Thursday, January 12, 2012

Scarpariello and Love

Today I rocked my run! I am very happy. Sometimes that 25k looms like a giant. Sometimes it seems a bit more attainable. We ran 4-1/2 miles in 40 minutes, walking at least 7 of those minutes. It was an interval day. We ran our first 2 miles in 17 minutes. Then we ran 7/10 of a mile in 5 minutes. Walked 5 minutes. Then ran another 1/2 mile plus, in 5 minutes. Then a cool down mile or so. It was good. And this girl is hurting.=) Nothing a good night's sleep and a good swim won't cure-I hope.=)
So, my postpartum hair loss finally stopped-before I was completely bald. I worry about that each time. Piles of hair everywhere. Will it ever stop? But it does. Now, instead of finding brown hair everywhere, I am finding extremely long blond hairs everywhere. That would be Elsie's hairs. Each time I find her hair lying around (which is a very frequent happening-at least once an hour) it makes me want to get her hair bobbed. Then it would be shorter hairs I'd be finding on everything-rather than foot long ones. It is just so disgusting. Hair everywhere! And it isn't like I don't do something with her hair. Her hair is just so fine that it wiggles its way out of pony tails and braids in no time at all. There is hair on the floor. Hair on the furniture. Hair on Meredith. She is almost as bad as a dog. Except I'm not allergic to her.=) Oh well, what do you do?
Tuesday night I made one of the best chicken recipes ever! I'm not exaggerating. It was amazing! Its called Chicken Scarpariello. Minds much smarter than mine say that this is an Italian word for shoemaker, and may refer to something shoemakers cooked on their day off with the groceries they got in barter for shoes. Or it may carry behind it the idea of a "sloppy cook."To find the pronunciation click here. Regardless of the origin, this was amazing! Did I say that already? Because it was. I haven't gotten over this chicken. It is filling my mind. Making my tastebuds tingle. This is a slow cooker dish, that you can speed up by cooking on high, or you can cook on low all day. This scarpariello contains Italian sausage, cherry tomatoes and cremini mushrooms, among other things (like chicken=)). The secret to the rich taste is using cremini mushrooms. Fight your inner miser and get these coffee colored mushrooms, also known as baby portobellos. They have much more flavor than their pale counterparts. At Aldi, they were the same price as the button mushrooms, so it wasn't an issue. But I think they are generally more expensive. There are balls of tasty sausage, and the chicken was fall off the bone tender-but not dried out. It wasn't really saucy-not enough that you need bread to mop it up, but there was a nice coating of the rich juice all over everything. I served my dish with couscous, corn and rolls. It made for a very pleasingly colorful palate. I think a crusty french bread would be just the ticket, but I didn't have time to make any that day. Also, a green salad would compliment it beautifully. It was as nice a meal as you'd get at Olive Garden, (trust me-we eat at OG so much, we should own stock) but at a fraction of the price. You could probably make the whole meal for 6 people for the price of one OG meal. Here is the infamous recipe.

Chicken Scarpariello
8 ounces of hot or sweet Italian sausage links, cut cross wise into 1" pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T tomato paste
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 t  Italian seasoning or dried thyme
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 8 ounce package of cremini mushrooms
8-10 chicken thighs (3-1/2 to 4 pounds), skin removed
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

1. In a 12" non stick skillet, cook sausage pieces over medium heat, turning occasionally, until well browned-about 6 minutes. Transfer to a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Add onion to skillet and cook until slightly softened-about 4 minutes. Add garlic, and sauté until fragrant-about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in tomato paste, vinegar, and Italian seasoning until well blended. Add mushrooms and tomatoes. Then pour over sausage in slow cooker, and stir to combine. Do not wash skillet.
This is not mine, but this is what mine looked like-
minus the parsley on top.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda...
2. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. (I didn't measure my salt, I just sprinkled generously) Heat 1-2 T of oil in the skillet, on high, and add chicken pieces. Cook chicken until well browned-about 10 minutes.
3. Place chicken with juices on top of vegetables in the slow cooker. Cover and cook-4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low. Skim fat from juices before serving.

This is love. =)