Fresh Ginger Ice Cream

Fresh Ginger Ice Cream

Happy Thursday, all! I know my posting has been a bit sporadic lately, and well, it’s not going to get much better in the very near future. Basically today, I’m popping in to tell you I’m popping right back out for a week and a half. It’s vacation time for Matt and me, and we’ve decided to really go off the grid, old-school style.

Fresh Ginger Ice Cream

This is partly our deliberate choice, but the choice was partly made for us because we’re staying on a fairly remote Caribbean island that is, according to TripAdvisor reviewers, predictable for having spotty and quite unpredictable Wi-Fi access. It seems that these days, most people who take a trip or vacation ending up taking social media and blogs with them – I’ve certainly done it. But not this trip, we (and the little island) decided. So, the blog will be very quiet for the next week and a half, but I will still see and read (and very much appreciate!) any comments you make.

ginger for ice cream

In the meantime, I will leave you with this delicious, creamy, spicy ice cream. Ginger can be an acquired taste, I know it was for me, and I still struggle a bit with crystallized ginger – it’s not my favorite. I also usually pass on the pickled ginger that comes with your sushi. I do use both fresh and ground ginger in my cooking, but there it’s usually one flavor of many and doesn’t stick out. It sticks out here. I was a tad apprehensive about using the ginger so prominently, but yeah. It really works. It’s so balanced – just the right amount of pungency and bite. Oh, and it’s *spectacular* with a glass of chilled, white dessert wine, if you so desire.

fresh ginger ice cream

I hope y’all will enjoy it. And have a wonderful week, I’ll see you again in May!

Fresh Ginger Ice Cream

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:
3 oz. unpeeled fresh ginger
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
5 large egg yolks

Directions:
Cut the ginger in half lengthwise, then cut into thin slices across. Place the ginger in a medium, nonreactive saucepan. Add enough water to cover the ginger by about ½ an inch and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain, discarding the liquid.
Return the blanched ginger slices to the saucepan. Add the milk, 1 cup cream, sugar, and salt. Warm the mixture, but do not bring to a boil – you just want to see bubbles forming on the edges, then shut off the heat. Cover the pan and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Rewarm the mixture – again, just until scalding, where you see bubbles just beginning to form at the edges. Remove the ginger slices with a slotted spoon and discard. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl with a fine-mesh strainer set on top.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour about ½ cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Now slowly pour the tempered egg yolks into the remaining warm milk mixture in the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium-low heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom of the pot as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. This takes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the custard through the strainer into the large bowl with the heavy cream. Stir to combine, then cool to room temperature. You can speed this process with an ice bath. Make sure you stir at somewhat frequent intervals as it’s cooling, otherwise it will develop a skin on top.
Once cooled to room temperature, chill the custard thoroughly in the refrigerator, at least 4 hours. Then churn it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer it to a freezer-safe container and let it firm up in the freezer about 2 hours before serving.

Creamy Shrimp Dip with Elevated Saltines

Creamy Shrimp Dip with Elevated Saltines

Welcome to another Secret Recipe Club reveal day!! This month I was assigned The Kitchen Witch, a lovely food blog run by Rhonda. Rhonda is a beautiful straight-shooter, motorcycle-riding gal who has “retired” to Montana from a distinguished military career. She’s also a wife, mom, grandma, dog mom, professional photographer, freelance writer, and a master gardener. When do you sleep, Rhonda??!

spiced saltine crackers

spiced saltine crackers

I’ve been craving dips lately, and fortunately Rhonda’s blog can easily come to my rescue, offering tempting goodness like Garam Masala and Preserved Lemon Hummus, and Green Onion and Dill Dip. But, seeing as I have an extreme weakness for creamy seafood dips, yet for some strange reason have never shared one on the blog, my decision became an easy one.

