So lambs, I did cook this week but nothing really tickled our tongues like last week. We did have one great success with these Truffled Roasted Potatoes, which were outstanding, knock-out, five stars, high-five giving potatoes. Otherwise, I’ll keep trying this week and next. It’s going to be a little quiet the next few days since it’s David’s birthday weekend and that means, food, friends and birthday outings! Happy birthday honey! Xoxo.
Bucatini all’Amatriciana, try saying that three times fast or if you are me, at all. I’m going to go ahead and tell you right now that Bon Appetit is batting a thousand in our house this week as this was also an Emily and David favorite, hands down.
Still with me or have you gone to the store to get the ingredients? Good.
I looked up the translation of this dish and of course the first link that comes up on Google is from none other than the Italian Chef god, Croc wearing and super gentle Mario Batali from the Babbo restaurant website. Let’s all gather around and see what they have to say:
This dish is one of the most celebrated in Italian cuisine and a favorite here at Babbo. Named for the tiny town of Amatrice, located 100 miles east of Lazio from Abruzzo this dish can be made both with or without tomatoes. Ever since Abbruzzese shepherds begin the tradition of eating this spicy pasta after a day in the chilly mountain air, the cooking process has always begun with the rich smell of a fatty piece of pork bubbling in the pan. At Babbo, we use our homemade guanciale, or cured pig jowls, with its distinct pork flavor, to achieve the same rich taste that comforted the shepherds of old.
If you count shepherding around a lot of pie plates, Crimps, bags, ties, labels and then cooking in the kitchen for hours, I was one tired shepherd last night. I decided to prep the sauce before I left and then came home to boil the spaghetti. I simply combined the drained spaghetti with the sauce and dinner was d.o.n.e. We ate this with abandon. Like there was no tomorrow and this was our last meal. OK, a little dramatic. But we did slurp this and both went back for seconds. So rustic, so deep in flavor, so simple and so authentically Italian. Make this, now, no, no, go on, go to the store. I want to hear your reviews after you’ve tried it for yourself!
I adore Richard Blais and don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy he won Top Chef All-Stars, and yes I might have had something in my eye when he won…sniffle! However, Chef Tre Wilcox is now Top Chef (besides me…hahhhahahahaha, I made a funny) in this house with his Spice-Rubbed Chicken Thighs. Bless. Wow this was phenomenal and has earned a spot as an Emily and David favorite. Yep, I don’t need to say much else do I?
The recipe is a little bit of work with a long recipe list but it works. I think if you served this at a dinner party you might get fist bumps and hugs. The sauce on this is sweet, tangy with just a hint of spice. And with it smothered all over the chicken thighs with their awesome rub..bless.
David made this killer side of Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Chive Pesto from Bon Appetit. This complemented the chicken dish quite well with both using chive and parsley. YUMMY David! So we didn’t have to wait, we roasted the potatoes at the 325 degree temperature that the chicken recipe called for but just for a bit longer. Easy, breezy lambs!
Every year there is an annual event amongst the friends called FriendsEaster. A time to get together to eat great food, drink good wine and most importantly be amongst amazing friends. I experienced my first one last year at our friends Carrie and Justin’s casa. Since they just got married (congrats lambs!) holding it at their house was not very ideal so we decided to hold it at Casa Kealey instead. I have to admit I was a little nervous given that’s a three-year tradition and I wanted to ensure the entree (the hosts’ responsibility) was delicious. Thank goodness the cover of Saveur looked amazing with this simple lamb and potatoes dish or as it’s traditionally called, Cosciotto di Agnello con Patate.I couldn’t say that if my life depended on it.
Given that we had a lot of cleaning up to do in the house, I was more than grateful that I chose a very easy lamb dish to prepare. Make the delicious, herbacious, spicy paste, schmear it on the lambs (we had two legs) peel and cut some potatoes and you are good to go for a few hours! The lamb came out perfectly cooked but I did have to roast the potatoes in the rendered fat (here’s your drool cup) for a bit longer than what the recipe called for; about 30 more minutes. I got some great reviews all around! One of our friends mentioned she was not a fan of lamb but gave this a try and she really liked it! YAY! This would be beautiful for an Easter dinner and if you’ve got four or five other dishes to make – I can guarantee it will be a stunner without a ton of work.
I also made these delectable Dry-Cured Olives with Rosemary and Orange for a quick appetizer option. Once again, simple, delicious and quick. I’m actually eating the leftover olives right now and they are still yummy. I could see these being beautiful in a simple Salad Nicoise as well.
Not surprisingly, everyone brought their A-game with the food. We had roasted asparagus; broccoli and bacon salad; roasted jalapenos stuffed with bacon and cream cheese; stuffed avocados; a delicious salmon, cream cheese and caper spread; spinach and artichoke dip; buttermilk pie – one of my favorites – from The Pie Society and lots of great wine including my new love (it’s $14!!!!) called Gundlach Bundschu. You can get it Whole Foods Market right now. In fact you should do it now, because if I’m near there today I’m going to buy the whole lot.
