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Archive for June, 2011

From Dish Danielle:

It’s summer in New York and the greenmarket is brimming with bright poppy produce: scapes, snap peas, squash blossoms, strawberries, edible flowers, and bushels of zesty herbs like whoa. Each seasonal item has a bold personality all its own– so bring them home and into your kitchen and let the fun begin. It’s time to start PLAYING with your food.

Ingredients:
A dozen squash blossoms, rinsed clean
1 c ricotta cheese
2 tbsp grated parm
1 scape, diced fine
2 poblano chili’s
1 tsp lemon zest
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
½ c flour
¾ seltzer

Squash blossoms are just beautiful. They’re hearty and structured yet soft & delicate. I wanted to wear them in my hair. I wanted to wear them as earrings. They didn’t seem to mind my attempts to create wacky accessories rather than fabulous hors d’oeuvres, but once I started to get hungry, I refocused and created some delicious dinner party snacks:


Start by roasting the heck out of the poblanos. Literally place them over a flame on your stovetop and let them blacken. Using tongs, turn them every 90 seconds or so until their completely charred. Place them into a bowl with a cover to allow their skin to ‘sweat’ off. Once they’ve cooled, rinse their skin off by placing them under the faucet and using your hands to remove the stubborn pieces of skin. Dice them fine and set aside.

Now take your scapes and saute them off briefly in some olive oil. Their flavor is super strong so this will mellow their bite just a touch.

Now compose the filling: In a bowl, mix the ricotta, parm, saute’d scapes, ¾ of the poblano’s, lemon juice, lemon zest, and s&p. Taste. Add the remaining poblano’s if needed, and balance with add’l s&p and/or lemon juice.

If you have a pastry bag, I recommend using one to pipe the filling into the flowers. If not, carefully spoon the filling into the blossoms and twist the ends of the flowers to seal them shut.

The batter: Mix the flour, seltzer and a pinch of salt. Heat a ½ inch of veggie oil in a skillet over med-high heat. While the oil is warming carefully dredge the blossoms through the batter. Place a paper towel covered plate beside the skillet so you can drain a bit of the oil off once they’ve been fried.



Once the oil is hot, fry your blossoms off in batches to finish. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice and a pinch of salt a top the hot fritters. Arrange on a pretty platter and serve immediately.

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From Dish Gwen:

Making soup in June is not generally a good idea, but when your boyfriend’s got a cold and there’s a quart of chicken stock in the freezer I say go for it. This is a salty, lemony and healthy soup that can be wholesome and refreshing on even a hot summer day. Plus it only takes about 15 minutes on the stove so you don’t have to turn your kitchen into a sweltering inferno.

Ingredients:
1 Quart chicken stock
1 quart water
1 lb Asian noodles, cooked al dente (I used lo mein but you can use Ramen)
3-6 large kale leaves, chopped to 1 inch wide strips
1 lemon, sliced
4-6 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt

Directions:

Boil the broth and water with the thyme and lemon slices for about 5 minutes, and add salt to taste. Use tongs to pull out all the lemons and thyme and add the kale and noodles to the pot, boiling it all together for just a couple of minutes until the kale is wilted. Turn off the stove and eat! Serves 2-3.

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From Dish Erin:

I used to suck on lemons as a kid. Now scurvy-free and severely depleted in tooth enamel, my love of lemons has not faltered. Some people put a lemon in their water; I add water to my lemon juice. And I find them especially refreshing this time of year, when it’s a billion degrees in NYC.

So hot in fact that for every minute any heat-producing appliance in my kitchen is on, the temperature in my apartment rises roughly 37 degrees. Consequently, this is one of my favorite go-to warm weather dishes. The chicken only needs to cook for about 10 minutes, mitigating the amount of time my stove top needs be fired up, and the lemony salad cools you down when your NYC apartment is approximately the temperature of a sauna.

This is pretty much just my version of the classic chicken Milanese dish. Instead of traditional breadcrumbs, I used panko, which are just lighter, crispier, Japanese style bread crumbs. Panko tends to hold its “crunch” better throughout the cooking process–which is great when you need to pan fry a large chicken breast and you want to avoid soggy bread coating.

For the salad:

2 cups arugula
½ tomato, sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced

For the chicken:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
¼ cup flour
1 egg, beaten
½ cup panko bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
Lemon zest
Salt & pepper
Olive oil for frying

For the vinaigrette:

4-5 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
1 clove garlic, finely minced or crushed
Honey
Salt & pepper

1.) Make the salad first. Combine arugula, tomatoes and onions in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2.) Place chicken between plastic or parchment paper and beat with a meat tenderizer or whatever tool you can find, until they flatten out into about ½ inch thickness. Preheat a cast iron or metal skillet over medium high heat and liberally coat the pan with olive oil.

3.) Assemble a ‘breading station’ of flour, egg, and panko in small bowls or plates. Add a sprinkle of lemon zest, Parmesan cheese, salt & freshly ground pepper to the panko dish. Mix to incorporate.

4.) Begin by dipping the 1st chicken breast in the flour, then the egg, then into the panko and make sure the chicken is fully coated in breadcrumbs and place into the heated pan. Repeat with 2nd chicken breast.

5.) Allow chicken to cook on one side until golden brown at the edges, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook another 5 minutes on the other side until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to cool while you make the vinaigrette.


6.) Combine olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, garlic and a tiny squeeze of honey in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and then add salt & pepper to taste. Drizzle over the salad and toss to combine.


*Adding raw garlic to the dressing gives it a ‘spicy’ bite, which I love. Omit it if you don’t like strong garlic flavor, but then I’d also forgo the honey, I use that to balance the garlic.

7.) Plate and put the chicken atop the salad. Serve with a lemon wedge and toasted baguette to mop up the dressing.

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