Rainy Day Menu: Chicken stew & cookies

Late summer is here: rainy gray skys that presage autumn, perceptibly shorter days, cooler evenings and nights. Time to put away the air conditioner and get out the cardigans. And time for me to start coming back to life. Since I don't function well in extreme cold or extreme heat, spring and fall are the brief periods when my brain actually works and I feel normal and productive much of the time. (Then everything gets ruined by extreme weather coming again, and I have to put things on hold for a few more months. If I ever found a place where it is spring/fall all the time, who knows what magic I might wreak! Where would that be... the American Northwest? London? PARIS? Hmm...)

Cool rainy days are also cooking weather. I no longer have to be afraid of a hot kitchen or trying to think of cooling summer dinners. So I made a stew. It was a big hit.

Recipe in brief: cut up 5 small potatoes, 2 carrots, 3 celery ribs and add to crockpot. Saute one small diced onion in olive oil, add 5-6 chicken thighs in chunks and stir until all sides of chicken have started to cook. Sprinkle chicken/onion with a generous tablespoon of flour, and mix. Dump into crockpot. Deglaze frypan with 1/2 cup white wine and 3/4 cup water. Add liquid to crockpot. Stir everything together, then tuck 2 leafy sprigs of summer savory into the center of stew. Cook on low for about 8 hours, stir occasionally if you want. I served with a slice of homemade sourdough slathered with soft butter.

Recipe link: Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Making these was a multi-generational project and a lot of fun. For the chocolate we used 2 kinds of semi-sweet chips I had left over from other projects, plus some "regular" chocolate chips to make up the difference. For the nuts we combined almonds and walnuts. I regret not having any fancy flaky French salt to add, but that just means I'll have to make these again sometime!

I hope you enjoy the seasonal transition, whatever hemisphere you're in!

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