Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How mama got her groove back...

This is the first adapted recipe I have ever featured on this blog. I have nothing against adapted recipes, since that's the way most people cook and learn to cook. I personally just never end up cooking from magazines or books. I may thumb through them and get inspired, but most of the time, I'm too stubborn to stick to a recipe and end up coming up with my own concoction. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. I guess thats why I am a recipe developer, right? All that being said, lately work has me cooking A LOT more. And on days where I've developed, styled and shot more recipes than I can count, sometimes, my brain just won't spare me anymore cells to make dinner for my own family. Horrible!!! Me?! The one who preaches to you on this blog about family meals!? The one who truly believes that the family that eats together, stays together?! ME!? If I can't come up with a decent dinner, how can I expect others to? Yes, It's true, but I know I'm not alone in my frustrations and I KNOW that by writing this, at least one person will commiserate.

Don't get me wrong, I manage to cook for our family every day. I haven't resorted to take-out, YET! But I gotta say, the meals have been getting more boring and more basic with each passing day. I've definitely been struggling. Work has been kicking my butt. Between my full-time day job, my freelance work and my home life, I am really burning the candle at both ends. On top of all of this, I am 5 1/2 months pregnant. All things considered, things are great! I have a wonderful family and a job! So what's wrong with me? Why aren't our clean clothes put away? Why hasn't the dishwasher been unloaded? Why don't I feel like cooking a dinner for my family on a day when I've already developed six other recipes for work? Why? Why? Why? Like most parents, I'm falling into a trap. I am pushing myself to the limits and feeling bad for not going past them. I'm learning and guilt is part of the learning process. I know it will take a while, but I will find my balance. We all will. I am dedicated to making it work. I am dedicated to my family and making sure we all eat healthy meals, together! And if on some nights that means take-out, so be it. In my case, it was looking for recipe inspiration in the pages of a magazine. In the midst of my frustration, I was thrilled to see this recipe in Food and Wine this week. It fit the bill because it was simple, inexpensive, healthy and delicious. I knew I had to give it a try! And you know what? It was everything I had hoped for! Even my two year old son (who is going through a picky phase), ate it all up. I swear, I never heard such delightful squeals coming from his little body. "Mama, MMMmmmm this is DELLISEEEOUS" ! I served it alongside some sauteed spinach and we ate a flavorful (not boring) meal, on a weeknight. And just like that, I got my groove back. Enjoy!

Chicken Scarpariello
(adapted from Fran Parisi's recipe in the Oct 2010 issue of Food and Wine magazine)

Serves 4

3 pieces of nitrate free bacon, chopped
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup Peppadew peppers (or any picked peppers you like)

1. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Leave whatever bacon drippings that rendered in the pan (to add flavor).

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dust with flour. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil oil. Add the chicken and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for 3 minutes., until garlic is golden in color. Transfer the chicken to a platter, leaving the rosemary and garlic in the skillet.

3. Add the stock to the skillet and cook over high heat, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce liquid by half, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and butter and stir until emulsified. Return the chicken to the pan along with any accumulated juices. Add the peppers and cook, turning the chicken until coated in the sauce, about 3-5 minutes more. Top chicken with crispy bacon and serve alongside some sauteed spinach and some crusty bread. The juice is to-die-for!!! I didn't have bread, to sop it up, I just used my fingers! LOL

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