Monthly Archives: August 2014

Crispy Lemon Chicken

 There’s nothing better than produce from the Farmer’s Market. Everything is fresher, bigger, more flavorful. I love talking to the farmers and getting to know more about where what I’m eating is coming from. It’s also so much easier to make healthy decisions during the summer, and I usually end up stocking up on meats to try and make it through the winter, like a 21st century Pioneer (which Brendan, who would live off the land entirely if it was up to him, is going to love). Anyway, the only time I’ll get chicken thighs is from the Farmer’s Market – any other time I’ve bought them from a grocery store, they kind of skeeve me out. This was thrown together in 10 minutes, ready in 30, and while it was cooking I made cauliflower puree and Brendan whipped up this awesome garlic-y, lemon-y sauce with scallions and thyme for the chicken. It was a crispy, super flavorful, perfect Monday night dinner.

CRISPY LEMON CHICKEN (serves 2-3)
– 2 lbs. skin-on, boneless (if you can find them, if not, bone-in) chicken thighs 
– 2 lemons 
– 1 tsp. EVOO 
– Kosher Salt & pepper 
– Leftover chicken juices 
– 2 tbsp. flour (approc.) 
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped 
– Fresh thyme and the greens of 2 scallions 

1. Preheat the oven to 425. 

2. In a COLD cast iron skillet (I used Le Creuset), add the tsp. EVOO, circling it around the pan. 

3. Add well-seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down, then turn up the heat to medium. The chicken will start to cook in its own fat and develop a ton of flavor. 

4. Walk away for about 10 minutes. After that time, flip the chicken thighs over and cook for another 4 minutes or so. When you flip them, the skin should be brown and crispy looking – this is perfect. 

5. Drain most of the oil from the skillet, leaving a pretty decent coating. 

6. Thinly slice one of the lemons, then scatter them into the skillet with the chicken. Squeeze half of the other lemon all over everything. 

7. Bake in the oven for approx. 10 minutes, or until chicken is 160 and the juices run clear when cut. 

8. Remove chicken and lemons from the pan. 

9. Make the sauce. Pour what’s left in the pan through a fine sieve into a small sauce pot. Mash the lemons against the side of the sieve so the lemon-ness gets into the sauce. Add the garlic, lemon juice, thyme and scallions and whisk it all together. 


10. Over medium-low heat, whisk together this mix, adding a little bit of flour at a time until it starts to come together. Keep whisking it to get the lumps out. 


11. Serve chicken with the sauce, some of the lemon and the side of cauliflower puree. Oh and make sure you have the sauce on the table, since you’re going to want it all over everything.


Hendrix Cocktail


There is gin, and then there’s Hendrix. It’s fantastic. It’s infused with cucumber, rosewater and tastes unlike any kind of gin you’ve ever had. AND, it comes in the cutest bottle. I can only have like 2 of these, tops, because gin makes me a crazy person, but trust me when I tell you that I 100% enjoy every single sip. Get ready for this to change G&Ts for you for all time.

HENDRIX COCKTAIL
– 1 part Hendrix gin
– 3 parts simple syrup infused with mint
– 1 part lemon juice
– splash of soda water
– ice cubes
-mint (optional)

1. Make the simple syrup. You can infuse this with a couple of simple mint leaves, which takes this to a whole new level.

2. In a cocktail glass, combine the Hendrix, simple syrup and lemon juice, add a lemon twist and some mint, serve over ice. 





Whole-Grain Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes


There are some days that just need blueberry pancakes, and today is one of those days. I used to make pancakes with a mix, but honestly, this is so much tastier, and you can gauge what goes into it too. Sour cream pancakes + blueberries = perfect Sunday morning. 

WHOLE-GRAIN BLUEBERRY SOUR CREAM PANCAKES (makes about 12 pancakes)
– 4 oz. sour cream (1/2 cup)
– 1 container honey greek yogurt (a little more that 1/2 cup)
– 1 tsp. vanilla extract
– 2 tbsp. sugar
– 1 egg
– 3/4 C. whole grain, whole wheat flour
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 1/2 tsp. baking soda
– 1 tsp. cinnamon
– pinch nutmeg

