Friday, June 1, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
My wonderful readers:
You've noticed I'm behind in posting. To be honest, things have been a bit wild around here with Ted retiring from his long career in the law and now reinventing himself through a new book. I'd forgotten how challenging change can be.
So while I am busy writing you a colorful post on Barcelona, I have decided not to delay another moment in reaching out to you. Here is a timely re-post of some advice I need to take for myself.
all your life, whom you ignored
Friday, July 22, 2011
|A true silver lining!|
|The cathedral-like buttes shimmer like fire in the setting sun.|
|Cactus near our room at Poco Diablo|
|Ribollita (vegetable soup)|
2 cups pecans, or other nut halves
TO PREPARE IN ADVANCE: Glazed nuts keep well for a few days in a sealed jar at room temperature, "unless you munch them all up while bustling around the kitchen."
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Smiles, heads bowing, hands in prayer--staff members greeted us with the traditional Thai welcome Sawat-dii kha (for women), Sawat-dii khrap (for men). We were entering the lobby of the hotel reputed to be the best in the world, the Peninsula Hotel in Bangkok, for a four day stay.
The grace and welcome of the Thai people have remained in our hearts.
|Performance by Thai dancers at dinner time|
|Breakfast buffets so colorful and generous.|
|Food displays throughout the Peninsula Hotel|
|Tom Kha Gai (chicken soup with coconut)|
served in a firepot
|"Angel wings" stuffed with cellophane noodles|
|A photo on the wall carries a message of praise from Martha Stewart--she orders the beef salad.|
Is the Peninsula Hotel in Bangkok the best in the world? It gets my vote. And Thai Smile gets my vote for my favorite Thai food in California. Join me in making their quick and easy soup a favorite in your home, or meet me in Palm Springs.
16 ounces chicken broth, homemade or canned
Monday, April 18, 2011
Living requires such courage at times.
I am loving two very honest and courageous books right now, both dealing with today's financial challenges:
Sarah Ban Breathnach's new book Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity focuses on her own personal path. She relates never-before revealed details about how she fell from the financial top to the bottom and proves she understands the plight of those trying to maintain a happy and comfortable home, while at the same time not even knowing if they will be able to make the mortgage to keep that home.
Roth's Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money is an absolutely riveting tale of how she lost her life savings to Bernie Madoff and the deep transformation that brought to her life.
In my own life, I remember that it was the hard times that taught me the most, and that brought out the best in me. So, I find it comforting that these talented authors are willing to share their struggles and lessons.
So, here is my favorite solution--making at least seven (yes 7!) gourmet meals out of a single Costco rotisserie chicken.
Do you know how delicious these are? Even Julia Child had high praise for them! They are "brined" (soaked in salt water for plumpness and juiciness) and then roasted to a goodness it is almost impossible to duplicate at home. AND, they are only $4.95. So, yes, that is 7 servings for less than $.75 apiece.
Be sure to slice the chicken as soon as you get home while it is still warm. Use a serrated knife and hold it steady with a fork while you slice 4 even slices from each breast, reserving skin and bones.
See how the slices look along with all the dark meat I have pulled off by hand, and then drizzled with the drippings in the pan. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Sometime in the next 5 days you can use these slices to make 4 delicious sandwiches. (I like using a honey raspberry mustard, mayo, sliced cheese, sliced fresh tomato and lettuce. (You can freeze these sandwiches without the lettuce and tomato if you substitute butter for mayo. They thaw very quickly and are handy for “What’s to eat around here?” moments.)
Place the skin in a soup pot along with all the bones when you are done. You will then add cold water to cover by an inch or two, an onion, a squashed clove of garlic if you like, some parsley stems and a little salt. Simmer for two hours, then let cool slightly and pour through a colander into a bowl to cool completely. Chill overnight. The fat will have congealed on the surface, so you can just spoon that off and throw it away (unless you have low cholesterol and like browning things like hash browns in chicken fat).
You will love how rich, flavorful and gelatinous this broth is from being simmered with bones.Freeze it, or use as a base for soup or sauces.
In this photo I mixed some of the thigh and leg meat pieces with a jar of Salsa Chile Verde from Trader Joe's that I stirred into a bit of butter, flour and chicken broth, seasoning to taste. This was inspired by Ted's favorite meal at the Pearl Restaurant in Napawhere we love to sit at the counter and watch the two chefs prepare all the orders. It is served with polenta. (The real one is pictured below.)
Or, sometimes I make a Chicken Salad by shredding the chicken and tossing it into a salad of torn lettuce, crumbled bleu cheese, dried cranberries and toasted almonds with a light dressing.
DIANA’S ROTISSERIE CHICKEN SOUP
For 4 servings
This is so good, and ready to serve in minutes!
A drizzle of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 cups vegetables from the fridge like 2 stalks of chopped celery, sliced baby carrots, sliced sugar snap peas, frozen peas or corn.
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup white wine or dry vermouth
8 cups rich chicken broth (from method above, or use canned)
3/4 cup macaroni or other small pasta
shredded dark meat of 1 rotisserie chicken
Fresh minced herbs and salt to taste
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Stir in onion and minced vegies. Cook covered for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Stir in garlic briefly, then add wine. Cook until almost evaporated then add broth. Bring to a boil and add pasta, cooking until just tender. Stir in shredded chicken and fresh herbs and salt to taste.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Last week, on my birthday, (March forth--the only command in the year!), I realized I wanted to do something truly memorable. Ted and I were planning to be in the Bay Area, and I began to think of who I knew there. The first who came to mind was one of my writer heroes Kim Rosen, author of Saved by a Poem.
Wouldn’t it be great if she would join us for lunch? I wondered. So, I sent her an email and she said “Yes, what fun!”
That success spurred me to remember what a great fan I am of Roger Housden, author of many of my favorite books (click on his name for a list) who lives in Sausalito. Kim had mentioned once that she knows him, so I asked for his email and invited him to join us as well. He said, (Guess what!) "YES!"
For the next week I had the best birthday lunch imaginable to look forward to!
Kim suggested a restaurant new to us, Piatti in Mill Valley, with a view of the bay.
Here are dishes from their lunch menu:
My main course was this Salmone: blackened Loch Duart Salmon with Yukon gold potatoes, roasted asparagus and Meyer lemon beurre fondue.
The company, conversation and cuisine were beyond my imaginings!
Now, what if I hadn’t had the courage to ask?
Can we afford any half-heartedness in the time remaining to us?