I’ve professed my love for The Kitchn many times on this blog, but this time, it’s serious. We have a tomato explosion in our garden this year, and as I was staring out my office window and all of the lovely green beauties hanging on their vines, I happened to stumble upon this delightful recipe. It’s also culinary bonus when I find that I have all the ingredients on hand necessary to complete the dish!
In general, I try to avoid using my oven too much during the summer. But when zucchini abound, I bake zucchini bread. When peaches are in season, I bake peach pie. And when a roasted chicken and tomato dish like this comes along, I do not hesitate to turn on my oven. It’s that good.
One of my favorite flavor combinations is ginger and garlic. The addition of fresh basil from my garden elevated this dish and offered a summery depth of flavor that went perfectly with the green tomatoes.
The original recipe called for Sherry, but I was out, so I used Shaohsing rice cooking wine instead. You should be able to find it at any Asian market and often in the “international” aisle of your local grocery store.
I also added a little fish sauce and some chopped scallions to round it all off. The whole dish came together so quickly, which was perfect for a summer night.
All the ingredients go in the same roasting dish! So easy!
I chose to pair this with steamed jasmine rice sprinkled with a little rice vinegar. Roasting the green tomatoes made them slightly sweeter, but they still retained a little sour bite, which went really well with the juicy chicken thighs. Give this dish a try and let me know how you like it! Enjoy!
Ginger-Basil Chicken Thighs with Green Tomato
Adapted from The Kitchn
1 large (or two medium) green tomatoes, cored, halved, and sliced 1/2 -inch thick
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Shaohsing rice cooking wine
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2-3 scallions, chopped
steamed jasmine rice sprinkled with rice vinegar (for serving)
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except 1 tablespoon basil and all the chopped scallions; stir to fully incorporate.
Turn out into a 9×13-inch roasting dish. Roast until chicken is fully cooked and the tomatoes are softened, around 25 minutes. Stir halfway through roasting time to make sure all chicken is cooked through. Serve on steamed rice and garnish with remaining basil and chopped scallions.
The farmers market is in full force here in Omaha and I absolutely could not pass up the opportunity to bring home a few lovely peaches. As they sat on my counter, I thought about what I might do with them besides just slice and eat (which is perfectly fine). I ran across a few inspirations online and decided to sort of mash them all together and add a few of my own ingredients.
This recipe could easily be made with any other stone fruit or perhaps even some hearty berries like strawberries…ooooh, maybe even cherries!
This is pretty straightforward as far as dessert bars go. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your cupboard. So, take a couple of hours out of your day and before you know it, you’ll have these tasty summery peach bars to enjoy.
Peach and Bourbon Bars
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction (Great site! Go visit!)
For crust and topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
2/3 cup chopped toasted pecans (350ºF oven, 15 minutes, be sure they don’t burn)
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 peaches, pit removed and chopped
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang to remove bars from pan. Spray parchment with baking spray (I use Pam for Baking).
In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and sea salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (pea-sized). Scoop out 3/4 cup of the mixture into a small bowl and add the pecans. Toss to combine and set aside for use as the topping.
Press remaining mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
To prepare filing, whisk the egg and sugar in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the flour and sea salt and stir to combine. Using a spatula, fold in the chopped peaches and bourbon.
Remove crust from oven and pour filling over hot crust. Sprinkle pecan topping over peaches and bake in oven for an additional 30-32 minutes until crust is golden brown. Cool in pan for at least 30 minutes. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.
In a small bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Drizzle over bars.
This is not the first (nor will it be the last) strawberry-related recipe you’ll see on this blog. I absolutely love strawberries and I thoroughly enjoy trying new recipes which feature them. As I was flipping through my July edition of Bon Appétit, I came across a delightful section devoted to tasty frozen treats.
I totally love making ice cream here in my kitchen. There is something so pure and delicious about a well-made batch of rich ice cream. I don’t have to wonder what sort of preservatives might be lurking beneath the surface, nor do I have to consider how many artificial flavors are taking the place of good, clean ingredients.