Creamy Shrimp Dip with Elevated Saltines

I was quite impressed with this family recipe of Rhonda’s. Quite. The saltines are what makes the whole thing, but not to neglect the shrimp dip – it was everything you want it to be. Crab would make a lovely substitute too, I think. I have to admit, I didn’t let the crackers sit in their little bath as long as the recipe instructs – I was too impatient and running short on time, but I did marinate them for about 5 hours, and it was perfectly delicious that way.

Creamy Shrimp Dip with Elevated Saltines

Be sure you check out The Kitchen Witch! And please do try this recipe, it’s a wonderful little appetizer.

Creamy Shrimp Dip with Elevated Saltines

Source: slightly adapted from The Kitchen Witch (both the Dip and the Saltines)

Ingredients:

SALTINES:
1 1/3 cup canola oil
1 pkg Ranch mix
3 tsp crushed red pepper
3 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp dried thyme
3 sleeves saltine crackers

DIP:
8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
8 oz sour cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 green onions
2 (4 oz) cans tiny shrimp, drained and rinsed well
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
First make the crackers. In a medium bowl or 2-cup measuring cup, combine the oil, Ranch seasoning mix, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and dried thyme. Whisk thoroughly and make sure it’s well combined. Arrange the saltines, standing up domino style, in a baking dish or a food storage container that will fit them in snugly. Pour the oil and spice mixture over all. Close the container with a tight-fitting lid and store at room temperature for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 24 hours. If you can, flip the crackers halfway through (though I must confess to skipping this step and it was fine).
Just before you plan to serve, make the dip. Add the cream cheese, sour cream and lemon juice to the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed (that lemon juice can really splatter!) until the mixture is smooth. Add the green onions and shrimp and mix about 1 minute more on medium low to medium speed. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately with the saltines.


Cat Head Biscuits

Cat Head Biscuits

Everyone loves a food with a funny name, though this one may border on slightly disturbing. If one is completely unaware of what the name does signify, it’s entirely plausible to gravitate toward thinking about a biscuit quite literally made out of a cat’s head. Rest assured, this is never the case. We do not eat housecats in America, thank goodness.

Cat Head Biscuits

No, cat head biscuits are so named because they are larger-than-usual biscuits that are “the size of a cat’s head.” Also, they are typically a bit rougher on their tops, and thus someone long, long ago remarked that it looked like the top of an orange tabby cat’s head. The name stuck and here we are today.

These biscuits really are huge. I tried to demonstrate with photographic evidence that they are indeed the size of a cat’s head. Alas, Watson would NOT cooperate with posing for a picture, and this is the best I could do.

Cat Head Biscuits (plus a cat!)

Despite Watson’s insubordination, they are everything you would want a giant biscuit to be: flaky, so buttery, tons of beautiful biscuit flavor. Perfect for hogging or sharing! I hope y’all enjoy them!

Cat Head Biscuits

Source: slightly adapted from Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups cake flour
2 tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup well-chilled unsalted butter, roughly cut into ¼-inch pieces
¼ cup well-chilled unsalted butter, roughly cut into ½-inch pieces
1 ½ cups well-shaken cold buttermilk
¼ cup melted butter

Directions:
reheat your oven to 400 F.
In a large, wide bowl, gently whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Scatter the ¼-inch pieces of butter over the flour mixture, then use your fingers, two knives, or a pastry blender to work the fat into the flour until it looks like well-crumbled feta cheese. Now scatter the ½-inch pieces of butter over the fat and repeat the process. If this process took longer than 5 minutes, place the bowl in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to chill.
Now make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Stir with a rubber spatula, using broad, circular strokes to quickly pull the flour into the buttermilk. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the sticky dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. You can add up to ¼ cup more all-purpose flour or up to ¼ cup extra buttermilk if the mixture is too wet or too dry, respectively.
Lightly sprinkle a large cutting board with some all-purpose flour. Turn the dough out onto the board and sprinkle the top lightly with flour. With floured hands, fold the dough in half and pat out into a ¾-to-1-inch round. Dip a 4-inch biscuit cutter in flour, then stamp out biscuits. Be sure you stamp in an up-and-down motion and do not twist your wrist. This makes the biscuits tougher.
Brush a light layer of the melted butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Transfer the biscuits to the skillet as you stamp them out. Reroll the scraps and stamp out more biscuits until you use up your dough. I got 9 biscuits. Place them all in the skillet, as close together as possible. Pour the remaining melted butter over all the biscuits, then bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Remove from the oven, let the biscuits cool slightly, then serve hot.

