Today is my Aunt Dolores’ birthday. Actually, great-aunt. She was my grandmother’s sister and my mom’s aunt. She was born in 1898, so today is the 121st anniversary of her birth. She was the youngest of six, born in Colorado, married twice, and a damned good cook. Her Rum Balls are legendary. And her leg of lamb… if only I could replicate that gravy…

She made it to 96. Not bad, at all…

Her mother-in-law – my Aunt Katharine – was born in 1882, and is probably the oldest person I have vivid memories of. Since Aunt Dolores and Uncle Tommy never had kids, i was the grandchild she never had. She did a good job of spoiling me…

As I said, Aunt Dolores was a great cook. We would head over to their apartment (at this point, she and her sister, Aunt Phoebe, were both widows and lived together) in Stonestown – in a high-rise! – and she would cook up some of the best meals.

As were most women of her time, she was an intuitive cook – never used a real recipe and when she wrote something down it was with the expectation that you knew what to do with the minimalist information.

If she had only written down her lamb gravy…..

But I digress…

I cooked something up tonight that I’m sure Auntie would have enjoyed. A clean out the ‘fridge vegetables and chicken thighs.

I started by browning 2 chicken thighs. I took them out of the pan and added a half-bag of broccoli slaw, a zucchini, and 2 tomatoes. I chopped the tomato and zucchini and sauteed it with the slaw, and a bit of S&P.

When it all started wilting a bit, I added a splash of red wine and about a cup of pasta sauce that was left over from another meal. I nestled the chicken thighs on top, added some chopped green onions, and put it, covered, into the oven at 425°F for 30 minutes.

Lots of flavor, lots of texture, lots of leftovers used up. A perfect meal.

And… just for grins and giggles, here’s Aunt Dolores in Italy in the ’30s before the war… She was between husbands at this time…

 

She was a lot of fun.

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