September is Here Already!

Welcome to September Michelin and Mom readers! We’ve had a great summer, action packed to say the least with two months passing us by at warp speed. Jason has been busy sorting the details on a future venture (we’ll be updating you on this as it progresses) and needless to say it’s going to be awesome. As we sold our house in the Spring, my kids and I spent the summer at the family cabin located on a beautiful mountain lake. Despite the ever presence of bears, bugs and birds – it has been idyllic. We finally found a new home and I’ll be cooking from a different kitchen by month’s end.

We took an extended holiday to California to visit with my brother and my sister-in-law, returning just a few days ago. The weather was glorious, the neighborhood charming and the food abundant. I learned new recipes and different cooking techniques and suffered self-imposed pressure the night I had to put dinner together by myself! What did I learn? How to create “dust” from shallots, the proper way to beat egg whites, that sharp knives are absolutely necessary in a well equipped kitchen, how and when to yell out “Yes Chef!” and how to be brave enough to eat chicken livers.

Over the next week, we’ll be adding new recipes and techniques we used during our time together, along with beautiful photos from the Farmer’s Market. Today, we are posting a fantastic pasta dish that is easy to prepare on a back-to-school night. Jason had a great story to go along with every meal we made last week and this pasta dish claims its origins back to his early days as a young Chef on Vancouver Island. Brand new to a job and left alone to not only cook the entire breakfast service, but also lunch, Jason had to think and act quickly to come up with the lunch specials. This tasty pasta was his first lunch special and we know you will want to make enough for leftovers the next day.

School Night Pasta
2 chicken breasts, cut into bit-sized cubes
2 tbsp oil
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp crème fraiche
1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped into small pieces
penne pasta
1 head broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
fresh parmesan cheese, grated

Cook the pasta al dente. Steam the broccoli until tender, drain and set aside.
On medium, heat the oil and then add the chicken pieces. Sautee until cooked, adding the diced shallots to the chicken for the last minute (do not brown). Remove the chicken and shallots (you can pop them into the broccoli bowl) and with the heat still on the same pan, quickly add the chicken stock. On medium heat, simmer the stock until it has been reduced to about half. Remove from the heat, add the crème fraiche and chives, followed by the broccoli and chicken. You can toss this and the pasta all together before serving. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and home made garlic bread.

Amy’s Wine Picks

In going with the theme of simplicity, I have selected some porch pounders that will go down just as easily as Karlin’s pasta. More often than not, people overthink their wine pairings. My advice – K.I.S.S. or keep it simple stupid. Sometimes less is more.

Top pick: Rosé. They are light enough to not overwhelm the mild flavors, but viscous enough to stand up to the chicken. Try a rosé from Tavel or Bandol for quality or for good value look for Provence or Spain. One of my favorites recently is Bodega Muga from Rioja, $11.99.

Playing it safe: Italian Pinot Grigio or Oregon Pinot Gris. Pinot Grigio is always a crowd pleaser – off dry, crisp and fruity. The summer is ending and fall is on the horizon. Savor the remainder of summer sun sipping a Pinot Grigio from Northern Italy. If you prefer a wine that has higher residual sugar (aka – sweeter), Oregon Pinot Gris is a perfect alternative, specifically from Columbia Valley. I recommend Ponzi from Willamette Valley, $14.99.

Off the beaten track: Bordeaux Blanc. The green undertones of the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend are a perfect match for the broccoli. The wines are typically aged in oak, giving them a full mouth feel to complement the chicken. Try Château Ducasse from Graves, $14.99.

Amy Payne

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