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Almond Chicken Makhani


Almond butter…the reason for this recipe…so simple and so good…and really…why not make your own.  It takes hardly any time, and you can control the salt and what kind of oil and how much to add!  If you haven’t done this before…do it.  It is an interesting exercise to see what flavor you get…and how much salt is necessary for your tastes…and there are hundreds of recipes that involve some kind of nut butter.

Start with almonds, throw them into the food processor and grind away.   It will be very loud!  You might have to yell to hear yourself think!

Continue to grind, and it will begin to look mealy.  If you like your nut butter chunky…you have a couple of options.  You could grind a completely smooth batch, and then add some roughly chopped almonds, or you can grind a portion of the nuts to the consistency you want and then add whole nuts for a few more pulses of the blade.

You will need to add oil at some point, otherwise, you will have more of a nut paste.  Remember also, that the type of oil you use will have an impact on the flavor as well…so I would stay away from very strongly flavored oils, unless your goal is to make a garlic almond butter to use in savory dishes…just don’t plan on making any nut butter and jelly sandwiches.  And, salt really helps bring out the flavor of any nut butter and is overly present in many commercial varieties.

On to the task at hand.  Chicken Makhani!

If I had known that this was this easy to make…I would have saved many a take-out night when we lived in Boston.  Makhani was one of the first Indian dishes that I explored…and turns out…I loved it.  And who wouldn’t…the description on almost any Indian restaurant’s menu of ‘butter chicken‘ is pretty irresistible.  I recognize, that this is not a completely authentic makhani recipe…but the basic flavor profile is there.  I swapped out typically used cashews for almonds and yogurt for milk.  Perhaps I’ve misnamed…but it is what my mouth thought of!

Almond Chicken Makhani
recipe adapted from www.morepleasebymargie.blogspot.com

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
4 (6 oz / 170 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste

Spice Blend:
1.5 tablespoons  garam masala seasoning
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Sauce:
4 tablespoons  butter
1 large onion, cut in half pole to pole
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
⅓ cup almond butter
⅓ cup  milk
½ to ¾ cup  chicken broth or water, more as needed
1 cup frozen peas

Cook the chicken.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. If needed, cook the chicken in two batches to avoid crowding the pan.  Set aside on clean plate and keep warm.

Prepare spice blend. Stir garam masala, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Melt the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion (I sliced half the onion in strips and left the other half whole) and cook gently for several minutes to infuse the butter with onion flavor. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the butter; a little color is fine.

Add the spice blend and garlic and cook for 1 minute or till fragrant, stirring constantly.

Add the tomato sauce, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer.

Whisk in almond butter and milk until thoroughly combined with tomato sauce. The almond butter is thick so it takes a while to make a smooth sauce. Return to simmer.

Add broth or water (I used water) to sauce to reach desired consistency; return to simmer. Add more broth (or water) as needed to thin sauce as desired.

Remove onion (the half or both halves if you followed the recipe exactly) from sauce and discard. Stir frozen peas into sauce. Transfer chicken to sauce. Simmer gently for a few minutes until peas and chicken are heated through.

Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a few sliced almonds.

This was great on the table that night…and even better as leftovers the next few days.  I would make one change when making this again…as the flavors were a little heavy on the cinnamon.  Woody remarked that our kitchen smelled like a CinnaBon stand when I reheated it the following night.  It is a definite keeper,  as a recipe and a method!

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English Muffins


Every time I see a recipe for english muffins…I immediately want to drop everything, run home, and bake up a storm.  Baking probably isn’t even the right word to use…since no oven is needed.  Finally the planets aligned, I read a recipe here and had an unscheduled Saturday morning…and all of the ingredients in the pantry.  Even better, was a mention in the article that you can make the dough the night before and leave it to rise in the fridge overnight, significantly reducing the time commitment on a morning when coffee and NPR are all one can manage for the first half hour of consciousness.

English Muffins
Makes 8-12 (or more)

4 cups (1 pound, 2 ounces/500g) white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons (0.18 ounce/5g) instant yeast
2 teaspoons (0.35 ounce/10g) fine salt
1 1/3 cups warm water
A drizzle of sunflower oil, plus extra for coating
A handful of semolina flour, for coating.

