Broccolini is a green vegetable similar to broccoli but with smaller florets and longer, thin stalks. My local farm stand had it available and though my prior experience with it at a restaurant wasn’t great I was game to try it at home. I decided to treat it like I might regular broccoli, with a high heat cooking method and a bit of spice.
Broccolini with Garlic and Soy
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
1 lb. broccolini, stems trimmed, cut into 2″ pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sambal oelek (or 2 seeded and finely chopped red fresnos chiles)
Combine the soy and fish sauce together. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium until shimmering. Add the garlic and stir constantly for about 30 seconds.
Add the broccolini and soy/fish sauce. Toss to coat the broccolini and cover the pan. Cook for 4 minutes without disturbing.
Uncover and toss the broccolini again. Recover and cook another 4 minutes.
Remove the cover and set it aside. Toss the broccolini again and stir in the sambal oelek. Cook for 2-3 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Taste for salt, and heat; adjust if desired. Serve as a side with roast chicken or over white rice.
In its purest form the Indonesian condiment sambal oelek consists of freshly ground hot red chiles with some salt and vinegar for flavor and preservation. We find it in the “ethnic foods” aisle wedged between the Japanese and Chinese sauces.
This recipe is inspired by some “Asian” noodle salad from a local market’s prepared food section. I grab it when I swing by for their house-made frozen cod cakes. I did the online search for “Asian” noodle salad, mixed and matched a few things and came up with this.
It seemed to go over well and the leftovers were as good, if not a bit better, after a couple of days rest in the fridge.
We returned from a short vacation Friday night and Saturday was filled with all the errands except for grocery shopping. As a dinner time approached I turned to the cupboard to see what kind of thing I could cobble together.
Lentils and chickpeas provide a bit of protein in a vegetarian dish. We served it with some grated Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.
Pantry Staple Pasta Sauce
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes Continue reading →
We have a Succotash recipe that we really like. It’s heavy on cream and uses frozen corn and lima beans. It is a hearty dish that works really well throughout the cooler weather months. In the summer though we like something lighter and something that makes use of the treat of fresh corn. After poking at several recipes over the years I’ve settled into this one.
Combine the liquid from the canned beans and the lemon juice together. Set it aside.
Set a dutch oven over medium-heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted add the shallots and pepper, sprinkle with 1/2″ teaspoon of salt and allow to cook until softened. That will take 4 to 5 minutes; give it a stir once in a while to reduce browning.
Stir in the garlic and cayenne; cook until it is fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute.
Add the beans and corn; stir them in and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the corn and beans are heated through, stirring occasionally.
Give the reserved liquid mixture a quick stir and then add to the pan. Stir constantly for 1 minute to distribute the liquid.
Remove the pan from the heat and taste. Add the chives along with salt and pepper to adjust the taste. Serve up.
This recipe is built off of one from Cook’s Illustrated. Since we primarily cook it for our Saturday Night gatherings the quantities are adjusted. I’ve also swapped a couple of ingredients for ones that work better for us.
Desperation can be a source of inspiration in cooking. When an unexpected guest was also a vegetarian I threw together something I had on hand and suddenly we had a tasty alternative to Turkey Tacos I typically make.
Not planning on having tacos tonight? This works equally as well as a side dish.
Black Bean Summer Squash Taco Filling
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 onion, cut into 1/4″ dice
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1/4″ dice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 yellow summer squashes, cut into 1/4″ dice (see notes)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano, crushed
black pepper to taste, extra salt for cooking
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium for about 1 minute. Add the onions and bell pepper, sprinkle with salt and toss to coat in the oil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirrings once or twice.
Add the jalapeno and garlic, stirring them into the carrot and bell pepper. Cook until fragrant, which should only take 30 second to a minute. Transfer the onions, peppers and garlic to a bowl and set aside.
Return the skillet to the stove, add the remaining oil and increase the heat to high. When the oil is just beginning to smoke add the summer squash and a generous sprinkle of salt. Spread the squash along the bottom of the skillet and cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes. Toss the pan to redistribute the squash and cook another minute.
