Not every recipe comes with a cute story, a long origin tale, a photo-worthy finish. Sometimes we are just trying to get dinner on the table. Sometimes we’re dealing with real life here — that life where we have to get dinner on the table EVERY NIGHT, where lamb is expensive and beef unhealthy and your kid won’t touch lentils with a ten foot pole so you’re making chicken again, where if you see another boneless skinless “cutlet” you might have to throw something. That life.
In that life you might have optimistically bought two jars of pepper jelly at Christmas time – it’s so nice on cream cheese For all those parties you ended up not going to, since one kid had the stomach flu and the other had an ear infection. In that life, you buy too much cheese and have odds and ends of it overflowing the cheese drawer in your refrigerator.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Continue reading Split Chicken Breasts with Goat Cheese and Pepper Jelly
Halloween is over, and we’ve all recovered from our sugar highs (theoretically). Now is the home stretch for home cooks – less than three weeks until Thanksgiving, and then the sprint through the December holidays into New Year, when we all collapse in a faint of exhaustion. I know you’re already planning your Thanksgiving menu, so to make it easy, I collected the Savour Fare Thanksgiving recipes into one easy place. The best, most foolproof, most delicious, juicy, crisp-skinned roast turkey? We’ve got that. Instructions on making your own pie crust (with a bonus recipe for silky smooth, perfectly spiced pumpkin pie)? You’ll find that here. In the next few weeks I’ve got a few exciting new recipes coming up — another savory sweet potato dish, a refreshing fall salad, and new twists on old favorites like stuffing and cranberry sauce, but in the meantime, here’s the roundup of Thanksgiving recipes for your inspiration:
Easy, Dry-Brined Roast Turkey
You’re serving vegetarians?
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Kale and Cabbage Gratin
Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin
Onion Tarte Tatin
Your favorite thing is, of course, stuffing:
Old School Sage Stuffing
What vegetable side should you make this year? (see also, cooking for vegetarians, above)
Bacon Braised Brussels Sprouts with Cream
Creamed Spinach with Jalapenos
Slow Cooked Green Beans
Creamy, Spicy Sweet Potato Gratin
It’s not Thanksgiving without pie:
Maple Walnut Pie
Vegetarian Mincemeat Pie
Perfect Pumpkin Pie, and a tutorial on homemade pie crust
Rice Pudding Pie
You don’t like Pie:
Cranberry Pecan Upside Down Cake
You’re stuck with the cranberry sauce but you still want a chance to shine:
Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Oranges and Pecans
You’re on Salad Duty:
Arugula Salad with Persimmons and Gouda
Homemade Salad Dressing
You’re keeping the relatives happy (aka mixing drinks):
The Perfect Manhattan
Aunt Helen won’t let you set foot in the kitchen, but you still want to help:
Five Easy DIY Holiday Centerpieces
Last Minute Tips on Hosting Thanksgiving
There are things I love, but I’m too lazy to make them often. Chicken and dumplings – a relatively simple dish — just seems exhausting to me. Cooking all that chicken! Making that soup! (Fortunately, my mom makes it relatively often, and usually invites me to share.) Then there are dishes that could be fairly straightforward to make, but that just don’t appeal to me. In this corner is chicken pot pie. I always want to like it — what’s not to like? Chicken, vegetables, gravy … but I always imagine it sitting like a lead weight in my stomach. (I think it’s the combination of pie crust and gravy. There’s a reason fruit pies are classic). During our recent spate of cold(ish) weather, I was mooning about what comfort food I’d like to make, and it hit me. A cross between Chicken and Dumplings and Chicken Pot Pie — chicken, vegetables, gravy, all topped with a savory parmesan biscuit cobbler topping. And this is the real genius part — it’s made with rotisserie chicken, so it’s EASY. I had to pat myself on the back.
Continue reading Chicken Cobbler Pot Pie
I know I am supposed to be charmed by New York. I know I am supposed to wax rhapsodic about the “energy” of the city, to tell you about the fabulous meals I experienced at Eataly and Eleven Madison Park and this tiny hole in the wall I “discovered” in the Village. I am supposed to be converted to the cult of the Shack Burger and say things like “No place is like New York”.