1. To knead by hand: Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and water in a bowl to form a sticky dough. Add the oil, mix it in, then turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Knead until smooth and silky. Or, to use a stand mixer: Fit the dough hook and add the flour, yeast, salt and water to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until combined, then add the oil and mix for about 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.

2. Shape the dough into a round, coat with a little extra oil, and place in a clean bowl. Let rise, covered with a plastic bag, until doubled in size.  (Like I mentioned, I made the dough before going to bed, and let is rise overnight in the fridge…and woke up to a beautifully bubbly bowl of dough!)

3. Tip the dough out onto the work surface and press all over to deflate. Divide into nine pieces, shape each into a round, and flatten to 3/8 to 3/4 inch. (Dust them all over with semolina flour; this gives a lovely texture to the crust. – I forgot this step…it would have added that last bit of authenticity to the end product – oops!) Let proof on a linen cloth or wooden board, covered with a plastic bag, until doubled in size.

4. Heat a couple of large, heavy-bottomed frying pans over medium heat. Lay the muffins in the pans and cook for a minute or so, then turn them over gently. Cook slowly for a further 10 minutes, turning every now and then. You may need to adjust the heat if they seem to be coloring too fast, or not fast enough.  Let cook on a wire rack.

*From “The River Cottage Bread Handbook,” by Daniel Stevens.*

I was not able to wait until a few were done before I tried them…so…I can attest, that they are really good straight out of the pan…just plain as can be and toasty warm.  Their scrumptiousness was only increased with the addition of butter and raspberry preserves.

Again, the whole love of cooking eggs thing came up…and I decided Woody would enjoy a breakfast sandwich that included a fried egg, melty cheese, fresh tomatoes and a few well-placed dots of sriracha for some heat.

These were incredibly simple to make, require very little attention once they are in the skillet, are obviously versatile, don’t heat up your kitchen ’cause you don’t need your oven, keep well for a couple of days, and the taste is hardly even in the same time zone as those that come from the stores of your local chain grocery store.

Take 10 minutes before you head to bed this next weekend, make the dough…and wake up to fresh, warm, toasty and soft homemade english muffins!

Leftover Sunny Side Up Egg…it’s not what you think…


I think I mentioned I love cooking eggs…especially in ways that I don’t like eating them.  Leftovers from the previous night’s dinner always allow me to throw something together for Woody in the morning.  He added a little sriracha and had a unique and tasty breakfast.  I had coffee.

Sous Vide Wild White Salmon with Asparagus & Israeli Couscous


We splurged.  We couldn’t resist.  And with our sous vide set-up…we knew we would not be disappointed with the results.  It’s like purchasing a really expensive bottle of wine with a complete guarantee that when you choose to open the bottle…it will be perfectly aged…no matter how many cross-country U-Haul moves, heat waves, cold spells, jostling and climate changes it survives.  Guaranteed.  That is what our sous vide has done for our cooking.  Given us the confidence to purchase wonderful, (expensive), amazing ingredients knowing that we won’t can’t screw it up.

Who are we to say “no” to the nice woman at the Fish Truck at the Saturday farmer’s market, when she tells us she has a beautiful WILD WHITE KING SALMON!  I haven’t seen one of these since I lived in Wrangell, AK.  Now…I know what you’re thinking…”uhhhhh…that salmon looks pretty pink to me…not a lot of white going on there.”  Here is where you’re wrong…it may not be completely white like halibut, but it is much paler than true wild salmon, and there are always variations.   White king salmon, sometimes called an ivory king is a rarity…something like 1 in every 100 king salmon are white fleshed.  Way back in ole ancient times…I mean…probably more like a couple of decades ago…white kings were cast aside or sold for much cheaper than the typical dark and richly colored king salmon and namesake of many a paint color.  Now they are highly desirable and the price reflects the demand and rarity.

I had always believed and been told that the paler flesh of the white salmon was due to a difference in diet – but apparently, many scientists disagree and think it must be a genetic difference.  The theory on the diet is that white salmon fed on squid and fish as oppose to krill.   Salmon generally feed on shrimp and crabs which contain high levels of carotenoids, or natural pigments found in plants and animals, and include beta-carotene, therefore giving them a darker coloring.  Whatever the reason…I think the fish is delectable.

