August 19, 2012
I stood in this kitchen this morning knowing that I wanted a traditional Sunday dinner. I was in the mood to let something cook, take a bit more time preparing something. I pulled out one of my favorite books that I hadn’t looked at in a while: Heart of the Artichoke, by the wonderful David Tanis. In it, the summer menus tugged at me and I decided to roast a spatchcocked chicken and make up a rice salad with some of the beautiful Carolina Gold rice some dear friends brought back from a summer vacation in South Carolina.
And, as luck would have it, none of this was actually time intensive. I love it when I have the time to give to something and the fates tell me not to worry about it.
In addition to being a really nice guy, Mr. Tanis is such a clever chef and cook, in the book he offers numerous variations on many of his recipes, adding or omitting an ingredient or two and giving you a whole new way to enjoy a dish, transitioning from side dish to satisfying lunch in a short jump. Really good stuff. It’s a way to start thinking about what you have in the pantry and the fridge to re-purpose yesterday’s dinner into a wholly new meal. It’s leftovers, elevated.
So tonight, after devouring half a lemony roast chicken and having just the teeny-ist bit of the herb rice salad leftover, I eyed the golden fond in the chicken roasting pan and remembered my favorite soup from Tasi: a lovely lemon chicken soup.
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August 17, 2012
I picked up a beautiful, heavy and sweet local watermelon at my neighborhood Giant Eagle Market District. I still can’t believe that this is my normal, everyday, hey-we’re-out-of-milk grocery store – it’s humongous. But I have to give them props: for being as huge as they are, they do try for a couple of months to really bring in a bunch of locally grown and raised produce. I really like that.
So back home, I was cutting it up and then slicing up all the leftover rinds so that they would break down faster in the compost pile and it hit me. People make pickles out of this stuff. And thankfully it’s less for the compost pile to try to digest, which is a good thing this time of year, just ask my husband, who often gets stuck with the job of carting out all the scraps. He’s a good man.
Is that a cucumber in the foreground? No! Just a well trimmed watermelon rind.
So a quick browse around and it’s a simpler method than I even thought. For half of a medium watermelon the brine is
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July 26, 2012
My palate has wanderlust again. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Vietnamese food and the influences the French left behind. I have a hankering for Pho. I’m desperate for a good bánh mì.
So it should come as no surprise that when I was invited to put together a dessert recipe Yagööt and the launch of their new line of Yagööt@Home, I chose to go the Southeast Asian route and use some inspired ingredients: coconut frozen yogurt, Thai basil, a French red wine, ginger. Sriracha.
Sometimes a recipe comes together so easily. Ingredients fall into each other like long-lost friends, perfectly happy to hang out again. And while everything except the sugar and strawberries (and the coconut Yagööt of course) in this dessert are savory, I can guarantee that it makes one of the sexiest desserts you’ve ever tasted. And did I mention that it takes only ten minutes to make?
For the red wine in this recipe, I used a Beaujolais-Villages, because it’s widely available as well as relatively inexpensive. An inexpensive pinot noir would work, too. I use only a cup, so heck, you can kind of throw this together if you’ve got a bit of wine left over from dinner. This time, I used fresh strawberries, but you can bet that I’ll be pulling out all those strawberries we picked and froze earlier this year when the weather gets colder. The recipe calls for Thai basil, which is at every Asian grocery store worth its salt. I think it’s pretty critical to the flavor profile of the dessert, but in a pinch you could substitute some standard basil. Sriracha is another seemingly exotic ingredient, but widely available in most grocery stores. Buy a bottle and you’ll find yourself putting this spicy hipster ketchup on everything from your morning eggs to Friday night pizza. It’s delicious.
Feel like being daring? Want to try this recipe? How about some free Yagööt?
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July 22, 2012
I’ll admit I haven’t been the best at keeping you up to date with everything that’s been through the kitchen lately.
Here’s a photo journal of some of the things (from Juneberries to cherries to ramp risotto) that I just didn’t manage to get a post up about.
Playlist included Save the World, by Swedish House Mafia.
July 18, 2012
I understand the problem as well as anyone: we’re told to eat fish for its health benefits, but it’s a challenging ingredient that leaves us either nervous or unfulfilled. We’re afraid to eat it, and when we do we’re hungry later. Well I have the solution — trout paired with bacon.
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July 16, 2012
I came back from Georgia filled with Southern inspiration and several bagfuls of southern produce. The okra purchased at a farmer’s market just before we left was my favorite. And when I came home I was determined to try and remake it in a way that I found I loved. In Athens, we were lucky enough to have a superb dinner at Five and Ten. It was there I had some of the best okra I’d ever eaten. It was very simply perfectly seasoned then lightly charred in – most likely – a cast iron skillet.
Fast forward to a night that I have almost no energy to cook and even less to clean the kitchen after dinner.
Enter this super-summery dinner that’s cooked entirely outside and takes no more than about 10 minutes to prep in the kitchen. Tonight’s easy meal was chicken thighs (bone in, skin on please) rubbed with this quick spice mixture and left to marinate, and a ton of peak-season summer produce and a ton of flavor. But the star is the okra.
I know, you might have a thing with okra, right? Or you only eat it fried? Or in gumbo? Or perhaps, you just avoid it altogether. I challenge you to give this quick cooking method a try, it leaves all that incredible fresh okra taste with almost none of the things you might not like about okra (ahem, the slime). The trick is a high heat and, to begin with, a completely dry pan.
Favorite Athens Okra and Vegetables, serves two
15 small to medium sized okra pods, trimmed of the stem and halved on a deep diagonal
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July 12, 2012
We just got back from vacation in Georgia. It’s such a great state with so many people committed to delicious food fresh off the farm. My kind of place, really. And to be honest, they make some mean fried chicken.
While I was there I couldn’t help but do some canning of some fresh Georgia peaches. I basically followed this method for canning the teeny ten pounds I had into four quart jars. In some of the jarred peaches I packed in some fresh basil,
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