddle of sauce in the bottom of your baking pan (I did the one time they were more tightly packed in a dish), after removing the wings, you can pour the extra sauce into a saucepan and reduced it until thick, then stir it over the roasted wings before adding the sesame seeds and scallion.
A few weeks ago the first of the local spinach arrived in our CSA shipment. I decided that I would use it up in a risotto. I don't think that I have ever had spinach risotto before but that didn't stop me. Once the notion had entered my stream of consciousness there was only one way to find happiness.
This recipe was on the Williams Sonoma website. The cook is advised that:
Shredded spinach gives this risotto a lovely green hue. To give the risotto a more even green color, after sautéing the spinach or other greens, puree them with 1/4 cup vegetable stock in a food processor or blender.
Of course I wanted a lovely green colour so I followed this easy step.
The result was amazing!
6 cups vegetable stock 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion 3/4 lb. spinach, stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice 2/3 cup dry white wine 2 Tbs. unsalted butter 2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a simmer and maintain over low heat.
In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Add the rice to the pan and stir until well coated with the oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until absorbed. Add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding more. Reserve 1/4 cup stock to add at the end.
When the rice is almost tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center and looks creamy, after about 18 minutes, add the spinach mixture to the pan and add a ladleful of stock. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach mixture is heated through and the rice is al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter, cheese and the reserved 1/4 cup stock. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
This map popped up a few times on my facebook feed last week so I decided to post it here. One of the great downsides of visiting Italy is the sheer volume of crowds that you can face. me I'll do what I can to avoid the hordes of people that are enjoying the sites. I have nothing against tourists - I am one after all. But when I can't move because of the people I get a tad cranky.
Anyway, this is the normal political map of Italy:
This map is a bit different. A 2012 survey pinpointing the number of tourists who visited each of Italy’s twenty regions has come up with some surprising results. The most visited destination, by an overwhelming majority, was Veneto, with a staggering 40,387,375 foreigners enjoying its canals and beauty in 2012 alone. Cartographers took the data and redrew the map with the size of each region being adjusted to reflect the number of tourists who visited.
If you are like me and you hope to avoid those crowds . . . now you know where to visit!
There's something soothing about the slow summer rhythm of corn shucking—standing barefoot in the kitchen, peeling away squeaky husks and handfuls of silk—but what do you do if you're in a hurry?
Or if you hate trying to peel away all of that silk? I always seem to end up with bits everywhere (which is why Paul is the official corn husker in this house).
Cut off the stalk of each ear about one inch above the last row of kernels and microwave for two to four minutes. Holding the uncut end, shake and squeeze the husk until the corn slides out. The microwave creates just enough steam to allow the kernels to separate from both the husk and the silk. It sounds too easy to be true, but it works!
I made last week when I was busy trying to use up our CSA zucchini and basil. I couldn’t believe how delicious and flavorful it was with such few ingredients and simple process to make. I was shocked – in a good way!
I did make one change to the recipe - I charred the corn on the grill and then cut it from the cob.
Charred Corn with Zucchini and Basil
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 to 4 medium ears) 3/4 cup halved and thinly sliced zucchini 1/4 cup small-diced red onion Kosher salt 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
Heat 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the corn, zucchini, onion, and 1/2 tsp. salt; stir to combine. Cook, stirring only once or twice, until the corn is lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Stir in the basil and serve.
I was going through my photos from our recent trip to Italy and came upon these from Sant'Antimo.
The Abbey of Sant'Antimo (Abbazia di Sant'Antimo) is a beautiful Romanesque church, in a picture-perfect setting just south of Montalcino in southern Tuscany. It sits in a large valley with views of the hill town Castelnuovo dell'Abate, rolling hills covered in olive groves and vineyards, and wild forests. We try to visit Sant'Antimo each time we are in Tuscany.
I love the details in the church that you see when you stop and really look around.
Many authors dream of fame, fortune, and a vast readership. An author who has all three may dream, paradoxically, of the freedom to write without them — of publishing a book that can be judged only on the quality of the prose.
That was J.K. Rowling’s motivation in publishing “The Cuckoo’s Calling” under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith in 2013. The crime novel earned enthusiastic reviews, and some readers said it seemed too skillful to be the work of a rookie. She was outted by a tweet from the wife of a lawyer who's firm represented Rowling and apparently knew that Robert Galbraith was the author of Harry Potter fame (imagine the conversations at home in that house after the tweet was tweeted!)
Acting on the tweet the Sunday Times of London, asked formally if “Robert Galbraith” was really the author of the Harry Potter series, Rowling fessed up. “I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,” she said. “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”
Would Rowling’s fiction be equally appealing by any other name? Despite the warm reviews, “The Cuckoo’s Calling” found only a few hundred buyers. Then Rowling’s cloak of invisibility came off — and a bestseller was born.