Here are some pics of us from what turned out to be a lovely FriendsEaster.
To the Bon Appetit test kitchen or actually, the new team in charge, please give a big, fat raise to your staff because the peeps in charge of the At The Market section have nailed it yet again. Y’all are batting a thousand in our household let me tell you.
This dish is super French inspired and contains delicious butter, so naturally I was doing my best Julia Child (in my head) while making this dish. Let me backtrack by saying we had what was an incredibly great but busy day for the little pie company that could, and I was super wiped out when I got home. It was bad y’all, I suggested ordering a pizza…Somehow, I think with a little vino encouragement, I got up and carried on *fist shake*! “Carried on” may not be the correct term (I’m so dramatic :)), as this took no time to make. I didn’t have white wine (that’s odd for this house) so I deglazed with a bit of lemon juice and sherry vinegar. I LOVED this. That sauce. Gosh, that sauce. With the bitter tarragon, mustard, butter and broth it just sung on top of the sauteed chicken and radishes that had turned a little sweet from being sauteed as well.
I served this with a side of Carrots with Caramelized Ginger. This is a super simple side that worked beautifully with the chicken dish! I think I might make this my go-to side dish if I’m stumped and need something quick. Delicious!
Pull out the apron, have a glass of French wine, wield your stick of butter and channel your best Julia Child – you are going to love this for sure.
Tuesdays are my late night in the kitchen, but I still find it very important that we get a good meal on the table. Before I left to bake, I mis en placed (yes that’s a word…) all of the ingredients for this Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chilefrom Bon Appetit. So, I combined the soy sauce, dry sherry and cornstarch; trimmed the asparagus, minced the red jalapeno chile and garlic; and finally, combined oyster sauce, honey and remaining soy sauce.
I’m so happy I did this prior to leaving because when I got home this was done in about 10 minutes. I was a little worried that this might too heavy given it’s a little hot outside, but actually it was really light and refreshing. The flavors were delicious and it had a great spicy zing.
If you want a SUPER quick meal that’s delicious, light and spicy make this tonight!
So lambs, it’s a quiet week, a little too quiet if you ask me. Since there is some time to take a breather, this means I can get back in the kitchen and cook my little heart out. In fact, I’m sitting in our newly cleaned and organized kitchen right now. Sweet.
Below is what we are having this week and last night we had this Soba Noodle Salad with Salmon and Asparagus, or as I called it, “Health on a Plate.” Full of good for you salmon, avocado, spinach, ginger, asparagus and buckwheat noodles and it was still flavorful to boot. It was absolutely delicious and much needed after a wedding filled weekend full of gorging on fabulous food and beverages! Huge congrats toour gentle friends Justin and Carrie on a beautiful wedding and here’s to a lifetime of happiness together.
So I had to share this photo of me with my new favorite t-shirt ever. Yes, it’s a brontosaurus eating tree leaves that says “Nom Nom Nom.” Thanks to my friend Kari for an awesome t-shirt. You know, it’s the little things that make me a happy panda, er, brontosaurus.
Speaking of nom nom noming, this Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings recipe from Everyday Food magazine was spectacular. I love dumplings. I grew up eating my Mimi’s chicken and dumplings dish when I was little – my gosh she made the best I’ve ever tasted! I’ll have to share the recipe with you someday won’t I?
This dish had tons of flavor with a wonderful blend of carrots, celery, green onions, green bell pepper, thyme, beer (!) and chicken thighs. What we couldn’t get over was the texture and taste of the sauce; it was thick, creamy and packed a delicious punch.
I pretty much followed this to a “T” but did include about a 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic with the veggies, and I threw in a pinch of cayenne pepper when I added the vinegar to give it a little spice.
This was one of David’s first experiences with dumplings and he loved them. YAY! And as he likes to state after a successful meal, “Absolutely blog worthy.” The recipe is not online so here you go lambs. As the magazine states “This stew has a zesty New Orleans feel,” well, I say let the good times roll with this one poodles, it ROCKED.
Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings, Everyday Food, April 2011 (p.114)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1 ½ pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
½ bunch scallions, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
2 celery stalks, diced medium
2 medium carrots, diced medium
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 bottles pilsner or another light-or-medium bodied lager (12 ounces each)
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 recipe Cornmeal Dumpling Dough
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons butter, scallions, bell pepper, celery, and carrots to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions and celery are soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in thyme and flour and season with salt and pepper; cook 1 minute. Return chicken to pot and whisk in beer. With your hands, roughly tear tomatoes and add to pot along with juices. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, uncovered 30 minutes. Season to taste with vinegar.
Reduce heat to a medium simmer and drop dough by rounded tablepoons on top of stew. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through 7 – 10 minutes.
Cornmeal Dumpling Dough
In a medium bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), 1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal, 1 ½ teaspoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon coarse salt. Using your fingers, work in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter until small crumbs form. Stir in ½ cup buttermilk.