I was so thrilled to get a new, enamel-covered, cast iron Dutch oven for Christmas! It wasn't one of those super fancy $400 dollar models. It was just the cheap knock-off from Sam's Club. Despite being 90% less than the other model, it works just fine and I have made three meals with it so far. And it's red. I love the color red!
Notice the beautiful cutting board behind the Dutch oven. My daughter made that for me in wood shop at school. Isn't it lovely? I'm never going to use it because I never want to scratch it. I'm going to display it in my kitchen forever and admire my daughter's handiwork.
The first dish I made in my new Dutch oven was Ropa Vieja. Here is the link to the recipe. Delicious. Everyone ate it, had seconds, and then we served it for leftovers the next night.
My sister, who puts me to shame as a cook, gave me this fabulous cookbook: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perlman.
My sister swears by Deb's blog, Smitten Kitchen, and says she never has created a bad recipe from the blog.
I spent hours reading this book before even trying a recipe. My husband and daughter poured over it as well. I love the writing style and the humor as the author explains her creations.
I tried my first recipe from this book tonight. I gave my kids the choice of three and they chose 'Harvest Roast Chicken with Grapes, Olives, and Rosemary.'
I don't think they realized the olives were Kalamata olives and not black olives (the kind that they like to put on their fingers at Thanksgiving). I don't like Kalamata olives myself. I'd never had any other kind of olive but black until, as a student, I traveled to Greece and had a Greek olive. That olive bit me back! I'd never had such a flavor before and none since for that matter.
Thus, I was skeptical about this recipe but forged ahead anyway.
Wowie! Was this a delicious recipe! The kids ate it and loved it. We weren't to fond of the cooked olives, but roasting the chicken with the olives gave the chicken and the sauce a rich flavor. It was fantastic.
Did you notice my Dutch oven in the background? I thought so. It is on top of the trivet that my son made in Cub Scouts for Mother's Day.
The chicken needed to roast longer than the cookbook suggested in order to reach a safe temperature. However, the whole process only took an hour, and now that I have made it once, I will be able to make it again in less time. Which means, for all you busy cooks out there, you can make it on a weeknight.
Tuesday night I am trying 'Pancetta, White Bean, and Swiss Chard Pot Pies.' I'll let you know how they turn out!
All my lovely gifts I give 5 out of 5 stars.
The roast chicken recipe I am giving 4.5 stars. We didn't like the olives so that was worth 4 stars, but they flavored the chicken so well. For a family who doesn't like Kalamata olives we sure loved this recipe so that bumps it up a half a star!
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