Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Ready for a little bit of normal
Some things don't always go as planned, do they? Take, for example, vacations. We spent the last week up at the farm in New York. The weather was beautiful, which meant that all of the hard work we had planned was a little harder to get started because we wanted to be outside. But duty called, so we went to work ripping out the kitchen and upstairs bathroom. My stepfather worked on the bathroom while Larry worked on the kitchen, and my mom and I shuttled back and forth where we were needed.
Everything should have been done by Thursday night, and Friday through Sunday would be our play-days. (Well, the kitchen wouldn't be done, but would be ready for the new cabinets to be installed.) Unfortunately, on Thursday there were two separate accidents with a table saw, and work came to a screeching, bloody halt. The good news: everyone is going to be fine. Well, mostly. Larry's thumb won't ever be the same, but like we keep saying, at least he still has it.
As you might imagine, cooking and blogging haven't been at the top of the list. But I'm ready for things to get back to a little bit of normal. Some food favorites:
-Stonewall Kitchen's Maple Chipotle Barbecue Sauce. Give me a YUM! We had this slathered all over grilled chicken legs and thighs on Wednesday when my Aunt Cathy and my cousins, Molly, Kelly, and Kelly's family came down.
-parboiling chicken before grilling. I don't know about you, but sometimes I steer away from grilling chicken because of the fear of charred outside but raw inside. I don't know why I never thought of parboiling--that's what Moms are for, right! To teach us simple tricks. Pop the chicken in a Dutch oven, fill the bottom of the pan with water, (come about 1/4 way up the chicken) clap a lid on it, bring the water to a simmer, and "steam" until the chicken begins to look just cooked on the outside. Grill with your favorite sauces and seasonings.
-grilled green beans. You'll need a grilling grate-thingy to do this, obviously, but it's so worth it. Prep the beans as usual, spread them out evenly on the grilling pan, put them on a medium hot grill, and let'em rip, tossing occasionally so they don't get too charred on one side. I tossed mine with a little olive oil before grilling, and then at the very end of the grill time added chopped tarragon, salt, and sliced almonds.
-not following recipes to the letter, but using them for inspiration. I found a recipe on Epicurious for a Lemon-Rosemary-Pancetta Potato Salad, and turned it into a different version of itself. My version below.
-refrigerator clean-outs that turn into great meals (that might not be particularly photo-worthy, but taste great!). Last night's was a saute of chopped kale, green onions, eggplant, a tiny bit of leftover tomato, Italian seasoning, a little leftover zucchini, garlic, a half a jalapeno, slivered basil, white wine, salt and pepper, about a cup of rotisserie chicken, and cooked quinoa. It looked like a hot mess, but was delicious!
-fresh, burstingly ripe tomatoes on the vine, waiting for me when I got home yesterday. Oh, happy day!
Lemon, Rosemary, and Pancetta Potato Salad
adapted from Bon Appetit
2-3 pounds baby potatoes, or Yukon Gold potatoes
3 oz chopped (1/4 inch) pancetta, (you'll reserve about a tbsp of fat)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
zest of a lemon, juice from at least half (more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1. Cover the potatoes with cold water, bring to a boil, and cook until done. The baby potatoes took about 15 minutes; the Yukon Golds will take longer because they're larger. When finished, drain and put back in hot pot. If using Yukons, cut into bite-sized pieces.
2. In a small skillet, cook the pancetta until almost crisp. Spoon off all but about 1 tbsp oil. About a minute before done, add the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Stir in the olive oil and lemon juice, whisking to semi-emulsify. Scrape the pancetta mixture over the potatoes, add the zest, and toss all together. Taste, and add extra salt and pepper and lemon juice to taste. Add parsley, toss again. Let cool to room temperature, and serve.