Chicken with Dates, Olives, and Cinnamon

This is outstanding!

One of the best chicken dishes ever. Ever!

Photo by Bruce Barone.

Note: The recipe calls for chicken thighs. I used boneless chicken breasts and I made this for two people; therefore, I cut the recipe by about two-thirds, give or take an olive ot two!


  • 12 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups sliced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 18 pitted manzanilla (or green) olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whole pitted dates, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves


  • 1. Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 6 chicken thighs to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon butter, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and remaining 6 chicken thighs.
  • 2. Add onion and ginger to pan; sauté 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add olives; sauté for 1 minute. Add flour and the next 4 ingredients (through cinnamon stick); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for 1 minute. Return chicken to pan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 12 minutes. Stir in dates; simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in juice, and garnish with basil.
I served this with tri-color couscous cooked in homemade chicken stock and with a tablespoon of Sofrito; and roasted Asparagus with sesame seeds. And red wine. Cheers!
Cooking Light

Seared Scallops with Cauliflower, Capers and Raisins

From 2007 (self portrait with food)

Self Portrait. Bruce Barone.

Recipes for Food and Lighting Follow:
Seared Scallops with Cauliflower, Capers and Raisins
Food & Wine April 2007
Chef Way: A cauliflower puree and a drizzle of balsamic reduction accompany tender sautéed scallops.
Easy Way: Cook bits of cauliflower in the skillet with the scallops, omitting the time-consuming puree. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end of cooking—no reducing necessary. (Note: This is what I did but I saute the cauliflower in oil for 10 minutes before adding scallops.)
1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets (4 cups)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 jumbo scallops (1 1/2 pounds), side muscle removed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds, preferably marcona
2 tablespoons drained small capers
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and boil over high heat until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, shaking off the excess water.
In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Season the scallops with salt and pepper; add to the skillet in a single layer and cook over high heat until golden and crusty, about 2 minutes. Turn the scallops. Add the butter, cauliflower, almonds, capers and raisins and cook undisturbed until the scallops are white throughout and the cauliflower is lightly browned in spots, about 1 minute longer. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir gently to coat. Transfer to plates, garnish with the parsley and serve.
Sommelier Choice Blanchard suggests the 2005 Vinum Cellars Vista Verde Vineyard Viognier, which is as exotically rich as these sautéed scallops are.
Easy-to-Find Choice Richard Bruno, co-owner of Vinum Cellars, also makes wines for Smoking Loon, a much larger brand; try the refreshing 2005 Viognier.

We drank a 2005 Clos Du Bois Pinot Grigio.
TREMENDOUS DINNER!!!!!! Served with Parmesan Couscous and Green Salad.

Softbox 3 1/2 feet away to my right. 4 feet off ground.
Strobe with White Umbrella 7 1/2 feet away from me and 6 feet off ground.
Camera 6 feet away; 4 1/2 feet off ground next to strobe.

Sync fired. Assisted by my partner, Susan, who also made the salad and poured the wine.