Roasted Salmon and Asparagus Bruschetta

Roasted Salmon and Asparagus Bruschetta

Around six or so years ago, Matt and I decided to embrace seasonal eating. We were convinced of all the compelling yet, well, preachy arguments in favor of it, like reducing carbon footprints and all that, but I think my favorite part about it is admittedly quite self-serving: in-season produce just plain tastes better and is more pleasurable to eat.

Like asparagus. Years ago, I mistakenly thought asparagus could and should be eaten year-round, so I did just that – solely for the health benefits – and for years I found it to be mostly bitter and soggy. Let’s just say that asparagus and I turned our relationship right around when I discovered that duh, if you only eat it in the spring when it’s locally grown and in-season, it tastes kind of amazing! What a concept, right?

Roasted Salmon and Asparagus Bruschetta

Since we now eschew it at least eight months out of the year, when it is in its tasty prime I go a little nuts with it, cooking and eating as much as I can before it goes back to its sad, flaccid, not-in-season-anymore state. And I must admit, I’m generally not terribly creative with it. I find that it serves as a perfect side dish for any number of proteins, and all it needs it a roast in the oven, or a trip to the grill or a hot sauté pan. Some salt and black pepper and a small pat of butter.

Roasted Salmon and Asparagus Bruschetta

I wouldn’t blog such unoriginality though – I didn’t tell anyone anything they didn’t already know. Instead, I do make sure some of my asparagus cooking is less mundane, and this one I’m happy to share with you. I’ve always found salmon and asparagus to be a perfect pairing whenever possible, and apparently I’m not alone. Ottolenghi. The guy knows what he’s doing. This is beautiful. Enjoy!

Roasted Salmon and Asparagus Bruschetta

I made this recipe twice, the first time with fat asparagus and the second time with the pencil-thin stalks. With the fat version, I used a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus stalks, then tossed them with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of lemon juice, plus salt and pepper to taste. The thin asparagus version is written below, which is basically blanching the asparagus quickly in salted water, then tossing in a bowl with the same salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil and splash of lemon juice.

Source: slightly adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

Ingredients:
Olive oil
12 oz. slab of salmon fillet, skin on
4 bay leaves, preferably fresh
4 juniper berries
½ cup rose wine, or another light red wine of your choice
1 lemon, halved
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 loaf Italian bread, sliced thickly
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled but not smashed, cut in half lengthwise
5 oz. pencil-thin asparagus spears
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
Lemon wedges, or torn parsley, or torn chervil for garnish, if desired

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Drizzle a small (8×8”) baking dish with olive oil. Place the salmon skin side down in the dish, then add the bay leaves and juniper berries. Pour the wine over the salmon, then squeeze half the lemon over the salmon as well. Sprinkle the flesh of the salmon with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the salmon flakes with a fork but is still a little pink in the center. Remove the foil and let cool – not all the way to room temperature, but you definitely want it warm, not hot.
Meanwhile, lay the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil if desired, then toast in the oven about 10 minutes. While they are still hot, rub the bread slices with the cut side of the garlic. Let the bread cool down a little bit too.
Trim off the woody ends of the asparagus, then cut into roughly 2-inch lengths. Drop those lengths into boiling salted water and blanch for about 1 minute. Drain in a colander and run them under cold water to stop the cooking. Transfer the asparagus pieces to a small bowl and hit them with a splash of lemon juice and a small drizzle of olive oil. Toss to combine.
When the salmon has cooled enough, flake it into nice chunks with your hands and spread it out on a plate.
Spread the toasts liberally with the cream cheese. Place some salmon chunks on top, then arrange a few asparagus pieces on top of the salmon. Finish with a grind of black pepper, and you can garnish with chopped herbs or serve with lemon wedges if you like.

