A Matter of Luck

Sunday, June 7, 2009 68 comments

Capellini with Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I am a lucky charm.

At least, that's what I was told as a child. My parents would often say that I carried good fortune with me, so I grew up as something of a family talisman. The evidence? Well, there was the time in 2nd grade when I won our school's drawing to attend a welcoming ceremony for the Queen of England - never mind that I sat in the nosebleed section and didn't know who the heck I was watching. Then, when I was about 7 years old, I found a $20 bill (a fortune!) that my best friend's older brother promptly scammed from me.

Hmmm . . . not very compelling proof, is it? I'm sure there are other instances but I must admit that for the most part, my powers of fortune were nowhere near as great as my ignorance of world figures and my naïveté about trusting older kids. Papa would ask me over breakfast, "Did you dream any numbers last night?" in hopes of getting some lucky numbers for the lottery. I hated to disappoint him but more often than not, I had no magical digits to offer. At that age, my REM sleep was typically populated by cartoon characters eating lots of candy. [Apropos of nothing, I dream in Japanese anime whenever I overindulge in pizza].

Lucky Horseshoe
(Photo credit: Romaryka/Flickr)**
And yet, I do feel that I have a way with good luck. Oh, I consider myself fortunate in my family, friends, general prosperity and good health, just as I'm sure many of you feel the same about your own blessings. But every once in a while, there are occasions when I am four-leaf-clover, rabbit's-foot, horseshoes and number-seven LUCKY. Before you conclude that I'm not so much 'touched by an angel' as just plain touched, judge for yourself my recent run of fortuity . . . 

In the past couple of months, several blogs that I follow have offered great giveaways with the winners chosen by random drawing. Incredibly, I've actually won several of them - five since April! With that kind of a winning streak, it's a wonder I'm not in Vegas or using our retirement fund to finance Powerball tickets.

Instead, I wanted to express my belated gratitude for these bloggers' generosity by offering a dish that featured their wonderful prizes.

A Prizewinning Dish

To start off this 'thank-you', I turned to my very first win: a one-year subscription to Cook's Illustrated magazine, courtesy of Joelen's Culinary Adventures. Her amazing Foodie Freebie Friday is a weekly giveaway featuring fantastic prizes. Past gifts have included a photography lightbox kit, gourmet spices and even Chicago deep dish pizza; I strongly encourage you to try your luck at this week's prize. From the annals of Cook's Illustrated, I chose a recipe that would allow me to use. . . 

. . . this lovely colander, part of a set from a Romano Macaroni Grill giveaway hosted by HoneyB of The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch. As luck would have it, she has just announced a new contest featuring a subscription to Cooking Light magazine - check out the details here! Visit to enter but stay and browse through the delicious treats she offers. 

Next up was a selection of Daregal frozen herbs, thanks to Bob of Cooking Stuff, who recently took a brief hiatus from blogging. If you haven't visited his site before, there are plenty of great eats (and cats with supersized personalities!) to tide you over until he returns with more. As his giveaway winner, I received an assortment of herbs, including oregano, which I used in this recipe. But it wasn't the only seasoning to be featured . . . 

. . . because I also added a taste of Hawai'i in the form of black lava sea salt, courtesy of Deb at Kahakai Kitchen! A transplant from the Pacific Northwest, she shares her life and love of cooking among ocean breezes and island aloha. Check out her Souper Sunday, a weekly round-up of soup, salad and sandwich recipes from food bloggers all over. Hopefully, I'll participate with a recipe from the other half of Deb's giveaway, Hawai'i's Best Salads, Sides & Soups by Jean Watanabe Hee.

My fifth giveaway win was the most recent - a duo of England Preserves chosen by Adrienne of Gastroanthropology, who discovered this delicious product shortly after moving to England for her masters in food policy studies. I can't wait to receive them, especially in hopes that I can use them in a yet-to-be-chosen recipe from Dessert Circus at Home by Jacques Torres, which was one of two cookbooks that I won for 3rd Place in the Whine, Wine and Thine short story contest hosted by Carolyn at FoodGal. You can read all the entries here and the winners here.

But first, here is my lucky dish!

**Updated 3/15/2012: In the original post published on 6/7/09, I used a photograph which I credited to the source but did not actually have permission from the photographer to use. The new photo that replaces it above is used under a Creative Commons license.

