DINNER TONIGHT

Volaille Fermiere au Vinaigre

(Farmhouse Chicken in Vinegar Sauce)

(4 servings)

Simple things done well--that's what we love. And we found the perfect example in "Saveur Cooks: Authentic French" (Chronicle, $40), by the editors of Saveur magazine.

Though this dish takes almost an hour from start to finish, while the chicken cooks, you can prepare a side dish, set the table and clean the breakfast dishes.

3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 tablespoons butter

8 cloves garlic, minced

4 shallots, minced

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 cup Riesling wine (may substitute any dry but fruity white wine)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup chicken stock or broth

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, add the chicken and brown on all sides, turning as the pieces brown, about 15 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to paper towels; set aside. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and wine to deglaze the skillet. Add the honey and, using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the liquid is reduced by about one-third, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and return the chicken to skillet. Add the stock or broth and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook until the juices from the pieces run clear, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet; set aside.

Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the sauce is thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Cut the remaining 4 tablespoons of the butter into small pieces. Remove the skillet from the heat and whisk the butter into the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly. (The sauce should be smooth but tart; add additional vinegar if you like.) Return the chicken to the skillet, turn to coat evenly with the sauce. Transfer chicken and sauce to a platter, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Per serving: 425 calories, 46 gm protein, 11 gm carbohydrates, 17 gm fat, 161 mg cholesterol, 7 gm saturated fat, 344 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber

Infusion Inclusion

Here's a gift for friends who would enjoy creating personalized bottled concoctions that they, in turn, can give as gifts. It's "Infusions: Making Flavored Oils, Vinegars and Spirits," by Robin Davis (Chronicle Books, $18.95). Inside the sturdy, robin's-egg blue box there's a 64-page hardcover book with more than 40 recipes--Grapefruit Vinegar, Dill-Caraway Oil, Chile Tequila. . . One chapter is all about bottling techniques. In addition, this boxed set has six illustrated note cards with envelopes and 36 decorative labels to attach to the finished products. At payback time you may receive a useful bottle of Espresso Vodka. Think about it.

Chairman of the Board

Not everyone has a cutting board large enough to accommodate a 20-pound Thanksgiving bird. Williams-Sonoma comes to the rescue with Turkey Board ($46)--a hefty (eight-pound), yellow birch, butcher-block board with a cooking and carving guide "branded" on the back. We liked the carving side that has a well in the center for keeping the turkey in place and a deep moat around the outer edge for catching the juices. The flip side has helpful instructions and illustrations for trussing and cooking. The carving guide is useful as well, although you can't refer to it once the cooked turkey is nestled in place. At Williams-Sonoma stores and by mail; call 1-800-541-2233.

Add this Web site to your bookmarks:

www.kitchenlink.com

With more than 10,000 food and cooking links, this URL is every inquisitive cyber-surfing chef's dream come true. Some of the links are great, others less so, but all are just a click away. And the Kitchen Link site itself is fairly easy to navigate with its straightforward category headers, including "News," "Celebrations" and "Ethnic Cuisines."

The Joy of Soy?

How could a single serving of a soy-based food reduce the risk of heart disease? Only if the food is part of a diet that includes 25 grams of soy protein a day and is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, that's how, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And late last month the USDA authorized food manufacturers to make that claim on their nutritional labels.

However, 25 grams is a lot of soy. Among the foods that can get you there: soy milk, tofu, texturized soy protein, soy nuts, soy cheese and a whole range of deli "meat" products. It may be worth the effort: According to a growing number of soy protein proponents, the benefits of a soy-rich diet may stretch beyond reducing the risk of heart disease, offering protection from high cholesterol, osteoporosis, certain cancers and hot flashes.

For further information, check out the United Soybean Board at 1-800-TALKSOY or www.talk soy.com.

To Do

FRIDAY: Wine tasting sponsored by Arrowine at Dan & Brad's Steakhouse. Benefits the Arlington Food Assistance Center. $39.99 includes tax and tip. 8 p.m. 950 N. Stafford St., Arlington. Call 703-525-0990.

SATURDAY: Holiday Wine Expo--tasting sponsored by the Wine Tasting Association and Continental Liquors. $35 for nonmembers. 1-5 p.m. J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Call 703-780-WINE or www.winetasting.org.

SATURDAY: Cooking demonstration and lunch with chef John Wabeck at New Heights. Sponsored by the American Institute of Wine and Food. $52 for nonmembers. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 2317 Calvert St. NW. Call 202-333-0421.

SATURDAY: Christmas bazaar featuring Danish foods at the Church of the Little Flower. Sponsored by the Danish Club of Washington D.C. Free admission. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 5607 Massachusetts Ave., Bethesda. Call 301-589-8477.

SUNDAY: Jewish food festival at B'Nai Abraham Synagogue. Free admission. Noon-2:30 p.m. 53 E. Baltimore St., Hagerstown. Call 301-797-5430.

MONDAY: Wine dinner at Restaurant Nora. Benefits Chefs Collaborative 2000, a network of chefs and food growers who promote sustainable cuisine. $100 includes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 2132 Florida Ave. NW. Call 202-462-6143, ext. 13.

TUESDAY: Wine talk, tasting and book signing with the Oxford Companion to Wine editor Jancis Robinson at Borders Books & Music. Free. 6:30 p.m. 18th and L streets NW. Call 202-466-4999.

RESERVE NOW:

NOV. 17: Dinner in the Style of Cafe Boulud--tribute dinner with local chefs at the Watergate Hotel. Special guest: chef Daniel Boulud, author of "Cafe Boulud Cookbook." $150 includes tax, tip and book. 6:30 p.m. 2650 Virginia Ave. NW. Call 703-276-7786.

NOV. 17: Six-course tasting menu hosted by local chefs in honor of Jean Pierre Goyenvalle, former chef-owner of Le Lion D'Or, at the Four Seasons Hotel. $200 includes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Call 202-944-2014.

NOV. 17: Olive Oil: Elixir of the Gods--lecture and tasting at the National Geographic Society. $20 for members; $25 for nonmembers. 7:30 p.m. 1600 M St. NW. Call 202-857-7700.

NOV. 18: 1989 Bordeaux tasting dinner with chef Brian McBride at the Park Hyatt Hotel. Sponsored by the Tasters Guild. $125 includes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 1201 24th St. NW. Call 202-223-1700.