Middle Eastern Chicken with Green Harissa #SundaySupper

Middle Eastern Roast Chicken with Green Harissa

Welcome to a special April Fool’s Day edition of Sunday Supper! Seeing as my family or origin were definitely pranksters, April Fool’s Day was quite up our alley. I’ve detailed our shenanigans in this post. However, my childhood experiences didn’t really help me in coming up with a recipe to share today, because things like putting cat food under scrambled eggs, or possibly putting um, “dietary supplements” in brownies, were not what Sunday Supper had in mind.

making green harissa

My first idea was something I randomly pulled on Matt, my English-pea-hating husband, a few years ago. This one is kinda cool: you take thawed frozen, or fresh blanched peas and place them on a pizza dough round with some minced garlic and olive oil. Then cover it with shredded cheese and pepperoni slices. Bake it off, and when you take that bad boy out of the oven, no one sees the peas. It just looks like a pepperoni pizza, so it would be an awesome, perfectly edible recipe to share today! But Matt was somehow less than enthused about repeating that experience (no, I didn’t tell him the peas were there before he took his first bite), so I decided to spare him the misery and brainstorm further.

Middle Eastern Roast Chicken with Green Harissa

I came up with this gem of a recipe, and the April-Fool’s-appropriate part is the green harissa. It looks mostly like pesto, but doesn’t taste a thing like it. It really is harissa paste that happens to be green, so I thought that worked for April Fool’s Day.

And this chicken, plus that homemade harissa, is really outstanding, with those deep, sharp flavors from garlic and za’atar spice blend and the piquant spiciness of the harissa. Fairly easy to pull off, too. So I hope y’all will enjoy it, on April Fool’s or whenever the mood strikes you. And be sure you check out the April Fool’s-worthy dishes my Sunday Supper gang has brought to the table today!

Middle Eastern Roast Chicken with Green Harissa

Source: adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:

CHICKEN:
1 large clove garlic, minced
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
Leaves from 1 large sprig of rosemary, minced
1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs.), spatchcocked (also called butterflied)
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Za’atar spice blend
Olive oil, for drizzling

GREEN HARISSA:
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 small bunch of spinach leaves
2 fresh serrano or jalapeno chiles, seeded and rough chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
In a small bowl, thoroughly combine the minced garlic, softened butter, lemon zest, and rosemary. Carefully loosen the skin over the chicken breasts and insert the softened butter mixture in between the breast skin and flesh. Season the skin side of the bird generously with salt and pepper, then place the chicken in a baking dish or large cast-iron skillet. Sprinkle liberally with za’atar. Drizzle with olive oil and rub it in to coat the chicken evenly.
Roast the chicken at 425 F for 15 minutes, to crisp up the skin; then lower the oven heat to 350 F and continue roasting until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of a breast reads 165 F, about an hour longer.
Meanwhile, make the harissa. Add the cilantro, spinach, chiles, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, plus salt and pepper to taste to the bowl of your food processor. Process until everything is minced and mostly uniform. With the machine still running, remove the feed tube and stream in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Set aside until time to serve.
Remove the chicken from the oven and sprinkle with a dash more za’atar, then transfer to a cutting board and let rest for a good 5-10 minutes.
Carve the chicken and serve with the harissa.

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Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Browned Butter Bacon Ice Cream

Browned Butter Bacon Ice Cream

Alright, enough healthy greens for one week – how about some very decadent ice cream? I almost feel I should apologize for this one because 1) it’s so rich and well, decadent; and 2) because I too grow tired of the browned butter craze. I mean, it’s good and all, but sometimes it really is okay to bake with regular butter, you know? However, in the end I can’t really regret making and sharing this wonderful concoction, because here the browned butter really shines.

