so, recently i received a couple of renewal notices in the mail for my favorite food magazine, Martha Stewart Everyday Food, and then got online to pay my bill so i wouldn’t miss any little pocket-sized issues. i remember that i got totally frustrated with my online account situation — it wouldn’t come up — and after trying everything, i may have slammed my laptop shut and said a swear, as i maybe do when i’m frustrated.
a few weeks later, i received what i thought was a random email congratulating me on my new Martha Stewart Living subscription that included the code to activate my corresponding iPad subscription. i had not ordered the magazine, so i got on facebook to see who was behind this little surprise. no takers. no one owned up to it!
it turns out that i’m receiving Martha Stewart Living instead of my favorite little Everyday Food! SURPRISE, Everyday Food Magazine is dead, you guys.
i’m really, really bummed. it was the best food magazine. full of amazing ideas, simple meals, mastering basics, shopping in season, trying new spices, new produce, how-tos, and really doable, affordable recipes. ingredients you can find anywhere, at any budget, and things that cook up in the amount of time that Normal People have to spend on cooking (much less than hours). I LOVED IT. i would say that once i moved out on my own and no longer had the luxury of cooking alongside my Mom, Everyday Food was what grew my love of cooking and honed my skills.
i’m going to miss the new ideas i’d get every November (super-easy Thanksgiving!), quick cocktail party spreads, and the “light” issue that came every January with tempting, healthful recipes for the new year. phooey. and i have to be honest, i am not interested in reading about Martha’s daily makeup and skincare regime (detailed coverage in this month’s Living) in which she tries to look less mean mature than she is by like a million. and decorating? i’m terrible at it. gardening? no yard at our loft apartment. i want recipeeees, man.
i do have a good collection, i suppose.. about 6 years of Everyday Food. i like to get them out each season and flip through to become again inspired. i also have one of the Everyday Food cookbooks, which was one of those not-on-our-registry wedding gifts that has become a Hawley family classic. i cook from it all the time!
i’m feeling sentimental over this change, so here is an Everyday Food recipe that i adore, and cook for us often. it seems fitting to share it now in honor of EDF’s demise. this quick stew has wonderful flavors that dance around the golden-browned chicken — juicy tomato sauce, lots of garlic, a splash of fresh parsley. i’ve punched up the amount of Kalamata olives because i adore their briney texture in each bite. i love that it’s served over polenta — a creamy porridge made of cornmeal, with just a little bit of Parmesan — rather than the typical rice/potato/noodle starches. it’s especially warming and comforting on the cold nights we’ve been having here in the Valley, and so simple to bring to the table, even after a long day at work. high-protein, low-cost, tasty, and quick to make? this stew is a lot of things to us right now. a lot of perfect. i hope you’ll fill your family up on it soon!
mediterranean chicken stew with polenta
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food
the tomatoes at my local grocery this time of year looked sad indeed, so i adapted this recipe to use canned tomatoes as an alternative, which i thought produced deliciously flavorful results. i get the polenta (coarse yellow cornmeal) from the bulk bins at my grocery — inexpensive, and easy to buy just as much as i need.
- 3 medium or 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- coarse salt and ground pepper
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 plum tomatoes, cored and diced (about 2 cups), or 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- handful chopped parsley
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- ground pepper
- 3/4 cup coarse yellow cornmeal (sometimes labeled as polenta)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
prepare stew: make sure chicken chunks are patted dry, and season with salt and pepper. heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high, and add chicken. brown until golden on all sides, just a few minutes total (it will have a chance to cook through later). set aside on a plate; reduce heat.
add remaining teaspoon of oil, and cook garlic over medium-low heat for about 30 seconds. then add chickpeas and sautee until heated through. add fresh or canned diced tomatoes, olives, chicken and any accumulated juices. simmer gently for 5 minutes, or up to an hour. stir in vinegar and parsley just before serving.
meanwhile, make polenta: heat water, salt and pepper to a boil over high in a large saucepan. once boiling, slowly add cornmeal, pouring it in gradually, while whisking constantly. reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking often, until thick (10 – 12 minutes).
remove from heat and whisk in Parmesan and butter. serve warm.