Return the onion mixture to the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.
Your 3 summer squashes should be 6-8″ long and no more than 2-2.5″ in diameter. I prep them removing the ends and cutting them lengthwise into quarters. I then remove the layer of seeds, cut the remaining squash flesh into 1/4″ wide strips and, finally, cutting them into 1/4″ cubes.
Rummaging through the freezer I came across a bag of peeled, uncooked shrimp waiting for inspiration. After looking through a couple of cookbooks and scavenging the Interwebs I came across a recipe similar to the one below. I made a few modifications and, presto, dinner was served.
Lemony Shrimp with Garlic Rice
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup basmati rice
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 cups water
1 tsp. kosher salt (plus more for seasoning the shrimp)
1 cup chicken stock (unsalted if you can find it)
2 lemons, sliced into rings
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the rice and toss to coat with oil. Toast the rice for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the water, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover, return to heat and reduce to low. Cook for 15 minutes.
Pat the shrimp dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.
While the rice cooks heat the chicken stock, lemon rings and paprika in a non-stick skillet over low heat until it is simmering; about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the butter and swirl it among the shrimp to create a slightly creamy sauce. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and taste. Adjust salt and pepper as desired.
Serve shrimp over a generous helping of garlicky rice.
A while back I was lured in by a glossy picture of Parmesan and Herb Potato Stacks in an retailers Instagram post. The recipe seemed straight-forward, the image looked inticing and I’m always seeking a new way to present potatoes at Saturday night dinner.
While the result was good I thought of several ways to improve the recipe. Here’s the result with my update ingredient list and rewritten in my own words. Enjoy.
Potato, Herb and Cheese Stacks
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45-50 minutes
5 Yukon Gold potatoes, very thinly sliced (about 1/16 inch)
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
12 fresh sage leaves for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray.
Place the sliced potatoes win a colander set over a bowl and set aside while you melt the butter. Transfer the butter to a large bowl and allow the butter to cool for at least 5 minutes.
Add the Romano cheese, garlic, thyme and cream to the cooled butter and whisk together until combined.. Season with salt and pepper. Add the potato slices and gently toss to coat evenly.
Divide the potato slices among the prepared muffin cups, stacking them in layers.
If using them, arrange a sage leaf on top of each stack.
Bake for 15 minutes then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the potato stacks. Bake for another 10 minutes. The potatoes should be tender with crispy edges and the Parmesan should be fully melted. If not cook for another minute or two.
Let cool slightly, then carefully remove the stacks from the pan and serve warm.
Don’t be tempted by the cheese in a plastic jar which is found in the pasta aisle of your local megamart. You should find a wedge of Romano, and another of Parmesan, in the “fancy” cheese case near the deli counter. Yes, you’ll pay more than you will for that plastic jar however the flavor will far exceed the price difference.
My husband wanted to make corn bread and asked what we should have with it. I suggested chicken chili and then said I knew he wouldn’t really approve. Chili for him is a tomato-based dish and chicken chili, at least in my mind and creation, is not. So I’ll compromise and put the chili in quotes. Or you can call this a creamy chicken stew if you like.
I use chicken thighs in this dish because they are very forgiving if you over shoot the recommended 175°F temperature. Since they get cooked through, and then added back as shredded chicken, we can use the extra insurance.
Creamy Chicken Chili
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Char the outside of the poblano and Serrano peppers, either by placing over a gas burner or under the broiler in the oven, until well blackened on all sides. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 5 minutes.
Trim excess fat from the skinned chicken thighs. Sprinkle generously with kosher slat and black pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 5 quart Dutch oven over medium high heat until just shimmering. Add thighs to the pan, placing what would be the skin side down first. Do not crowd the pan, rather work in batches (it took me 2 batches). Cook ~4 minutes on each side then transfer to plate while you brown the second batch.
Pull the Dutch oven off the heat and look at how much fat is left. Add or drain so that you have about 2 tablespoons of fat. Return to medium heat for about 30 seconds then add the onions and bell pepper. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to distribute and coat with oil. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.
