Archive for March, 2012

Unrecipe of the Week

March 5, 2012

This week has been a killer. With business travel and a closed airport starting things off on Monday, the weekend couldn’t come fast enough. Between the exhaustion and the damp weather, we were seeking some comfort food.
This recipe for Hunter’s Chicken appeared on Food52 and seemed to fit the bill. With a little simplification and tweaks to utilize what we had on hand, this fragrant dish with tomatoes, mushrooms and red wine was just what we were looking for.

Hunter’s Chicken

Soak ½ cup of dried porcini mushrooms in boiling water until soft.

Strain carefully to remove grit, chop and set aside.

Rinse and pat dry one small chicken, cut into pieces. Sprinkle with salt and sauté in olive oil until brown on all sides. Remove and place on a plate until needed.
Add 1-pound clean and sliced crimini mushrooms to the pan and cook until brown. Add the porcinis back to the pan and sauté briefly.

Set the mushrooms aside.     

Add one diced onion to the pan and cook until transparent. Add one small shredded carrot and mix. Add the mushrooms back to the pan, with 2 cans of drained chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and a cup of dry red wine. Add back some of the porcini liquid, and season with salt and pepper. Toss in a liberal amount of fresh thyme, a bay leaf, and any other fresh herbs you have on hand. Cook until the mixture melds together, and a bit of the liquid starts to evaporate.

Spread the mixture into the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Nestle the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables, and cover the pan with parchment paper.

Cook in a 350-degree oven for at least 1 hour or more, until the chicken is starting to fall off the bones, and the sauce is starting to thicken.

Serve with a side of polenta, and enjoy!

Easy Polenta:

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 1-¾ cups of cornmeal (polenta) to the pan, stirring often to remove lumps.

Simmer until thickened and tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add 3 tablespoons butter and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, mixing thoroughly.  Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve with Hunter’s Chicken and enjoy!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Right To Life, or a Good LIfe?

March 1, 2012

With all of the “right to lifers” out there trying to control women’s reproductive rights, I am mind boggled by some conflicting practices.

If a woman wants to practice birth control by taking a contraceptive pill, some factions say that the employer, not the woman, should decide if this is reasonable.

If a woman, (or a man for that matter) wishes to adopt an abandoned child, conceived by someone who can’t or won’t care for that child, they are subjected to major scrutiny to see if they are fit. When we adopted our daughter, abandoned on a door step when she was a mere 3 days old, we were finger printed 4 times, had a social worker visit our home several times, and had numerous “child abuse clearances” run on us,to see if were fit to be parents.

The conservatives believe that life begins with conception, and that abortion should be made illegal, regardless of the circumstances. Women, in their eyes are ostracized for wanting to prevent or terminate a pregnancy, but not for abandoning a child.

Today, the tabloids are buzzing with the news that Snookie, the hard partying star of the Jersey Shore, is pregnant by her equally hard partying boyfriend. She makes a living out of being portrayed as irresponsible, self -harming, and indulgent. On the show she stays out all night, is promiscuous and has trouble maintaining relationships. She over indulges in alcohol and has recently lost a remarkable amount of weight by using pills, instead of a healthy diet and exercise plan.

So, if life begins at conception, is it too soon to alert the child welfare agency about possible endangerment? Do we have any reason to believe that she has been taking care of herself, and her unborn child? Do we think that she is fit to be a mother? Is it any of our business to be concerned?

Giving birth and being a parent are not mutually exclusive. Anyone with a functioning womb can get pregnant and have a baby. It takes love, sacrifice and responsibility to be a parent. It’s hard work that doesn’t stop at the end of the day.

How do we rationalize that it’s okay to be an unfit parent just because you conceived a life?

Perhaps we all should be required to be licensed to become parents, to ensure that we are willing to do what it takes to raise stable, happy children who will later make positive contributions to society.

Which is a better alternative: helping woman pay for their birth control pills through their prescription plans, or allowing irresponsible parties to become parents?  Permitting abortion, especially where health issues or rape is a factor, or having people shirk their responsibility to their child later?

Should we be discussing the “right to life” or the “right to a secure, healthy,loving life?”

Join the conversation: What do you think?

photo: Glasshouse Images


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