1. Whisk together the sour cream, honey greek yogurt, vanilla, sugar and egg. 

2. Gently fold in the blueberries.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.

4. A little bit at a time, combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 

5. Over medium heat, melt a pat of butter. When melted, add the batter a little bit at a time into pancake shapes.

6. Flip when the edges start to look cooked, then cook on the other side until done.


7. Serve with maple syrup and butter and enjoy the rest of your weekend!



Shredded Red Cabbage Salad with Carrots, Scallions, Cilantro and Lime

For the record, I think coleslaw is the worst. The name is bad, the texture is weird, the mayo-y ness of it is gross, it’s just yuck. That said: this is not coleslaw. This is antioxidant-rich shredded red cabbage (from the Scranton Farmer’s Market, hurraugh!), carrots, cilantro and scallions, dressed with lime juice, rice vinegar, cumin and olive oil. It’s fantastic. We were making shredded chicken tacos with leftovers from a roasted chicken in lemon gold that we had for Sunday dinner, and decided it needed some crunch, so I threw this together and I’m so glad I did. Brendan came home, took one bite and said, “This tastes exactly like my favorite cabbage salad from my favorite Mexican restaurant in Colorado” soooo….you’re welcome, JBG. This was perfect on tacos, but honestly, I would (and did) eat this with a fork by itself. You can throw it together in 5 minutes, but make sure you let it marinate for about 30, so all the flavors come together into a little colorful shredded salad of deliciousness. 

SHREDDED RED CABBAGE SALAD WITH CARROTS, CILANTRO, SCALLIONS AND LIME (makes enough for 2 as a side or at least 6 small tacos) 
– ½ red cabbage, thinly sliced
– 2 scallions, whites and greens, chopped
– 2 carrots, shredded 
– 1/3 C cilantro, chopped 
– juice of 1 lime
– ½ tsp. cumin
– ½ tsp. honey
– 2 tbsp. rice vinegar 
– 4 tbsp. EVOO 
– kosher salt & pepper to taste 

1. Slice the cabbage into thin strips. 

2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, cumin, honey, rice vinegar & kosher salt & pepper. Whisk together so the seasonings can blend in well with the acids. Add EVOO and give everything a good mix so it emulsifies. 

3. To the bowl with the cabbage, add the shredded carrots, chopped scallions and chopped cilantro. Mix to combine. 


4. Top the cabbage mixture with the dressing and mix it all together really well. Cover and let it sit for approx. 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while to redistribute the dressing. 

5. Serve on its own or on top of tacos for a perfect crunch and super bright flavor.


Blueberry Pie

 Brendan and I spent one of the most fun/delicious Saturdays I’ve ever had in NEPA at Paupack Blueberry Farm this past weekend. These blueberries were amazing – as big as my thumb, perfectly sweet, growing rampant in the middle of these gorgeous blueberry fields. I felt like I was in a dream. A dream, of course, in which I turned into Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, because we picked about 5 lbs. of blueberries, couldn’t stop eating them, and then I came home and made a blueberry pie, blueberry pancakes and blueberry frozen yogurt. But listen – blueberries are full of antioxidants, right? So really we were just eating healthily. Summer’s winding down – get some in-season berries and throw together this fantastic blueberry pie.  


BLUEBERRY PIE
Crust (makes 2 – 1 for the bottom and 1 for the top of the pie):
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. baking powder
– 1/3 C. super cold butter (I throw this in the freezer for about 10 mins)
– 1/3 C. shortening
– 1/3 C. super cold water

Filling:
– 4 tbsp. cornstarch
– 1/2 C. sugar
– 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
– 1/3 C. cold water
– 5 C fresh blueberries
– 1/2 lemon, juiced
– 1 tbsp. butter
– evaporated milk (for crust)

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt & baking powder. 

3. Add to a mixing bowl of a Cuisinart Food Processor. Cut up the super cold butter into little chunks, add the shortening, and pulse the mixture until it starts to come together and form little pellets of dough. 

4. Add the cold water a little at a time until the dough comes together. Remove from the mixing bowl and form into a ball of dough. Wrap in Saran Wrap and put in the freezer while you get the filling ready. 

5. Combine the cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon. Add to a sauce pan, turn heat up to medium-low, then add the water. Stir this mixture constantly until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside.

6. Fold this mixture into the (washed, obvs) blueberries, gently stirring to coat. 

7. Cut dough into half, then, on a floured wax paper or aluminum foil surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll this out into the bottom crust. 


