Friday, November 30, 2012

Chicken, Tomato and Olive Sauce

After a blazing hot and humid summer, it's been nice to pull out the slow cooker and get back to these "set it and leave it" recipes.  The long slow cooking process also helped get rid of the smell in our new apartment, a scent which we ascribed to the previous tenant leaving a dead body somewhere between the studs in the walls.

Okay it wasn't that bad, but we didn't like it either.  A few days of baking and an essential oil diffuser have seemed to do the trick. Actually, it's probably just passage of time and displacing the previous owner's smell with that of our stinky pugs.  I knew those two would come in handy one day!

For a while I was using America's Test Kitchen recipes a lot. This time was no different.  Isn't it nice to know that I can drop off the face of the blogging earth and return totally unchanged (except for growing a parasite inside me)?

This slow cooker sauce is nice because the acidity of the olives balance out the richness of the chicken.  It is a very hearty sauce, really thick, so a small serving goes a long way. Not that we do small servings in these parts.

From America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution

1 onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS minced fresh thyme of 1 tsp dried
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
15 oz can tomato sauce
2 TBS Minute tapioca
1.5 lbs skinless chicken thighs (I got bone-in and discarded the bones after cooking, but you can use boneless to begin with)
1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup minced parsley
salt and pepper

In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the onions, garlic, oil, thyme and red pepper flakes.  Heat for 5 minutes in microwave, stirring occasionally.

Place the onion mixture into the slow cooker, and stir in the broth, wine, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tapioca.

Salt and pepper each side of your chicken thighs.  Place chicken into slow cooker, and try to submerge those suckers.  

Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Gently pull out chicken thighs, and shred the meat using two forks. The meat should fall off the bone and shred quite easily.  Discard the bones.

Stir the shredded chicken back into the sauce, along with the chopped olives and parsley.

Cook pasta according to package directions, and serve with sauce.


Monday, November 19, 2012

The Past 6 Months or So...

It's been a while. Slap on the hand for me.  I've been keeping up with all of your blogs but have been woefully remiss on updating my own.

Here's a quick recap of what has happened in the past 6 to 7 months:

1.  Shortly after my last post, I experienced sensations that I can only describe as "death cramps" that led me to the emergency room and hospital for surgery and a two-week stay.  I will spare you further details.

All better now!

2. I lied about sparing you from further details. There are some details I want to tell you about.  When I checked into the emergency room, they asked me the standard question of whether I was pregnant.  I said "maybe"--in fact I had been planning on taking a home pregnancy test in a few days.  They initially thought I could have an ectopic pregnancy or ruptured ovarian cyst.  My heart sunk at the thought of either, but particularly the ectopic pregnancy.  A few minutes after taking my blood, a doctor came by and said "So, I'm confused, did you not know you were pregnant when you came in today?"

Cue ugly cry face on my part.  In my mind, positive pregnancy test = ectopic pregnancy.

Strangely, despite ugly cry face, what he said didn't quite sink in fully the first time. He continued to talk (about what I don't know) and I had to interrupt and ask him to confirm whether: (1) he had seen the blood test results; and (2) that the test results showed that I was pregnant.  He said yes, I was pregnant.

Cue ugly cry face Part II.

He looked to Kevin and asked what was wrong, I told him I was worried about an ectopic pregnancy, he said it wasn't necessarily an ectopic pregnancy, blah blah blah.

Despite a lot of doubts regarding whether the pregnancy would last, turns out that I was and am healthily pregnant.  I spent the next month or so recovering from the surgery, which also conveniently allowed me to isolate myself while I experienced a few annoying pregnancy symptoms, namely mild nausea and raging acne.

I am living proof that if you don't eat anything during the first two weeks of your pregnancy and just survive on IV fluids, it is possible to have a healthy pregnancy.  I'm not advising this (I hope that's obvious), it just happened that way.  Also, morphine is my friend. 

Here is a picture of me around 20-something weeks.

3. We moved. Again. This time to Virginia. My New Year's resolution for 2013 will be not to move.  We have a small balcony now, which the pugs thoroughly enjoy.

4.  We took some hikes and visited an orchard in order to explore our new area.

5. We visited friends and family in NYC, Portland and San Francisco.

At craftbar in NYC 

 Tasty treats from the most magical place in Portland, OR--Voodoo Doughnuts
While in Bay Area, we went with my sister and brother in law to help out with a grape harvest in Sonoma.

6.  We took a babymoon to St. John--yipee!!!

Bump at 30 weeks

St. John was wonderful, and definitely a place that I'm glad we went to pre-baby. While I did see other families there, let me just state for the record that I would not make the flight to San Juan, 3-hour layover, flight to St. Thomas, 40-minute drive to the ferry terminal, and ferry ride to St. John, for a total of 12 hours of traveling, with a baby. Hell fucking no.

So we're all caught up! I want to get back into taking pictures of my cooking/baking adventures--it's so easy to fall out of that groove.

A few last things: I'm due in January and the pugs have an announcement:

In case you can't see the picture, we're having a boy.

Finding out about the pregnancy happened in a weird way so I figured we'd do something cute to announce the sex of the baby, and get a big honking sugar cookie out of it.

I hope you are all well, and it feels good to blog again!