Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Creative Wood Stacking, a Video, and a $500 Recipe

Happy 12-12-12. A thousand years till that happens again!  Lots of random things to share.........

A friend who is aware of what a big role firewood plays in our lives here in the mountains sent these along today and I couldn't help but lead with them. We burn it up so fast this time of year that there isn't much use in getting artistic with the stacking but I love the inset crate idea so I'll be brainstorming a way to incorporate that!

More photos to share...... I already did a post on our local apple press event but I had forgotten that there are actually two community apple squeeze events in Quincy now.  At this first one, our 6 year old was in charge of the camera and I love the slightly different perspective his photographs provide.

All photos by L.G. Kusener

The next thing I'd like to share is a simple recipe I created for a recipe contest I entered. I learned about the contest in a magazine I subscribe to. The contest required that the recipe have only 5 ingredients, one of which is chicken. Salt and pepper and fat for cooking were bonus ingredients. I had to make dinner that night anyway so I submitted the following recipe and won $500. I was delighted!

Chicken and Green Olives with Apricot Shallot White Wine Sauce
Serves 4

An easy weeknight preparation that utilizes the much loved fruit/meat flavor combination.

About 1 pound (6-8) chicken breast tenders
freshly ground pepper
1 T. olive oil
1 t. butter
¾  cup thinly sliced shallots
¾  cup white wine such as chardonnay
½  cup apricot jam (note that cherry, peach, or plum jam, or even orange marmalade work equally well here)
¾ cup of pitted ripe green olives                                                                              

1.  Season chicken breast tenders or thighs with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Set aside on a plate. When cool enough to handle, cut into bite-sized pieces.
2.  Add shallots to the hot skillet and sauté 4 minutes until soft and browned. Add wine and stir to deglaze skillet. Add jam and stir mixture until it smoothes out and begins to bubble. Add chicken pieces and olives, stir to coat and turn off heat. Serve with pan sauce.
I like to serve it over basmati rice. The last time I made it I used some homemade peach jam from last summer and vegetable broth in place of the wine and it was even better than the original. The recipe will be part of an on-line cookbook available soon and I will post the link to it here on the blog.

If you have a spare 4 minutes, this video that pokes fun at foodies and the high-end grocery store, Whole Foods, is highly entertaining:
It's gettin' real in the Whole Foods parking lot!
That is all for now.


  1. Someone sent us the stacked wood email yesterday too as they knew Don stacked 14 cords this summer. :-) I love the sideways tree. The video was fun too. Happy Holidays. I can smell the chicken from here, glad you offered a wine alternative. YUM!

    1. Thanks for the comment. Wow, 14 cords is a lot of wood to stack! Yes the sideways tree is very Andy Goldsworthyesque;-)

  2. Also awesome photos L.G. you have quite a good eye!

  3. Hey Farm Girl -- I like it!
    I reposted the wood stacks on my facebook page.
    Oysters, lots and lots of them, are on the menu for tomorrow evening.
    I guess we will shuck about 36 dozen when all is said and done. Wow, my wrist is already hurting and I feel a need for beer.

    1. Aw-shucks! I wish we could be there for your oyster orgy. Cheers.