Spring has brought us a fresh outlook on the world around us. Spring in Toronto has started early this year and it has had a positive affect on us all. With every gorgeous spring day we see the flowers and trees start to bud, the grass start to turn green and the days start to last longer. Slowly we have emerged from our winter caves to head toward the sunshine and fresh air. People are out roller blading, running, cycling, enjoying the outdoor cafes with friends and having fun.
Spring brings the promise of something wonderful yet to come.
Spring is like a new beginning that happens every year.
Happy Spring to all of you!
As we continue with Italian month, I am featuring a simple family style Tuscan meal. The main course is a hearty chicken with artichokes, roasted tomatoes and chickpeas. I have added a side dish of zucchini with olive oil , garlic and parsley.
Zucchini with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Parsley
Makes 4 servings
2 lb. zucchini
½ cup olive oil
2 gloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Trim the ends of each zucchini. Cut in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into slices about 3/8 inch thick.
In a large, heavy-bottomed fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and sauté, stirring often, until the zucchini are quite soft, 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle the parsley over the zucchini toward the end of the cooking time.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Recipe from the Florence cookbook by Williams Sonoma
Chicken with Artichokes, Roasted Tomatoes, and Chickpeas
Makes 6 servings
5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 chicken breast, halved skin on
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ cup red wine
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cups chick peas
2 14 oz. cans water packed artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup sliced roasted cherry tomatoes
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves
½ cup black olives, pitted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Over medium-low heat, in a large enameled ovenproof pot with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sauté the onion, and after about 3 minutes, remove it to a medium bowl. Season the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper. Add the remaining 4 tbsp. olive oil to the pot, raise the heat to medium-high, and brown the chicken for 3 minutes per side. Add the wine, bring it quickly to a boil, and then turn the heat off immediately.
Combine the onion with the parsley, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, thyme, and olives. Spread the combined vegetables over the chicken, and bake covered, 30-40 minutes, turning the chicken once. Serve right from the pot or transfer to a serving platter.
Recipe from The Tuscan Sun cookbook by Frances Mayes and Edward Mayes