Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lidia's chicken, plus a really good day

Friends with recipes: Besides stealing from other people's blogs, I like to borrow recipes from friends. They accumulate in my email with a special green label and then, sadly, are often forgotten about. Nevertheless, there are some good ones in there: chocolate chip banana bread from Julie; Gina's lasagne; and Thomas Keller's Moules au Safron by way of Nicole. I've even hounded my friends for their parents' recipes: the file contains Neal's mother's plum cake and Liz's mother's chicken tagine. (Incidentally, Neal and Liz are married and I think that entree and dessert would be a nice combination for a dinner party, to which they should invite me.)

I did get around to one from the folder a few weeks ago--Lidia's pan roasted chicken with olives and pine nuts, another from Liz, who is probably reading this thinking, I gotta get some new friends that don't talk about me on their nerdy blogs.

Anyhow, to the point. The chicken is the point, and the chicken was delicious! Whenever you've got pan-roasted anything with white wine and garlic, you know you're going to be happy. The fact that the recipe calls for those lovely, briny, bright green Castelvetrano olives was a total bonus. 

One thing, though: the recipe needs more of a sauce, an opinion voiced by even the sauce-averse husband. In fairness to Liz, she did tell me this at the outset, but I decided to make the recipe as printed the first time around. Next time, I would definitely sauce it up with more wine and some chicken broth.

In any case, the chicken emerged from the pan sticky and flavorful. The pine nuts were crunchy and unexpected and perfect with the olives. The husband noted the recipe could stand a little bacon; he has a point, but then again, most things could.


Fried egg Tuesday: Though I claim to be largely non-fussy in the food department, I am rather finicky when it comes to breakfast. I have two things every morning: coffee and grapefruit juice, both of which I am basically addicted to. When it comes to the eating part, mostly I just want bread or other baked goods. I force a yogurt down once in awhile, which is improved by the husband's homemade granola but which I find otherwise gag-worthy, no matter the flavor or type. Can't get on board with oatmeal. So, it's usually toast.

One day this last week, I popped the toast in the toaster. Business as usual. But then I started feeling froggy. Hell, I'm going to have a fried egg, I decided.

As a recent convert to eggs, I don't have much of a track record with cooking them, particularly fried, but I decided to give it a go. Since we don't have a non-stick skillet I knew there could be issues with getting the egg out of the pan, so I added a few drops of canola oil to the melting butter. And wouldn't you know, that was just the trick. Sunny-side up, please!


No complaints: Today I am hopelessly in love with San Francisco. It's January, blue skies, and 60 degrees. To take advantage of the good weather, we piled in the car with Soph and headed to the Presidio, where we took a bit of a walk, winding up at this nice little vista.

I'm not saying this is a great picture, or even a good picture--you know my forte is unleashing the macro setting on something I'm about to eat. About panoramic views I am clueless. But, I like this one. You've got two  major San Francisco icons--Alcatraz, and the domed top of the Palace of Fine Arts,  constructed in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exposition and now home to the Exploratorium. And then there's the Pacific Ocean. Any view that includes the ocean is a winner.

After our walk, we hit up Hukilau, where we scored an outdoor table and ate Ahi poke, teriyaki short ribs, and mac salad, washed down with some cold Hawaiian beers. It only occurs to me now, hours later, that I could have taken a photo of lunch, but at the time, I wasn't thinking about it. Sometimes it's good to forget about what you should be doing and just be.

These kinds of days are my favorite--nowhere to get to, enjoying being in the sun, close to the ocean, and with my little pack. Throw in a good lunch and I'm in heaven. What about you, what constitutes your favorite day?


  1. We had a similar outdoor day - walking the Tennessee Valley trail in Marin with friends all the way to the ocean, then lunch at Murray Circle with a view that makes the Golden Gate bridge seem as if it's in your lap. I like beautiful, sunny days with iconic sights in them. Now we are home, tired but blissful.

    The word verification is doodlybe, which seems like a fine name for some small pet.

  2. Beautiful photo!! Wish I was in San Fran right now, instead of freezing France!

    A trick I learned at school of faking your own nonstick skillet is to place a piece of parchment on your pan! Works like a charm.

  3. Zoom: Sounds like a fantastic day on your end! I've never walked that trail, are dogs allowed? Had to laugh at doodlybe, you are right on the money about that.

    Jessica: I'll trade you! I'd rather be in Paris, even if it's cold and rainy! And thanks for that fantastic trick, what a smart idea! I'm going to try it out ASAP!

  4. Oooh, I got a new pan for Christmas and this looks like a good recipe to break it in! I love the idea of pan-roasted chicken. And I love green olives! ... On another note, I feel you guys in San Francisco for some reason is a tad warmer than where I am in Oakland!? I haven't been feeling the warmth, unless I happen to be out at exactly 3 p.m. Otherwise, it's cold in the mornings and cold in the late afternoons. :( But my favorite sunny days in the city is when I can just explore the neighborhoods and people watch, and then end with some kind of gelato or frozen yogurt.

  5. glorious! i can't define my favorite day, but i'm pretty sure it would begin with eggs. :)

  6. Ben: Yes--give it a try! And by the's cold here again. Ugh.

    grace: As a new egg-eater, I might have to agree!

  7. Fried egg sandwiches are my favorite! That one is a beauty. (I'm not a yogurt fan either)
    Happy snaps of your perfect day....

  8. I love your fav. day. Is Hukilau any good...I always think about checking it out but never seem to make it. And I do crave Hawaiian.

    My fav. day looks like yours. Hike, good food, some wine and an afternoon nap!

  9. Liz's chicken dish looks awesome. I could dig it. You and I do breakfast the same way....Every morning, I have my coffee and some sort of bread that can be toasted. I usually eat cheese with it.

    Eggs with your toast is delightful.

    Cheers to having a great day.


  10. You've just described a perfect day :) Walk, sunshine, lunch, just being. I often forget I have a camera on days like those too. I used to be a just toast and tea for breakfast person, but in a bid to eat healthier I've started getting into raw oats, yoghurt, honey and berries lately . Sort of like a drier version of bircher. Surprisingly good.

  11. Barbara: I'm so glad I discovered the fried egg sandwich!

    ALY: Hukilau is great! I can't believe you've never been there.

    Velva: Mmmm...cheese

    shaz: "bircher"--had to look that up!:)

  12. Hungry Dog, they say "no dogs" on the trail but every time I have walked it, there have been dogs. :-)

  13. I love breakfast rituals. Ours change with the seasons and the availability of fruit for either smoothies or fresh-squeezed something. I always have to eat, though, and generally prefer cereal. As for the perfect day, as a planner, my favorite days are the unplanned ones that just unfold in front of you with some adventure and when you look back you think, "that was a great day."

  14. zoom: ah, one of THOSE places ;)

    ash: Sounds about right to me!

  15. sigh... that sounds like a fabulous day! love san francisco vistas. I'm a breakfast girl, I'll eat toast but I love cake or dinner with a good cuppa coffee first thing too. That chicken sounds delicious, olives and pine nuts and crispy browned skin!

  16. foodhoe: cake and coffee, that's a perfect start to any day!