8. Gently flip the crust over into the bottom of an ungreased pie pan.

9. Add the blueberries and cornstarch/cinnamon/sugar mixtures into the pie pan. 


10. Shave a couple little curls of butter on top of the blueberries, then squeeze half a lemon over them.


11. Roll out the top crust, then flip that over the blueberries to form the top crust.



12. Crimp edges, then cut little “breathing” slits into the crust, in whatever pattern you like (be creative!).


13. Brush evaporated milk over the top of the crust, then bake at 400 on the second to lowest rack for 45 minutes.

14. Now, the most difficult part. This has to sit for at least 5 hours to gel together, otherwise you’ll have a watery, runny blueberry pie. It’s torture, I know. Just keep your eye on the prize and think about how awesome blueberry pie for breakfast will be!

15. After 5 hours (you can put it in the fridge to speed things up), cut yourself a slice and enjoy. Summer!!!



California Eggs Benedict

You guys, I think this might be my new favorite breakfast. Poaching eggs is apparently the easiest thing in the world and they look so impressive. Take some avocados, smoked salmon, and the The Best Dressing Ever for a little heat, put them on whole-wheat English Muffins, and you have an unbelievably delicious, healthy-ish, completely filling breakfast that – honestly – puts just about every weekend brunch you could pay for to shame. Brendan and I had these for breakfast this morning, and both of us were taking our sweet time finishing them because we didn’t want to get to that last bite. SO GOOD.

CALIFORNIA EGGS BENEDICT (serves 2)
– 4 fresh eggs
– 3/4 avocado, sliced
– 4 oz. smoke salmon
– 2 whole wheat English Muffins
– a little bit of butter
– a little bit of kosher salt (optional)
The Best Dressing Ever

1. In a smaller sauce pot, heat about 6 inches of water over medium high heat. The temperature here is key – you want it to be bubbling but not boiling. Add a little white wine vinegar and a little kosher salt.

2. Crack 1 egg into a concave ramekin. If the yolk breaks, toss it and start again. 


3. When the water is ready, swirl it with a spatula into a little tornado of water. Gently spill the egg from the ramekin into the “eye” of the tornado. 

4. Let the egg cook for approximately 3-4 minutes. You want the egg yolk to be a little bit set but mostly runny, not firm. When yolk is ready, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Repeat with the other 3 eggs, one at a time.


5. Meanwhile, slice the avocados and get out the smoked salmon.


6. When you add the last egg to the poaching pot, lightly toast the English Muffins. When toasted, add a little butter to melt. 


7. Remove the last egg from the water, turn off the stove, but leave the water on the stove.

8. Have your super talented boyfriend get out his bad-ass camera to take the following pictures.

9. Top English Muffins with smoked salmon and avocado slices.


10. To reheat the first few eggs, add them back to the poaching pot for a minute to reheat in the warm water. Remove and drain.

11. Top smoked salmon and avocado slices with poached eggs.



12. Get out the Best Dressing Ever, and drizzle over the eggs. 



13. Top with a sprinkle of Kosher salt (optional). 

14. Cut into the middle of the yolk so it spills over the English Muffins. Brace yourself for enjoying one of the best breakfasts you’ll ever have.  



Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta Bake (with Chicken)

There are certain things that just go together. Bacon and Cheddar. Sour cream and Onion. And of course, Spinach and Artichokes. What is it about that combo that’s so delicious?? I remember being a kid, and having it for the first time at probably the Ground Round or someplace like that, and feeling like my 8 year old culinary world had been blown wide open. There are so many different recipes that I make now, but spinach and artichoke dip is still one of my go-to favorites for a crowd.

This recipe lets you feel like you’re indulging in a classic appetizer for dinner, but actually lightens up everything by replacing the cream cheese with Greek yogurt and halving the sour cream, using about 1/2 of the cheese and adding protein-y chicken. Plus – pasta!!!  This makes a ton, keeps really well, is able to be thrown together in 30 minutes, and will have your dinner companions full and happy in an hour and a half total, tops.

SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP PASTA BAKE (WITH CHICKEN) makes about 10 servings
– 1 lb. chicken tenders, chopped
– 1 box orecchiette pasta, or similar (you want something kind of small that will stand up with this bake – bowties, mini penne or mini rigatoni would also be good)
– 2 9-oz. boxes creamed spinach (creamed is key)
– 2 15-oz.cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
– 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
– 1/3 c. parmesan cheese
– 1 5.3 oz container plain greek yogurt
– 1/3 c. sour cream
– 1 cup pasta water (reserved)
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– Kosher salt & pepper
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 1/3 c. panko bread crumbs

1. Set your oven to 375.

2. In a large pot, boil water, then salt it kind of heavily. Add pasta and cook until 2 minutes before its “al dente” stage. BEFORE YOU DRAIN IT, grab a cup of the pasta water out and set aside to let it cool. Drain the pasta.

