Category Archives: cooking

Chicken with a mushroom Marsala sauce 

So a large pine in the back yard was stuck by lightning a few months ago and has finally died. The electrical in the house has been slightly mess-up since! I took Wednesday off from work so an electrician could evaluate the issue and hopefully correct it. Of course, he could not narrow it down and instructed me to contact the power company. So I raked the yard, again, while he was performing his testing. What to do with the remainder of the day? Cook! After consulting and evaluating many recipes I created this two-pot recipe for mushroom and chicken Marsala. It was so yummy! It’s a keeper.



3 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt, to taste

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, to taste

About 2 pounds of chicken. I used thighs

3 Tbs. unsalted butter

3 Tbs. olive oil

1 onion, minced

2 1/4 cups Marsala

2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 lb. mushrooms, cut into slices 1/4 inch thick

3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh chives


In a bowl, mix flour, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. One at a time, turn the chicken  in the flour mixture, gently shaking off the excess.

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt 1 1/2 Tbs. of the butter with 1 1/2 Tbs. of the olive. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion and sauté over medium-high heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the Marsala, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring, until the wine is reduced and thickened, 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the chicken to the Dutch oven and cover the pot, set over medium heat and cook until the chicken is opaque throughout and very tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large fry pan over high heat, melt the 1 1/2 Tbs. butter with the 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil.

Add the mushrooms and sauté until the edges begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock or Marsala to cover, bring to a boil, and season generously with salt and pepper.

Once the liquid has been absorbed by the mushroom mixture add it and the remaining 1/4 cup Marsala to the Dutch oven. Cover and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes more.

To thicken the sauce- remove the cooked chicken to a plate. Increase the heat to medium high and add up to two tablespoons of flour while whisking vigorously until a thick gravy is created.

Plate the chicken and spoon the mushroom Marsala sauce over chicken. Serve with an Italian bread or French loaf to use to eat all that yummy sauce.



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Babkha and challah class

I recently enrolled in a babkha and challah baking class at the Levin Jewish Community Center in Durham, North Carolina (

It was much easier that I thought it would be. The baker had already mixed and proofed the dough so half the work was done. The dough is enriched with eggs, oil, and some sugar. We used the same dough for both breads.

The first step for challah is to divide the dough and make two long ribbons about 18 inches in length.

Than we made a two stranded braid: the detailed instructions can be found anywhere on the internet. There are many good recipes out there with detailed instructions. My ends did not want to stay tucked!

They were placed in a warm oven to proof or rise before baking.

Babkha is made with the same dough but it is rolled flat in a trapezoid shape. The shmear (cinnamon and butter filling) is spread over the dough and then the dough is rolled to make a log. This log is folded into an “S” shape and baked in a loaf pan after a streusel is sprinkled over the top.

The instructor, John Trimpli, sent us all home with dough and extra shmear and streusel.

The student’s babkha loaves cooling.

The Fiat was smelling so good on my half-an-hour drive home.

After a 15-hour day, I am looking forward to munching on the challah and braiding and baking on my own but it is late ….so tomorrow.

On a social note: The JCC had gender neutral single-use bathrooms.

More pictures to come as I try baking these at home.


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Winter garden clean-up and cooking something new.

It has been a few weeks since the snow storm. To us here in The Piedmont of North Carolina, a snow storm is almost two or three inches.

I cut down the Vivex bamboos which had broken and split. They average about 30 feet tall and 5 inches in diameter. I am sure I will find a use for them in the garden somewhere.

I haven’t shared a recipe for some time. I have wanted to make red curry with vegetables as it is my favorite. Here is my first attempt.

Asian vegetables in red curry and coconut milk

  • 2 bags frozen Asian/stir fry vegetables
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • Red curry sauce
  • Can of water chestnuts
  • Fresh ginger and two cloves of garlic
  • A few mushrooms
  • A lime

1) heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat

2) cut a piece of the ginger about an half-an-inch thick, cut off the skin, and mince it and the garlic (and mushrooms, if using) Add them to the Dutch oven and stir around with a wooden spoon to coat with the oil and until they are heated and release their flavor and fragrance – about a minute.

3) add the two cans of coconut milk after shaking them vigorously in the can before opening to mix the coconut fat which has separated. Adjust the heat to high.

4) once the coconut milk reaches a rolling boil add the red curry sauce. You may add as much as you like. I added the entire bottle.

5) add the two bags of Asian vegetables and can of water chestnuts. Once it boils again the vegetables should have thawed and be heated thoroughly. Reduce the heat to simmer.

6) squeeze half the lime into the pot, cut the other half to garnish. Serve wth rice.

I also added a bag of frozen broccoli because I wanted more vegetables and I always have frozen broccoli in the freezer. The amount of red curry paste will affect the yellow color and hotness of the final sauce.



Filed under cooking, Food