Dec 31, 2011

happy new year

i hope yours is a great one, filled with more of the things you love most. xo g

Dec 24, 2011

Dec 18, 2011

holiday food gifts - part 2

la maison du chocolat, french chocolatier extraordinaire, has a full range of exquisite chocolates and gift boxes available online in the states, europe, and japan. you can find the full range here if you reside in the u.s. and here if you live elsewhere. i bought these tiny favor boxes, each containing two chocolate truffles, by the dozens this year. they make great teacher thank you's with a card, and are handy as stocking stuffers and little treats for coworkers, and household suppliers. the presentation is always adorable and the contents incomparable, a brilliant small luxury.

Dec 10, 2011

food gifts - part 1

what is it about luxury summer enclaves that produces such great honey? i don't know. but katama apiary honey from west tisbury in martha's vineyard is just plain amazing honey. we've been eating it on everything. which for me, is a BIG DEAL, as i haven't much of a sweet tooth. i think it was that i grew up eating grocery store honey bear brands, which were pasteurized. raw, unfiltered honey is a different breed of honey. well, now that we are nearly out of katama honey, i started to panic, no honey ever came close to this: not too too sweet, rich complex flavor yet light and deliciously warm tasting. unable to find an online source i begin looking on the supermarket shelves of balducci's market and whole foods. i needn't have worried. the hamptons honey i found at whole foods is just as good and is even local. what's more, it is like a toney beach vacation in a jar. which makes it a pretty great holiday foodie gift. you can buy it online here. plus, myriad health benefits, with vitamins, anti-biotic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory properties, or so they say. anyway. it is really great and makes a great, inexpensive gift. bring it in a little gift basket with some tea or some scone mix, and it makes a great host/hostess gift.

honey has the sweetness equivalent of table sugar, and excellent properties for baking. i often substitute part of the sugar in recipes with honey and or palm sugar, both i think have a more complex and lighter flavor than table sugar, whether it is made from cane or beet. honey is great for baking, drizzling, and sweetening.

Dec 4, 2011

roast chicken pieces with sweet tomatoes and garlic

this dish, which should be called extremely clever roast chicken breasts with sweet tomatoes, has quickly risen in our rotation to occupy a top spot on our menu several times per month. it is extremely clever, and is the brain child of the brilliant jamie oliver. the chicken skin gets deliciously crisp and the meat is quite tender and succulent, while an incredible broth forms below. i adapted this dish from jamie oliver's recipe for tender and crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes from his book, jamie's dinners. i changed the recipe to adapt it for our family's particular tastes, by adding and omitting a few ingredients and changing the cut of chicken and doubling the cannellini beans, we love so much.

this recipe really only takes 10 minutes to put together and then roasts for an hour and a half. a brilliant recipe for weekends or whenever you have guests. it never fails and is highly adaptable.

roast chicken breasts and thighs with sweet tomatoes
serves 4-6

2 chicken breast halves
4 chicken thighs
2 15 oz cans cannellini beans, drained
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
1 whole bulb of garlic, broken up into cloves, skin left on
olive oil
optional: 1 bunch swiss chard, spines removed, leaves chopped, or 8 oz baby spinach

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. season the chicken pieces all over with salt and pepper. first drizzle a little olive oil, then place cannellini beans across the bottom of a snug fitting oven proof pan several inches deep. next the chopped potatoes. scatter in the chopped chard or baby spinach, if using. scatter in a quarter of the tomatoes. mix around a little to distribute evenly. place the chicken breasts on top of this. tuck in the tomatoes and garlic cloves around the chicken pieces, pushing them into the gaps between. drizzle all with olive oil, add a little more salt and pepper if you like. roast for 1 and a half hours in the open pan. at the one hour mark, take it out of the oven and baste the chicken pieces with the collected juices. turn your oven on to convection roast setting if you have it, and cook for the remaining 30 minutes. serve at once. remember to warn your dinner guests to squeeze the garlic out of the skins before eating. we love to squeeze the garlic directly onto fresh bread, heavenly. jamie recommends some alternatives i haven't tried such as omitting the potatoes, but serving with simple mashed potatoes, or shredding the chicken and tossing all with a bowl of linguini or spaghetti. enjoy.