Last night I pulled a package of boneless chicken breasts from the freezer to defrost. I had no idea how I was going to prepare them. Earlier this morning, was looking through the New York Times recipe app to inspiration. I looked in my pantry and refrigerator to see what ingredients I had on hand. I had a small amount of goat cheese, some heavy cream and a bottle of strawberry balsamic glaze from Carter and Cavero.
Although the temperatures are moderating between late summer warmth and cooler fall air, I was in the mood for some gingersnap cookies. In the past, I've used recipes from Penzeys Spices, or Lora's ginger cookies, however, I decided to try a recipe that I download from the King Arthur Flour website. Their gingersnap recipe uses vegetable shortening instead of butter. The ingredients are similar to Great Grandma Moog's, but with slight increases or decreases in quantity. Instead of rolling the cookies in sugar, the King Arthur recipe uses a combination of cinnamon and sugar. I had some cracked ginger (small dried pieces) which I put in my spice grinder and used that instead of ground ginger.
Many years ago, there was a butcher shop in Spring Lake, NJ called Marcel Darche, The Butcher Block. It was a wonderful, friendly store. The person behind the register was Betty and the butchers were Allen, and appearing curmudgeonly, Russell. Russell, however, was a sweetheart of a guy. I would come in each week right after the sales were posted in the Coast Star and pick up my weekly bargains. At the time, my late mother-in-law was living in New Jersey, so I would get her meat order also. If chop was on sale, purchase five pounds get the sixth free, she would request that her chop meat be in 1 pound packages. Russell took to calling her "your rotten mother-in-law," but in an affectionate way.
It was a dreary day Monday. I was rummaging through my recipe files trying to come up with a meal plan for the night. I selected several possibilities and then took a peek in the freezer to see what I had, ah, ground turkey. Luckily one of the recipes I pulled out was for a turkey meatloaf, however, this one had not only onion and garlic, but minced carrot and mushrooms in the mixture.
What is Indian summer? The dictionary defines it as “a period of unusually dry, warm weather occurring in late autumn.” Hopefully after last week’s heat and the rain today, we can put summer behind us and move into cooler, less humid weather.
Many years ago, Delicious Orchards featured a soup befitting Indian summer, it's cream of cauliflower soup. The soup is quite easy to prepare. You’ll need 5-6 cups of chicken stock and three cups of milk, light cream or heavy cream. In the past I used to use heavy cream, however, becoming more health conscious, I opted for whole milk as I wanted a creamy taste, but with less fat. For this preparation I used Organic Valley whole milk that I purchased at Whole Foods for $2.99/quart. The cauliflower was from Delicious Orchards and costs approximately $2.99 per head.
Somewhere along the way in my culinary life, I acquired some chicken recipes. The top of the recipe page says Broiled and Barbecued, however, I’m not sure if that’s the book’s name or the section of the cookbook. I do know that this particular recipe was exceptionally good, especially for the fall.
The recipe is a marinade made with apple cider, cider vinegar, scallions, honey, and steak sauce to name some of ingredients that might not be in your pantry. It takes approximately 25 minutes to prepare the marinade and a minimum of one hour for the chicken to marinate.
Recently I mentioned I purchased some eggplants at the Union Square Greenmarket. Although the natural instinct is to make eggplant Parmesan, I thought I would change things up a bit and use the eggplant in place of pasta sheets to make lasagna.
When I prepare eggplant, I use a mandoline to make the slices thin and uniform in thickness. I salt the slices and place them in a colander. The salt draws out the moisture so that the eggplant will cook up crispier. After it sits for a bit, I blot the slices on a dish cloth and dust the slices in seasoned flour (salt and pepper only), egg wash, breadcrumbs and place the slices on a cookie sheet that I've coated vegetable oil using a pastry brush. I then spray the tops with additional oil so that the eggplant slices bake up crispy and brown. I prefer to bake my eggplant in a hot, 400 degree oven, rather than to stand over a frying pan filled with vegetable oil. For the lasagna, I sliced the eggplant length wise to long strips.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.