It is hard to know where to pick up from where we left off a couple of months ago. A lot has changed.
I suspended the blog after a devastating loss in our extended family. But out of love and respect for my family, I am not going to be writing about recent events. So where do I start? Let me just rattle off a few things in no particular order…
One thing I discovered is that my time away from the blog was pretty liberating. I actually started to wonder how I fit The Kitchen Scout into my otherwise “busy” life. I put the word “busy” in parentheses because if I am completely honest, my “busi-ness” is not as productive as I would like, or representative of how I imagined myself at this juncture in my life. But let’s save that discussion for another time, shall we?! I’m sure some of you can relate?
I also binge watched the show, This is Us. Not proud of this, but oh the wonders of modern technology, right? This concept of binge watching has its downfalls, though. My friend, Renee once pointed out and it is so true – the beauty of having to wait a week between episodes is that it allowed you to completely absorb, dissect and analyze what you just viewed so you were ready for the next chapter. All that aside, there are so many great messages in This is Us. What I particularly love is the ability to see cause and effect at the same time. The way they weave the stories is masterful, but then again I am not surprised given Ken Olin is one of its driving forces. If you watch, do you love Randall and Beth as much as I do? If only we could all create our own episodes of This Is Us in real time…
I’ve read some books, including Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (great read), The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (loved it), Still Here by Lara Vapnyar (not my favorite but ok) and Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (really good) and am currently reading Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris (thanks, Nicole!). I also became addicted to the soundtrack of Hamilton, and have had to seriously wean myself off it because I was hearing it in my sleep and it was waking me up (this is not a joke).
I’ve taken a few flower arranging classes with some friends which has been uplifting.
With the help of my friend, Jen, I completely reorganized my closet and I am praying I can keep it looking as good as she left it.
I started following lots of design houses and decorators on Instagram because I love looking at pretty things. I even found a new fabric for some window treatments through an Insta story! Speaking of Instagram, if you want some travel inspiration or to just look at stunning photos, follow Beautiful Destinations (@beautifuldestinations). I told my husband about them and he is dreaming of where he wants to go.
Lastly, there has been some cooking although nothing too dramatic and mostly functional in nature. I’ve been experimenting with some new ingredients too and will write about that in a future post. But remember in January when I shared my Slow Cooker Beef Ragu with Pappardelle and mentioned I was working on another slow cooker recipe? Well, just in time for our spring-freeze, I am sharing it with you this week because next week we may well be in our bathing suits the way our weather has been acting!
Slow Cooker Chicken Marbella came about when I was craving the iconic dish from The Silver Palette cookbook. I wondered if I could adapt it for a slow cooker. No surprise, I wasn’t the first person to have this idea so I started with a recipe I saw on the web, but have adapted it based on my preferences. My friend, Katie also road tested it for me.
My recipe adds in some dried apricots with the prunes to give the dish a little more color. I also took an idea that my friend, Betsy mentioned to me. Evidently, a mutual friend of ours, Maura used to make Chicken Marbella by pureeing the standard ingredients of dried fruit, olives and capers into a paste rather than keeping them whole. How brilliant is that? More even distribution of the ingredients and more flavor in every bite! I decided to meet this idea in the middle and puree half of the key ingredients and leave the rest whole. I like the contrast. You can omit this step if you want, but trust me, it is good!
I made this with bone-in chicken on the first try, but Katie tested it using boneless breasts and thighs with great results. I have made it twice since and the boneless approach is the way to go – just make sure to set your slow cooker to “low” because it will yield a more tender result. The chicken has great flavor and there is lots of sauce to serve alongside it. You could even make this in the summer if you wanted as it is great for entertaining and can be served at room temperature. I really hope you enjoy it.
So, here I am again. I can’t promise you at this juncture that I am going to be here every Friday at 7:00 AM as I have in the past. If I miss a week here and there, you will know that I am just taking a week off until I can muster up the energy to commit to my previous weekly discipline. Many of you have told me that you are missing the posts and I am so grateful for your support. Hang in there with me and in the meanwhile, please come back to the blog and post a comment if you make the Slow Cooker Chicken Marbella. I would love to hear from you…
A big thank you to my husband for his guidance on
all most matters, and especially this week’s post 🙂
Slow Cooker Chicken Marbella is published in loving memory of Maura…