Sunday, April 30, 2017

May Cooking - Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

This is a favorite around our house. Makes about 6 serving.

Chicken Stew 

5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
1 large onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste 
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2-3 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen peas
Minced fresh parsley 

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.  Brown chicken in oil for about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 

Add to skillet onions, garlic, tomato paste, thyme, potatoes, and carrots. Soften veggies about 6 minutes.

Add flour and stir, cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in white wine and reduce for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup broth, smoothing any lumps.  Transfer to Slow Cooker. Nestle in chicken thighs and add bay leaves. 

Cook on low 6 hours. Add peas to Slow Cooker for last hour.  Shred chicken and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. 

April Thoughts

“We might summarize our present human situation by the simple statement: that in the 20th century, the glory of the human has become the desolation of the Earth and now the desolation of the Earth is becoming the destiny of the human.

From here on, the primary judgment of all human institutions, professions, programs and activities will be determined by the extent to which they inhibit, ignore, or foster a mutually-enhancing human/Earth relationship.”
― Thomas Berry

Always Marry an April Girl by Ogden Nash

Praise the spells and bless the charms
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true--
I love April, I love you.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Around OakMeadows

The lantana in the garden is just gorgeous. 

Around OakMeadows
It has been a beautiful weekend. Cool, clear, no humidity. We didn't do anything special for Earth Day or the March for Science. But we did spend as much time outside as we could. 

We had lunch with P&W&C&B Friday at an Italian restaurant. It was without a doubt, the worst service I have ever experienced. Next month we are having BBQ here at my house.

Birds recently seen:
          Barn Swallows (babies can be seen in nest)
          Ruby-throated Hummingbird (4, I think)
          Collared Doves 
          Blue jay 
          Red-tailed hawk
          House sparrow
          Red-winged blackbirds 
          Black vulture
          Red-tailed hawk

I usually like to be busy doing things--cooking, quilting, housework, making plans, reading. I'm very good at not being bored. But occasionally, I have a pajama day or a day where I just don't get much done.  Today was one of those days. We went to a cafe called House of Pies which makes in addition to delicious pies, fabulous sandwiches. JMM always has a BLT and cottage fries and I always have the Regency Club and Cottage fries. Then we split a piece of pie and waddle out, come home, and take a nap. Such was my nonproductive day today. 

DD and I are planning a trip to Pawhuska, OK. Unless you read Pioneer Woman's blog, you are probably wondering why anyone would plan a trip to Pawhuska. We want to eat at The Merc and see what's going on. I've followed her blog for years and have a couple of her cookbooks.  She has a new cookbook coming out soon. I cried when her Bassett hound, Charlie, died.  And I've watched her 4 kids growing up. I am in awe of her energy and enthusiasm. We will meet in OKC and drive together to Pawhuska. We wanted to go in May but it looks like October. 

The circus in Washington seems to be kicking into high gear this week with the budget and the wall in the Center ring. But the ongoing conflict in Syria, Afghanistan, ad infinitum, not to mention North Korea, could move to the Center ring any day. The talk about Tax Reform leaves me nervous because 1.) They will probably want to lower the Social Security Payroll Tax and call it Tax Relief without explaining that that's what funds our Social Security. 2.) I'm pretty sure that the real tax reform will favor the already mega wealthy at the expense of everyone else. Ho hum, what else is new???

Well, that's all the news from OakMeadows where the cats are shedding their winter coats all over everything. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

April Cooking -- Tortellini Salad with Asparagus and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed, and sliced on the bias
2 (9-ounce) packages fresh cheese tortellini
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)

1. Whisk the olive oil, basil, lemon oil, shallot, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a bowl large enough to hold salad.

2. Cook the asparagus in 4 quarts boiling water seasoned with 1 tablespoon salt until tender, about 3 minutes.  Transfer the asparagus to a colander with a slotted spoon. Do not discard the boiling water.  Run cold water over the asparagus until cool. Shake out any excess water and toss with the vinaigrette.

3. Return the water to a boil, add the tortellini and cook according to package directions. Drain the tortellini thoroughly, then toss while hot the asparagus and dressing. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

4. Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Just before serving, stir in the toasted pine nuts, tomatoes, and Parmesan into the salad and season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

April Thoughts

“The destiny of humans cannot be separated from the destiny of earth.”
― Thomas Berry