Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Apple Blue

I don't have many words right now. School politics, budget-crunch induced oversized classes, and the beginning of flu season are wringing me dry.

SWW and I escaped real life on Saturday to head up the coast to See Canyon to gather apples, to Pismo to see the migrating monarchs, and to Los Olivos for a stop at Koehler Winery. We stopped whenever we wanted and took the most beautiful road whenever we could. It was just what I needed.












Something else helped make me feel better too, Forking Fantastic. Zora O'Neill and Tamara Reynolds just put out the funniest cookbook I've ever encountered. I've laughed out loud while reading this book, and no cookbook has ever made me do that before. The authors set out to encourage everyone to feed their friends; clean houses and matching table settings are no prerequisites to a good time. Inspired by the apples I brought home from my weekend's road trip, I played with O'Neill and Reynold's recipe for "Commando Chicken," chicken roasted in the oven directly on the rack, but instead of placing potatoes directly under the chicken to sizzle in the dripping fat, I cut up large chunks of apples (skin still on) to soak up the savory juices, caramelizing on their sides. So good.

Apples, oceans, butterflies, wine, a good road trip with a good friend, a perfectly roasted chicken with a yummy side, sometimes it takes a lot to get out of a funk.

14 comments:

Zora said...

Oh my god! You're a genius! Apples under the chicken! I will have to try that as soon as I'm home!

(I realize that being the very first person to comment on this post may kind of undermine your shout-out. To the rest of the Internet: Christina and I have never met! She got the book of her own volition. It's just one of those wonderful Web connections.)

Anyway, very glad you like the book. I'm emailing Peter now--maybe he can try it in my absence...

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

I am buying that cookbook...and thanks for the lovely photos. It was like I was there. I am just getting over the flu..ugh.

Linda Dove said...

Oh, I've been wondering where to go to pick apples. This is great info. Glad y'all had a good and necessary time....

altadenahiker said...

I usually head down to Oak Glen this time of year (or is it Glen Oak). But I may change the direction based on your lovely photos.

Christina said...

Zora: ECG and I were talking tonight as we ate leftovers about all the things we could place under the chicken as it roasted: big fat mushrooms, chunks of sweet potato or squash, even zucchini chunks. He then pointed out that although we haven't tried it yet as written, potato under the chicken drippings has got to be damn good. Don't call me a genius; you and Tamara are the ones who came up with the idea in the first place!

Mel: Do buy it. As Zora mentioned, I'm not paid to advertise it in any way. I just mentioned it because I like it and I think others will too. Feel better!

Linda: I don't know of a place to pick apples in See Canyon, but there are lots of farms that sell all kinds of interesting varieties. SWW and I liked Gopher Glen the best, where they give samples of MANY different kinds of apples, mostly heirlooms (including Jefferson's favorite variety, so cool!), fantabulous cider, and a friendly staff. You may also want to stop by See Canyon Fruit Ranch for the lovely scenery. And, there are others and Kelsey winery tucked in there too (we really enjoyed the Cab at Kelsey).

AH: It's an interesting place and a LOVELY drive, especially this time of year. I haven't been to Oak Glen, and I considered going this year because I felt the need to be somewhere apple-y, but a couple firefighters I talked to told me the fire damage surrounding the farms was pretty bleak. I really didn't need more of that . . ..

AmyR said...

This sounds like such a perfect weekend. I have yet to visit Pismo Beach, and I am utterly convinced of its beauty thanks to your photos!

Wendy said...

Looks like a perfect day. :) Off to check out the cookbook...

ann said...

That really is a genius idea. Apples! I always forget to use apples in more savory applications. Glad your funk has lifted slightly. So jealous that you can just jump in the car and be near a (warm) beach. Hang in there, at least it's Friday!

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

Pismo Beach! That was a delightful stop on our trip down the Pacific Coast Highway a couple of years ago, Christina. We had dinner out at the end of a working pier with sea lions barking below us. The whole trip was so amazingly beautiful. And the apples with the chicken sounds brilliant--I'll have to try that. Actually, we still have some of the Russets left.

sarahww said...

We commandoed the crap out of the chicken and apples last night. I can't wait for leftovers tonight.

Petrea said...

We do apples with chicken sometimes--also apples with pork roast (yay!). The idea I especially like is not cleaning the house for the dinner party.

Cafe Pasadena said...

I'm happy you were able to get out & about to enjoy some of what life in California has to offer.
Stimulating photos!

Bec said...

I've done See Canyon, Pismo, and Los Olivos in the fall before and now I'm so jealous! Sounds like a great weekend getaway.

June said...

So great to see the monarchs hanging out. Our cold summer suppressed their numbers here, and I have missed their abundance in the milkweed meadow we keep just for them.

Cannot wait to get hold of that cookbook!