Our menu included Israeli couscous, very skinny asparagus, and a Meyer lemon butter emulsion…oh, and of course the wild white king salmon prepared sous vide.  First step was to brine the fish for a short while.  we covered each salmon filet in kosher salt for 5-10 minutes.  During the cooking process, albumin can leach out of the fish.  This is a white stuff that can accumulate during poaching or baking.  Cooking sous vide, in a sealed environment, the albumin can become a little unsightly as there is no where for it to go.  However, be careful with how long you brine as it does weaken the cell walls and can turn a nice firm piece of fish very mushy if left for too long, or brined in a solution with very high salinity.

Woody’s new favorite = Israeli couscous.  After a quick search, its namesake is more from shape than from ingredients and it is more similar to orzo pasta than the typical semolina couscous used frequently in north African recipes and regional dishes.   I love it as a versatile side dish.

Although it is the complete off-season for citrus, we are still pulling the last of our Meyer lemons off of our tree in the front yard.  In preparation for the butter emulsion sauce…zest a lemon.  You’ll use the lemon zest in the sous vide packets with the salmon as well.

I’m a believer in staying organized while you cook…which doesn’t always include staying ahead of the dirty dishes piling up in the sink.  But some would say it is more important to stay ahead of the dishes on your stove and in your oven.  Dishes in the sink can wait – sorry Woody.  He is my whirlwind sous-chef-cleaning-machine.  Sometimes, I will slice up half an onion, turn around to add it to the pan, turn back around, and the other half has already been wrapped up and placed in the fridge.  So…he gets appropriately annoyed when I’ve been cooking up a storm…and it looks like a tornado came through the kitchen and pulled out 80% of our dishes, utensils and tools, smeared them with batter, sauce, crumbs and grease and strewn them around the kitchen haphazardly.  (thanks for being there to clean up after me husband)

Prep your onion for the couscous, a fine dice will do nicely.

Once you have brined the salmon, rinse off all the salt and then pat them dry.  Slide them into the plastic bag for the vacuum-sealing, sprinkle in some lemon zest and add a pat of cold butter.

We use the dry vacuum and seal button on our vacuum-sealer.  We’ve only had a few minor disasters when trying to seal foods to sous vide.  One may have included spilling marinating liquid from a cow tongue all over our dog Cleo – who was confounded as to why the intoxicating smell of meat juice followed her wherever she went for at least the next 12 hours – despite our best effort to clean her up.  Note to self:  don’t vacuum seal when there is a whole bunch of liquid that could get sucked out…and therefore flood your kitchen counter…or alternatively…be ready with a large roll of paper towels.

Begin sweating your onions…no color on these guys, add a little salt as well.

The asparagus were SOOOO skinny I almost felt as if we could cook them enough by waving them over the top of a steamy pan…but instead we tossed them in a pan of shallow salted water for 2 minutes…maybe 3 at the most.

And then immediately into an ice bath to shock them and stop the cooking process.   Set them aside.

Since the bags used to sous vide can sometimes leave a “seam” where the sides come together around the edge of the protein being cooked, I decided to top the fish with a panko breadcrumb crust.  How can pouring butter over crunchy dried breadcrumbs with herbs (dill) and salt and pepper be a bad thing?  I dare you to try to answer that one.  I double-dare you even.

Melt butter…

Add panko, chopped dill, sprinkle with salt and pepper…

And stir…

Back to the couscous, once the onions have sweat, pour in the couscous and stir to coat…even letting them brown up just a *bit*.  This helps develop the flavor and the starch.

Then pour in 2 cups of boiling water, cover, turn the heat down to low and simmer…I think it took between 10-15 minutes…but check the box for specific instructions.

Here’s the set-up.  Thermal immersion circulator in upper left, and the bin is from a restaurant supply store.  The circulator gets clamped on the side and we fill the water bath with distilled water to avoid any buildup of minerals on the equipment.

We had the temperature set at 60º C which is 140º F, and we put the fish in for approximately 20 minutes.

The thermal immersion circulator is very precise, we check it with an instant read thermometer and make any adjustments using the dial on the upper left (-1 to +1) for calibration.  It is constantly flicking it’s heating element on and off to regulate the temperature of the water without the temperature fluctuating more than a degree.

The timer beeps, and the couscous is ready, a quick stir, a touch of salt, and it is ready to be plated…almost.