When my eyes graced the page featuring a Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Sherbet, I knew immediately I was going to try it out here at home. From time to time I’ll make a buttermilk ice cream and it is absolutely wonderful, so I could only imagine how amazing it would taste when paired with the perfect summer fruit.
I followed this recipe to the letter, which isn’t what I normally do. But in the case of ice creams and ice cream-related desserts, I sometimes like to see what the original should taste like before I make any changes. Next time, however, I might add some fresh herbs like thyme, basil, or even a little mint. I might even add a touch of balsamic vinegar to deepen and complement the strawberry flavor.
Roasting the strawberries in sugar and a fresh vanilla bean really amp up the strawberry flavor. When the mixture cools, the vanilla pod is removed and the whole lot is puréed with the buttermilk and sour cream in a blender or food processor. Because I let the berries cool completely, and the dairy was really cold, I was able to skip the usual cooling process one has to do when making a custard-based ice cream.
It also dawned on me that this sherbet could easily be made without the use of an ice cream maker. One of my favorite websites, The Kitchn, featured just such a method not too long ago. If you try it this way, please let me know how it works out for you!
Now, get out there, find some strawberries, and make this sherbet pronto!
Roasted Strawberry-Buttermilk Sherbet
Originally from bon appétit magazine
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered if large
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk
1/3 cup sour cream
pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Combine strawberries and granulated sugar in a baking pan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the pan, along with the pod; toss to combine.
Roast the berries, stirring occasionally, until bubbly, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely on counter.
Discard vanilla pod. In a blender or food processor, purée berries, buttermilk, sour cream, and salt until smooth.
Process mixture in ice cream maker (or by the method I linked to above) according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer sherbet to an airtight container and place in freezer until ready to serve.
Let soften at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.
We’ve had a package of oxtails in our freezer since my dad gave them to us at Christmas. I wasn’t ignoring them; I knew they were there. I just wasn’t sure what to do with them. I did know that they were perfect for braising, but beyond that, I was unsure what to do with them once braised.
After a little research, I found that many recipes used them for dishes such as soups, stews, and ragouts. But I didn’t want to do that, as the weather has been really nice and summery lately. I wanted to so something relatively light, not heavy like a stew.
My thoughts then shifted to something Scott and I have a lot here at home: black bean tacos. I thought I could substitute the oxtail for the black beans and do the same basic taco preparation.
I created a marinade for the oxtail loosely based on a recipe from Kitchen Runway, which is a fabulous site with great recipes and lovely photos. I was just happy to see that someone was doing something a little different with oxtail AND shared my love of tacos!
After the initial browning stage.
Last weekend it was really rainy and overcast here in Omaha. Yes, it’s June, but because of the weather, I was craving chicken noodle soup. I didn’t want to do the expected noodle soup; I wanted to do something spicy, tangy, something that took me to another place when I ate it.
To the internet I went!
On one of my favorite websites, Food Republic, I found just what I was looking for: something called Chicken Laksa. One look at the ingredient list told me it was just what I wanted. And I only had to buy a few items!
I cook with a lot of different spices, so I was glad to see that I had pretty much every spice on the list: coriander seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, and turmeric. These spices featured a lot in Thai and Indian recipes (which I love) so I always have them on hand.
I absolutely love going to the Asian market here in town. Shopping there transports me to another place. I can spend at least an hour in there, just walking around, discovering ingredients I’ve never seen before. I fully suggest you do the same. Find your nearest ethnic market, walk in, and immerse yourself in the food of that culture. You might be surprised what goes home with you in your shopping bag.
This soup is really easy to put together. After you grind your spices, chop your shallots and garlic, smash your lemongrass, and cut up your chicken thighs, it pretty much all goes into one pot and boom! you’re done.
