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Tasty Thursdays: Coq au Vin

Solange, my almost-mother-in-law, used to make coq au vin (chicken in wine) quite often. Stylish, beautiful, generous and funny, she was a stay-at-home mom, long before the term came into vogue, to eight children. Her home was inviting and warm and almost always full of people.

With Mom and Dad

Mom had a habit of “spicing up” everything she made — it just wasn’t done until she added her own flavors and seasoned it with love. She was a stickler for attractive food presentation. “La nourriture doit plaire a l’oeil avant de plaire a l’estomac. (Food must please the eyes before it pleases the stomach.),” she’d always say. And her coq au vin was legendary.

Mom shared her recipe for coq au vin with me several years ago. I’m kicking myself now because I can’t find it anywhere. I’m hoping it’s with my own mother’s recipe for the fruit cake she used to bake every Christmas (we were all given chores — mine was to chop the fruits). She had written it in her own hand on the back of an envelope and given it to me when I was dating Mom Solange’s son. Now they’re all gone and I can’t find either the coq au vin or the Christmas cake recipe anywhere. to the rescue! I found something similar to Mom’s coq au vin which I’m sharing with you. It doesn’t have her secret spices but I think you’ll like it.


  • 1 750-ml bottle of dry red wine
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 6 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 whole chicken legs with thighs
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl onions
  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces large mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Port
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


Stir first 6 ingredients in heavy large nonreactive pot. Add chicken, submerging completely. Cover; chill overnight.

Cook pearl onions in large pot of boiling salted water 3 minutes. Drain and cool. Peel. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pearl onions and mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Add bacon to same skillet and sauté until brown and crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Wipe skillet clean.

Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken from marinade to strainer (reserve marinade in pot). Pat chicken dry with paper towels; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until skin is brown, turning once, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to pot of marinade; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered until chicken is very tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Strain chicken and cooking liquid over large bowl. Transfer chicken to medium bowl; discard vegetables in strainer. Return liquid to pot. Add Port and bring to boil. Combine flour and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in small bowl. Whisk into cooking liquid. Boil over medium heat until sauce thickens and is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Return chicken to pot. Add pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon to sauce in pot. Simmer until heated through and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of




Tasty Thursdays: Sorbet

When the temperature turns warm, we reach for cooling foods. Sorbets and ice cream are delicious ways to help beat the heat.

I love the flavors of sorbet, especially mango, which reminds me of home. I love how light sorbet is, how it feels on my tongue, at the back of my mouth and how refreshing and clean-tasting it is.

Lemon and Raspberry Sorbet – Maynefoto

I found this recipe of one of my favorites, Lemon Sorbet, on I’ve never made sorbet (or ice cream) but I think I might try to this summer.

Try it and let me know what you think.



1 lemon’s peel, finely diced

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup carbonated mineral water

6 strips of lemon zest, for garnish



In a saucepan, stir together the diced lemon peel, 1 cup of water and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool.

In a pitcher or bowl, stir together the lemon syrup with peel, lemon juice and mineral water. Pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Garnish each serving with a twist of lemon peel.

If you do not have an ice cream maker, you may freeze it in a tall canister. Freeze for 1 1/2 hours. Remove and stir with a whisk. Return to the freezer



Tasty Thursdays: Gazpacho

When the weather turns hot, all I want to do is drink – water, mostly – and eat light, very light.

One of my favorite light meals is gazpacho, a cold soup that I was introduced to in Spain, that is made from fresh tomatoes and chopped raw vegetables.

It’s my summer meal lifesaver. This recipe that I found on comes closest to the way I make mine.

Traditional Gazpacho Soup

Cold tomato soup

Cold tomato soup
















21 oz. of tomato (chopped)

2 cloves of garlic

2 onions (chopped)

2 red and green peppers

1 cucumber (optional)

7 tablespoons of oil

2 tablespoons of vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoon of water

Cumin (optional)

2 tablespoons fresh parsley to garnish


In a big mortar mash cumin and garlic. In a plastic bowl, mix the chopped onion, chopped tomato, oil, vinegar, salt and the contents of the mortar. Pour half of the chopped mixture in a food processor (or blender) add very cold water and blend. Add salt and the remaining chopped mixture, mix and pour into a glass or other non-metal, non-reactive container. Keep it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (longer is better) to let the flavors blend. Garnish with parsley. Serve chilled.

Can be served with diced, toasted bread or avocado wedges.

Note: I prefer to use a mortar but a blender or food processor works as well. If you like it chunky like I do, set it to chop, not puree or liquefy.

Buen provecho!

Tasty Thursdays: Street Food

Popular cart

Image by J-Blue via Flickr

When the weather’s good, few of us want to stay indoors, especially at lunch time. And in New York City, vendors with food carts make it easy for those of us who wish to, to enjoy the sun and an inexpensive meal at the same time.

Food trucks are not just around construction sites these days, they’re everywhere. And they’re offering more than just coffee and bagels.

Some offer gourmet food, pastries or desserts.

And some of the more savvy owners go online to let their customers know what’s on their menus, where they will be and at what time.

My introduction to street food (or street meat as a co-worker called it) was from a truck near Rockefeller Center. My chicken and rice rivaled any I could have bought in a restaurant and wasn’t very expensive. In the block around my office, I can buy coffee and bagels for breakfast. For lunch, peas soup, fried fish, curried chicken or oxtail from the mobile extension of a Jamaican restaurant that’s located in Brooklyn. Sometimes before I go down, I check how long the line is or arrange to meet a friend and we catch up while we wait.

I love getting my a meal on the go from a truck, especially when the weather’s good.

Here are a few trucks to check out –

  • World’s Best Sandwich, 20th Street & Broadway
  • Super Tacos, 96th & Broadway
  • Steak Truck, 47th & Park
  • Yvonne’s, 71st & York
  • Trini Paki Boys, 43rd & 6th Ave
  • The Mudtruck East, Astor Place
  • Desi Food Truck, 50th St & 6th Ave

Bon Appetit!

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