'Touched by an Angel' Hair Pasta
(Capellini with Chicken & Roasted Red Pepper Sauce)
I adapted a Cook's Illustrated recipe for Spanish-style Chicken Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing (5/06) by replacing some ingredients and adjusting the amounts of others. One ingredient that stayed put was celery, which added a surprising and pleasant crunchiness to the dish. Originally served with fresh greens, I thought it would be delicious tossed with capellini (angel hair) but feel free to use another pasta such as penne or fusilli. This dish is best served at room temperature.
Finally, I'm pleased to submit this recipe to BSI: Blogger Secret Ingredient, hosted by Jenn at Bread + Butter who chose Bell Pepper as this week's theme.

Serves 4-6


8 oz capellini pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
10 to 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt**
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground chipotle pepper
1 small shallot, minced
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, minced (or 1-2 tsps dried)
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 celery rib, sliced very thin
2 1/2 cups shredded roast chicken
Coarse sea salt, such as Black Lava, for finishing

**If using coarse sea salt to finish, then you may wish to omit this from the sauce.

To make:

1. Prepare pasta as directed on package. When done, drain and set noodles aside, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water;
2. Purée oil, vinegar, roasted red peppers, garlic, salt and black pepper in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer to another bowl;
3. Add ground chipotle pepper, shallot, oregano, parsley and celery to the roasted red pepper mixture and stir well to combine.
4. Add shredded chicken and toss until sauce is evenly distributed. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes;
5. In another bowl, add 1 or 2 Tbsps of reserved pasta water at a time to the capellini until noodles are just moistened. Add chicken mixture and toss gently until well-mixed with the pasta. This dish is best served at room temperature.
6. Plate individually and finish with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt. 

Enjoy a generous serving of luck!

Speaking of which, my summer class is almost done: two weeks down, only one more to go! But first, I have to write a final paper . . .  wish me you-know-what.


  • gastroanthropologist said...

    I love how you were asked if you dreamt of numbers! My uncle (the youngest boy after a string of five girls in a Korean family of ten kids) was consider the family good luck charm. He slept with a pad of paper and pencil by his side just incase he woke up in the middle of the night with the magic numbers!

    My mom has promised to mail to preserves to you tomorrow so looking forward to your opinion of them!

    I've got a dissertation that I am forever procrastinating on - (blogging is so great for that!) - so could you send me a bit of your you-know-what my way?!

  • gastroanthropologist said...

    Oh, I forgot to say - I love this recipe. Marinara - which I happen to love - does not always agree with me. Think its the acid in the tomatoes. I love roasted red pepper so this sounds like a fabulous combination with chicken and pasta.

  • Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

    How lucky you are! The black lava salt sounds amazing. Look forward to hearing how you'll use it in recipes. I'm very happy with my Indonesian pyramid salt crystals at the moment but am always on the lookout for new types of salt...

  • Daily Spud said...

    They say that people make their own luck, in which case you much have a big ol' luck machine out the back that you're not telling us about :) Meanwhile, your pasta dish is a fabulous and fitting tribute to your assorted incidents of you-know-what.

    And, finally, if your you-know-what machine should break down over the next couple of weeks, I will be wishing you plenty more of that lucky stuff to get you through that final paper!

  • Chef E said...

    You are the angel! I love reading your post, and the food is always looking good...now I know what we are having for dinner...and I could eat it for breakfast too!

  • The Diva on a Diet said...

    What a happy, happy post! I love it! And I love the looks of that pasta too ... the black sea salt is a great touch ... and a wonderful thing to have won. Congrats on all the winnings and thanks for pointing the way to some great new blogs for me! :)

  • Vrinda said...

    Thanx for visiting my blog..glad u liked my beetroot curry,kids lov that curry becoz of the color..and ur pasta looks delicious,my son lov pastas but, without veggies..

  • Unknown said...

    Wow! You certainly are lucky - and I'm so impressed by how you managed to incorporate all of your winnings into one amazing dish. Bravo!

  • The Beancounter said...

    Wow, congratulations on all your wins!

    I'm certainly encouraged to join all of them...do they send prizes downunder...'cause i'm sure i'll win after the luck that has rubbed on to me after reading this blog!

  • Anonymous said...

    I have to say, what I get out of this post, is any contests I intend to enter, I'm checking to see if you have already done so, than I won't waste my time. =)

    I love that your dad checked with you on the numbers for the lottery. Does Mr. Noodle ask your help with the stock picks?

    Best of luck with the final papers, I know what those compressed classes are like, being forced to write on demand is tough, at least it was for me. Mr. Noodle said you were heads down, but at least you've come up for air enough to deliver an awesome post.

  • Anonymous said...

    hee hee! I loved this post! Can I give you a hug? Perhaps your good luck will rub off me! lol!
    Congrats on all the win...perhaps it's not just luck, but the heavens smiling down on you because you're such a beautiful person!

  • Marta said...