While the onions/peppers cook slip the charred skin from the poblanos and Serranos. A paper towel can help in this. Try to avoid running under water, it washes off some of the flavor along with the charred skin. Remove the seeds from the peppers. Roughly chop the Serranos to match the garlic. Cut the poblanos into 1/4″ squares.
Push the onions/peppers to the side of the pan and add the garlic, Serranos and poblanos. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute.
Add the chili powder and stir until it coats the vegetables. Stir in the chicken broth. Nestle the thighs into the Dutch oven, submerging them as best you can. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
Grab the largest thigh with tongs and check the temperature with an instant read thermometer. If the result is less then 175°F return the thigh to the pot, partially cover and cook another 5 minutes. Test again until the thighs are all at least 175°F.
Transfer cooked chicken to a plate. Add the beans to the pot along with the cubes of cream cheese. Stir to help the cream cheese melt. Reduce the temperature to low.
Using 2 forks pull the chicken from the bones and shred it as best you can. Return the chicken to the pot as you complete each thigh. Stir everything together and serve.
You may want to lower the temperature under the Dutch oven to medium-low before browning the second batch of thighs to avoid burning the fond in the bottom of the pan.
The leftovers, if any, could be used to make an interesting creamy chicken enchilada sort of dish.
I wanted a side dish that would combine some fresh vegetables (cukes/peppers) with some easy protein (canned beans). The dressing is based on one from FoodTV; they used it on a different salad however I liked the sound of it and it worked out well.
Cucumber and Bean Salad with citrus dressing
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas
1 14.5 oz. can black beans
1 cucumber, peeled, quartered, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 2″ pieces
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Rinse the chickpeas and black beans, add to a bowl with the cucumbers and red peppers.
In a jar combine the remaining ingredients, shake well. Pour about half of the dressing over the vegetables, toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with remaining dressing available for those who want it.
The vegetables can be combined up to 2 hours in advance and the the dressing can similarly be made up to a day in advance. Store both in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before serving.
I used Goya low-sodium chickpeas and black beans in this dish. If you aren’t using low-sodium beans then you might want to cut the kosher salt by half in the dressing.
I found the basis for this recipe while poking around the Interwebs looking for something to do with chicken thighs and turnips. The original recipe, from Bon Appétit online, introduced the dish with the following, “Finishing chicken thighs in a quick pear and turnip compote creates a rich, sweet and savory sauce.” I’m not sure I’d call this quick however the results of my modified dish were tasty to me.
The skin on the chicken thighs I had was anemic at best so I pulled it off. Apple replaces pear and vermouth subs in for white white because that’s what I had on hand. Enjoy!
Chicken with Turnip and Apple
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
1 to 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed and excess fat trimmed
1 onion, 1/4″ dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 Gala apples, peeled, cored, 1/4″ dice (about 1 cup)
2 small turnips, peeled, 1/4″ dice (about 2 cups)
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine
Pat chicken dry and season with kosher salt and black pepper.
Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, skin side down, until skin is well browned, 4-5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and continue to cook until the second side is also nicely browned. You may want to lower the heat to medium after flipping to reduce the risk of burning the fond. When the chicken is well browned on both sides transfer it to a plate.
Evaluate the fat left in the pan; if you have less than a tablespoon then make up the difference with more vegetable oil. Return the pan to medium heat. Add onion, pear, turnip, and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Toss to coat in the oil, distribute in the pan and ignore for 5 minutes. Toss and distribute again and ignore for another 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and thyme. Stir to combine and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the vermouth. Stir into the other ingredients and return the pan to medium heat. Nestle the chicken into the apple/turnip/onions; add any juices the leaked onto the plate.
Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Check the check temperature; if it is 165° or above then remove the cover and allow the liquid to evaporate; about 5 minutes. Otherwise recover and cook for an additional 5 minutes for every 10° short of 165.
Taste the apple/turnip/onions and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve with braised greens or a green salad.
You can toss the apple and turnip with 1/2 teaspoon of cider vinegar to help prevent browning while you prep your other ingredients. Really any vinegar or even lemon juice will work here.