Soul Food Farm and Chicken Piccata
We are lucky living in the Bay Area as there is an abundance of fresh local produce and meats available year round. We can find many items not only at traditional farmer’s markets but also at local markets. Definitely makes our attempt at eating right easier.
Over the past twenty years, I have become very concerned with knowing where our food comes from, how it was produced, and with animal products what it has eaten before making it to my table. I feel that so many ranches have lost that “loving feeling”, and really don’t care. The animals are living in cramped quarters, muddling around in their own feces, and eating food that is their own by-product, and at times traces of arsenic has been found. I don’t know about you; but, it is plain disgusting. We make a conscience effort, to ask questions when we shop, and to have a pretty good idea of how that meat was raised, and how it came to us, before putting it on our tables. Eating as “locally” as possible is a great start. I could go on-and-on; but, will save the soap box discussion for another time. Now, I want to talk about chicken, and good old-fashioned chicken.
A favorite local farm of ours is Soul Food Farm. They are driven by the motto “You are what you eat … and what you eat, eats”. Soul Food Farms is located on 55 acres in Vacaville, which is about 45 minutes from us, and they raise poultry. The birds arrive when they are chicks, and they are raised in wooden houses that are built out in open fields. Their little wooden houses are cleaned each day, and they are given fresh, clean hay. The birds roam around their fields enjoying the sunshine, and living on what mother natures has given them, juicy bugs. Their diet is also supplemented with a special meat-bird feed, and they are given oregano powder as it has anti-microbial qualities. None of the birds ever see any antibiotics. At 10 weeks, the birds are slaughtered and sent to market.
The birds average between 3 1/2 pounds up to 4 1/2 pounds, and are plump and juicy. They taste the way chicken should taste. Not like cardboard. The meat is creamy not tough or chewy, rather it melts on our tongues with each bite. One of our favorite recipes to make with chicken is an Italian dish, Chicken Piccata. The difference between most traditional piccatas and the one we enjoy, is the addition of plump sun-dried tomatoes. The tomatoes add a wonderful tangy addition to the tart lemony sauce. We prefer to use chicken thighs as they are loaded with more flavor; but, if you are a white meat fan, please use your favorite pieces of the bird. You may have to cook it a little longer then this recipe asks for. You are going to love this recipe.
Denise Woodward believes anything can be made at home as long as you have a little patience, and time. All of her recipes are made using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her recipes have been featured on Eat Boutique, the Mushroom Channel, Saveur.com, Foodies of the World, PBS and Fine Cooking.
Denise also creates the recipes on the popular food blog Chez Us. Saveur has featured Chez Us as one of 50 Food Blogs You Should Be Reading as well as one of the Sites They Love. Be sure to read more about what they are cooking up over at Chez Us.