    I think luck comes to us when we radiate out possitive energy, it's a way of it coming back to us through some sort of karmic-cosmic arrangement. But, man, you ARE lucky!!! Lovely prizes! and great way to put them together :)

  • Anonymous said...

    Congratulations on all the wins! You are certainly lucky but well deserved too! The pasta looks excellent!

  • Lori said...

    Five since April?! Oh my, you are a lucky one. Enjoy all of those goodies. I used to be considered the luck one in my family as well, but for different reasons. I was born on Friday the 13th and was "finally a girl" after my parents had three boys. :)

    Pasta looks wonderful. I love roasted red pepper sauce!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Still feeling lucky! Just 2 days of classes and one paper to go but I'm not worried . . .

    Jenn - My pleasure! I'm happy I was able to participate - now I just have to make all those great entries.

    Chow and Chatter - Thank you! It's been a great streak of luck . . .

    Elra - Many thanks! I know what my topic is - the problem is sitting down and starting to write!

    Angie - Thank you! I usually follow recipes exactly as they are written but I was indeed lucky to make the changes and still come up with a good meal.

    Joelen - Thank you! And I'm hoping you (and a lot of other bloggers) haven't noticed that I've been missing quite a bit, too! I hope to get up to speed on all my blog-reading next week. 8-)

    Gastroanthropology - Isn't that funny? I was the 'baby' (all girls) until my younger sister was born when I was 10. I didn't have a pad of paper beside me but my dad really would ask if I had any number dreams or keep reminding me to tell him if I had!

    I can't wait for the preserves and will let you know when they arrive. I would be more than happy to send L-U-C-K your way along with some prayers to St. Expeditus! 8-P

    I loved the fact that this was a no-cook sauce and tomato-less (although I'm a big tomato fan). Because of the olive oil, I wasn't sure I should suggest that serving it cold if the sauce congealed but leftovers were still quite good overnight in the fridge!

    Helen - The salt was such a treat! I did read that it was best used as a finishing salt, mainly because the color leaches out, turning any surrounding food a bit gray. I'll keep this in mind for my next experiment. Salted chocolate or caramel may be overdone now unless I can come up with some twist . . .

    Ooooh - Indonesian pyramid salt crystals sound very cool! Is that the Bali Beach salt that you bought at the Real Food Festival in May? Please let us know if/when you use it (or a picture, please!)

    Spud - If I make my own luck, then it's of the 'blind' variety! The dish came together nicely from my winnings and I didn't even have to stretch it to make it work.

    And thank you very much for your offer, seing as you hail from the land synonymous with luck! BTW, I came thisclose to calling this post "Luck of the Filip-Irish"! 8-D

    Greg - Oooh, you're so sweet! I am really looking forward to hearing your KCRW interview!

    Terecita - Thank you! I've been on and off the web for the past couple of weeks so I owe your blog several visits. Hopefully, I'm not too far behind!

    Chef E - Thank you so much! 8-) I can vouch for this dish for breakfast - almost. I made it the night before posting and intended the leftovers for another dinner. But we the latest we could bear to have it was brunch!

    Bob - I am so enjoying the herbs! So far, this is the only 'new' dish I've used them on - otherwise, it's been old standbys. Thanks so much for offering them! And welcome back!!

    Diva - You know I'm so happy when I know you've enjoyed my posts. It's the least I can do for all the great recipes (especially of the adult beverage kind) that I've gleaned from you! BTW, I will attempt Blueberry Margarita this week as soon as we re-load on the Cointreau!

    MediterraneanKiwi - Thank you! The lava salt is really something else - apparently, its composition helps with digestion. I'll be hoarding this bounty for as long as possible . . .

  • Reeni said...

    That's so neat! All your prizes. I love how you tied them together in the making of this dish!! It looks quite delicious with all those lovely flavors and finished with that salt!!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Fahrenheit 350 - Thank you! Given my years, I will gladly accept these kinds of compliments. 8-D

    Pigpigscorner - What do you mean you've never won? I saw your wedding pictures - all sorts of wonderful good fortune there! Thank you for the comment!

    Vrinda - I enjoyed visiting! As soon as class is done, I plan to visit all my blog friends and linger over all the posts I've missed. The curry color is great but the flavors are really what intrigues me . . .

    ValleyWriter - Thank you! The idea popped into my head when I realized that I had a recipe source, a kitchen tool and 2 ingredients. I guess I was lucky there, too! 8-)

    Girlichef - Thank you so much! And I promise I haven't disappeared from your blog. By next week, I'll be back to full reading and commenting mode!

