A Quiet Sabbath Feast

It is just my husband and I to share our Sabbath meal tonight.  I have been very tired the last few days because of some hormonal stuff, so I got the ingredients for two of my favorite, easiest, and most comforting dishes with the recipes below.  The chicken is so simple and satisfying.  It is adapted from The Taste of the Season: Inspired Recipes for Fall and Winter by Diane Worthington (I love her cookbooks and have several).  She has you make a sauce at the end which I tried once but it didn’t work right and I discovered the chicken is great as is so I always forgo it in favor of simplicity.  She suggests serving yams with it, which is wonderful but tonight we have Russian banana fingerling potatoes that arrived in my organic delivery this week.  My absolute favorite potatoes, which usually require a special trip to Whole Foods, are French Fingerling — so buttery in flavor with a slight sweetness.  I scrub the potatoes, cut them up, and toss them into a baking dish with olive oil and a little salt alongside the chicken and they roast up beautifully.

Rosemary Orange Roasted Chicken

grated zest and juice of one orange
4 garlic cloves minced
2 TBPS olive oil
1 TBSP white balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP fresh chopped rosemary
salt and pepper

one 4-pound chicken cut into pieces (the recipe calls for this, but often I will just buy the pieces I like bone-in and skin-on, so tonight I got 2 breasts and 4 thighs, enough for dinner and one leftover meal)

Make the Marinade: In a small bowl mix the above ingredients together until blended.  Place the chicken into a lock-top plastic bag and pour the marinade over, turning to coat the chicken.  Seal the bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 4 hours.  (what I love about this recipe is that I can prepare this in the morning and then throw it in the oven an hour before dinner with the potatoes, then I make a simple salad with mixed greens, hazelnuts, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar, couldn’t be easier and I am relaxed when guests arrive.)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Place the chicken in a large shallow roasting pan and roast for an hour to one hour ten minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and skin is brown and crispy.  Serve up with some roasted potatoes (see above) and a salad or other vegetable.  Yum!  Very satisfying and easy.   And for dessert. . .

Apple-Pear Flax Crisp

This recipe is adapted from The Flax Cookbook and is the only recipe I have tried from it, but I do love this crisp and knowing that it is slightly healthy because of the nutritious ground flax seed in the topping helps. (please don’t tell me the butter undoes all the good of the flax, because I simple won’t listen!) :-)  The walnuts have healthy omega-3’s in them as well.  I make this a lot in the winter, especially when I can’t eat all the apples and pears I buy fast enough.

Crisp Topping
1/2 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
3 TBSP brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 TBSP melted butter (if unsalted add a pinch of salt)
3 TBSP maple syrup

Filling
4 cups peeled and sliced/chopped fruit
(my favorite combo is apples and pears, but you can use just one or the other and I have also made this with peaches)
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP flour
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the walnuts, flour, flaxseed, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl. Drizzle the melted butter and maple syrup over the top and stir together (will be crumbly).

Put the diced fruit in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the fruit and mix gently. Turn the mixture into a baking dish.

Spoon the topping over the fruit, pressing down lightly. Bake about 45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream! (Even though I try and eat almost all organic at home, my absolute favorite vanilla ice cream is Haagen-Dazs Light Vanilla Ice Cream — very vanilla-y and the texture is wonderful.  The crisp is also great leftover for breakfast with some vanilla yogurt).

We’re going to curl up with a couple of movies and light a fire in the fireplace and all will feel right with the world for a few precious hours.  Then a bath for me and early to bed.  Sabbath is for savoring.

Remember to turn your clocks back tonight an hour.  I love getting an extra hour, but my husband says daylight savings is all the pain of jetlag without the fun of travel (especially in spring when we lose the hour).  I just read in the news that daylight savings will be extended starting in 2007, clocks will move ahead the second weekend in March and go until the first weekend of November.

Feast well dear readers!  Do you have any favorite cookbooks to recommend?

-Christine Valters Paintner

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