hunter's chicken

hunter's chicken

Last night I tried a recipe for hunter’s chicken from my friend Jen over at Last Night’s Dinner – a dish that earned her major kudos from the Food52 community. We served it with sauteed chard and soft polenta, and it was warm and comforting for a stormy evening. Leftovers were even better for lunch today.


It has a savory base of dried porcini and fresh crimini mushrooms, onions, grated carrot, sweet vermouth and red wine, and it really is the perfect dish to serve over polenta. We’ve eaten all of the chicken out of it, and I’m rather excited to use the remaining sauce as a vehicle for pork meatballs. I’ll let you know how that goes.

open to the sun

As it happened, it was an apropos evening to be making one of Jen’s recipes, as she had a rather major announcement yesterday over on her blog. Congratulations and the very best of luck to Jen and Michael!

the first green beans of summer

prawns and green beans

Of course these weren’t the first green beans we’ve eaten all summer, but they were the first picking from Blue Heron Farm, and they were lovely. I wanted to let them shine as much as possible, so all I did was blanch them, then saute them with olive oil, lots of garlic, prawns and a little white wine. I served them on soft polenta, and the flavors were really bright and fresh.

polenta pot

Polenta isn’t usually the first starch I think of, but I’m always happy when I make it. This batch turned out particularly well. I let it cook long enough to get really smooth, then I beat in a nugget of butter and nothing else – no cheese or cream. I poured it out into soup bowls and let it set, then put the shrimp and green beans on top. Mmmmm. Continue reading

cooking class: polenta three ways

Casey demonstrates a fish spatula

Last week we helped out at a great cooking class: Casey Schanen from Nell Thorn restaurant did the cooking and Renee Stark of Noble Wines brought the wine. The theme was polenta in different preparations, which sounds like it would be repetitive, but in fact it was fabulous. Not a surprise, of course – Casey’s cooking is always fabulous.


We didn’t start out with polenta immediately. Casey likes to bring an assortment of nibbles with him, so we assembled a bunch of plates for the guests with marinated olives, cheesy wafers, Nell Thorn sourdough bread and butter. I think putting out the nibbles is a great idea, it keeps the guests from getting antsy while the first course is being demonstrated (the classes start at 6:30 and sometimes no food gets served until 7:30). Continue reading