I envisioned asparagus spears on the plate…Woody envisioned mini-asparagus rounds tossed in with the couscous…we compromised.  I trimmed the bottom third off of the asparagus spears and made lovely mini-cuts.

And saved the tips of the spears for the plate.

Oh…how could I almost forget the butter emulsion sauce.  My dad has been overheard saying, “This sauce alone, was worth the price of cooking school.”  Super simple…and I almost hesitate to share and let the secret out…ummm…I’m having second thoughts.  Okay…I can’t give it up yet.  But I can list ingredients, right…?  That won’t betray the secret of the sauce…right?  Ingredients: water, cold butter, lemon zest, a little lemon juice, salt and pepper, herbs (if wanted)…hint:  it’s an emulsion.

It is amazing…I’ll do some deep personal growth and see if I have the capability of sharing the method in a future post.  What?  I’ve got to hold onto a little mystery.

Once the fish is done, remove the bags from the water bath and cut the tops off.  Carefully remove them from the bag and place them on a rack, straight onto the plate, into a hot pan to sear the sides, or a cutting board if you’ll be slicing it.  Remember, we are adding a delicious crust of panko and dill, so we placed the filets on a sheet pan with a drying rack on it.

Admire the delicious beauty…

Gently smush the topping onto the fish.

Now pull out your blowtorch.  Yep…blowtorch…is there a problem?  You should get one of these for your kitchen…especially if you sous vide.  And go to the hardware store…not a fancy-shmancy cooking and entertaining store – which are great…but those mini culinary torches…are well, mini…and you could be another couple of years older by the time you’ve completed the job.

Dish below has been torched, plated, sauce ladled, and asparagus posed.

We tried one other method of browning the crust, using the broiler.  It worked better than the torch for this particular job…it brought out the butter and nicely toasted the crumbs with less singeing.

Texturally, it was amazing…and unfortunately I have no photos after we began eating…it disappeared quickly.  The light dill flavor with the skinny asparagus and couscous…I would like it again for dinner tonight, please!

We finished the meal with some fresh raspberries that needed nothing else.

Cleo enjoyed the meal in her own way as well – salmon skin.  It went down in one gulp.

With lots of summer evening light left, we played a few rounds of cribbage and finished off the wine.

I’m pretty sure I won, but Woody won the last game we played…so he can’t feel too bad.

Hey Ma…Look at me!


Okay…this is a little bit of tooting my own horn…but when you’re excited sometimes you just have to share that excitement with other people.  So…this whole blogging thing has been a fun new adventure…and actually is still pretty new, but I’m really enjoying it.  I read a lot of other food blogs and always enjoy seeing what they’re cooking, what they are inspired by, what they are eating, what’s at their farmer’s markets, and all of their stories that are their life…in food.  I’ve also really enjoyed seeing the number of people visiting my blog creeping up a little over the last 6 months…it’s exciting to know that 24 people looked at your little website all in the space of one day – even if most of my readers are related to me…and perhaps feel some sort of supportive compulsion to stop by and see what I’ve been cooking.  I’m rambling.  Really what I’m getting at…is it’s nice to be recognized…and maybe it’s not the first…but it is the first I know about…someone has purposefully placed a link to one of my blog posts in their own blog post…which includes a photo of one of my dishes dish – seriously!

You can see it for your very own self right here.

Also, I’ve been submitting photos to Tastespotting and a few have been published, and many rejected…but i appreciate the feedback on my photography and it’s my favorite site to visit for inspiration of what could be on my plate in the next week.  You can specifically find my photos on the site here

Enough, enough…I know.  But I have been having a lot of fun blogging…and it’s nice to know others are enjoying my blog, my recipes, my photos, and maybe even my writing.

Thanks for reading…and sticking around for what’s up next!