    Beancounter - Thank you! I have to admit that I feel a little badly when I see that overseas entrants can't join in. 8-( But check them out and see - you might be suprised! In fact, Gera at Sweetsfoods.com posts a compendium of current food blog contests.
    Now, if only all this luck translated into a BIG lottery win . . . !

    Sweta - I totally buy lottery tickets! 8-) But so far, my luck has been limited to a few dollars here and there. Someday . . .
    And thank you! Please let me know if you get around to making it!

    Oysterculture - The winning streak sounds impressive but I've entered an equal number where I lost out. But it's always fun to throw your hat in the ring!

    Mr. Noodle definitely doesn't rely on mystical dreams for his stock picks and I'm happy for it because I was never able to provide my dad with a winning combo of numbers!

    And thank you! I'm almost done and even though it's taken me away from my 'fun' activities (like blog reading), I've enjoyed the class. The paper will be tough primarily because I always leave it to the last minute but then again, I believe I work best under pressure! 8-D

    MrsLavendula - Thank you so much!

    Burpandslurp - I gladly accept the hug! 8-D You are so incredibly kind for these sweet words!

    Marta - Thank you! I sometimes scold myself for being fanciful about luck, kismet, etc. but I agree that it has a lot to do with positive energy. But when you are feeling happy and satisfied with life, everything seems so incredibly fortunate!

    Lisa - For not having tomatoes and not requiring any cooking, the sauce turned out quite well. Thank you so much for commenting - I am sooooo behind with visiting your site. But I'll be catching up very soon!

    5 Star - Thank you! But you know a thing or two about winning - I've seen your name in the winner's circle several times in the past couple of weeks. And I look forward to seeing what you might do with your winnings from Lori's Mango Challenge!

    Juliana - Obrigada, salamat (tagalog/Filipino) and thank you! 8-D I just popped over to your site and saw that you did fusilli and meat sauce - we must be on the same wavelength about food!

    Lori - I know! Isn't it crazy? So you're the lucky charm in your family, too! I can't complain - it's nice being 'special'. 8-D

    Justin - Ooooh! That sounds so good! I haven't been on your site for several days - did you post last night's dinner? I have to go over right now and see . . .!

    Reeni - Thank you! The prizes came together so easily (probably because two of them were non-food and so didn't make for a weird combo!) The flavors were even better than I'd expected and I think I'm starting to get the hang of 'finishing' my dishes with chopped herbs and now salt. Before, it was just 'plate and eat!' 8-)

  • Lisa said...

    Wow, that looks incredibly full of yum. I received a grinder of black sea salt for Xmas and I've been using it sparingly until I can find more. However, this recipe is enough to splurge on.

    New reader and loving it. :)

  • Maris said...

    Ooh this looks so good! I love pasta with any kind of red sauce and great thinking to add chicken for protein! Whenever I add protein from pasta it keeps me from eating heaps and heaps of it!

  • Phyllis said...

    Awesome recipe, I can't ever seem to make a decent pasta with red bell pepper sauce, I'll be bookmarking this one to make in the future. I never win anything but I think that has to do with me not entering anything :) Hubby Kris would be jealous of that lava sea salt prize though. I was just about to wish you good luck in the contest but I just noticed that the winners were already announced a couple days ago. But I'm sure with your lucky streak you'll be winning something soon!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Last day of class - done! It was a great course so I'm a bit sad it's over but I have my final paper to keep me occupied for a couple of days. . .

    Food Addicts - Thank you! We couldn't wait to have the leftovers so we had it for brunch the next day!

    Taste Traveller - Thank you so much! I really appreciate it and am so pleased that you enjoy my site.

    Greg - Thank you! I always have my fingers crossed that my pics won't get rejected for being 'washed out' or too pedestrian. Sorry for being so tardy replying to tweets and comments - I should be back on track next week!

    DuoDishes - Thanks ! I was fortunate to find a great recipe that fit all these great items!

    Nora - Thank you! They are really great; I'm especially hoarding the herbs and sea salt so that I don't run out too sooon.

    Lisa - Thanks! The black sea salt will be used VERY sparingly. 8-) I really appreciate your visit and am pleased you've enjoyed it! I just popped over to your site and loved your pesto (and your herbs!).

    Erica - Thank you! I love your site and recipes. I am looking forward to trying many of them!

    Maris - Thank you! My husband prefers to have some kind of protein, even if it's just a bit of ground meat. But what amazed me about this dish is that using the capellini, we actually ate LESS pasta!

    Jennifer - It's yours only if you get to them first! 8-D I actually made my lightbox from cardboard and tissue paper. Let me know if you're interested and I'll be happy to send you to the link where I got instructions!

