Monday, October 19, 2015

Kitchen playtime: Braising and Baking

Autumn is one of those seasons that can go either way here in the South. Some years it's shorts weather on Thanksgiving. Other years it gets cold early, and it feels like it's one of those. Our weekend nights were quite chilly, even down to 39 last night. Yes, I can hear my relatives in New Hampshire scoffing. Y'all come on down.

Chilly fall weather means boots, sweaters, and of course yummy fall food. One of my favorite cooking methods for this time of year is braising. There's just something so appealing about having broth to sop up with good bread and savory stew-like meals to pair nice red wines with. Plus braising recipes are easy - you just put things in a pot and either slow-cook them or stick them in the oven for a while.

Saturday evening we decided to do something a little bit different and made Coconut-Braised Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes from the October 2015 issue of Food & Wine magazine. Unfortunately Pine Street didn't have the bulk chorizo, so we used spicy Italian sausage instead. It turned out really yummy, although I can see how the flavor of the chorizo would have worked better. Check out the gremolata in the recipe - it has coffee in it for an earthy hint.

The recipe called for pairing it with a wine that has berry notes.The 2013 Le Sot de L'Ange Grolleau Sans Soufre went very well with the chicken. The name roughly translates to "the angel's idiot," indicating winemaker Quentin Bourse's decision to take the big risk of taking over a friend's domaine and leaving his previous life to be a French winemaker. It's a neat wine made mostly from the Grolleau grape with a little Gamay to balance it out. Grolleau is a black grape with thick skin you don't see very often. I thought the clear bottle for a red was also interesting. Warning - it definitely has sediment and needs to breathe, hence the decanter. I would definitely recommend this one with food and not on its own. Oh, and yay for wine toys!

Le Sot de l'Ange = "the angel's idiot"
One thing I love about cooking is that I get great ideas for whatever story I'm working on while my mind is mostly occupied with the food. Yes, it's probably a failure in Mindfulness, but that's okay, usually. Remember how when we were kids, some smartass would declare it to be "opposite day" and then try to catch you out when you said the wrong thing? I had my own "backwards morning" in the kitchen, which brings us to this week's episode of kitchen mistakes - lack of preparation, pantry management, and just plain thinking things through.

Hubby and I like to make a breakfast on Sunday mornings that includes protein so we can have leftovers during the week, at least through Wednesday. I made biscuits from the Joy of Cooking recipe and sausage from Pine Street. Yes, the only time I left the house yesterday was for beer and meat products. It was a good day.

I had some HUGE apples that needed to be used, and even if I munched on one of them all day, I wouldn't be able to finish it, so I decided to make an apple pie out of them.

Objects on screen may be larger than they appear. Or not. These apples were huge.
Alas,I had used all but about three quarters of a cup of flour in the canister on the counter for the biscuits, and when I went into the pantry to refill it, I found all manner of flour, but no all-purpose. I did have half a bag of self-rising, which if I had been smart, I would have used for the biscuits and saved the all-purpose for the pie.

What happened? Apparently at some point I decided I was going to limit myself in baking unhealthy things by not buying any more all-purpose flour. However, my sweet tooth will not be denied, and I really needed to use those apples. The solution? Apple cobbler with the filling based on the recipe for apple pandowdy (an old dessert) plus 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the topping the basic cobbler biscuit dough with self-rising rather than all purpose + baking powder + salt, all from the Joy of Cooking:

Smells like autumn!
Lunch was Salmon Braised in Pinot Noir from Or, as Hubby puts it, "random salmon recipe found on the internet." I'm not including a picture of it because it just doesn't look pretty, but it's quite tasty, and I'm very picky about fish.

Finally, dinner. Yes, fall weather means I can have the oven on for a while and not overheat the rest of the kitchen - or house - which means one of my most favorite things - lasagna! I typically do variations on this Cooking Light recipe because it doesn't require that you cook the noodles first. I had intended to do a turkey, eggplant, and mushroom lasagna, but Hubby got ground beef instead, so it ended up being a little less healthy than planned. I did drain the beef before putting it back in the sauce. The mushrooms were lion's mane, which have a meaty texture and pull apart into cute little wispy bits that integrated into the sauce nicely:

And the lasagna was delicious. We had it with the rest of the braising Pinot from lunch, which was from California and remarkable only for the name - Little Black Dress. Hubby got it because we call Pinot Noir the little black dress of wine because it goes with almost anything.

Stay tuned for more cooking projects from me and Hubby! If you'd like to see the food pictures as they go up and the ones that don't necessarily make it to the blog, follow me on Instagram. Want wine and sleep tips as well as info about my books? Please consider signing up for my newsletter. I typically send only one per month.

Happy autumn cooking and drinking!

1 comment:

Kevin Hakney said...

Articles and content in this section of the website are really amazing. Great ideas indeed! I will surely keep this in my mind!

Dry Red Wines
Best Dry Red Wines