Dilled Zucchini Soup with Chicken Sausage


I know you have zucchini and summer squash.  How do I know this?  Because it is the middle of July and you’ve probably planted at least 1 (if not 3) zucchini plants and maybe a summer squash and a few patty pans…?  You watered these plants…and hoped for the perfect amount of sunshine and warmth.  Maybe you were busy for a few days or away for a weekend…and then all of a sudden…unbeknownst to you…your plants have taken over your entire garden…your entire yard…and are pondering what kind of defenses you might have around the house.  You’re also concerned you may have been watering the garden with some kind of superfood…as those zucchini that, last time you looked, were cute and just about ready to pick at 6 inches long…they have now swelled to be somewhere between enormous and unreasonably long and are almost the size of your thigh.  Don’t worry…this happens every summer.  Now you must put these zucchini back in their place…you must use them in all manner and let them know that you’re watching.  You’re keeping your eyes on those zucchini…boundaries have been set.  It’s time to cook.

Unfortunately we didn’t get any zucchini plants of our own in this year…but I can’t resist buying them at every farmer’s market I visit.  Zucchini is summer to me.  My dad used to find 18 ways to use up all of our garden zucchini…and I like every one of them.  Zucchini bread, zucchini sautéed with herbs, zucchini pancakes, grated zucchini, zucchini fritters…the list goes on…and reminds me I’ve got a lot of cooking to do this summer. We needed to use our zucchini and summer squash and decided on a soup…which I promised Woody would be quick…(it’s never as quick as I say it will be – but don’t tell Woody that).

Start with onions (that’s pretty much a rule…start with onions).  Sauté in butter.  We had found these amazing tiny little marble sized potatoes that unfortunately were just a bit past their prime needed to be used.  (Dear Kitchen, please stop making our potatoes sprout within one day of purchase when we store them in a dark cupboard! – any thoughts/ideas/helpful hints/secret passwords are much appreciated)

We boiled the potatoes for 5 minutes…just so they were par-cooked and wouldn’t have to boil in the soup forever.  I threw in some garlic (actually a lot of garlic) and all the sliced and diced zucchini and summer squash we had in the house and some fresh dill.  I let these heat through…tossed ’em around a bit, seasoned with salt and pepper and then added some water.  I can hear you gasp…”‘water…?  why not broth…?”  I wanted a cleaner flavor, and broth can sometimes take a very light and pure vegetable flavor and bring it down.  Make it feel like a winter soup, heavy and hearty.  And water is just one of those ingredients you’ll never run out of.

Once everything was sufficiently simmered…the immersion blender (quite possibly my favorite kitchen appliance) comes out…and…POOF!  You made soup.  When blending, follow a few simple guidelines.  First, remove your pan from the heat.  Second, make sure there is enough substance to cover the small holes surrounding the blade protector – otherwise, all the time you saved making soup will be spent wiping down every known surface in a 6 foot radius of your soup pot…pour into a smaller pot if necessary.  Third, blend, blend and blend some more…unless you want it chunky – then don’t blend as much.  I love soups that are incredibly smooth and if you plan on enjoying this soup cold…a chunky cold soup can seem wrong.  Fourth, you may need to thin the mixture to get the consistency right…add slowly…as taking liquid out is impossible at this stage.

Now is the time to taste as well…make sure your seasonings are right.  Taste and taste again.  I also added a dash of cream…just for mouth feel really.  And I can’t resist making pretty designs in the soup.

We happened to have some slightly sweet chicken sausages, so we browned them up, sliced them, laid them in a bowl, poured the soup around and POOF!  Dinner.  I garnished with a little fresh dill and some finely diced red bell pepper.

Pretty good for not having planned dinner that night.  This soup is amazing the next day served cold.  I only wish I had had some fresh lump crab meat to pile on or maybe a seared scallop…or even perhaps a ball of fresh mozzarella with a drizzle of olive oil.

Savory Pecan Cream with Chicken & Egg Noodles


The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

*Important*  The following recipe does not include any cream, milk, or half and half, despite appearances and taste…no cows were involved in the making of this dish.  (I know…it’s hard to believe – since I love the stuff and rarely abstain from a little pour, a touch of cream, a dollop of dairy.)

I was intrigued with the challenge this month and was excited to try a couple of the recipes…unfortunately…somehow July has been a challenging month to find the time.  I was able to complete the challenge on time…but getting a post written is often times the greater challenge.

Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms

Ingredients:

Pecan Cream:
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans*, toasted
1 cup water
¾ teaspoon salt, more as needed

½ pound egg noodles or pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon olive oil, more as needed
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauce:
1 tablespoon deglazing liquid (water, broth, wine; optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil, more as needed
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Chopped pecans – optional garnish

First, toast up your pecans to deepen the flavor – put them in a dry skillet over medium heat and give the pan a shake every so often.  Make sure just to toast – not burn…and this burning I speak of can happen quite fast…so no walking away from the stove and forgetting about what is going on.

