…is very, very late in arriving. I know, strawberry season has been over for 2 months in NJ. But, it was a great season around here, and there are always frozen strawberries (which I am seriously considering for one of the amazing jams I made too little of). So, this is what we did this year.
I can’t even, you guys.
The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper. My favorite cookbook this summer, and this is another reason why. One of my biggest regrets about our trip to Hawaii a few years ago was that we never managed to time a visit to a shrimp truck. We saw them everywhere and just never made it to one. They were closed, or we’d just eaten somewhere else, or they looked really shady. But I still think about them, and I will imagine that they taste exactly like this until we get back there to try them.
Garlicky. Lick-your-fingers good. Swimming in wine, lemon, and butter. Somehow the best thing to eat on a hot summer night with some rice. I totally get it now and wish I’d eaten these at every truck we saw. Make sure you leave time for them to marinate overnight.
North Shore Shrimp Scampi
Serves 3 to 4
For the marinade:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 or 7 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1-1/2 lbs. raw extra-large or jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 large lemon
2 Tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped Read more on North Shore Shrimp Scampi…
Truth be told, this has not been the Summer of Cooking. I’ve been making a lot of tried-and-true favorites, and we’ve also just been foraging for food when we’re hungry. Turning on the oven in July feels anathema to me. I don’t remember if I was always this averse to summer cooking, but it’s been bad this year.
When I have been trying new things that require heat, and that aren’t pie or jam, I’ve been cooking almost exclusively out of The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper. I bought this gorgeous book years ago on a recommendation from a blog somewhere (I had never heard of the famous show before), and I’d always wanted to delve into it. But, at the time, I didn’t think my cooking skills were up to par. I’m not sure why that was because these recipes are pretty accessible. And insanely elegant (except when I plate them because I am awful at plating). This was one of the first recipes I tried; perfect, delicious chicken in the most amazing bath of braised leeks in under 30 minutes. And the tarragon is just right. So. Good.
Jerry Traunfeld’s Tarragon Chicken Breasts with Buttery Leeks
2 cups thin-sliced leeks, white and green parts
2 cups chicken broth
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp coarse chopped tarragon leaves
I haven’t posted a recipe since March 30th (!!!!). What have I been doing for two-and-a-half months?! It’s not like I haven’t been in the kitchen. But I haven’t been trying as many new things, and what I’ve been trying I haven’t been posting. I’ve made a few recipes without taking any photos at all! I do not even recognize myself. A new meal without accompanying photography is like Christmas without Santa, right? RIGHT??
I’m coming out of my cooking writeup funk and am catching up on a bit of a backlog. But I may save some of them for fall; suddenly recipes I made in the dead of winter don’t seem so appealing in mid-June. This one, however, is a crowd pleaser anytime.
I made this gem from the November ’13 issue of Food & Wine way back in January on a cold night. I didn’t realize I’d never posted this one! It was phenomenal. I have been a little obsessed with short ribs lately. I’ve been making this soup somewhat regularly, and I have two other great short rib recipes to post soon. Of course I’ve made Bourguignon before, but never with short ribs, and I may never make it any other way from this day forward until the end of days. It was that good. But the original recipe does have mushrooms, which are a no-go in this house, so I just skipped that step.
Side note: when I searched here for all of my short rib recipe attempts, I came across this one from 2008 that I’d completely forgotten about. I was such a rookie with “fancy cooking.” It’s kind of adorable how bad the photos are. Good notes on that cookbook, though.
5 pounds trimmed boneless beef short ribs, cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces
9 carrots—5 cut into 2-inch pieces, 4 cut into 1-inch rounds
5 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
5 medium onions, quartered
10 garlic cloves
One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups beef stock
1 pound meaty slab bacon—half cut into 1/4-inch-thick lardons, half cut into 2-inch pieces
3 bay leaves tied with 15 thyme sprigs
2 pounds stemmed button mushrooms
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
I should preface this post by stating that this is the first gluten-free recipe I’ve ever made (at least knowingly). I have nothing to compare these to, so I’m not sure if the issues I had with texture are common? Flavor-wise I think these were okay. I made a batch of them for Hannah’s birthday party; I just wanted to have something on hand for any kids (or parents) who don’t eat gluten. Who wants to go to a party and not be able to eat any desserts?
So, I have to credit my book Whoopies! here. This is where I found the recipe, and this is really what gave me the idea to include something GF in the party goodies. And they did get eaten (some, but not all of them). My main issue was the texture; it was like the surface of the moon. But they were soft inside, just not wonderfully smooth chocolate orbs of awesome on the outside. They looked…homemade. Gluten-free folks, is this typical? Are there tricks for the texture?
Anyway, here’s the recipe.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies (from Whoopies!)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (plus extra to grease the pan)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 extra large egg (I just used my usual large eggs)
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used Arrowhead Mills GF All-Purpose Baking Mix)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder (I thought all baking powder was GF…? What I used was definitely labeled as such)
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk
Marshmallow filling (exactly the same for GF or non-GF recipe)
For Hannah’s party favors last weekend, I made homemade playdough to go with a party-themed cookie cutter (teapot) and a kid-sized rolling pin. She’s kind of just starting to pay attention to the real Play Doh, and I thought learning to make it at home would be smart. She’s putting a lot of stuff in her mouth these days, and while the homemade stuff does not taste good (so. much. salt), at least I know exactly what’s in it. You can also kind of control the texture at home!
Ugh, this is such a bad photo. I didn’t manage to take a single good one of this finished dish. And, unfortunately, this is an example of a really yummy dish I probably won’t be making again. I just couldn’t get it to come together the way it did in the January ’14 issue of Food and Wine. I mean, I’m pretty terrible at folding dumplings. No matter how many attempts I make, YouTube videos I watch, or straightforward instructions I read, they just never look like they should.
And because I can’t make the shape correctly, I can’t get them to lay in the pan correctly. These did have a lovely crispiness to them, but only a few actually held together as intended with the pancake “batter.” I also only made a portion of the original recipe, since it was only for two people.
But, here is the recipe for anyone else who has more nimble fingers than I (which is probably most people).
Pork-Kimchi Dumpling Pancakes
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chile powder) or 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
10 ounces ground pork
2 scallions, minced
1/3 cup finely chopped drained kimchi
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup firm tofu, finely chopped
30 round wonton wrappers
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons canola oil
Chianti. Pappardelle. Parmesan. Pancetta. Onion. That’s pretty much it for this dish, but somehow heat and seasoning can just work their magic and turn the simplest of ingredients into something so incredibly delicious. This is why I am obsessed with Italian food, and especially PASTA. There are just endless amazing ways to elevate humble pasta, and most of them are fast.
This one is an adaptation of a dish at Ciccio in NYC, and it was perfect on a cold winter weeknight.
Strisce alla Chiantigiana (from Bon Appetit)
8 ounces pappardelle or 12 oz. spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for serving
½ red onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces pancetta, cut into ¼” pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups Chianti or other dry red wine
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup grated Parmesan (about 2 oz.) plus more, shaved, for serving
1 Tbsp chives **I threw those in myself, because chives, but also because the photo in BA had slivers of, I think, basil. I was basil free that day.