Posts tagged ‘Farm’

June 5, 2012

The Farm, By Ian Knauer

Who Says You Can’t Eat Groundhog?

The Farm is a beautiful cookbook filled with the life stories and culinary adventures of Ian Knauer. Beginning his career as one of Gourmet’s recipe cross-testers (he tested recipes before they made it into the magazine), Ian then became food editor after Ruth Reichl received an introduction to Ian’s farm-to-table talents. Growing up, he spent much of his childhood on the rustic family farm and has filled the book with wonderfully simple recipes that highlight the farm’s seasonal ingredients.  I read the entire book, front to back and loved every page. He begins each chapter with a farm tale, revealing family stories and cherished recipes.

When I get a new cookbook I read it like a novel and earmark those recipes I want to try. A difficult task with The Farm, as every recipe jumps off the page and says make me, now!  Maybe not the venison or groundhog – yes, groundhog! This is real “old-school” farm living. He does say you can substitute chicken or rabbit for the groundhog. I didn’t earmark that page. His strawberry-cream cheese pie, garlic-pesto roast chicken, asparagus & scrambled egg all-day breakfast sandwiches, and zucchini pizza quickly made up for my groundhog squeamishness. There is a chapter on canning, with memories of his grandmother and her recipes. He includes homemade dill pickles, ketchup, canned peaches and how to make your own hard cider, to name a few.

I selected two recipes from the book for dinner this week. Both were delicious. Honey-Jalapeno Chicken Tenders and Grilled Eggplant with Cilantro Pesto.

HONEY-JALAPENO GRILLED CHICKEN

Adapted from The Farm

I’m not a fan of chicken tenders, so I substituted boneless, skinless breasts and thighs. I think the thighs have a lot of flavor and they tend to stay nice and juicy. The marinade was a snap to throw together and I altered the quantities slightly since I was using thicker pieces of chicken. Although he says you should marinate the chicken for at least 10 minutes, I threw the chicken and marinade in a Ziploc and let it sit in the refrigerator for hours. I knew I wouldn’t have time in the evening to prep it and cook it… this worked best for my schedule that day and it was perfect.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3lbs boneless chicken (skinless breasts and thighs)
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-6 fresh jalapeño, finely chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Handful of chopped cilantro for serving
  • Sour cream for serving

* He calls for 6 jalapeño. I only used 4 because the ones from the market were huge. I removed the seeds from 2 of the 4 jalapeño and left the seeds in the remaining 2. I found it to have the perfect kick of heat. If you like it super spicy, leave all the seeds.

Place all the ingredients for the marinade in a medium size bowl and whisk together. If you’re using boneless breasts, pound them gently to a uniform thickness (not thin) so they cook evenly on the grill. Place the chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour over the marinade. Seal the bag and mush it around to make sure all the chicken is coated. Place on a plate in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for a few hours. I generally turn the bag over a few times.

To grill the chicken, remove it from the marinade and scrape off any large pieces of jalapeño or garlic. Grill the chicken until it’s properly cooked through. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on the side and a sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro.

* We used the leftover chicken the next night to make Chinese lettuce wraps with bean sprouts and Asian cabbage. Equally delicious and a great use of the leftover chicken. I made the dressing from my Chinese Chicken Salad recipe for the wraps.

GRILLED EGGPLANT WITH CILANTRO PESTO

I also made this delicious eggplant dip from the book. It’s like a Mexican version of baba ganoush. We ate this with tortilla chips, alongside the chicken. It was a really good dinner.

May 30, 2012

Strawberries Are Here!

I still have vivid memories of when I was a little girl, sitting around the kitchen table at my grandparents’ house in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. They had this white round table (very modern), with a single round navy blue placemat that lived in the center. There was always a set of salt and pepper shakers and a few paper napkins strewn on top of that placemat. I can still picture the salt and pepper shakers, from Dansk, walnut and brushed stainless. My grandmother loved kitchenwares from Dansk. Pretty cool if you ask me. We would all squeeze in together around the table to enjoy whatever treat my grandmother had prepared. We ate for sport. We ate because my grandmother told us to, and we ate because frankly, it’s what we all loved to do most.

Some of our best eating was done sitting around that kitchen table enjoying an afternoon Scrabble game. The ladies in my family are vicious Scrabble players. I used to think they made up half the words, cheaters! My mother is the best Scrabble player alive. She’ll tear you to shreds. She wins every game. She whips my husband into a frenzy, crushing him at Words with Friends. I often hear him scream out “I hate your mother! She just got 52 points for the word cat!

My grandmother could never sit down for an entire game. She was up and down the whole time, putzing at the stove or mixing up some concoction. The only time my grandmother could be still for more than 5 minutes was when Another World was on. I think it’s the only time she ever shh’d me as a child. She’d sit in her den, leaning forward towards the TV, engrossed like it was the President giving a speech. She’d munch on roasted cashews and sip her afternoon coffee, content to sit for that hour of the afternoon, undisturbed.

The simplicity of life at my grandparents’ makes me smile. For so many of us, the appreciation of a single moment during the day can get lost along the way. When was the last time any of us actually sat down for an hour? With the first patch of strawberries ready a little early at Manoff Farms, I couldn’t help but pull together this quick dessert. You see, store-bought pound cake is one of the best cheats. I learned this from my grandmother, too. Fresh fruit, pound cake and a little homemade whipped cream (it must be homemade)… what could be easier or more scrumptious?

INGREDIENTS (Serves about 4-6)

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • Sliced fresh pound cake
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 4 tsp sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbsp water

To make the whipped cream, place the heavy cream, 2 tsp of sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip to soft peaks. I don’t like to make my whipped cream very sweet. If you prefer it sweeter, just increase the amount of sugar.

Slice the berries in half or quarters depending on their size, and place in a bowl. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tsp of sugar over of the berries and drizzle a couple of tablespoons of water over top. Toss the berries together, cover and place in the refrigerator. The combination of the sugar and water will macerate the berries and make a delicious sweet juice in the bottom of the bowl. You should taste the berries to see how sweet they are. You can add a little more sugar if needed.

To serve, place a slice of pound cake on a plate, top with the berries and a generous dollop of whipped cream. Nothing fancy, just simply delicious.

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