    Phyllis - I think you'll enjoy this recipe; it's the first I've made w/o tomato and it turned out quite well. At first, I wasn't entering any contests but since I leave comments anyway . . .
    The black lava sea salt is great and I've squirreled it away to use as sparingly as possible. Now, I'm trying to figure out what to use it on next!

    Sophie - Thank you! It turned out so well that Mr. Noodle says he'd like it on the regular dinner rotation! 8-)

    Phanitha - Thanks! I'll be working on my paper for the next couple of days but after that, I hope to catch up with all of my blog readings that I've neglected for the past few weeks! So much that I've missed . . . !

  • Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

    Big congrats for the giveaways!

    I hope you can win some of the prizes of the rounds up that I post often!

    Really the pasta is touched by an Angel, looks fabulous :)
    Good luck more and more with your final paper!!



  • Tangled Noodle said...

    All done with summer class and now, I'm just waiting for my final grade . . . !

    Nutritiontokitchen - The noodles actually look bigger in the photos, as if they were regular spaghetti rather than angel hair! But the flavors did turn out well, thank you!

    Ozge - Thank you so much! I'll gladly accept even just a little bit of your happy spirit!

    Jackie - Thank you! The recipe was a new one for me, too, since I almost always use tomatoes for my pasta (even in some of the cream sauces). And the salt was really a nice pop of flavor. 8-)

    Gera - Thank you! As a matter of fact, I'm feeling more emboldened to try some of the contests you've posted, just to see if I can do well enough!

    Cpsanti - Thank you but so far, I've only been lucky with food . . . I'm waiting to get really lucky with the lottery! 8-D

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Kevin - Apologies! You're comment came in as I was typing up responses and I didn't see it right away. So you get a whole reply to yourself! 8-D

    Thank you! It turned out well; I was dubious about the celery and considered leaving it out. I'm relieved I kept it because it really added something different to the flavor and texture, which might have been little to unctuous (yay! got to use this word) from the oils.

  • Aruna said...

    Man noodle's are seriously tangled. Have ever realised why they are tangled,coz its easier to roll on and put in ur mouth. lol. Ur a real lucky charm.

    And this is a wonderful wholesome meal.Thanks for the wonderful post.

  • Admin said...

    See, this is where you and I are different. I've NEVER won anything. Anything. Ever. If I entered a competition where you had to pick one number out of two, I would pick the wrong one. Story of my life. But I sure have been very fortunate in pretty much everything else in life, though, (even in things I don't deserve) so no complaints.

    Good-looking pasta! It vaguely eminds of the Pad Khee Mao spaghetti my mom used to make for us all the time.

  • Anonymous said...

    This sounds wonderful! And, now, if you don't mind, can I rub your foot? Just for luck? ;)

    I love celery--yay for leaving it in!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    I appreciate your patience with my late replies!

    Hornsfan - I've been on a bit of a win streak with random drawings; now if only I can do the same with Powerball!

    Aruna - Thank you! I'm happy you enjoyed it!

    Netts Nook - Thanks! It is an incredibly easy meal to put together and given that it was meant to be a salad, it goes really well with pasta.

    Leela - [LOL] There's always trade-offs! I'm all over the place with time management - my tasks are done randomly so I guess that's why I'm doing well w/random drawings! Pad Khee Mao spaghetti sounds really interesting - would love to know what it's like.

    Midge - Ooo, that combo sounds really good, too! The spice in here is the smoky flavor from chipotles but next time, I may try this with chili paste like sriracha or sambal oelek for a slightly sweet undertone.

    OPC - I'm so glad I left celery in; I never thought it would go as well as it did. I will send an aura of good luck your way!

    Neenacreates - No way! It's always been my gig. Now, if only it would kick into hyperdrive!

    Spryte - Thank you! It all came together so nicely so I was pretty happy!

  • Carolyn Jung said...

    Have you read the interesting new book, "The Survivor's Club''? Fascinating read. There's a part in there that suggests that people who are optimistic in life do have a knack for attracting good luck. It says that because they are more at peace with the world, they are open to seeing things others don't, and therefore have the wherewithal to grasp opportunities that others might miss. Me thinks you are a half-glass full person. ;)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Carolyn - Thank you! The book sounds like a great read. I just checked out its website and now I'm curious about the Survivor Personality Profile test!

    I can fall into bouts of pessimism at times but in the end, it always boils down to a simple philosophy: I'd rather laugh than cry!

    Table Talk - Thank you so much! Although I don't post as often as I think I should, I really enjoy working on this blog.

  • Rico said...

    luck or not that looks delicious, super well presented and made with flavours to match, excellent food for the time of year. perfect :) xxx


Clean Template ©Copyright 2011 Tangled Noodle | TNB