Next, prepare the pecan cream. Grind pecans in a food processor for about a minute or so until smooth, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Add water and 3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) salt; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Set aside pecan cream.

Yummm….delicious nutty cream (sans cream).

Pound chicken to 1/2 inch thickness to promote even cooking.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste.  Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil and a little butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the chicken; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.  Set aside cooked chicken on a clean plate, cover to keep warm.

Chop the shallots and slice the mushrooms.

Add deglazing liquid to pan if using and stir up any browned bits – these are my favorite part.  The browned bits.  If needed, add another teaspoon of oil (or more) to pan for sautéing the shallots and mushrooms.

Sauté the shallots and mushrooms over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and starting to brown.

I am drooling…I love mushrooms…especially when combined with butter and some kind of oniony thing.

Add fresh thyme to the pan.

Stir in pecan cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 minutes till reduced slightly.

Slice the chicken breast, place atop egg noodles and ladle the pecan cream over the top.  I finished the dish with some microgreens!

One would SWEAR that there are LOADS of cream, heavy cream, whipping cream…in this dish…but alas there is NONE!  This will definitely be a keeper for those times when we’re entertaining any lactose intolerant guests.  Also…it was just good.  The sauce keeps a bit of the graininess from the chopped pecans and is rich and decadent.  Be careful not to over-salt the pecan cream…it’s hard to fix that one.

Lunch…at home…Chicken Salad on Arugula


Best. Idea. Ever.

Summer is a time for letting things take a little longer…lounging for that extra half hour…rolling into work a few minutes late…(while, of course, not letting any deadlines slip by….or ignoring obligations…of course).  My coworker announced the other day that we would be enjoying our lunch hour at my house – not at our desks as usual.  I live close by…time-wise, it works…and it’s a significant mental break from the office and all the work that needs to get accomplished this summer.

I hadn’t brought a lunch with me that day…so it worked out perfectly.  I secretly may have been blaming my morning time crunch for not bringing leftovers…but leftovers can be a little scary sometimes.  I’m working on it.  So…on the menu…leftovers.

It was a chicken salad which I had quickly made with half a sliced chicken breast from a dinner that week.  I tossed in some chopped red bell pepper, some dill, salt and pepper and poof – delicious work day lunch.

I should really do this more often.

Dinner Last Week…Caprese and Sautéed Squash


Our first caprese of the summer…it’s the beginning.  The tomatoes still have a little way to go.  Ya know, before they are irresistible, and smell almost better than they taste…and you can’t help but think of 10 million different ideas of how to use them.  We bulked out the plate with some sautéed summer squash…also my favorite.  Slice thinly, add a little butter of olive oil into a hot pan, toss them in, brown them up and then add in just a bit of dill…or summer savory…or basil and oregano…or anything.

Eaten on the deck…it was a perfect summer dinner!

Fresh Corn and Basil Salad with Black Beans


I love summer.  I love food in summer.  With June Gloom…it’s difficult to get that true summer feeling.  Salads like this help.  I love all things in this salad.  Fresh corn cut off the cob, diced red onion, black beans, basil chiffonade and topped with a few diced tomatoes.  I threw this together for a midday work barbecue today and I can’t wait to get some on my plate.

Fresh Corn and Basil Salad with Black Beans

6 ears fresh corn shucked
I small red onion, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Fresh basil
3 tbsp. Cider Vinegar
3 tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 a lime – squeezed
salt and pepper

Place shucked corn ears into salted boiling water for 3 minutes…just to cook out the starch a bit.

Remove from boiling water and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking, when cool, remove and pat dry.  Cut kernels off of the cob, holding the ear vertical, and cutting as close to the cob as you can without getting too much of the pith.

Throw corn, diced onions and black beans in a bowl and mix.  Add in vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Make sure to taste along the way to get the seasoning right.  If you will be serving it cold (from the refrigerator) season a little more heavily.

Right before serving, chiffonade the basil, and toss in.  I topped it with a few seeded and diced tomatoes for a little punch of color.

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