Winter Wonders

December 21, 2010

Guest blogger Tori is freshly back from vacation and here to talk about tights and coq au vin. There’s a joke in there somewhere, but I am too tired to find it…

I wear a lot of dresses, and so, by necessity, I practically live in black tights in the winter. And there’s nothing I hate more than buying a pair of tights that claim to be “opaque” but turn out to be thin and sheer the minute they are even slightly stretched. So it’s become a personal crusade of mine to find perfect, impermeably dark black tights.

A lot of people swear by Wolford, and yes, they are great. But dang! They are expensive. Hue, a brand that’s available at Macy’s and other department stores, carries a lot of good, opaque styles too, but I’ve found that they can sometimes be a little too shiny for my taste. Some people swear by leggings (the heavy cotton kind), and I’ll agree that there is a time and place for them, such as under a shorter skirt or tunic maybe… but never as pants! Good lord, never as pants. Unless you’re a super model or something. But they’re just not the same as a good pair of tights, and the whole not having feet thing can present a challenge.
So after searching far and wide, I have found that the best source for great tights, for my money, is none other than your friendly neighborhood Target. I’ve actually found three different styles that I love: The “premium opaque” tights ($7) are seriously the king of leg wear. They’re great with casual dresses and for fancier affairs alike. They’re perfectly opaque, hearty enough that they last through the winter, and not too shiny. I’m also a fan of the sweater tights ($10) with a very thin ribbing (I hate textured tights) for cooler days. And for when it gets really cold out, the brushed lined tights ($10) are pretty amazing – they actually have a very thin, very soft layer of fleece inside that you’d never know was there to look at them.

The premium opaque kind comes in other colors, I think, but since I live in Brooklyn, home of the worst, most picked-over Target in the world, I have yet to find them. But I am squared away for black tights for the winter, and that’s great.

Another thing I love in the winter is the classic French dish, coq au vin. The minute it gets cold out, I crave it like crazy. Luckily, there’s a great French place near me, A.O.C. Bistro (www.aocbistro.com) that serves an excellent version.

Making a truly great, Julia Child-approved coq au vin takes forever, so I recently tried out a recipe for a quick version from Cooking Light magazine. I changed it slightly – I used butter instead of olive oil, added onion and omitted the mushrooms, much to my dismay, because my husband hates them, but all in all, it was really good and only took about half an hour to make. I served it over egg noodles, but it would be great with some French bread or on its own, too.

Quick Coq Au Vin

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

Ingredients

  • 1/4  cup all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 6  (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • 6  cups  quartered cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup white onion (if you like)
  • cup (1/4-inch-thick) sliced carrot
  • 1/3 cup  (1/4-inch-thick) slices Canadian bacon
  • cup dry red wine
  • cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • tablespoon tomato paste

Preparation

Combine flour, thyme, and salt in a zip-top plastic bag or large bowl; add chicken. Shake or stir to coat. Remove chicken, shaking off excess flour.

Heat oil or butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 8 minutes or until browned, turning frequently. Remove chicken from pan.

Add mushrooms, onion, carrot, and bacon to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in wine, broth, and tomato paste; cook 9 minutes. Return chicken to pan; cook 8 minutes or until chicken is done.

Enjoy!

 

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