So image that you have to make a lot of cookies for a fund raiser. You finish mixing your first batch and you have the second batch ready to be mixed. Then your 24 year old Kitchen Aid mixer dies. There was a sound of something snapping and I could not lift the handle. It just fell. I was shocked. And sad. The mixer had been a bridal shower gift from my Mom. I really could not complain as it had lasted 24 years. But today it dies? I was mixing 5 different cookies! I was screwed. First reaction was of course tears. Next Chris said I should see if I could borrow my sister’s until I figured out what to do. I called but she was out. Next suggestion was to buy a new one. Oh I did not want to go out today. I had so many cookies to make! We are 3 exits from a William Sonoma outlet store. I called and they had the 6 quart machine. Off I go. I put the 6 quart mixer in the shopping cart and then I think to myself that the 5 quart would probably be fine. What the hell was I thinking! Idiot. I buy it and I go home and I try to make a double batch of a recipe and the machine is struggling. It has no heart, no soul. I realize I made a huge mi$take in making thi$ purcha$e. My sister calls at that exact moment. I tell her my story and she tells me to return that mixer and get the 6 quart. I am so lucky I have a sister like Lenore. So I called the store and explained that I just purchased the mixer and tried it and it is not large enough for me. They told me I could return it. Oh, it it has started snowing by now. I clean the mixer up and repack it and return it. I purchase my 6 quart mixer and come home and make a triple batch of a cookie with no problem. All is good. I went to put the mixer in the cabinet where the previous mixer lived and it it too wide. This is when I poured my first glass of wine!
Now on to dinner. Dinner was an amazing recipe from Lidia’s Favorite Recipes. Oh yes I forgot to mention my latest idea. You see I have a lot of cookbooks.
So I have decided that each week* I will feature one cookbook. (*And already a disclaimer – Next week, February 29 – March 6, will not be included in this as I will be baking many cookies on Saturday and Sunday and we will be eating from the freezer for that week!)
This week is Lidia’s Favorite Recipes and tonight we had Chicken Cacciatore. Delicious. I added zucchini in place of the mushrooms and added black olives too.
My version of Chicken Cacciatore.
1 chicken cut up
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
All-purpose flour for dredging
4 tbsp cup vegetable oil
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup dry white wine
One 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. or 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into 1/2-inch strips (about 1 cups total)
1/2 pitted black olives
Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces in flour, coating them lightly and tapping off excess flour. Heat the vegetable oil in a wide braising pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until a piece of chicken dipped in the oil gives off a very lively sizzle. Add as many pieces of chicken to the pan as will fit without touching (do not crowd the chicken; you can always brown it in batches). Remove the chicken pieces from the skillet as they brown, adding some of the remaining pieces of chicken to take their place. After browning all the chicken and removing it from the skillet, add the onion to the fat remaining in the pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Pour the wine into the pan, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano, season lightly with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Tuck the chicken into the sauce, adjust the heat to a gentle boil, and cover the pan. Cook, stirring a few times, for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and peppers, and toss until the peppers are wilted but still quite crunchy, about 8 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt.
Add the peppers and zucchini to the chicken pan. Add the olives.
Cook, covered, until the chicken and vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (Check the level of the liquid as it cooks; there should be enough liquid to barely cover the chicken. If necessary, add small amounts of water to maintain the level of liquid as the chicken cooks.) Serve the chicken pieces nestled between the vegetables on a platter.