Browned Butter Bacon Ice Cream

It’s not hidden in a baked good, it’s one of the main components of an ice cream, and you really get to experience browned butter the way it was meant to be tasted. Which is a beautiful thing.

browned butter bacon ice cream

This ice cream seriously lacks restraint. I hesitated to even make it because of that, because I’m usually NOT a fan of over-the-top dishes. You add in too many flavors and they can start to compete with each other, or a flavor that is supposed to and should stand out gets lost. But something about this recipe drew me in, and I have to say it works, despite its lack of simplicity.

browned butter bacon ice cream

The candied bacon was lovely, and added this wonderful salty note to the sweet creaminess. So it’s the sweet-salty yin-yang we all love. Plus it added the crunch factor, and I’m such a sucker for crunchy bits in my ice cream (or sorbet, or frozen yogurt…) The bacon and browned butter served as complements, not tense opponents as you might worry they would. In the end, I’m quite happy to feature it here and share it with you, even if it was somewhat out of my wheelhouse. I hope you enjoy it!

browned butter bacon ice cream

Source: adapted from New York a la Cart by Alexandra Penfold and Siobhan Wallace

Ingredients:

CANDIED BACON:
½ lb. thick-cut bacon, sliced
½ cup brown sugar

ICE CREAM:
4 tbs unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
6 egg yolks
1/8 tsp kosher salt
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs bacon fat (from the candied bacon)
½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
First make the CANDIED BACON: place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and begin browning. Once the bacon is about three-quarters of the way to crispy, strain off the bacon fat and reserve. Return the pan to the heat and add the brown sugar. Stir to coat the bacon and melt the sugar. Continue cooking the bacon until fully crisped and candied. Remove the bacon and any little crispy brown sugar bits to a plate with a slotted spoon. The bacon will clump together – this is fine, don’t worry about it. Let cool at least 15 minutes.
Once cool, transfer the bacon clumps to a cutting board and finely chop. Set aside.
Now make the ICE CREAM, starting with the browned butter. Place a small, stainless steel pot or skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter and let it melt, swirling the pan as needed. After the butter melts, it will begin to foam and sputter. This is the water evaporating from the butter solids. The butter will change in color from yellow to golden brown flecked with browned bits. When the sputtering and foaming has slowed and the butter is the right color, turn off the heat. Set this aside to cool a bit. This can happen pretty quickly so don’t walk away. If nothing is happening on medium-low, cautiously raise the heat to medium. But again, don’t walk away!
Now move on to the base of the ice cream. Whisk together the egg yolks, salt, sugar and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl. Combine the cream and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Scald the liquid (it’s scalded when you see bubbled appearing around the edges of the pot. Do not boil. Remove from the heat.
Add about ½ cup of the scalded cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture, drizzling it in very slowly and whisking constantly; this will temper your eggs and prevent them from scrambling. Now slowly pour the egg mixture into the remaining cream mixture in the stockpot, whisking continuously. Set the pot over medium-low heat and stir with a rubber spatula for 5-8 minutes, until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of the spatula or a wooden spoon. Pour the custard through a sieve into a clean, medium mixing bowl. Stir in the reserved browned butter, maple syrup, reserved bacon fat, and vanilla. Place this mixing bowl in an ice bath and stir about 5 minutes, or more if necessary, to let it come down to room temperature. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the custard (to prevent getting the dreaded skin) and refrigerate until very chilled, at least 4 hours.
Once chilled, churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. In the last 5 minutes of churning, add in the reserved candied bacon bits. When done churning, transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and chill until set up, about 2 hours.

