Comfort Food and Crazy Weather

Comfort Food and Crazy Weather

Sometimes the weather gets crazy. Like last week, when it was a bajillion degrees in So Cal. (Okay, in the 90s, but still.) Or this week, when the high will be below 70, even in the valleys. (WTF?) Whether it’s hot or cold, when I know the family will be together (a rarity lately), I tend to gravitate to comfort food. Below are two of my new comfort food favorites.

Photo from

Photo from

My go-to comfort food tends to be some sort of roasted chicken. And I found a terrific recipe at delectablz – Roast Chicken on French Bread one day, when I was feeling the need to do something special for the family but, you know, not work TOO hard.

Well, yum! This recipe has you using a whole chicken that you butterfly, but I’ve also made it using chicken thighs and trust me, it tastes just as yummy. One of the stars of this dish is the caramelized onions that go on top of the sliced French bread. The chicken goes on top of that, and when it comes out of the oven (smelling marvelous, I might add), the bottom layer becomes nice and rich and a tad gooey. SO good. With this dish, I put a Pinot Noir with it – the richness and gooeyness of the bottom layer demanded a red wine. (Don’t make this dish off my description. Truly, I’m leaving stuff out, so you need to check out the recipe!)

Once you’ve made the Roast Chicken on French Bread recipe, you need to try another one – Roast Chicken Thighs on a Bed of Potatoes. A Simply Recipes recipe (I love that place, and get a lot of my recipes from there.) This is a totally delish dish. Chicken thighs tend to be my go-to part of the bird – not too big (as breasts can be), and definitely on the less expensive side, but with more meat than drumsticks (which are great when you have little kids to feed – they love eating with their fingers). The first time I made this recipe, I didn’t have shallots, so I didn’t use any onions, and it was still fabulous.

This recipe also sends wonderful, yummy smells all through the house as it cooks – the

Simply Recipes photo

Simply Recipes photo

garlic tucked in between the chicken thighs add a great taste, too. THIS is the recipe that I made a couple of weeks ago and, since the hubs was going to be late for dinner, I made a plate for him to warm up. He later told me it was the single most wonderful meal he’s ever had in his life, lol! (I think he was just tired and appreciated being remembered.) With this dish, and the one below, I paired a lovely Chardonnay with it and was very pleased.

Then, of course, when you want to recreate the recipes but can’t find them, you do what I did last night – you mix the two. I had potatoes, and onions, and even French bread, but I didn’t remember what else went on the French bread recipe, and I couldn’t find my printed copy, AND I couldn’t find it when I googled it! So I caramelized the yellow onions (completely forgetting, once again, the shallots) and put them on top of the potatoes, and then the chicken and garlic – and voila, a fabulous and new dish!

So do check out delectablz and Simply Recipes, and let me know what you think.


What are some of your go-to comfort food recipes? I’m always on the lookout for something new!


Comfort Food in Trying Times

Comfort Food in Trying Times

When the world is in an uproar, there’s something about cooking that, for me, is comforting. Even better is when the recipe takes simple ingredients and a bit of work – chopping, stirring, cooking time over an hour or so. This past weekend I indulged and cooked two fairly simple dishes that took some time.

On Saturday, I was scrolling for “healthy vegetable recipes”, and came across one for Mushroom Sugo over at Simply Recipes. Intrigued, I looked further, and they had me at the first sentence…”The onions cook for a long time…” bingo. Just what I was looking for.

(Doesn’t this look yummy? And it’s NOT a beef dish!)

Scanning the ingredients – dried porcini mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, a bunch of other fresh herbs, wine, etc – I could almost smell the rich scent in my kitchen. So when it came time to head off to the store to buy my new dishwasher, I took the recipe with us.

Unfortunately, the dishwasher drama took longer than I thought it would. Then finding Porcini mushrooms was another epic drama – three stores. THREE. In Southern California, no less.

But finally, I got home with everything I needed, and I began chopping. Whoops, change that to mincing, which takes four times as long as chopping. Half way through the forest of vegetables I had to mince, I was now thoroughly irritated with myself and everyone around me (except the cat). I had envisioned starting the dish around two in the afternoon, never mind the fact that we didn’t even set out to shop until 3:30p. Mincing onions that needed to cook for 40 minutes at 6:30p wasn’t my idea of a good time.

Anyway – the onions eventually turned a deep goldeny brown color, all the other vegetables were minced in good order, everything got put into the pot at the appropriate time, and finally – finally! – I was able to sit back, exhausted, and enjoy the scents wafting from the covered pot on the stove. It needed to simmer for 90 minutes.

What I received, as a thank you for all that chopping? A wonderful, thick, gravy-like bit of vegetable nirvana. I served it over rotini and backed it with a terrific Zinfandel, but it would be fabulous on top of a broiled chicken breast, or as a sauce on mashed potatoes. The porcini liquid (from soaking the mushrooms) added a richness usually found in beef dishes, and the flavor from all those onions, carrots, celery and garlic melded with the mushrooms to make a winter night glow. I definitely give this recipe a “You Gotta Try It!”

On Sunday, I made Braised Root Vegetables and Cabbage with Fall Fruit – wanting to stay in that hearty-but-healthy mode – from Food & Wine’s website. A medley of onions, carrots, radishes, turnips, Savoy cabbage, apples and pears, it was surprisingly mellow and tasty, and nothing needed to be minced – so it was quick to chop those vegetables, too. Ten minutes on the stove top and half an hour in the oven, and it was a fabulous complement to our steak dinner. On Monday night, it did double duty – heated up, it went great over pasta with a sprinkling of fresh parmesan cheese. This recipe, too, gets a “You Gotta Try It!”

So there you go – two hearty vegetable recipes. I swore the next time I made the Mushroom Sugo, I’d make a triple batch, teach the teens how to mince, and then freeze most of it for heating up in the depths of deadlines – but that would also mean getting a bigger refrigerator/freezer. Which is a different posting, all together. Until next time, here’s to eating healthy and drinking responsibly!

The Autumnal Equinox comes September 23rd – it’s time to get ready.

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