Friday, September 30, 2011

Lunch Box Chronicles: Day One-Hundred Forty-Three (Chicken Scarpariello, Unlikely Sage Style)

“It’s better to be blind and be shown the way, then to bluff one’s way into a dark abyss and fall from a cliff.’  Anonymous –(from a person who should be famous).

So was the advice from a friend after I explained my dilemma of being completely ignorant about the topic of conversation of a recent dinner party.  In other words, “listen and you shall learn, but don’t feign knowledge of the unknown, lest you wish to play the fool.”

Again, I am the beneficiary of some great advice from a not-so-famous person with many big ideas with no venue to expound.

Until now, that is….

The Lunch Box Chronicles is happy to announce that it will occasionally offer words of wisdom and recipes from an unlikely sage who also happens to be a great cook.

In addition to being at a loss for words at the dinner party, I was at a loss of ideas for making dinner a few days later.  Plan of Action? Make a call to the unlikely sage.  Get a recipe. Problem solved.

Chicken Scarpariello
Some simple advice was procured “Make Scarpareillo, The Shoemaker’s Dish in Italy.  You Can’t Go Wrong.”

He was right.  I didn’t go wrong.  This was magnificent.  And it is even better a few days later.

3-4 Tbs. Olive oil
3 Links  Sweet Italian sausage (about 1 lb)
2 Lb. Boneless breast of chicken (though this is usually made with chicken in the bone)
 1 Medium yellow onion, finely diced
3-4  red potatoes cut in small cubes
4 –8 Cloves garlic, peeled, and chopped
1/2 pound of mushrooms sliced
1 Cup dry white wine
2 Tbs. Fresh basil, finely chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

(Could have used red pepper flakes, pickled cherry peppers, lemon, org and lemon, but did not in this recipe)
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, then add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Add the sausages and cut up chicken and sauté, regulating the heat to reduce spattering. Turn regularly until they’ve browned; about 8 minutes. Remove and reserve.
In separate skillet, add the onions, garlic and mushrooms, sauté until browned.  Add slightly boiled chopped potatoes and sauté until done.
Raise the heat to high in the meat skillet, and add the wine. Boil for about 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any bits of chicken and sausage that have caramelized on the bottom of the pan.  Add the onion, garlic, mushroom, potato mixture.  Continue to simmer.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Add chopped basil as the end.
Serve over polenta and with Spelt Right rosemary bread crisps.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lunch Box Chronicles: Day One-Hundred Forty-Two (Special Person Day: Banana, Applesauce, Orange Juice Spelt Cake)

This special recipe is for special person day.  

Last week we had special person day for the 4th graders at Olivia’s school.

She had a hard time choosing between her dad and me, but finally came to the conclusion that we both warranted a “special person” title.   I felt privileged!  As special people, we were treated to a personalized reading session, a tour of the classroom, and being served treats by our daughter.  I was moved that the feature in Olivia’s Newspaper was about Spelt Right Baking Company.  Despite her protestations about the time I spend on the company, there seems to be a special place in her heart for this  family endeavor. 

 All in all it was a pretty special day.

Here is the cake we made for special person’s day. 

Banana, applesauce, orange juice spelt cake.  So moist!

1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup brown sugar (we use organic)
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups whole grain VITA SPELT flour
1 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
1/4 cup orange juice
1-2 ripe bananas
1/2-3/4 cup applesauce (we used this because we ran out of bananas and it turned out to be a fantastic modification to the recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs.  Add dry ingredients, and then mix in mashed bananas, applesauce and orange juice.   Mix well.  Bake in 9 x 12 well butter glass pan, or in loaf pan.  Bake for 30-40 minutes in glass pan or 45 min-1hr in loaf pan.  Enjoy!   This is really really moist, and surprisingly light for a whole grain cake.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Day To Remember: A Friend, A Nation, A Cause

As with a year ago, I have a little to say about cooking or baking, but rather I reflect upon a day that will forever be engraved in the US History books as a day that 21st Century Americans lost their sense of invincibility.  It is also a day in which the absolute good and the absolute evil of humankind collided.  And, finally, as a day in which I lost a friend, one whom I had not seen for years, but whose family made a lasting impact on my life.

I was but one beneficiary of many of the generosity of the Goodrich Family of Bennington, VT.   Parents Don and Sally, and siblings Foster and Kim, lost their child/brother, Peter, to the events of 9/11.  Before and since that time, however, the world has benefited from the Goodriches' generosity, sense of humanity, and kindness.  The world, yet, was hit another blow with loss of Sally in December 2010.  She led a strong fight, but cancer eventually took her body.  Her soul remains in the many whom she has nurtured and guided.  I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones who has had this angel touch my life.

To read more about this remarkable family, please see The Peter M. Goodrich Foundation website.

Peace to All.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lunch Box Chronicles: Day One Hundred Forty One (Back-to-School One Day Special: Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies with Splash of Kahlua)

BACK-TO-SCHOOL creates an urgency to buy new clothes, sharpen pencils, and make cookies!

Yet, this back-to-school mode was of the “one day only” variety, kind of like a quick sale.  

"One Day Sale – Get A Pair of 50 Dollar Jeans for Only 10 Dollars – but ONE DAY ONLY!  Hurry in quickly, before you lose your chance!"

That was our back-to-school event.  One day only.  

Hurry in quickly, or nothing will get done around the house, including making those cookies for school lunches. But why worry about school lunches?  We won’t need them for another 4 days, because the kids are on vacation again.

Not only is this schedule throwing off my equilibrium, it just ain’t fair!

Although Hurricane Irene did not pack a hard punch in our town, her impact is nonetheless being felt.  School opening was delayed for a day, which meant that the elementary schoolers were back to school for a day on Thursday until vacation started again Friday.  No school again until Tuesday.

This Labor Day schedule is causing more labor for me.  What’s the point, really? Please?  Why the false start?

No time to complain; just make the cookies before the kids get home and vacation starts - again.  

Here’s a delicious recipe made with100% whole grain – my guess is that they will be devoured just in time for school to start – again.

Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Splash of Kahlua

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter - REAL BUTTER softened
1 and 1/2 cups organic cane sugar (this stuff has sooo much flavor)
2 TBL pure molasses
1/2 teaspoon baking SODA
2 eggs
1 teaspoon REAL VANILLA – (I used 1 TBL Kaluha because I was out of vanilla)
2 1/2 cups organic whole spelt flour
12 ounces all natural chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth.  Add sugar and  molasses.  Keep beating until smooth, add in eggs and vanilla.  Keep mixing.  In separate smaller bowl, mix together spelt flours and baking soda.    Beat flour mixture into butter mixture, slowly adding in the flour.  Stir in chocolate pieces.

Whole Grain Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in 375 oven for about 10 minutes.  Because these are spelt, they tend to flatten out.  Done when edges are slightly brown.  Transfer to a wire rack for cooling.   YUM!!