3. In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp. EVOO over medium heat. Add chopped chicken, which has been seasoned with kosher salt and pepper.


4. Cook until the chicken is almost all the way cooked through, stirring occasionally but letting it get a little browned.

5. While the chicken is cooking, heat up the creamed spinach in a microwave.

6. In a large bowl (use one bigger than you even expect will be big enough), combine the creamed spinach, 3/4 c. shredded mozzarella, and the chopped artichoke hearts. Add a little of the parmesan cheese and combine everything.


7. In a separate bowl, combine the greek yogurt, sour cream and a little more of the parmesan cheese.


8. Take the almost-fully cooked chicken off the stove and put the chicken on a plate.

9. Add chicken and pasta to the spinach/artichoke mixture. Combine well.

10. Mix the greek yogurt/sour cream blend with the cooled pasta water, a little at a time, until the sauce is pretty thin but still has enough consistency to coat a spoon.


11.Spray a casserole dish with a little olive oil. Add about half the chicken/pasta/spinach/artichoke mix. Top with 1/4 c. of the shredded mozzarella, then half of the greek yogurt/sour cream blend.


12. Add the rest of the chicken/pasta/spinach/artichoke mixture. Top with the rest of the greek yogurt/sour cream blend, then another 1/4- 1/2 c. of the shredded mozzarella and the rest of the shredded parm.


13. In a small pan, melt 1 tbsp. butter, then toast the panko breadcrumbs. Top the casserole with the breadcrumbs.


14. Cover with aluminum foil, then bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover, put on the lowest rack, and cook for another 20 minutes – just make sure the chicken is cooked through.

15. Serve and feel like you got away with getting to eat a big bowl of healthy-ish spinach and artichoke dip for dinner!

Cape Cod 2014

I’m finally back after nine days of one of the best vacations of my life. This is the second summer in a row that I’ve gone up to Cape Cod, and I hope that this is the beginning of an awesome summer pattern. It is so unbelievably gorgeous up there, so relaxing and just so charming. Here’s what I did for the past week and a half:

– Read 3 different books and 1 new screenplay

– Ate some of the best food I’ve ever had and did not cook a single thing

– Went bike riding, much to Brendan’s delight

– Saw JAWS on the Cape but didn’t see any sharks in real life, luckily

– Had at least one lobster roll a day

– Averaged 13,000 steps until my goddamn fitbit battery ran out of juice (obsessed)

– Slept until about 10am most mornings

– Spent EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. on the spectacular beaches of Chatham

– Got to have some serious quality time with my mom, dad, little sister, boyfriend and family friends – and what’s better than that?  I love you guys – thanks for a wonderful vacation!!

Spent the halfway point at Pepe’s Pizzeria in Connecticut, holy moly. Bren and I split almost a full pie of the fresh tomato and shrimp.

Finally at the beach!

The incomparable hydrangeas that populate the Cape, and our first lobster roll of the trip at the Squire

Family dinner at Pisces, which was beyond delicious and really cute too.

One of my favorite parts about our relationship is how easily we can make each other laugh (even when one of us is brushing their teeth)

Mom and Dad on the beach

Family <3

Probably my favorite dinner of the trip at Del Mar, where I had stuffed zucchini blossoms, about half of Brendan’s mushroom tart, local Cod and this incredible blueberry pie

My mom (waving from the door) is the cutest

Sunsets on the beach

Best lobster roll of the trip at The Canteen in  the ever-eclectic Provincetown

Brendan’s first time seeing Jaws, ever!! No better place to do it than 20 miles away from where it was filmed. 

An entire cooler of whoopie pies (and the most amazing breakfast burritos ever) at The Corner Store

Fresh pasta, The Prisoner wine and hilarious conversation with the world’s greatest parents at Buca’s

A lunch at the Wild Goose Inn that still makes me full just thinking about it – incredible

Amazing dinners and late night dance parties

Beach reading and cocktail hours with Dad

Love. 

See you next summer!