Mark Twain is believed to have said that the coldest winter he “ever saw” was the summer he spent in San Francisco. Having been to San Francisco many, many times in my life, and a city I’d happily relocate to if given the opportunity, I’d have to agree with whomever said that. But I’d also mention that San Diego in the Spring can be equally as chilly.
A quick trip down the hill to hit the Farmer’s Market in Pacific Beach last Saturday featured glimpses of young college men traveling in small packs and garbed in brightly colored checked Bermudas, their luggage bumping along the sidewalks behind them. Clearly, Spring Break was getting its start. The weather was pleasant enough, but not as spectacular as it would become a few days later.
A week has gone by and with it the sunshine. The sky is cast in solid grey and the forecast suggests that it will continue throughout this weekend. I always find myself feeling sorry for the Spring Break vacationers when they arrive expecting endless days of warmth and sun. I know I’d be disappointed.
It’s perfect weather for something roasted and savory that doesn’t take lots of effort — like this recipe for Roasted Chicken and Tomatoes with Cheese Grits. It has comfort written all over it. And if you can find a chicken on sale, then it’s inexpensive, too. The flavors are bright and satisfying, even if the weather isn’t.
Must be the tomatoes. But then, there are the grits to consider.
With cheese. Oh. My.
When we were in the thick of our remodel, I had my eye out for magazines that would help me narrow down the paint choices since we were having the whole interior repainted. O At Home caught my eye while I was standing in line at the grocery store because The Color Issue was emblazoned across its cover and promises of 21 frsh, can't fail palettes lured me to throw it in my basket.
Along with the good advice I came across that did inevitably help me choose my colors, tucked in the back was an article on One-Pot Meals with gorgeous photos of food I wanted to make right then and there. Of the four recipes featured, I tried Alice Waters's Winter Minestrone first with average results. I could take the blame for this because I used scarlet runner beans instead of cannellinis, and potatoes instead of turnips, but neither of those changes would have turned this soup into something less than good if it had been a decent tasting recipe to begin with. I love minestrone, and this recipe just didn't cut the mustard.
The second recipe I tried was Art Smith's "Chicken and Dumplings." It caught my eye because I grew up eating very different dumplings than the flat, egg noodles looking strips nestled in the clear broth and vegetables I was staring at. I had to try it since my life long idea of a dumpling was a dollop of wet dough that was dropped onto the hot contents of a pot of chicken soup or stew and covered for a time to steam and puff up before being uncovered to finish off the cooking.
Besides, it was going to be tough to ignore a piece of chewy dough. Sad but true. Unfortunately, again, something was amiss….