Butter Bean Salad w. Pickled Peppers
Last Saturday I was clueless as to what to make for dinner. My husband was at work and had taken the car, so I could only use what I had in my kitchen. Normally that isn’t an issue but since we returned from vacation a few weeks ago, we haven’t done a big grocery excursion. The fridge was
pretty sparse a barren wasteland. I had brought home some chicken breasts the day before and that was as far as I had gotten in menu planning.
As dinner time approached, I went on the hunt for a side dish, any side dish, but I kept striking out. No potatoes, no rice, and the only noodles I could find were for lasagna.
Then I remembered the butter beans that I had bought after making this salad a few months ago. I loved the dish so much I immediately added a few cans of the mild and creamy beans to my pantry in case I wanted to make it again. Since I didn’t have any of the ingredients for the original salad (of course), I knew I’d have to utilize what I did have.
A thorough fridge sweep and here’s what I came up with: garlic, celery, 1/8 of an onion (seriously?), green onions (yay!), pickled peppers (double yay!), a tiny wedge of Manchego cheese, a bit of Bibb lettuce and a lemon. Hm, I thought, this might actually work…
My friend DB recently gave me some of his amazing strawberry plants since the starters I bought three years ago never produced a single berry. I was hopeful that his would be more successful and they are definitely off to a great start!
One strawberry is already starting to ripen!
I’m so excited!
There was a recipe, pulled from an issue of Saveur, that I’d been wanting to try out since December. It was the name that got to me: Dolores’s Brokenhearted Chicken, so-called “because it tastes so good it makes you hungry even if you’re heartbroken.”
It sounded like a dish that could cure any life woes — the very essence of comfort food. The chicken is cooked somewhere inbetween being roasted and braised in a sauce made of stock, sherry and butter. It’s topped with parsley to brighten the flavors and served with crusty bread. And while the chicken is good (very good in fact), it’s the luxurious sauce that is the true winner. It soaks into the bread making it almost like a custard — full of flavor and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
In other words, this was the perfect meal for me to make before I left on vacation a few weeks ago. I had been running around so much that I was mentally and physically exhausted. In fact, I was so rushed that I ended up making this after I ate a dinner of ramen, so that my husband could have dinner ready when he came home.
See, the thing with being married to a chef and having a day job means we are often like ships passing in the night. I’m asleep when he gets home, he’s asleep when I leave for work. I try to make his late nights a little better by having a plate of food waiting for him when he gets home. Having cooked professionally for years, I know the last thing you want to do at the end of the night is eat anything you’ve cooked yourself. It’s just so much better when someone makes it for you.
So while this chicken is supposed to be made to comfort the lovelorn, I like to think it better expresses my attempts at being a good wife. (In return, since marriage is a two-way street and all, my husband makes sure my kegerator is never empty. That’s love.)
Brown Butter and Berry Tart
The past two weeks were absolutely beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest. While I was on vacation, temperatures soared to 80 degrees and the sun managed to stick around until yesterday. It was a wonderful mini-summer to tide us over until July, when things really heat up in Portland.
Sunshine immediately makes me crave berries which is how this Brown Butter Berry Tart became the finale for my family’s Mother’s Day dinner. The original recipe, courtesy of Bon Appetit, called for raspberries, but when I went shopping there was only one lonely container of fresh blackberries left on the shelf. Clearly everyone else in Tacoma had the same idea! (Happily my combination of blackberries and frozen blueberries worked just fine.)
Since I hadn’t seen my family in a month, I wanted to spend my spare time playing rummy with my mom and grandma, not slaving away in the kitchen. Luckily, besides being tasty, this tart is also amazingly simple to put together — though considering how ruthlessly my grandma beat us, perhaps I should have chosen a high-maintenance dessert instead. Then I could still have my dignity. *sigh*
Anyways, on to the sweet stuff –