Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Heaven There Will Be Tacos and Chocolate

Recently a friend had surgery, so I signed up on Meal Train to bring her some food. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I would be bringing, so I had to enter "No Idea Yet!" as the mouth-watering name of my entree. "No Idea Yet!" sandwiched between Chicken Enchiladas and Spinach Lasagna! Which meal would you be excited about?

All I knew was that, if you need to make multiple meals, a whole chicken is the best way to do it. One meal for us, and plenty of leftover cooked chicken to go into...No Idea Yet!

Therefore I plunked my Skagit River Ranch farmers market chicken into the crock-pot with some salt and pepper, sprigs of cilantro and a cut-up and squeezed lemon, and let it cook a few hours:

The Beginnings of No Idea Yet!
When it was done, I'd at least thought up what my own family would eat that very night, based on what was in the fridge and pantry: Chicken Soft Tacos.

First I sauteed up some Walla Walla onion slices.

I added shredded chicken and about 3/4 cup canned salsa and let the liquid simmer away.

Prior to that, I'd taken a whack at making homemade flour tortillas:

How's that for an appetizing picture?
They came out thick and more flat and tostada-like, but no one seemed to mind.

Then I chopped up ripe tomatoes and some Napa cabbage (because I forgot to buy lettuce at the Market), shredded some Cheddar, and voila!

Chicken Soft Tacos/Tostadas! Tacodas? Tostacos? Whatever you want too call them, they were nothing short of heavenly, and we scarfed them down with beans and some homemade pico de gallo.

One meal down, one to go.

I'm thinking of taking that leftover chicken and making a chicken pot pie. You know: chicken and little cut-up cooked vegetables in a thickened chicken-stock sauce, covered with a crust. It's possible her kids won't eat it, but I know she'll appreciate it, and--heck--the kids didn't just have surgery, so they can fend for themselves and have a bowl of cereal.

Alongside the pot pie, how about a Caprese Salad? Here was our recent one (tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil are all at the Market this week!):

Too bad I'm delivering the meal tomorrow. Otherwise I'd be tempted to throw in some chocolates from Soulever. Proprietor and chocolate-teer Aimee Morrow keeps sending me pictures of her luscious creations. If you haven't had any, treat yourself this Thursday.

These babies would be Kaffir Lime Truffles
Aimee promises--brace yourself--Vegan Caramels this Thursday, which she describes as "soft coconut sugar caramel hugged by Peruvian dark chocolate ganache, double dipped in Peruvian dark chocolate." Control yourself, salivary glands!

What can I say? With the possibility of such farm-fresh meals and hand-crafted treats out there, it's almost worth a little surgery. But spare yourself, and get out to the Market while the getting's good. Next week the grind starts up again, but in the meantime, have a great long weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Fruit, YA Pop Culture Edition

Last night my book club met to discuss that ubiquitous teen tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars. As always, we tried to theme our food to the book.

Here they are, in l-u-v

If you haven't read it, the story is about two teenagers with cancer who fall super-de-duper in love, and I learned that the two stars in the movie also play a brother and sister pair in Divergent, which weirded out those viewers who saw both. Having seen neither, I was good to go.

And here they are in sibling mode
But I digress.

As I was saying, we try to theme the food to the book, so we went with "cancer-fighting." And what fights cancer better than our friends, fruits and vegetables? Since book club takes place after dinner, I have to admit that no one brought a vegetable of any kind, and any cancer-fighting that was going to happen fell to the fruits.

My Peach Crisp (which I neglected to photograph before it was eaten)
There was peach crisp and peach-cherry cobbler and one chocolate cream pie because chocolate is a fruit, right? Or is it a vegetable? A bean or a berry? We need a botanist to step in here.

I know I already went on and on about the fruits in season at the Market, but really--there's more to say.

For example:

My sister has always said that, when they bred the seeds out of watermelon, they also bred out the flavor. After buying this traditional, seedful melon from Alvarez, I am inclined to agree with her. SEEDS = FLAVOR!!!

My lazy kids took some coaxing to try the seedful watermelon, but after they tasted it, there were no more complaints. (I might have given the speech, "When I was a kid, there was no seedless watermelon...etc. etc.") Get one of these melons and see if you don't agree.

Then there's River Farm's Charentais melons:

Like mini-canteloupes, they pack amazing, perfumed flavor, as if everything in the canteloupe had to be boiled down and concentrated. Don't miss these ones either!

This post now ends abruptly. I got a new laptop with Windows 8 and am still in the love-hate, I-love-this-speed/I-am-going-to-throw-the-danged-thing-in-the-street-and-back-over-it stage. But I leave you with this funny recycling idea our book club hostess had, for those darned plastic honey bears. See? Perfect for dish detergent, and much more winsome than the branded bottle!