Saturday, July 30, 2011

In our kitchen

Most weeks our menu is built around the same basic meals for the season. And, to keep the natives happy, Friday is almost always pizza night. This week was a bit more eventful & I want to keep my links here to reference, so that they don't end up like the fresh corn salad from last summer that I now can't find or recreate.

Kale Chips: Reason #241 to love our local Youth Garden. A & S joined their Water Week camp, that culminated with a river trip. Another highlight was their request to recreate the kale chips they made with a sun oven there. At the farmer's market we were told the key is massaging the oil well into the kale, a job perfect for the boys. Since we had to use a boring old oven, we used Smitten Kitchen's simple recipe and they turned out crispy and salty.

We had friends over Tuesday night, which gave us an excuse to make Chicken Bruschetta with corn on the cob, asparagus and a big salad. I tried a new dressing from Mad Hungry:

Rose's Vinaigrette by Lucinda Scala Quinn

1 Tbsp minced shallot or garlic
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (I used balsamic instead)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In the bottom of a clean jar, mash the first six ingredients. Then add vinegar, lemon juice and oil. Cover tightly and shake well to emulsify. Add salt & pepper to taste. She notes that you can store it in the fridge for up to six months. It makes about one cup, so we've been enjoying it all week.

We went on a short camping trip so I packed some chicken in a ziplock with this marinade from Julia's Healthy Italian Cooking, a big batch of breakfast bars, and my pasta salad. Christy brought the pistachios that I think should now be added to our camping essentials list.

I didn't know how to cook when we got married; Brian was the cook. I had planned to keep it that way, but during our Peace Corps days, I got home from work a good hour before him. So starting our fire and dinner became my job. Nothing like having few ingredients and tools (just a stove top, no oven for example) to lower the bar enough to make me enjoy cooking. I had received a small Mary Engelbreit book in the mail there, which included a version of this recipe. It was a revelation once we were home to add real feta and fresh lemon juice. Now it's a stable part of our summer table.

DOK's Rotini Salad
1 lb cooked rotini pasta mixed with 2 dozen cherry tomatoes, halved; a can of large olives, also halved; one cucumber, peeled and chopped; 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced; green onions, chopped; radishes, thin shavings; 8 ounces of feta cheese; 1 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Mix 3/4 cup of olive oil with at least 5 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/4 tsp oregano. Blend well and pour over pasta salad. Add salt to taste.

But you can guess what was the biggest hit at the camp site...

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