I suggest giving this one a try. If, for any reason, you don’t have a spice or coffee grinder, you can use pre-ground spices from the market. Also, if you can’t find shrimp paste (I absolutely had to go to the Asian market for it) I’m sure you could substitute fish sauce.
However, I know that I really loved the boost of flavor the shrimp paste gave. It doesn’t smell good, but boy, it was a lovely addition to the soup. If you do substitute, just be sure to taste, as both are salty and exact substitutions might be off.
Chicken Laksa (Southeast Asian Chicken Noodle Soup)
Adapted from Food Republic
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you really like it spicy)
2 lemongrass stalks
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 can (13.5 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
1 quart reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cinnamon stick
8 ounces mung bean sprouts, rinsed
8 ounces wide rice noodles
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, torn
Sambal Oelek chili paste (can find at Asian market)
In a spice or coffee grinder, place first seven ingredients and grind to medium-fine powder. Set aside. Peel off outer layers of lemongrass stalks and give them a good whack on your counter. Or, if you’re feeling inclined, smash the core with a heavy skillet. Basically, you’re crushing them in order for them to give off their lovely lemony flavor (you’ll take them out of the soup at the end).
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the cubed chicken, shrimp paste, shallots, and spice mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
Add coconut milk, broth, sugar, and salt. Add cinnamon stick and lemongrass stalks. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for at least 20 minutes.
In a separate pot, bring 3-4 quarts of water to a boil. Toss in bean sprouts and blanche them until softened, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or a spider, transfer sprouts to a bowl. Add noodles to same pot and cook until firm, but pliable, about 4-5 minutes; drain.
Divide sprouts and noodles among bowls. Remove lemongrass and cinnamon stick from soup pot. Ladle soup into bowls and top with cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime juice over soup and add as much Sambal Oelek as your tongue can handle.
If you’re going to store this for leftovers, be sure to keep components separate. When reheating, pour soup into saucepan and heat on stove over medium. There’s no need to reheat the noodles; the soup will take care of that.
Rhubarb at the farmers market always excites me. I grew up with a rhubarb patch in our garden, and my mom would always make rhubarb pie for my dad. There was something about the tartness of the stalks mixed with the sweetness of the sugar that always stuck with me.
Rhubarb is one of those ingredients that can be mixed with almost any fruit and thrown into a cobbler, pie, or crisp and taste delicious. This time, I chose to go with the classic pairing of rhubarb and strawberry. But with a couple of my own additions, natch.
Cobblers are so easy that I don’t know why I don’t make one every week. How could you go wrong with sweet, warm fruit under a buttery biscuit topping??
All that is required of you is some fresh fruit and a few other ingredients, and wham! you have cobbler. Listen, go out and pick up some rhubarb and strawberries from the farmers (or other) market and get started. You’ll be done before you know it and enjoying warm cobbler on your patio while you listen to the summer birds sing your praises!
If you’re like me at all, you have a collection of overripe bananas in your freezer, destined for bread. I have a pretty fool-proof (and delicious) recipe for banana bread given to me by my mother, but I wanted to change things up this time around. And what better way to do that than with chocolate?
I was reminded of a batch of chocolate-banana ice cream I made for my friend Matthew as a Christmas gift. I asked he and his wife, Sarah, what their favorite flavors of ice cream were, and that is what I gave to them as gifts. I much prefer giving edible gifts over anything else for holidays and birthdays. Matthew said he loved the combination of chocolate and banana, and I totally agree. Why not turn that into a bread?
The bananas (minus one) are still a little frozen in this photo, my apologies.
I was hoping for a bread that was more dessert-like in texture, and I think this was a success. It had the dense consistency of pound cake, and the banana flavor was just subtle enough not to be overpowering. However, I would probably omit the chocolate chips in my next batch of this bread. I say this only because (as you might know if you read this blog) I don’t prefer overly-sweet dishes. The chocolate powder was perfect on its own and needed no extra help from the chips.
All-purpose flour sifted with cocoa powder, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.