Monday, August 25, 2008

Food for Thought

After enjoying a very temperate summer for SoCal, we are in the throes of a heatwave. I'm completely unmotivated to even take pictures of knitting in this weather so I'm switching gears to another topic near and dear to my heart. Food.

We all have a favorite restaurant where we live. Someplace that locals know about but is not widely known otherwise. It doesn't have to be fancy but good food is key and its nice when it also has an appealing atmosphere whether quirky, quaint, or elegant. Literally nestled into the canyon side, the Inn of the Seventh Ray is just such a place in Topanga, California.

In the entryway is a bookstore that looks like it leapt from the pages of the The Hobbit. But, since this is Topanga, it sells "new age" music, crystals and incense. If it were up to me it would be filled with yarns, teas, mystery books, and chocolates. How much nicer that would be!

Steve doesn't often make an appearance on the blog, but I've caught him here looking very relaxed having finished his meal. He is traveling so much these days it's a treat when I have him to myself and we can enjoy an afternoon together.

Here I am looking woefully under dressed. Sometimes we pop down at the last minute and brazen out the casual attire. Speaking of attire, since this is Topanga you see everything from A to Z which makes people watching part of the fun. But, it's the food that brings us back. I'm not that impressed with the regular menu but the Sunday champagne brunch is out of this world. Everything is very fresh and the salads are exotic and colorful; the hot dishes are savory and unique; and the desserts are beautiful and delicious. Yes, the brunch is the only way to go.

But, since most often we eat meals at home, I'm going to share with you a delicious savory meal that doesn't require going anywhere (truth be told, the type of meal Steve and Mr Puffy prefer).

This is a wonderful recipe that I found online. It is Tyler Florence's Herb Roasted Chicken with Wild Mushroom & Marsala and here's a link to a video which shows him making this dish:

Tyler Florence's Herb Roasted Chicken With Wild Mushrooms & Marasala (as slightly modified by me to better suit our tastes. Original recipe can be found here:


Organic or free-range chicken (regular chickens have too much juice to work well with this recipe)
1 rounded Tbs. Fresh Rosemary
2 Tsp. dried Thyme
1 Clove Garlic crushed
Cremini mushrooms or assorted wild mushrooms
1 large sweet onion cut into rings
1/2 Cup chicken stock
1/2 Cup sweet marsala wine
Olive Oil
Sea Salt


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Wash and dry chicken. Combine herbs and garlic into a paste and push mixture under skin of chicken around the breast and cavity area.

3. Arrange mushrooms and onion around chicken and pour chicken stock and Marsala Wine into baking dish. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and sprinkle chicken and mushrooms with sea salt.

4. Bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes or until done. Remove chicken and mushrooms/onions from the pan and place on serving dish. Place pan with juices on oven burner and cook over high heat stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens. Pour thickened pan juices over chicken and mushroom.

5. I like to serve this dish with mashed potatoes.

Oh yes. Since I'm having the summer doldrums I've joined a swap to perk me up! Yep, I've taken the plunge. I've signed up for A Vintage Halloween Swap which is hosted by the delightful Heidi at Foxgloves, Fabric and Folly.

Finally, on a sad note, Chan has lost her little dog Mugsy. Through Chan's blogging at Chan Knits I had gotten to really know this little guy and will miss him.


jillian said...

That place looks and sounds wonderful. I love cozy, quaint places like that. And you look so CUTE. But then again, I am an incredibly casual dresser :)

I'd enjoy meeting you there for a Sunday brunch sometime, if you'd be interested :)

t does wool said...

Claudia,I had to comment (even though I promised myself I would stay away from the computer)this chicken looks amazing-we had the most wonderful grouper last night,dusted with truffle powder and broiled to perfection-a lovely summer salad and roasted carrot soup-I won't tell you how many calories were in the dessert-let's just say I don't need to eat for the rest of the week! Love the posting!...Theresa

amanda said...

This is my type of recipe! It looks delicious! Definitely one to try.

Firefly Nights said...

So sorry the heat has found you again. We've actually had a fairly mild August compared to what it has been in past years.

The restaurant sounds lovely but I agree with what you'd like to fill it with. I keep hearing about yarn shops going out of business, but the teas, mystery books (I'd also add some regional books and lots of cookbooks), and chocolates (maybe some big cookies, too, or some scones to go with the tea) would be an added incentive for customers to come on in.

We're thinking about dinner now, and your chicken looks yummy.

Windyridge said...

You do have a way of capturing a place that makes you want to be there. It looks like a restaurant I would love. And the recipe, I will be trying that very soon. It's easy enough and I am always looking for a new taste. Thanks for sharing it and the video.

raining sheep said...

You look great in your picture, happy and relaxed. That chicken looks so good; I absolutely love roast chicken. I think I eventually need to do a food post.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a lovely place to eat (even crystals- I can imagine the smell of patchuli oil...), and I agree, you look wonderful~

Bridget said...

What a cool place!

Except now I'm hungry ...

Channon said...

Hello, Steve!

What a lovely spot. I love the doorway, and your analogy...

Hilary said...

I loved this little glimpse into Topanga life! You guys look so relaxed and at ease -- and why not? What a beautiful setting for brunch!

Tracy said...

Hi, Claudia! So lovely to see you & your Steve! :o) Your restaurant looks a very cozy place...glad you had a great time. That chicken recipe is one my hubby would like. I don't eat meat, so I'll have to pass--LOL! Heidi is a friend of mine, she is so sweet! I won't be able to join in on the Halloween fun, but look forward to seeing what everyone does! Happy Day...and ((HUGS)) to Mr. Puffy too!

amanda said...

How nice for Steve to make an appearance on the blog!

Thanks for the link to Chan's website. Her post on Mugsy made me cry (he looks a lot like my doggie Oscar).

knitting dragonfly said...

I always feel like I have an adventure when I visit your blog, great places to visit, good food, and of course great knitting.

tiennie said...

I think you both look wonderful and you don't look underdressed at all! Glad you had a great time!

Monika said...

I used to watch Tyler Florence cooking shows, which I really loved. I liked his style. I did many of his recipes. Your chicken looks delicious.
It's so sad about Chan's dog Mugsy. I find myself wondering how long Sam has got, these days. Even with all the pain killers he never stops limping really bad. He's frustrated too, since he's got the energy, and can't get rid of it by running around in the back yard.

Hope our swap goes well! :o)

Windyridge said...

So I made the chicken the other night. It was DELICIOUS! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. I used regular mushrooms though and will blog about it with a link here of course.

Quilting Mama said...

Thanks for the referral. The place looks great as does the brunch menu.
My DH is from LA and we may be relocating there in the near future, it's nice to know.

Alison Boon said...

The chicken looks super good. I used to like eating out but now I'm happier at home, but I like to pop out for a coffee or a hot chocolate instead.

Anonymous said...

The restaurant looks so quaint. I would love to dine there. And of course, the two of you make a beautiful couple.

Denise said...

You'd be so PROUD of me! I'm sitting here drinking Earl Grey tea from a pretty china teacup (here being in my living room with the laptop on my knee) I'll email you more details when I go upstairs (I can't email from my laptop). And you can see my post on my daily blog about my first cup of herbal tea yesterday!