Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chicken alla Vendemmia for a Fabulous Fall Foods #SundaySupper

Chicken alla Vendemmia for a Fabulous Fall Foods #SundaySupper

After a ten minute google search, the best explanation of the autumnal equinox I could find notes that it occurs tomorrow, September 22nd this year. It is for this reason that the #SundaySupper Movement has decided to celebrate the Fall Harvest for this week's event which is co-hosted by Coleen of The Redhead Baker and Conni of The Foodie Army Wife.

To get our creative juices flowing, we were given a list of produce that comes into season during the autumn which triggered a memory of a trip to Napa Mrs. Stuntman and I made to celebrate our anniversary one year. We took a tour of one of the wineries in the area. The tour took the participants through the process of wine making. At one point, I remember the tour guide bringing us to a vine of grapes set aside specifically for the tour when he noted, if you return in August, you can actually pick grapes off of the vine. The list confirms the autumn harvest of grapes.

The Challenge

Highlight grapes, which isn't the first food that comes to mind when thinking of autumn foods..

The Source

Adapted from page 167 of Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking by Michael Chiarello with Janet Fletcher.


2 pounds rred seedless grapes
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant then ground in a spice grinder
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
Grapes and rosemary sprigs for garnish


1. Pureé the grapes. Pureé the grapes in a blender then pass through a sieve into a bowl, putting pressure on the solids to separating as much juice from them as possible. Yield should be just over 2 cups. Set aside.

2. Prepare the chicken. Preheat the chicken to 400° Fahrenheit. Season the chicken on all sides with the salt, pepper and fennel seeds. Heat a large oven proof skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the chicken to the skillet, skin side down at first, but brown on all sides, approximately 7 minutes total then place the skillet in the oven until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside to allow for carryover cooking while the sauce is prepared.

3. Prepare the sauce. Drain the fat from the pan except for 1 tablespoon, then place the skillet back on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the shallots to sweat, then add the minced rosemary and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 or 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the grape juice (scraping the bottom with a spoon) and simmer, reducing the fluid by half. Add in the chicken stock and any fluids that have secreted from the resting platter. Continue to simmer until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately, garnishing the plate with rosemary sprigs and grapes. I served mine with cooked spaghetti.


It was a little unexpected but the sauce was sweet, yet complemented the chicken well. Mrs. Stuntman liked the dish, but wished I would have adapted it to use dark meat.

Before I leave you with the list of other bloggers who used fall foods in their dishes this week, I wanted to note that this weekend, the International Food Bloggers Conference was held this weekend here in Seattle. I wasn't able to attend but I could not pass up the opportunity to visit with out of town friends in addition to making new contacts. So this past Friday, I met with Joan of Chocolate Chocolate and More, Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Kiss My Smoke, Bobbi of Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen and Alice of A Mama, Baby and Shar-pei in the Kitchen for lunch but was joined later by Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake, Dionne of Try Anything Once and her sister Denise, and Nicole of Or Whatever You Do.

(L-R: Bobbi, me, Kim and Joan. Not pictured: Alice who took the picture)
Used with permission from Alice

For your consideration, I present other dishes for this week's theme.

Appetizers and Drinks
Soups, Stews, Chili, and Casserole
Salads and Side Dishes
Main Dishes
Desserts and Baked Goods
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Light Stunt: Penne alla Caprese en Crudo

Penne alla Caprese en Crudo

Hello from metro Seattle!

The #WeekdaySupper dish I published a couple of weeks ago was technically done so as a Washington resident, however it was prepared while I was still in California. This dish has the distinction of being the first dish prepared for publication in my new residence.

The dish itself? Pretty simple to prepare which is the reason why it qualifies as a Light Stunt. You can complete your prep work as you wait for your water to boil. The sauce, in this case is raw (i.e. en crudo), taking advantage of fresh tomatoes with their season just ending.

There is also a bit of Murphy's Law at work here because I was just finding a comfort zone with my pictures while I was a California resident, but that has been upset since I moved to Washington, so I am using this dish to experiment with my food pictures.

The Challenge

Find the optimum environment to photograph my dishes.

The Source

Taken from page 54 of Lidia's Favorite Recipes by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali.


1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for seasoning the pasta water
Pinch red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of a chef's knife
1 pound penne pasta
10 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
1/2 pound bocconcini, halved


1. Season and marinate the tomatoes. Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper in a large bowl. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, tossing once or twice while you cook the pasta.

2. Cook the pasta and finish the dish. While the tomatoes marinate, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and cook until al dente (I recommend one-third less than the box instructions. For example, 6 to 7 minutes if the box instructs 9 minutes). Once the 30 minutes have expired, remove the garlic. Drain the pasta once cooked and add to the tomatoes along with the bocconcini. Toss, then garnish with basil and serve in warmed bowls.


I'll confess that this was the second time I prepared this dish within a week. I over-seasoned the pasta water the first time so I prepared it again. I also substituted mozzarella sticks for the bocconcini simply because I couldn't source it. From a photography standpoint, I'm still working on a best time and place to take pictures of my food.