Because of the hype I purposefully ignored the The Cuckoo’s Calling because of this.A few weeks ago I received an e-mail with a coupon code for the e-book and thought 'what the heck?'
What the heck indeed!
I was amazed to find that it is a taut, well-written mystery that does a wonderful job of reviving an all-but-dead genre, the gumshoe detective style mastered by such giants as Hammett, Chandler, and Sayers. The characters are strikingly, efficiently drawn, the pacing neither too fast nor too slow, the leavening of real humor a pleasant surprise, and the mystery properly mysterious. The main characters -- from the victim (a supermodel named Lula -- called Cuckoo by her friends -- who is supposed to have committed suicide) to the detective and his temporary secretary-cum-sidekick, the characters show real complexity. Rarely do they behave according to type.
The negatives are few. On a couple of occasions I wanted to hit Strike over the head for not seeing something that I -- and most other readers, I assume -- could see plainly. I was also a bit annoyed when it became clear that he had solved the mystery -- but wouldn’t tell anyone. He spends the first two thirds of the book in a severe funk; his transformation as we head down the home stretch feels a bit forced. And while I loved the solution to the mystery, the psychology behind the crime -- and, even more so, to its aftermath -- still seems like a bit of a stretch to me.
Having enjoyed the first so much I immediately downloaded the second in the series which was published last month.
In The Silkworm, Strike is confronted with the petty rivalries and grand egos of a ‘‘fictional’’ London literary scene. Having published two difficult and obscene allegorical novels, troublesome author Owen Quine has gone AWOL and his wife Leonora and daughter Orlando would like Strike to bring him home.
The dowdy Leonora is concerned that Owen’s disappearance has something to do with the manuscript of his latest roman à clef featuring a cast of literary enemies in a scandalous allegory with the unappealing title Bombyx Mori. Quine’s last sighting was at a famous London restaurant having a very public row with his agent who has declared the book unpublishable. Galbraith/Rowling is playing cryptic mind games with her readers. Bombyx Mori is the Latin moniker for the domesticated silk moth, which in its larvae stage is boiled to extract silk. The hapless silkworm, as a metaphor for the writer ‘‘who has to go through agonies to get the good stuff’’, thence burrows its way through the book, popping up in all sorts of places, including the epigrams that frame each chapter.
Contemporary London is very present, almost as a character, in this book, from the Monday morning faces on the Tube, ‘‘sagging, gaunt, braced, resigned’’, to the bustling back streets of Soho and Covent Garden in all their rain-sodden, wintry gloom. In terms of cultural tourism, Cormoran Strike may therefore well do for Denmark Street what Holmes did for Baker Street, or what Harry Potter did for Kings Cross . . .
Much of the pleasure lies in the vivid description of fictional people and real places, as well as the subtly evolving relationship between the defensive Cormoran and his ‘‘secretary’’, the beautiful Robin, who is about to be married to the manipulative Matthew. Note the moment of self-revelation when Strike considers how Robin’s engagement functions as the means ‘‘by which a thin, persistent draught is blocked up, something that might, if allowed to flow untrammelled, start to seriously disturb his comfort’’.
As with the Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm brings to mind the crime fiction of another, more leisurely and more literary era. In her respect for the structure of the classic detective story, and her obvious delight in its multi-layered artifice, Galbraith – aka J.K. Rowling – is evidently re-creating her own golden age of crime.
Raspberries finally appeared at the Farmers' Market last week. You can imagine my reaction- I immediately bought far more than I needed. This is a regular occurrence around here - when you go so long without fresh, local produce you celebrate in a bacchanalian way when it appears. Happily the folks at Eating Well mush have sense my raspberry overload because this recipe appeared on my Facebook feed.
I've learned that a recipe from Easting Well means lower sugar,lower fat, and likely more healthy ingredients. This one doesn't disappoint with whole wheat four, a third off the sugar that I found in other muffin recipes, lower fat and more healthy fats at that.If you're going to have a muffin then this is a good choice.
This recipe was particularly good for me as it combined raspberry and lemon - one of my all time favourite flavour combinations. Each bite is bursting with fresh raspberries and a splash of lemon - what is not to love?
You can see from the picture that I made them a tad less healthy by sprinkling some granulated sugar on top of the muffins prior to baking.
1 lemon 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup nonfat buttermilk, (see Tip) 1/3 cup canola oil 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup white whole-wheat flour, or whole-wheat pastry flour (see Shopping Tip) 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 large (1/2-cup) muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in long strips. Combine the zest and sugar in a food processor; pulse until the zest is very finely chopped into the sugar. Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla and pulse until blended.
Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in raspberries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
Bake the muffins until the edges and tops are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm.
We left the snow behind and headed to California for a long weekend of fun. We shoppedm toured wineries, tasted olive oil, met up with good friends, and ate some wonderful food. I can't wait for slow bowl 2009.