So it may seem that June gloom is finally over in what used to be sunny California. This month has been nothing but gray skies so far, so when the sun finally showed it’s warm beautiful face yesterday, it began to feel like summer. Dressed in shorts with all the windows open, I wanted something fresh and light to eat. I decided that I was feeling minty! With my star ingredient in line, I thought up the perfect summer dish to cook- Ina Garten’s Chicken Tabbouleh. I often turn to one of my three Ina Garten cookbooks when I need a recipe. She is my go to, always satisfying and delicious guide. The recipe was quick and simple to prepare, with only a few ingredients and of course a hint of mint!
You can prepare your chicken breasts by baking them in the oven or – even better – by grilling them. Some diced persian cucumbers, a squeeze of lemon, a handful of fragrant parsley, some juicy cherry tomatoes, and hot diced chicken breasts all mixed together with perfectly al dente tabbouleh… Presto! Magico! Dinner/and or lunch is served! Pair it with refreshing homemade mint lemonade to tie everything together and you have a fresh and easy summer meal.
I made two versions of mint lemonade- lemonade with chopped fresh mint and Israeli mint lemonade, which is fresh lemonade blended with mint and ice. My minty chicken tabbouleh and lemonade combo was a satisfying summer meal. Don’t skimp on the mint!
- 1 cup medium-grade bulgur (6 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- 2 chicken breast hal
ves on the bone (about 1/2 pound each)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped scallions (1 bunch)
- 2/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
- 2/3 cup finely chopped mint (1 bunch)
- 1 European seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/3 -inch dice
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- In a large heatproof bowl, combine the bulgur with the boiling water, lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and let stand until the water has been absorbed and the grains are tender, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Set the chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Rub them with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until just cooked through. Let the chicken cool slightly, then discard the skin and remove the meat from the bones. Cut the chicken into 3/4 -inch chunks.
- Add the scallions, parsley, mint, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil to the bulgur and let stand for 15 minutes. Add the chicken, cucumber and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Transfer the tabbouleh to a bowl or platter and serve at room temperature or chilled.
So newly in love and all consumed by it, I am trying to redirect all of this loving energy into cooking for the one I love. While food has been my first and lasting love since childhood, me and cooking have had an on and off again relationship. We have good time and we have bad times. We can never agree on how things should be, but in the end when all is said and done we remember how much we love each other. I have never loved cooking for myself, but now that I have someone to cook for I can begin my love affair again.
R left today for the weekend so I thought what better way to say I love you (*remember how much you love me*) than ricotta blueberry pancakes. Best part of the recipe was that we made them together. I never considered making pancakes from scratch, I have always been a buy the mix and throw a little something in it kinda girl.
We gathered our ingredients and began the difficult process of dividing the recipe that makes 16 pancakes in half. I mean there has got to be an easier way to divide recipes than fractions! Obviously the math section was left for R and I began the mixing. We separated, combined, folded and fluffed. We whipped our egg whites into semi-stiff peaks and R exclaimed ‘I didn’t know thats what happens to egg whites’. I smiled. The end result was perfectly delicious. We savored our breakfast and our morning together. Now I will spend the weekend thinking of what to make him next!
Recipe from BLD restaurant:
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups milk
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 pints blueberries
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and ricotta cheese so that there are no large lumps of cheese, but make sure the mixture does not become too smooth (this will make the pancakes wet and grainy). Whisk in the sugar, salt and vanilla, then the milk.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Fold this into the egg batter just until no lumps remain.
span class=”Apple-style-span” style=”font-size:medium;”> whip the egg whites to medium-stiff, shiny peaks, about 4 minutes. Gently fold these into the batter just until uniformly combined.
4. Ladle a generous one-fourth cup of batter onto a medium-hot, lightly greased griddle for each pancake. Place 10 to 12 blueberries on each pancake and cook, about 2 minutes per side, until the cakes are golden-brown and cooked through. Serve immediately with maple syrup on the side.
Each serving: 276 calories; 10 grams protein; 41 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 8 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 98 mg. cholesterol; 369 mg. sodium.
Rather than going out to dinner at our usual valley outposts, I decided to invite my friend over for dinner. I did this in hopes of inspiring myself to not only enjoy a simple delicious meal prepared at home, but to also feel motivated to start writing about and talking about what I am most passionate about – food. I kept it easy, fun, and tasty. Returning to a reliable source, I picked a recipe from my favorite Barefoot Contessa cookbook. Ina has to date never led me astray. A few simple ingredients, 1 glass of wine, and dinner was ready.
- Vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 pound linguine
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
- 1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 lemon, zest grated
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
- 1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
- ss=”Apple-style-span” style=”font-size: medium;”>1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.