Thursday, September 8, 2011
I haven't been cooking and baking new recipes as much lately, although I plan to do some new recipes coming up from a vietnamese cookbook I bought. In addition, my husband and I will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary this coming weekend so in addition to a nice meal out, I plan on baking some celebratory petit fours. Petit fours are a pretty complex baking recipe so I am hoping I can get a good result on the first time, since it is something I have wanted to try for awhile as they are both lovely to look at, and delicious. On Monday, over the long labor day weekend, I made a new recipe from Sarah Raven's cookbook, Fresh From the Garden, one of my favorite cookbooks for good seasonal recipes. I made her recipe for Moroccan Chicken Tagine, and also her simple recipe for lemon lime couscous. The two dishes were delicious and complemented each other quite nicely. I loved the zing of the tangy couscous with the sweetness of the chicken dish with the candied apricots.
Chicken Tagine with Almonds and Apricots (from Sarah Raven)
3 1/2 lbs free range chicken, cut up (I used an organic, antibiotic free chicken, of course)
1-2 T olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
pinch of saffron threads
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/2 pound dried apricots, chopped
1/2 pounds almonds
cilantro or parsley, chopped
In a Dutch Oven (I used one of my beloved Le Creuset pots), brown the chicken lightly on all sides for a few minutes in the olive oil. Remove the chicken from the pot and sauté the onion and garlic for three to four minutes. Add the saffron, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and ginger. Return the chicken to the pot and add just enough apple juice to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the apricots and almonds, and cook covered for another fifteen minutes until the chicken is tender. When read to eat, add the mint and cilantro to the dish and serve.
Lemon and Lime Cous Cous (adapted from Sarah Raven)
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 3/4 cup cous cous
2 T olive oil
juice of one lemon
juice of one lime
salt and pepper
Bring the stock and the couscous to a boil, then allow to simmer until cooked. Stir in the lemon and lime juice and cover for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and with the mint and parsley if you like. Since I put mint and cilantro in the main dish, I simply seasoned with salt and pepper.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Heirloom tomatoes are one of my favorite flavors of summer. I love looking at them - all different shapes, colors and sizes. They have a sweet succulent flavor that is slightly different for each varietal. They are like a rainbow of tomato, both in hue and in flavor. I had the pleasure of making two salads with them this summer. I bought some at the Greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza which I combined with a bit of crumbled goat cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette, about a month ago for a simple heirloom tomato salad. The second salad was a more traditional Italian caprese salad, where I sliced the tomatoes and some buffalo mozzarella cheese, and drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette. Both of these salads are quite simple, but are really just meant to showcase the flavor of the heirloom tomatoes. Like summer itself, the season for heirloom tomatoes is coming to a close - it is short but sweet!
Happy Labor Day! Hope you enjoy my heirloom pictures. Tonight, I am making two recipes (after a family minimal cooking low-key weekend that included a trek to Governor's Island) - a chicken tagine with apricots and almonds, and chocolate-mint upside down cupcakes. I'll be sharing both recipes soon, as my life seems to be getting tangled with other obstacles these days. This blog is always a welcome break for me from all the shenanigans of daily life.