Tuesday, October 26, 2010

La Niña or Something Wicked This Way Comes

Well the sun finally came out yesterday after almost a month of cold, foggy and drizzly weather.
Why is this notable? 
Because after the coldest summer on record I was looking forward to the typically mild months of September and October.
Not, this year it seems.
Except for one super hot week in September, the last two months have been unusually cold and now I know why.
The Super La Nina and the Coming Winter
La Nina is the lesser-known colder sister of El Nino. La Nina chills the waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean, and in turn cools the entire planet for one to two years or more. This chilling has the potential to bring bone-numbing cold to many parts of the world for this and the following winter.
Oh...lucky us, not only do we get La Nina we get a special La Nina!
This La Nina appears to be special, at least so far. It is well on its way to being the strongest of these events since the super La Nina of 1955-1956. During that powerful La Nina that lasted two years, the global average temperature fell nearly one degree Fahrenheit from 1953 to 1956.

Those of us who are affected by seasonal affective disorder, take note.
Things might get real cold.
Last Sunday was so drizzly and dreary that I opted for the next best thing to a winter holiday on a sunny beach for cheering me up, yes you guessed it, cooking a yummy dinner.
(Admittedly, I was highly inspired by the fabulous meals prepared by Faux Fuchsia and Tabitha)
So I went to my usual source for all things wonderful in the kitchen.

(Yes peeps, I was cooking recipes from these books long before that silly girl from that movie blogged about them. My books date to 1983)
Well anyway, I thought that I would make a Coq au Vin, but all the wine and brandy and bacon seemed too heavy so I decided on Poulet Poché Au Vin Blanc or Coq au Vin lite, if you will.
Super easy, super fast, super healthy
Here's the recipe (actually out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 2)

Grab your big (blue) Le Creuset cocotte and sauté your basic mirepoix ( 2 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, 1 onion, chopped or julienned) in 3 tablespoons of butter....or for a lighter version use chicken stock instead of butter...but what's the point of that.
Add an already cut frying chicken 2 1/2 lbs (I used the organic, no growth hormone kind from Trader Joe's) and cook for 10 minutes turning once.
Pour in 1 1/2 cups of white wine or dry white vermouth (I used vermouth and saved the wine for drinking.  Note: vermouth is also great to cook with and less expensive than wine...and available for your martinis)
Add enough chicken stock to barely cover the chicken.
Add a bouquet garni of parsley, thyme and bay leaf.
Cover and cook either in a 350 degree oven or on top of the stove for 25-30 minutes.
(I served it with asparagus and hot french bread, but you might want to serve it over rice)

For a super easy dessert
Apple and Berry Compote (my recipe)
Take left over granny smith apples from the fridge and peel, core and cut them into chunks.
Lightly poach in a small amount of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Add dried cranberries and pomegranate seeds or dried berries of your choice.
Cook for about 10 minutes or until apples begin to soften but aren't mushy.
Serve warm with low carb vanilla ice cream.

Unfortunately, after all this effort I didn't have the energy to plate it artfully and photograph it for BHB.
You'll just have to take my word that it looked yummy and tasted delicious, because it did.
So brace yourself for a cold winter
This La Nina is coming on very fast and very strong. Already it is colder than the six coldest La Ninas of the last 60 years when they were at a similar stage of development.
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Anonymous said...

Isn't funny that when I read through that cookbook, everything seems so much more complicated than the way you just described it? I could actually see myself making that. But first I need a Le Creuset! Do you recommend any particular size for me to put on my Xmas list?

I'm not looking forward to our super special La Nina. I don't get it though. I thought La Ninas were supposed to be dry years, and so far it's been ridiculously wet for an LA October. I've lived here all my life but I don't remember a year like this. October is supposed to be hot until just before Halloween!

Savvy Gal said...

It is a lot colder this year uh....

Belle de Ville said...

Anon: Don't just buy on le creuset pot, buy the whole set. They are typically on sale at stores like Macys.
I've had mine forever and I love them.
Savvy: Thank God the sun is out today. Finally, some normal October weather.

Anonymous said...

Ooh Macy's. I didn't think of that. I was thinking more of hitting up Cabazon when I go to the desert for Thanksgiving! But yes, Macy's before Xmas is sure to have good deals.

And now they are saying rain again for Saturday morning. I was hoping we were done with it for a while.

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