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

Though in many ways we grew up in very different circumstances, we share one aspect of childhood very much in common: both my husband and I were raised in households with parents who insisted we eat healthfully and get our fair share of vegetables. Not only was there a side serving of veggies present at most dinners, we were both exposed to a nice variety of fruits and vegetables – it wasn’t the same few produce items at every meal. Now, not gonna lie here – both of us as children had a pretty decent laundry list of vegetables we didn’t *want* to eat, but both of our respective parents toed a fairly firm line of “eat it anyway, they’re good for you.”

roasted broccoli rabe

So, you’d think at least one of us would have entered adulthood knowing what broccoli rabe was. Nope. Didn’t happen. It’s only been in the last year or so that we’ve started eating it when its early spring season rolls around. This year we’ve been playing around with the more traditional method of cooking it – boiling it to reduce its inherent bitterness, then sautéing in a cast iron skillet and dousing it with a dressing or sauce. Quite tasty.

short cut pasta with broccoli rabe and harissa

And then I ran across a different method of preparing it in an older issue of Food & Wine – roasting it in the oven. I haven’t ever seen that method for broccoli rabe before (which isn’t to say it’s not out there – like I said above, I’m fairly new to the world of this veggie).

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

But, I was very intrigued to try it, so try it I did, and I found it quite lovely, so I had to share it with you. Broccoli rabe is quite tasty prepared this way, and here’s a plus if you have a smaller kitchen – roasting it in the oven dirties up fewer dishes overall than boiling-then-sautéing will. I will add that you lose less of the bitterness by roasting, but I found it a pleasant bitterness – not at all overpowering, and it played very well with the chewy, mild pasta and the spicy flavors going on in this recipe. Fantastic vegetarian dinner option. Enjoy!

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

Source: Food & Wine Magazine, August 2013

Ingredients:
1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
¼ cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno or Fresno chile, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tsp harissa
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 lb. short cut pasta, such as gemelli, penne, cavatappi, cavatelli, or whatever you prefer
Grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 large handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli rabe with 2 tbs olive oil plus salt and pepper to taste. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats, then arrange the broccoli rabe on the 2 baking sheets in as even a layer as possible. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp-tender. Remove to a cutting board and chop into bite-size pieces.
In a large (12-inch) deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbs oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, chile and harissa and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until the garlic and chile are tender.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, then cook the pasta according to package directions, just to al dente. When done, drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta, cooking water, and about ¼ cup parmesan to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the pasta is coated in a thick sauce, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mint and parsley, and more cheese if desired. Serve immediately with more cheese for garnish, if preferred.

Veal Stew with Spring Greens #SundaySupper

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

Welcome to another Sunday Supper! Our theme this week is Spring Fling because… it’s about time, isn’t it? Most of us, it seems, had another pretty rough winter and it’s high time the snow and freezing temperatures let us be.

Probably obvious, but of course we over at Sunday Supper are ushering in this most welcome new season with spring recipes. I chose to feature this stew, which uses veal – very reminiscent of spring – and then highlights many of the greens just now coming into season.

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

Like spinach, and watercress, and leeks, and yes – romaine. Yep, I’m going to go there and ask you to put romaine lettuce in your stew. It’s weird. And yet – it works. The romaine doesn’t wilt the way you fear it will, instead it leaves a lovely crunch, yet wilts just enough to blend in with the texture of the stew.

veal stew with spring greens

The veal becomes impossibly moist and tender, and as a bonus, it takes a much shorter time to cook than would beef. The flavors here are delicate but not precious. It’s light but still hearty.

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

So happy Spring to everyone! Summer is around the corner! Enjoy this one last stew of the colder months. And be sure you check out my Sunday Supper gang, they’ve brought some beautiful recipes for Spring!

