Channeling My Mom: It’s a lifelong affair!
Today’s Dinner Challenge blends two Renata’s Kitchen favorite recipes. Here are your links:
2)Renata’s Roasted Seasonal Vegetables (with added spinach and cannellini beans)
1) Grandma Nita’s Oven-Baked Chicken and 2) Renata’s Roasted Seasonal Vegetables (tossed through at the end with a heaping pile of fresh spinach, and cannelini beans until they are piping hot and spinach wilted.) serve as The Complete Vegetarian Meal Alternative.
The Seasonal Vegetables tossed with spinach and beans can serve nicely as a side for the carnivore’s oven baked chicken. ( I will only be the chicken part for Grandma’s Oven-Baked Chicken, reserving the spuds for the vegetarian seasonal roast veg/spinach/white bean bake.
My mom is a culinary genius. What does this mean?
My definition of genius is when the force of one’s contributions are so grand they seem to come straight from God, though a chosen person’s body, and delivered with the utmost care to its mind-blowing excellence.
Mom doesn’t cook using recipes. This is why she has not become the world’s Top Chef on TV. But in our house, family, restaurant, she has a wide population of friends who frequent her kitchen on a regular basis to witness her magic.
My friend Susan very kindly dropped me some gorgeous chicken and organic spinach to help me through a stressful time of selling our house. I was so excited! I wanted to do this chicken proud, so naturally I meditated and tried to channel my mom!
One should always pray quietly like Christians do when they answer perplexing questions with: WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?)
And so I prayed over this juicy platter of bone-in chicken breasts and thighs.
“HWNC? (How Would Nita Cook?)”
In Nita’s fabulous recipe on my website Grandma Nita’s Oven-Baked Chicken, witness perfection.
We have a few challenges in Renata’s Kitchen though, because my daughter Olivia is a vegetarian.
Much to my mother’s chagrin, no, chicken isn’t vegetarian.
Mom didn’t grow up with a lot. So she doesn’t quite follow the trend of catering to such tastes. I have heard her say to her granddaughters “It’s vegetarian! It’s just a little beef gravy and some bones, but I took the bones out before I served it!” It’s always a tricky situation to ensure Momma that she is a genius, we love her cooking, and we love her. But vegetarian is vegetarian.
Since Renata’s Kitchen is a veritable venn diagram of carnivore/vegetarian/vegan meals (thank GOD the vegan is at college today!), I had to think quickly on my feet as I channeled Nita.
So I pulled out what I had laying around the kitchen.
Here’s how I plan to roll with dinner, since I am running out of time. As usual thought I could do 90 things before 4pm instead of the usual 75 that most mothers I know do. Sigh.
So into the oven it will all have to go, no matter what! I can do two shelves, but I don’t have time for both stove AND oven cooking because it is one of those “event-laden” nights. Ugh. (Naturally I just realized this at 1pm. Doh!)
I am going to tweak Momma’s recipe for Grandma Nita’s Oven-Baked Chicken: http://www.renataskitchen.com/recipe/grandma-nitas-oven-baked-chicken/ by shaking only the chicken the bag, and not the veggies too. (2 breasts for a lotta meat, 4 thighs bring the budget down and taste SO rich.)
Then I am going toss my cubed sweet potatoes, russets, onion, garlic, ground herbs and a little flour with olive oil into a separate pan and drizzle olive oil all over that too.
Both Mom’s and my recipes will roast together in the oven, and when those roasted veggies come out, they should be ready to have a few hand fulls of organic spinach thrown in, a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans, and returned back to the oven til the spinach wilts, and the beans and are nice and hot.
Tons of herbs mixed in will taste great: thyme is my absolute favorite. Love adding shallots to ANYTHING. (Did you know a shallot is a blend between an onion and garlic? The best of both worlds!)
In about an hour, I should have Grandma Nita’s Oven-Baked Chicken, and Renata’s Seasonal Roasted Vegetables with spinach and beans tossed through for my little vegetarian goddess’s healthy bones, gut and blood.
If we can eat together tonight it will be a miracle.
If not, I will collapse with whatever is leftover in my jammies with a big old glass of wine in front of the TV at 9pm.
Probably break bread as a family. But, well, He wasn’t a mom!
Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.
-Robert Browning (I bet his mom was a good cook!)
Thanks be to God for all our mothers…AMEN!