Featured Foodie Friday: SaucyCooks
Do you hate making decisions? I kind of do. This week was filled with some big decision making, I will share more with you when things are more solidified. Either way, it’s weeks like these that make me want to just pack my bags and go, yet again. I don’t want to decide on things, I just want them to happen; unfortunately this is not always how life works, so for now I will hope that I am making the right decisions and that things will figure themselves out in the end. Our guest blogger this Friday is one of the masterminds behind SaucyCooks, Jill, who has also had to make some big decisions. Luckily for us, they involved her starting the SaucyCooks blog. Check out her delicious Chicken Marsala recipe for this week’s Featured Foodie Friday.
What is it about the concept of writing a brief bio that absolutely paralyzes me? This is ironic because I worked in broadcast for 26 years and much of that time was spent guiding people as to how to position their business in 30-60 second sound bites. I also penned a book about my life’s journey, in which I examined my life philosophically for well over 200 pages. But a short note about me and my blog? Well here goes.
When I left my last job in broadcast I had a lot more clarity as to what I didn’t want to do, than what I did. My evolutionary process went something like this: launched a multi-cultural marketing firm with a client from my radio days. Loved the work we landed doing outreach to linguistically isolated populations for the census, but we were not really great partners and so I moved on and spent a year or so writing my memoir “In Search of Dharama”.
While attempting to find a publisher for my book I discovered that the publishing world has an expectation that authors will arrive on their doorstep with a “platform”. In other words in order to get published one must have a database of at least 100,000 people who are already engaged with you. Again, as ironic as it seems for one who spent 26 years helping businesses create just such a platform, I froze at this idea. And so I moved on to “Plan B’.
I have always loved both cooking and entertaining so my next foray “Cook and Connect” attempted to merge those two passions. I created cooking classes for singles, where sizzling singles came to cook up and hook up. And guess what I learned? I hated running what were essentially events!
And so after a year I went back to the drawing board and launched SaucyCooks. While I can not speak for Margo, my blogging partner, for me SaucyCooks is the place where I can share the recipes I create and wax philosophically about my life.
What I love about food is the community and the memories which revolve around it. Whether it is the way friends gather in your kitchen and chatter with you while you cook, the intimate sharing with my husband over a lovingly prepared dinner for two or the amazing conversations that occur when dining at my daughter Jenna’s house with my four grandchildren, we are creating memories.
I love the way my daughter Chelsea, who prepares amazing and beautiful meals for me when I visit her in San Francisco, sends me recipes for things she has made that she knows I will love. When my son Jordan visits from Oakland and turns my kitchen into my private vegan cooking school we are building a bridge that bonds us.
Oh, I love everything about food and cooking, from wandering through Farmers Markets, to perusing the many ethnic markets scattered through most communities to buying ridiculously large quantities of food stuffs at Costco and then going home and figuring out 101 ways to use them.
I love the meditative qualities that surround cooking; the melodic chopping, the soothing sounds of sizzling pots and pans and the way solitary cooking takes me to “my zone”.
And so I offer SaucyCooks to the world and hope that readers find a recipe, an idea or just another way of viewing the world around us.
One of the benefits which have developed as a result of my launching SaucyCooks is that I have been pushed beyond my comfort zones and expanded my creativity when it comes time to creating food in my kitchen.
I think we all develop our own repertoires, those staple items on our menus which we can make with our eyes closed. These recipes change with us as do the diners at our tables and our dietary habits. When my kids were young our “go-to dinners” were Spaghetti Pie, Apple and Molasses Meatloaf or our favorite breakfast for dinner, Baked Apple Pancake.
As they grew up and my son became a Vegan and Chelsea a Pescaterean, our communal dinners took a sharp left and we began to indulge in Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry’s and Jordan’s amazing raw “pasta” made from zucchini turned angel hair with a spiraliser and served with a spicy tomato sauce. We ate a lot of hearty vegetable and potato curries, supplemented with spicy black bean burgers.
When I moved up to Sonoma County my favorites morphed into what went best with wine, what could be made more delicious with wine and how many ways one could incorporate wine into the cornucopia of incredible fresh seafood, vegetables, grass fed meats and free range chicken and eggs.
Now I have come full circle. Having learned to live without meat for many years, when I married my amazing and carnivorous husband, I discovered that he neither could nor would. This has led to my re-acquaintance with racks of lamb and pork, steaks and burgers cum sliders and his expansion into the wonderful world of fish!
But last week I decided to back to my wine country roots and make my version of Chicken Marsala. Marsala wine is produced in the city of Marsala in the Sicilian region of Italy and resembles a port or sherry, in that it is quite sweet. I say resembles because anyone who has ever tasted this wine, be it on it’s own as a “refresher” served with sorbet in between courses, or as a compliment to a sweet desert or even a cheese course, knows that it has a distinctive flavor all its own.
Although this is an old recipe and one that you will find on most Italian restaurant menus this dish is mine. I am certain that somebody somewhere has chosen to add prosciutto, rosemary and sage to theirs, as there really is only one way to make a wheel, yet this one bears my spokes, if you will.
Featured Foodie Friday: Saucy Cooks
- 2 Boneless Organic Free Range Chicken Breasts
- 3 slices Prosciutto
- 2 Shallots peeled and chopped
- 8 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp EVO
- 3 Tbsp Butter
- ½ cup Flour for dredging and thickening sauce
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Sage slivered
- ¾ cup Marsala
- 1/3 cup Free Range Organic Chicken Broth
- Place chicken breasts on a large enough piece of plastic wrap to pull up and cover the top of the chicken. Pound each breast between the plastic wrap with a meat mallet until about 1 ½ inches thick.
- Place prosciutto over the top of each breast to cover. Top with plastic wrap again and pound with meat mallet to incorporate the prosciutto into the breast.
- Heat 1 Tbsp EVO over medium heat in a skillet large enough to contain both breasts. When the oil is heated add the chicken, prosciutto side down to the pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove to platter and keep warm.
- In the same skillet add the last tablespoon of EVO and the butter. When the butter has melted add shallots and mushrooms. Stir occasionally and cook about 3-4 minutes until the shallots and mushrooms are soft and fragrant.
- Add sage and rosemary to the skillet and season with a little salt and pepper. Stir for about 30 seconds and pour in Marsala and broth. Cook until reduced by half, about 7-10 minutes.
- In a small cup or bowl, mix about 1 ½ Tablespoons of the flour with some of the liquid from the skillet to make a roux. Mix this back into the skillet to thicken the sauce. Stir to combine.
- Plate the chicken and ladle sauce over the top. Enjoy!
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