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

Source: slightly adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, April 2010

Ingredients:
3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
1 tbs olive oil, divided
3 lbs. veal stew meat, trimmed if necessary, and blotted dry with paper towels
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 large bunch of adult spinach leaves, chopped
1 large bunch of sorrel leaves, chopped
1 head of romaine, chopped
1 bunch of watercress, chopped
1 leek, white part only, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into half moons
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup finely chopped fresh tarragon
¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 cup crème fraiche
Hunks of baguette, for serving

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Set a large Dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Melt a pat or two of the butter, plus a drizzle of olive oil, in the hot pot. Add the veal and cook until browned, turning once. Do not crowd the pan. You will probably need to do this in batches, so use a little of the butter and oil for each batch. When the last batch has been browned, add all the browned veal, plus any accumulated juices back into the pot. Add the wine, then remove from the heat. Cover the Dutch oven with a piece of parchment paper, then cover with the pot’s lid. Transfer to the oven for 1 hour.
Now add the spinach, sorrel, romaine, watercress, leek, parsley, tarragon, chives and crème fraiche to the pot. Stir well, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover again with the parchment and the lid and return to the oven for 30 minutes longer, until the greens are wilted and the veal is tender.
Ladle the stew into bowls and serve with the bread alongside for mopping.
Note: if the greens are initially overwhelming your Dutch oven and threatening to spill over, then add about half of them without the crème fraiche, re-cover the pot with the parchment and lid and cook about 15 minutes, then add the remaining greens plus crème fraiche, stir, and cook another 15 minutes.

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Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

lemon basil roast chicken

It’s been said countless times, and I’m reiterating it one more time: I (like many others) truly believe that one of the best investments a home cook can make is learning to properly roast a chicken. (Unless you’re vegetarian/vegan, of course.)

lemon, basil and garlic

Roasting a whole chicken is one of the more satisfying meals I make, and this is echoed throughout the land of chefs and home cooks everywhere. But I’ve always wondered if our diners feel the same way. There’s something romantic and grounding about getting that chicken prepped perfectly, then while it’s cooking, hearing the crackling of the skin and the spattering of fat drippings that you know make really tasty gravy or jus later, and then the whole reward of taking it from the oven to the table.

Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

Looking at that perfect bird, sitting there proudly with her perfectly crispy skin and juicy, moist flesh. It’s a sight to behold. But it’s really, when you think about it, all about the cook. Do diners really feel the same about roasted chickens? I of course think chicken is incredibly delicious when cooked just right, but I’m probably biased to like the taste even more because I put in all the work and saw the entire process through. I always wonder how others feel, when the only part of the process they participate in is the eating part.

Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

But, I’ve yet to get a complaint about roast chicken from any diners who regularly eat my food, so I’ll doubtless keep making it. Chickens are such blank flavor slates, so there’s about a bazillion different directions in which you can take any one particular meal. This one is lemon and basil.

Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

Happy and cheery, a reminder that warmer temperatures are coming our way, thank god, this one is everything you want your roast chicken to be. I’d love to tell you this is so easy and comes together in a snap, but neither is really true. Prepping a roast chicken always takes longer than I think it will, but I want to get it just right. And it does take some practice, time and experience to truly feel comfortable and in command of cooking the bird, but I’ve found that using a meat thermometer cuts down on the uncertainty and produces consistent results. Please enjoy this beautiful main course.

Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

Source: Real Cajun by Donald Link

Ingredients:
1 small lemon
2 cloves garlic, left whole
6 large leaves of fresh basil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced into 6 pieces
1 (3 ½ lb.) whole chicken, trimmed and patted dry
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbs olive oil
1 whole onion, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbs unsalted butter

