New Coq au VinWhen I hear “coq au vin,” I can’t help but think of Julia Child, and all of the intimidation that may go along with that. The recipe for “New Coq au Vin,” from the September 2008 issue of Gourmet, was admittedly lighthearted in comparison to Ms. Child. This recipe advocated white wine, chicken thighs, and no bacon. I was thrilled by all the garlic. My chicken was succulent, pleasing, and comforting, with its celebrated use of celery and its deep wine flavor. I used a 2007 white Bordeaux Sauvignon.

I seared each batch of thighs for 5 minutes. I cooked the garlic and celery for 4 minutes. Once I added the wine, I boiled the combination for 5 minutes. My final simmer lasted 25 minutes. The 1/4 cup of parsley seemed to be a bit much, but my overall flavors were so magnificent. You’ll be proud to make this dish, and your guests will adore it. What would Ms. Child think? Well, I’m not too sure…

Baked Zucchini de ProvenceI really surprised myself with the “Baked Zucchini de Provence,” from, customized to make 4 servings. What great flavor! And it’s such a basic combination of ingredients: zucchini, breadcrumbs, Parmesan. I used a mandoline to slice my zucchini, which is a nice way to achieve uniformly thin slices. The scent of the herbes de Provence was wonderful as the zucchini cooked. My breadcrumb topping was adequately textured like wet sand; I seasoned it with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. This was such a perfect zucchini dish: perfectly salted and a winning combination of herbs, oil, and texture. I wouldn’t typically devote 40 minutes of cooking time to the humble zucchini, but this was a superstar way to do it. Try this one. You’ll freak out.

RECIPES: enjoy a meal full of stunning succulence
this meal will need more than an hour to complete and eat
chicken and wine comforts; zucchini sings with olive oil and herbs

Next time, I want to try “Mimi’s Smoked Salmon Chowder,” from, and actually use lox in a soup! Come back to my site on Thursday, January 8, to see my results.