creamy balsamic mushroom bacon chicken

creamy balsamic chickenOn a recent Friday I was on my feet all afternoon getting people checked in to install the new gate access device on their cars for our gated community. I was sore. I had planed to make the creamy balsamic mushroom bacon chicken recipe from The Recipe Critic. I asked Terry to make it instead. She did. Terry is much more careful than I am, and she more closely follows recipes than do I. She did a marvelous job and it was excellent.

Definitely one we can do again.


The Music Shop: A Novel

The Music ShopThe Music Shop: A Novel
Rachel Joyce
Random House (January 2, 2018), 320 pages
Kindle edition $13.99, Amazon hardcover $18.36

This highly regarded novel is the story of Frank, owner of a music shop on a dead-end street in London. He only sells vinyl and refuses to even consider stocking CDs. Frank has an amazing ability to understand exactly which album a person needs to turn his or her life around. It might be classical, jazz, or rock, but he finds for them exactly what they need.

Frank’s shop is surrounded by a tattoo parlor run by a grumpy woman, a religious gift shop run by a former priest, and pair of undertakers. There is a rundown pub nearby. Then there is Kit, Frank’s inept shop assistant. Much of the book involves the interaction among these folks.

More important, however, is the interaction between Frank and Ilse, a mysterious woman recently arrived from Germany. What happens between the two of them is what moves this novel forward.

The Music Shop is a quirky book, but the characters are engaging and the plot takes some interesting twists.

black beans and rice with chicken and chorizo

chicken and chorizoI have made this recipe from Cooking Light a few times. Whenever I make a chorizo recipe, however, I use soy chorizo, generally Trader Joe’s. As tasty as it is it is also really, really strong. When I made this recipe previously I made a note in my database to use only a quarter of the package instead of half, as I am wont to do.

I made the recipe recently and did just that. I divided up the other three-quarters, froze them, and sealed them up with my trusty FoodSaver. As for the present dish using only a quarter of the package was just the key. Big and bold flavor, but not overwhelming.

That works.

Sacred (sort of) Music Friday: If the Lord Be Willin’

Westminster Chorus, If the Lord Be Willin’, Pittsburg, PA, July 2015

chicken paprikash

chicken paprikashI have always enjoyed the recipes of Grace Parisi. For many years she was at Food & Wine, and when Time Inc. bought the American Express line of magazines she went along and wrote for F&W and other cooking magazines in the Time family. She didn’t stay there long, though, and as far as I can tell she not actively writing for any publication. That’s a shame.

However, I have had this recipe for chicken paprikash in my database from her original Food & Wine days and I tried it recently. I thought an hour was way too long for the sauce, so I cut that back considerably. Conversely, I cooked the chicken longer than specified, as I’m paranoid about undercooked chicken.

The result was marvelous. Five stars in my database. Worth doing again.

the continuing newspaper saga

Our regional newspaper, the one I delivered when I was young, continues to make changes. Most recently they folded the local section into main section of the paper. The stated rationale was that local news was important enough to be in the main section.

Press Enterprise mastheadNonsense. This was clearly a cost-saving move, though probably necessary for newspaper survival. Still, it’s not the paper that I once proudly delivered.

Nonetheless, the changes are not all bad. As part of those changes they upgraded the features section and added two comics that I enjoy and which I hadn’t seen for a while. And on Saturdays they quietly added Miss Manners. I enjoy Miss Manners and her sharp wit. It’s nice to be able to read her smart and practical advice once again.

simpler than I realized

Did you ever come to the realization that something was much simpler than you thought? I’ve done that more often than I care to admit.

garlicFor decades I have struggled with garlic and found working with fresh garlic a pain. Peeling off the skin to get to the clove was frustrating and I often just used granulated garlic instead. I tried the 20 seconds in the microwave thing, and while that worked, it left the garlic soft and mushy.

Seems I wasn’t fully paying attention through all the thousands of hours I’ve watched Food Network shows. Take a knife and smash the clove with the side of it. The skin comes right off. No problem.

Simple. Easy. And overlooked for years.

Wow! I coulda had a V-8!