Citrus – As Colorful As Spring, Only Closer

The holidays are over and the color now seems to leach out of the landscape as the lights are down, the ribbons are recycled and the decorations stowed.  Outdoors is a poor place to be searching for color this time of year, so the inspiration and the delight needs to come from a different source.

Likewise, the gem-hued berries, the sunny-colored corn and the brightly adorned peppers are also a memory from last year’s garden.  Luckily, we have citrus to console us until the weather turns and once again we can delight in the rainbows that are produced in our gardens and our outdoor mural.



This week’s column – Broiled Grapefruit; Chocolate Orange Pound Cake; Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Kalamata Olives – is all about this healthy, versatile fruit.  Just as welcome in cakes as in a main course dish.

Getting my Vitamin C

Rosemary Chicken and Dumplings – The Perfect Comfort Food

I don’t know about your area, but it’s been DANG cold here.  Like this cold…


When it’s this cold, what makes me happiest is pots of simmering goodness on the stove and steaming up windows.  Chicken and dumplings  fits the bill to a tee.

Also, if you’d like to see a demo, here’s me on 207 with Rob Caldwell.  (Next time I’ll get a hair cut!)

Rosemary Chicken And Dumplings
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (remove the skin if desired; I usually take the skin off the breast and thighs)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cups chopped onion; about 1 large onion
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots; about 2 large carrots
2 cups chopped celery; about 3 stalks of celery
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic; about 3 cloves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3/4 cup milk

Heat the oil in a large, wide stockpot over medium-high heat.  Toss the chicken, flour, salt, pepper and paprika together until the chicken is coated.  Place the chicken in the heated pot and cook until browned on all sides.  Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs; cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the onions are translucent.  Add the white wine and stock; bring it to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add the milk.  Mix just until the milk is incorporated.  Drop 1-inch balls of dough on top of the simmering chicken.  Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes. NO PEEKING!

Serves 4 to 6

CSA Abundance – Braised Chicken Breast with Bacon and Swiss Chard

Braised Chicken Breast with Bacon and Swiss Chard

We serve Swiss chard to our guests all summer long because it’s one of the staple vegetables that our CSA offers as it grows well in cold climates.  We’ve served it with lemon, balsamic vinegar, garlic, roasted garlic, roasted pine nuts and crumble feta cheese (not necessarily all at once!).  This is my favorite way of preparing it so far.  My husband, who eats green things mostly because they are good for him and not because he really has a love for them, had a third helping of this Swiss chard.

4 chicken breasts, bone in
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bunch of Swiss chard, chopped and cleaned, stems separate from the leaves
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
3 strips bacon, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400º.  Heat a large skillet (one with a lid), over medium-high heat.  Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken.  Heat the oil and carefully add the chicken breasts, skin side down.  Sear for 8 minutes or until the skin is a deep golden brown.  Turn and sear for another 8 minutes.  While the chicken is cooking on the second side, clear a space and add the bacon keeping it in one spot in the pan.  When it is done, transfer it out of the pan with a slotted spoon.  When the chicken is a golden brown on the second side, remove it from the pan.  Drain the pan of all the fat and return it to the heat.  Cook the garlic for 30 seconds to a minutes being careful not to burn it.  As soon as it’s done, add the Swiss chard stems to the pan to stop the garlic from cooking further.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes and then add the rest of the Swiss chard and the bacon.  Stir all together and return the chicken breasts to the pan.  Cover and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the chicken breasts are opaque throughout.

Serves 4