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Showing posts from August, 2003

Retro Recipe: Chicken à la King

Chicken à la King is my idea of perfect retro deliciousness. Think bites of moist chicken, bell pepper, mushrooms and peas draped in a dreamy cream sauce. Think more healthful than it looks and sounds. Think quick, think supper. That's Chicken à la King. Chicken à la King is a recipe that seems to morph into something new every twenty years or so. While the dish is likely of American origin, the source of this version is a cookbook picked up in France awhile back.While tempted otherwise, I’ve made only modest reductions to the butter and cream. First, the portion sizes are relatively small. More importantly, since it’s the height of summer and fresh produce is so plentiful, it’s easy to fill out this rich entrée with a grilled vegetable (green beans, anyone?), a nutrient-packed salad and a fresh-fruit dessert.In this way, we balance our calorie intake over the course of a meal, a day, even an entire week. ALANNA’s TIPS Make only what you’ll serve immediately, for this dish doesn’t…

Wild Rice Salad

One of my very favorite summer salad recipes, hearty with wild rice, crunchy with vegetables. No mayonnaise or eggs, so especially good for picnics and outdoor parties. According to Objibway Indian legend, 21st century cooks can thank a hungry hunter and a dispatched duck for the nutty delicacy we call wild rice. One late-summer evening, a hunter returned to camp hungry but without game. Perched on the rim of a pot above his cold fire was a duck. Startled, the bird flew into the darkness. When the hunter peered into the pot, he found coarse grains the duck had left behind. He cooked it in water – and happily filled his hungry belly with delicious soup. The next day, the hunter set out in the direction the duck had flown and soon came upon a marsh filled with wildfowl feasting upon the wild grain. The hunter knew he and his people would never go hungry again. For contemporary eaters, wild rice is higher in protein and fiber and a fifth lower in calories than both white and brown rice.Co…

Thick Chops with Mustard Crust

The Recipe: This is one of my very oldest recipes, the way I've been cooking my family's favorite "Iowa chops" in the oven for ever so long. The chops are topped with a mustardy crust of mustard (naturally!), bread crumbs and fresh herbs. ~ Skip Straight to the Recipe ~


This 2003 column was published online for the first time in 2007 to accompany a special piece, The Heartbeat of Iowa, about my recent trip to Iowa to visit some "happy pigs". Simple But Special.Here’s a recipe destined to become a household staple because of its simplicity and flexibility.It’s simple enough for weeknight fare but special enough for guests. It makes up in minutes and can be made in advance.Most of all, the recipe invites your culinary creativity.Out of mustard? That’s okay, substitute a tangy horseradish sauce. No parsley? Try rosemary or tarragon or cilantro or oregano or … French bread crumbs are soft and delightful but what about trying rye or pumpernickel? No time to make b…