Well, I’m not charmed. The city is dirty and smelly and noisy and crowded. The weather is uncalled for. Everything is too expensive. And it’s hard to navigate. You literally cannot get a stroller out of the subway without setting off an alarm. In the seven years since I moved away from New York (to, may I add, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States) I have become old and sedate and suburbanized. I can’t hack it in New York any more. So no, I am not charmed.
But I have to visit, because there live my people. My girlfriends from my young married days, who think nothing of coming to a happy hour near my hotel when I’m in town despite the fact that there are an additional eight and a half children among us and most don’t even live in Manhattan (the half is Mrs. Limestone’s daughter to be). My husband’s family – his father and half sister and stepbrother whose kids are my kids’ only cousins. My baby cousin, who has worked in some of the most amazing restaurants in the city. My college roommate, who was living with me when I met my husband, and knew “us” from the earliest days of our courtship. And the godfathers of both of my children.
So I try to find things to love about New York. One thing to love is the laws on gay marriage. The impetus for our trip was the marriage of the Nuni’s godfather (who is one of my oldest and dearest friends) to his partner of eight years. I was Matron of Honor, Nuni was the flower girl. The wedding was beautiful, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Here’s a link to a video put together by one of the grooms featuring the song he wrote for his vows. Aren’t they handsome?
Mike and Dale
And our family, in Central Park (about 5 minutes before the Nuni stepped in a pile of poo apparently left by the world’s largest Great Dane. We had to throw away her shoes)
Another thing to love about New York is street meat, aka halal chicken and rice, which is sold from carts on the Sidewalks of New York. When I was studying for the New York BarExam, my review course was right near one of these carts, and I would often get delicious spicy, savory chicken with crisp vegetables and fragrant rice for lunch. LA has a thriving street food scene but offers nothing quite like street meat, and my only chance to enjoy it was on my infrequent trips to New York.
Continue reading Summer Vacation I – New York and Street Chicken and Rice
Ordinarily as a Californian, I decry hot weather. “We get plenty of sunshine!” I say. “Bring on the rain and the fire’s cozy glow.” Well, here it is, the end of March, and I realize I am spoiled. This winter was dry as a bone, but with spring has come the rain and the wet and nights in the 30′s. And flu season. Working on my second cold in as many weeks and a single warm maternity cardigan, I cry uncle. I’m ready for our usual spring weather (heck, our usual weather) — 75 degrees and sunny. I want sandals and sundresses and time in the hammock. I have optimistically assembled adirondack chairs and ordered outside rugs for the deck, only to watch them soaking in the rain. (We won’t address the fact that “tired of cold weather” may translate in my bruised and battered psyche to “tired of being pregnant” with May seeming very far away indeed.)
This will probably all come back to bite me this summer when I face yet another triple digit day at home with an active preschooler (almost kindergartener! How did THAT happen?) and a baby who wants to be held all the time (which is, IME, all babies), but right now I could use some sunshine, even if it’s just sunshine on a plate. Eating a springtime salad for dinner when it’s 50 degrees inside your house just seems wrong, but by March I am done with hearty beef stews and warming casseroles. Enter chicken bouillabaisse. Sure, it’s a stew, but one that is lighter, fresher than your typical stew, singing of warmer climes and summer.
Along the Cote D’Azur, pretty much every restaurant offers a version of fish soup. Made with the local catch, it is always served with croutons, rouille (a garlic and saffron mayonnaise), and cheese. I had been craving a good soupe de poissons but not the trip to the fishmonger to get the bones to make the stock and the fish to puree into the soup and .. . well, you get the idea. Chicken bouillabaisse, though less traditional, is infinitely simpler, and offers many of the same flavors. I make mine with fennel, herbes de provence, and, because I had it, a pinch of lavender, all of which are ubiquitous in that part of the world. Served with the requisite croutons, rouille, and cheese, I could almost imagine myself on a terrace covered with rosemary, sipping my chilled rose next to the Mediterranean.
I made the rouille in my mini food processor,adding the olive oil a little at a time. It’s best to make it in advance so the saffron gets a chance to infuse the mixture. I used pasteurized eggs to minimize the risk of food poisoning with le bebe — I would ordinarily take my chances with raw egg yolks, but that’s your call. If you’re short on time or lazy, adding some minced garlic, cayenne and saffron to prepared mayonnaise will also do in a pinch.
Continue reading Chicken Bouillabaisse (Electric Pressure Cooker Recipe)