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Maria Hines; Charity; Wine and sunshine.

Seattle’s own Maria Hines (Tilth Restaurant) won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)and that is so FABULOUS!!! Congratulations to Maria and her entire crew for this wonderful esteem being bestowed upon them. Though her competition was strong, it does not surprise me that she won. It’s so exciting, and perhaps all the more so because the James Beard Foundation theme this year was “Women in Food”.

I had a jam-packed week and I am not sure where I got all the time to do the things I did, but I am sure glad I did them! Last Friday I was lucky enough to be invited to the Mathis Guild charity luncheon and what an experience that was! Hundreds of ladies were in attendance at the Kitsap Golf and Country club, and this was a high falootin’ event (by my low falootin standards, anyway!) I was greeted with a glass of champagne and that is a nice way to be greeted! The Mathis Guild is a part of the Harrison Foundation, and it benefits Harrison Hospital… and from what I saw they do a darn good job of it. The ladies who put it on should be so proud of the work they do, it was very impressive.

Friday night I poured wine at a Relay For Life fund raiser put on by theBody ReForm Pilates Studio. About 70 people were there nibbling on light hors d’oeuvres, and sipping wines. The Pilates Studio team raised some money for the American Cancer Society and it was really a fun even to be a part of. It was in fact so much fun that I will be finding ways to volunteer for other events like that one.

Saturday we had 3 special events/caters and I was glad to get home and snuggle in to watch the Sounders tie the Fire. Freddy should NOT have been red carded for that! Mark and I were talking and I have decided that I want to get my very own yellow card. I will flash it at people when I want to warn them… like in traffic and such! Isn’t that a great idea? It would make me feel better and most people won’t know what it means, so it is innocuous and fun all at the same time.

On Monday I went to the Small Vineyard’s place in West Seattle to sample their new line of Spanish wines. Mom went with me and we had a really nice time together. We enjoyed some antipasti and went through about 15 wines. Spanish wines are definitely different from Italian wines, and it was a very interesting time. Since we are doing a Spanish wine tasting for the Kitsap Wine Society on the 21st of this month we have been tasting different Spanish wines for about 3 weeks now. I am finding that most of them seem short on the finish, even those at the higher price points. Maybe this is strictly a personal taste thing, and we certainly have not come close to experiencing all the different regions yet, so I am keeping an open mind about that. I really want to love the Spanish wines, because I have a Basque heritage. I guess I will have to taste some wines from the northern regions; I don’t think I have done that yet.

So today is Cinco de Mayo and each year we ask Betuel to prepare some food that is authentic from his region of Oaxaca, Mexico. This year he did chicken enchiladas with cotija cheese (they are SO good!), pico de gallo, and flan. Mark made Mexican spiced chocolate cupcakes with espresso butter cream frosting to stay in the Mexican theme. We will probably have some leftovers for seis de Mayo as well, which is a good thing! His food is very yummy.

For today’s “stretch your food budget” recipe I thought I would give you an idea for leftover chicken. For dinner one day you roast up a whole chicken, or several pieces of chicken, and you want a new idea for it the next day. Have it for breakfast in a hash, or have breakfast for dinner! This easy reuse is satisfying and fresh tasting and completely changes the bird.

Ingredients:
the equivalent of 2 whole chicken breasts
6 TBS unsalted butter or olive oil
2 lbs boiling potatoes, scrubbed and diced large (you can peel them; I don’t)
1 large onion (or 2 medium), either red or sweet are best-diced large
Salt and pepper (I use coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper)
2 bell peppers (I use red, green are usually less expensive)-diced large
1 tsp paprika (smoked is ok if you have and like that)
1 TBS tomato paste (If you buy it in the tube you can use what you need as you go; otherwise it freezes for later uses)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme, pulled off the stems or chopped
4 scallions, all parts minced
handful of flat leaf parsley, rough chopped
Some yummy cheese, shredded (whatever you like! I combine parmesan/romano/asiago, you can use cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack (yum!) or anything)

To do:
Pull the meat off of the bone and dice it, or tear it up into large chunks. Set aside.
Melt the butter or pour the olive oil in the pan, and saute the onions for a few minutes on medium heat.
Add in the potatoes, (I add chili flakes here, too), paprika, salt and pepper and tomato paste. Stir and saute for about 5 minutes.
Add the peppers and garlic, let it go, giving an occasional stir. Keep on cooking until the potatoes are tender and it has all sort of melted together.
Toss in the chicken, parsley and thyme until it is warmed through.
Top with the cheese and scallions, cover it and turn off the heat. If you want to fry up a couple of eggs to toss on top of it now is the time to do that. Otherwise let it rest for 3 or 4 minutes and then serve it up. The cheese will be melty and of course you can top it with salsa or hot sauce if you are like me.

What do you think of this one?