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Slice 6 very thin slices of the lemon (discarding the very end). Cut the remainder of the lemon into chunks. Place the chunks of lemon into the cavity of the chicken, along with the whole garlic cloves and the stems of the basil leaves.
Place the basil leaves on a flat surface, then place a lemon slice on top, then a garlic slice on top of the lemon. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper and paprika. Generously rub the spice mixture all over both sides of the chicken, really massaging it in. Without cleaning your hands, use your index finger (preferably with clipped nails!) to very gently loosen the breast skin from the flesh. Work at this from both sides of the breast. Now gently roll the basil leaves up and over the lemon and garlic slices. They should look more like an envelope than a roll. Very gently, slide 3 basil-lemon packets underneath the loosened skin on the chicken breast, then slide the other 3 on the other breast. I found it easiest to insert one from the neck end and the other two from the cavity ends. Now wash your hands off.
Place the sliced onion in a single layer in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, or another oven-safe skillet or baking dish of equal size. Truss the chicken (to ensure it cooks evenly), then place it breast side up on top of the onions. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Without removing the bird from the oven, lower the heat to 350 F. Bake until the meat thermometer registers 165 F, which will be about another hour, but possibly more or less, depending on the size of your chicken and the particulars of your oven. When the bird is cooked, remove from the oven and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest while you prepare the jus.
First, drain the excess grease out of the skillet and into a small bowl without removing the onions. Place the skillet with the onions still in it on a burner over medium-high heat. Pour in the white wine and gently scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. When the wine has reduced by half, pour the onion and wine mixture into a small pot and add the chicken stock. Let this simmer for 5 minutes or until it reduces by one-third. Now add the butter and as much or as little of the reserved pan drippings (grease) as you like. Once the butter melts, stir to combine, then lower the heat to low and keep the jus warm while you carve the chicken.
Once the chicken has been carved, transfer the jus to a gravy boat and serve alongside the chicken pieces.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

Breaded Tomato Casserole

As y’all know, Matt and I met, over twelve years ago, on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, so every two to three years, we take a little weekend weekend getaway to New Orleans, sometime in February or March, and two weeks ago, that weekend rolled around for us again.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

I have a favorite kitchen supply store that I must frequent every time we’re there, right on Royal Street, and it never fails that I always pick up a cookbook or two when I’m there (despite the fact that I always say I won’t this trip). One of my finds this time around was Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree.

breaded tomato casserole

I’m quite an admirer of Dupree’s, so please know my tail is a bit between my legs when I tell you that I had no idea such a book of hers even existed. But, better late than never, I always say. It excited me to no end to find a book entirely dedicated to biscuits, one of my great loves in life.

breaded tomato casserole

I immediately baked up a batch upon returning home, and of course they were wonderful; but I think the section of the book that might intrigue me most of all is the chapter on using up your leftover, day-old biscuits. I knew I wanted to dive into this chapter most of all, so I made us this odd-sounding yet compelling dish, which really couldn’t be simpler. It’s just stale biscuits crumbled up and mixed with a touch of sugar, canned tomatoes, and I threw in some dried oregano. I added some grated parmesan to the top, for a bit of crust, and I must say that we just loved it.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

Tasting both distinctly Italian and US Southern, it’s reminiscent of bread pudding, but denser, and the tomato flavor is incredibly prominent. And of course, for that reason, make sure you use very high quality canned tomatoes – they’re not hiding behind anything here! While this dish is hearty, Matt and I both firmly agreed it’s a side dish, and would have a little trouble passing off as a main dish – it’s just not quite filling enough.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

As an aside, or a post-script, I used canned tomatoes here because 1) the original recipe is written that way and it sounded good to me, and 2) fresh tomatoes are decidedly not the least bit in season in the northeastern US. But, I’m thinking this could be incredible revisited in the summer using fresh juicy tomatoes in their peak season. Hmm… Enjoy!

Breaded Tomato Casserole

Source: slightly adapted from Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree

Ingredients:
3 cups torn or chopped biscuits in ½-inch pieces
1 tsp granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
A generous ½ tsp dried oregano
1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
Grated parmesan cheese, for the top of the casserole (a couple generous handfuls)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 2 ½ quart baking dish and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together the biscuit pieces, sugar, salt, and oregano. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine thoroughly and coat all the biscuit pieces with the juices. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and pour the melted butter evenly over the top. Bake 25-30 minutes, then evenly sprinkle the top with parmesan. Put it back in the oven for 5 minutes, then remove and serve warm.