“You’ve Got a Funny Way of Saying ‘That was delicious.'”

Sometimes dinner is just dinner – nothing fancy or extravagant or particularly exciting.  But still, it’s always nice to hear, “That was a good dinner.”

Growing up, my mom’s standard way to cook chicken was to put the bone-in breasts in a big frying pan and cover them with a ton of onions and a mix of white wine and water.  Then she would salt and pepper the crap out of it and let it simmer until the liquid evaporated.  To this day, it’s still one of my favorite ways to prepare chicken.  It’s super-tender and moist, just the way chicken should be.

chicken, couscous and beet salad

Chicken, couscous and beet salad

So, last Saturday I made “Mom’s-chicken-and-onion-in-white-wine”, couscous and a beet salad.

Madison loves couscous and I think she’d probably eat it for every meal if she could.  I like to mix different ingredients into it for a little variety and in the past I’ve added sliced green onions, raisins, and dried cranberries.  Last weekend, I seasoned it with a little grapeseed oil (my new favorite oil!), salt, pepper and slivered almonds.  It was gone as quickly as it hit Madison’s plate.

Like most produce, beets are best when eaten fresh.  I hated them as a kid, mostly because we only ever had the canned variety.  (I’m constantly amazed at the list of ingredients I have grown to love now that I have had them fresh: mushrooms, beets, Brussels sprouts, green beans…the list goes on.)

Beets are in season right now and one of my favorite recipes is beet salad.  It’s a mix of two-three types of beets, goat cheese and mixed greens.  I season it with a little salt, pepper and white wine vinegar and it tastes delicious.

I can always tell when the dinner I’ve made is a hit, even though both Madison and Joel have different ways of showing it.  Madison’s verbal praise is pretty obvious, but I’ve noticed that Joel has a peculiar way of expressing his approval.

Once he’s finished eating, he’ll casually lean back in his chair and fold his napkin (we use cloth napkins – better for the environment and much classier!) into a sort of pirate bandana.  Then he wraps the napkin/bandana around his head and continues the conversation as if it’s totally normal to discuss desert/politics/work/music with a napkin wrapped around his head.  This subtle cue typically signals two things, 1) dinner was good and 2) the “who can get the most creative with a napkin hat?” game has just begun.  We become little Dutch girls, pirates, Native Americans, samurais, nuns, pilgrims and things I can’t even name.

I guess I could be offended that Joel doesn’t enthusiastically praise the meal, but hey, I take a compliment anyway I can get it.

Beet Salad, serves 4

3 small yellow beets
3 small red beets
1 small red onion
2 cups mixed greens, chopped
4 oz. goat cheese
2-3 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Steam the beets 30-40 minutes, until they pierce easily with a fork.  Allow them to cool and peel the skins.  While the beets are cooking, dice the onion and toss it with the vinegar, salt and pepper then set aside.  Chop each beet color separately into ½ inch cubes and toss it with half of the onion/vinegar mixture.  Arrange a handful of mixed greens on each plate and add the beet mixtures and 1 oz. goat cheese on each mound to serve.

2 comments on ““You’ve Got a Funny Way of Saying ‘That was delicious.'”

  1. Susan Weisberger
    April 13, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    I love your Beet salad, yumm..

    My favorite napkin character is puppy dog.

  2. Rob
    April 13, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Mom’s Chicken sounds delicious; sort of how I would expect a sweet lady living on the French countryside to cook chicken…rustic, simple and made with fresh local ingredients.

    I love couscous too, there’s a 1,000,001 things you can do with it. I like it with a variety of minced fresh vegetables, feta cheese, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

    Beets…I’ve developed a taste for them as well. Like you, I grew up with the canned beets – and like canned asparagus, it’s just downright NASTY!

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