Sunday, January 4, 2015

Joyce Sidman and a Chicken, Broccoli and Mushroom Alfredo Dish

Dusk fell
and the cold came creeping,
came prickling into our hearts.
As we tucked our beaks 
into feathers and settled for sleep,
our wings knew. 

With a forecast of -12 below tonight and blustery winds I certainly can relate to this first stanza from the poem "Dream of the Tundra Swan" by Joyce Sidman. This stanza comes from her newest book of poems called Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold. 
Joyce Sidman writes poetry for children but appeals to all ages. She is a nationally honored poet who lives in Wayzata, Minnesota. 
Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold reads like a non-fiction book with pertinent information about the subject in each poem on the adjoining page. It is evident a lot of research and exploration went into the development of this book by the author and illustrator. The illustrations are done in printmaking style that are stunning. The poems are lovely and presented in a variety of style, moods and voices.
For her award winning body of work, Sidman won the Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, given by the National Council of Teachers of English. 
Check out how many awards and other lists of recognition for this book   
  • School Library Journal Best Book of 2014
  • Kirkus Best Book of 2014
  • Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2014
  • New York Public Library's 100 Best Books for Reading and Sharing
  • 2014 Nerdy Poetry Award
  • Starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, Bulletin
  • Junior Library Guild
The Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night is the second book she has collaborated on with Rick Allen. He is a printmaker who lives in Northern Minnesota. 

"Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night" is a spectacular collection of nocturnal songs of plants and animals who love and inhabit the night world. Each poem describes the habits and behaviors of a special nocturnal plant or animal in terse, imaginative poetry

Sidman always knew she wanted to be a poet, although even she was surprised to see this goal documented in an old journal, written at 15. “I like connecting strange things to each other,” she said. “I love how sleek poetry is, how few words you use and how vivid they have to be. Along with being emotional and intellectual, poetry is also visceral. You almost feel it physically.”
A list of previous published work by Joyce Sidman can be found at
Snowflake Wakes

Snowflake wakes,
arms outstretched,
lace sprouting from fingertips

Leaps, laughing
in a dizzy cloud,
a pinwheel gathering glitter

Drops into air,
suddenly soft
and full, a lattice
of stars spinning

Drifts down,
and tickling,
and clumping

Hugs earth,
sighs and settles
tucked in its own blanket

--Joyce Sidman, all rights reserved
From Winter Bees and Other Poems of The Cold 
Chicken, Broccoli and Mushroom Alfredo Dish

Cook's notes: Remember the Sun Dried Pasta recipe I raved about a few postings back? Well here is another recipe from Chung-Ah Rhee ( ) that is equally as good. Quick, easy, creamy and really delicious.  The recipe has been adapted and serves 4. 
  • 1-3/4 cups dried rotini, penne or any other pasta of choice
  • 12 oz. broccoli florets
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 boneless, skinless thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 TB. butter
  • 2 heaping TB. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tb. chopped fresh parsley leaves or 1 TB. dried parsley
  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Add broccoli in the last 2 minutes of cooking time; drain well and set aside. Be careful not to cook overcook broccoli.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken to skillet with mushrooms, cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Add in minced garlic the last 2 minutes of cooking time.  Remove mushrooms, chicken, garlic and set aside to cool on a paper towel. Dice chicken into bite-size pieces. Wipe skillet clean.
  • Melt butter in the skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, dash of nutmeg, chopped parsley and garlic powder. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Turn heat to medium low and stir in Parmesan until well combined, about 1 minute. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk as needed.
  • Stir in pasta, broccoli,mushrooms, garlic and chicken. Gently toss to combine with cream mixture.Season with salt and pepper, to taste and cook 2-4 minutes longer. 
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. OK, it is seriously time that I get back into children's books. Since my children have grown and I no longer volunteer at our Christian school library, I've gotten away from reading these. But I'm missing a lot of great writing and art. Since I am a fan of Sidman and of printmaking, I know I would simply love this book. Thanks for directing me to it.