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Friday, July 24, 2015

Easy Peachy

I've always been a bigger fan of nectarines than of peaches.  The reason why is very simple.  The fuzz.  I just have never really liked fuzz on my fruit.  What can I say?  We all have our food things.   But I am also evolved enough to know a good recipe, or at least an interesting recipe, when I see one.

I was paging through the new issue of  Fine Cooking recently and happened on a whole article dedicated to sweet and savory peach recipes.  Intriguing.

As luck would have it, I had received a couple of nice looking, albeit fuzzy, peaches in my CSA basket.  I pretty much figured that I'd let them ripen up and then Ted, who is a fuzz fan, would eat them.  Easy peasy.  I didn't give those peaches another though.  After all, I'm a nectarine girl.

When I saw this recipe for Braised Chicken Thighs with Savory Marinated Peaches, two things came immediately to mind: dinner, and has Ted already eaten the peaches?  Lucky for me, the peaches were still unspoken for, and lucky for both Ted and I, dinner was served!

Recipe:  Braised Chicken Thighs with Savory Marinated Peaches
Fine Cooking, July, 2015


1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
1 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into thin strips
3 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 8)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced (1 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
3 cups Sherry Vinegar and Rosemary Marinated Peaches, drained, marinade reserved (see below)
3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
2 Tbs. drained capers
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. fresh tarragon leaves, coarsely chopped


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Heat the oil in an 8-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium heat. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside. if the pan is dry, add a little more oil.

Season the chicken lightly on all sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides, about 12 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Turn the heat down to medium low. Pour off all but 1 Tbs. fat from the pot and then add the leek and garlic. cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the reserved marinade and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid thickens, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, season lightly with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Arrange the chicken in the pot skin side up, return to a boil, and transfer the pot to the oven to braise, uncovered, until the chicken cooks through, about 25 minutes.

Take the pot out of the oven. Turn the broiler on high. Transfer the chicken, skin side up, to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Simmer the sauce in the pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by about half, about 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the capers and peaches; cook until heated through. Stir in the butter until it melts, then stir in 1 Tbs. of the tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, broil the chicken until the skin is crisp, about 3 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pot or transfer it to a large platter and spoon the sauce over it. garnish with the prosciutto and the remaining tarragon leaves, and serve.

Recipe:  Sherry Vinegar and Rosemary Marinated Peaches
Fine Cooking, July, 2015


3 medium ripe peaches, pitted and sliced, diced, or cut into wedges
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-1/2 Tbs. spiced dark rum (optional)
2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
1-1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch granulated sugar


Gently combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and let marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes and up to 24 hours. After marinating, you can refrigerate the peaches for up to 1 day.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mix 'n Match

Tabbouleh salad is one of my favorite summer salads.  It is crisp and fresh, and the lemon juice and mint add a nice little twist of flavor.  Tabbouleh is a great side dish, but can it stand alone?

Therein lies the question. Can tabbouleh salad be reworked so that it becomes more than a Meatless Monday side dish?

The answer is a resounding yes!  YES!

My version of  tabbouleh salad as a main dish is honed from combining all my favorite ingredients into one mega delicious summer salad.

Let's go.

Recipe:  Main Course Tabbouleh Salad
Loosely adapted from Ina Garten


1 1/2 cups boiling chicken stock, homemade if you have it
1 cup bulgur wheat
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
Olive oil
Kosher salt
1 whole (2 split) chicken breast, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (2 bunches)
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and medium-diced
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
8 ounces diced feta cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a heat-proof bowl, pour the boiling chicken stock over the bulgur wheat. Add the lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the bulgur to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Place the chicken breast on a baking sheet and rub it with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Remove the chicken meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into medium dice and add to the tabbouleh. Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, feta, olives, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Season, to taste, and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. The flavors will improve as it sits.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Peachy Keen

I'm baaaaack. Yes. It's true.  I'm back and I'm blogging.

It's summer and  the living is easy.  The produce is delicious.  The fruit is as sweet as candy, and as a result I'm all about the fruit dessert.

I've got my CSA going again this summer, and last week's bounty included a couple of delectable peaches.  Sweet, juicy, and ripe -- and quick to spoil.  What better than a crisp to use up the last of the peaches before it's too late?

I knew you'd agree.
Crisp topping, peaches, and raspberries. What could be better?
This is one of my favorite Ina Garten summertime recipes.  It's easy and fairly quick -- if you don't count the whole skinning the peaches thing -- and guaranteed to be a real homer.  Scoop a little vanilla ice cream on top and you've got yourself a grand slam!

Recipe:  Peach Raspberry Crisp
Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999


4 to 5 pounds firm, ripe peaches (10 to 12 large peaches)
1 orange, zested
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups plus 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pint raspberries
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the inside of a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish.

Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place them in cold water. Peel the peaches and slice them into thick wedges and place them into a large bowl. Add the orange zest, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the raspberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour. Pour the peaches into the baking dish and gently smooth the top.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of the peaches and raspberries. Bake for 1 hour, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator and reheat in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until warm.