Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sighing and Wining

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe. I could bore you with a myriad of reasons; but the only one you’ll care about is that I’m on a diet. Weight Watcher Online, to be precise. So far, I’m down around 8 pounds (I started not quite 3 weeks ago). It’s a great diet for a foodie. You can eat anything you like—you just have to balance it and use moderation. That’s refreshing for a diet, and seems a sustainable way to live. Most diets outlaw foods (foods that you then WANT), this one doesn’t. But you’re not here to listen to a testimonial. You’re here for a recipe, right?

It’s a dark, dank, foggy, blech-y day and I’m feeling lazy. I know I’ll be hungry later today, but I don’t want to cook, and the heathen makes dinner with his phone (not conducive to weight loss). So here’s a lovely, warm, meaty stew to make me smile.
Crock Au Vin Blanc

Go to the kitchen to make some tea. You may be on a diet, but you can still have tea time—you just need to not eat with it. Get the tea goin’ and realize that you should make dinner. Go to the living room and get your laptop, you’re gonna have to track all the foods in this. Realize that it’s easier to use the recipe builder application online than it would be to figure out exactly how many pieces of carrots and celery you’re gonna eat. Put the laptop on the counter and get out 
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 kohlrabi (or other random root veggie languishing in the fridge that needs to be cooked…parsnips anyone?)
6 garlic cloves (yep, 6. They get sweet when they’re cooked enough)
1 jar cocktail onions (leftover from a bachelor party, the boys wanted olives instead)
2/3 cup pearl onions (frozen ones are great, peeling fresh ones suck)
Wash your hands, then start scrubbing veggies. Open the cocktail onions, and pray the vinegar they’re in won’t really throw the recipe off. Taste one. It’s not bad; ok, on with the show.

Put all the veggies on the cutting board, listen to you oldest dog come tearing into the kitchen because she hears you put veggies on the cutting board.  LOL Get back into the fridge and emancipate
               1 pound chicken thighs (4 thighs)
               Turkey bacon (you’re using 5 strips)

Search for a decent wine to dump into your gullet, OOPS! I mean crock pot. Sigh when you realize that you’re out of Sauvignon Blanc or Pino Gris and go for the
Bottle of Riesling you have in the wine holder(It’ll work—it’s just more Alsace rather than Provence, or sometin’)

Call your heathen at work, and ask when he comes home. Sigh when he gives you an ETA you didn’t want. When he asks why you sighed, explain that you need Sauvignon Blanc, not Riesling, and you’re not sure it this is gonna be edible. Yeah, he’s used to you not explaining things fully and not making apparent sense. Stop trying to chop veg and talk on the phone, put the knife down, and explain yourself more fully while you root around in the spice cabinet for
               Black pepper (fresh cracked is best)
               Kosher salt
   Herbes de Provence (the homemade mix you made a couple of months ago—wait! You didn’t make that mix? Here’s a link to some spice mixes you can make at home and will use a lot)

Finish your conversation, get sidetracked and search the pantry for
               4 ounces canned button mushrooms (or use fresh, if you’ve got them in your fridge)

Get back to work chopping  veggies. They don’t chop themselves, ya know. Look down to see both of your dogs join forces to con you out of some of the carrots.
With their powers combined, they are Captains of Cute!

Cover the bottom of your crock pot with the carrots, kohlrabi, and celery.  There, now the cutting board is cleared off to smash and quarter the garlic cloves.
My good knives are dirty.

Stop everything you’re doing to plug all of your ingredients into the Weight Watchers recipe builder. Ok, now that’s done. Go wash yo hands again. Sigh that the new soap pump isn’t working, stupid pump. Dry your hands and open the chicken package. Yank off all the skin and large fat lumps off of each of the thighs. Place the thighs on top of the veg in the crock pot. Go wash your hands again. 

Come back and sprinkle in
             1 teaspoon kosher salt (oh! Your tea! Crap, it’s cold and oversteeped by now)
              ½- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper (your choice, but I use 16 grinds of my pepper   
             1 ½ tablespoons herbes de provence
             Your squashed and quartered garlic

Drain your cocktail onions completely, then dump them in also. Ugh, why do they have to be so difficult to get out of the leeetle jar? Hit the base of the jar and watch one go flying across the counter. Retrieve it, wash it off, and toss it in with its brethren. Mwahaha, you can’t escape your fate, little onion. Look for the can opener and wonder again why the heathen won’t let ya install the under-counter electric opener while you drain the mushrooms. Dump them in the crock pot too.

Open the turkey bacon. Opt to skip the step of cooking it (this time) and cut it into ½” pieces. You’re really feeling lazy today. Toss it into the crock. 

Go wash your hands (again). Try to open the screw top lid to the wine. OW! Why does it have to closed so tightly? Sigh, and look for your trusty rubber band to help your grip. There! Open! HA, take that Riesling! Get out a white wine glass, and pour in the wine.

One for the pot, one for me.

Pour in the glass of wine, put on the lid, plug it in and set it on high for three hours, or low for 6 or so. Dump out your ruined tea, and sit down with your glass of wine (4 Weight Watchers points, and worth every one). When everything’s done, drain out the juices from the crock into a sauce pan (as best as you can) and dump in 1 tablespoon of Wondra flour (have you met Wondra? It’s even better than cornstarch!) and boil for about 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. 
Spoon it over your veggies and chicken on the plate. Serve the stewy mess over whole wheat pasta (4 points for 1 cup cooked), or mashed potatoes (2-3 points for ½ cup) , a baked potato (4-5 points) or with a hunk of warm, crusty bread (2-4 points). And sprinkle on some fresh chopped Italian parsley or finely diced scallions. Serves 4 with the chicken on the bone, or 6 with the chicken stripped off the bone and shredded (11-7 points).