Tuesday, May 29, 2012

No rest for the wicked.

Memorial Day weekend was a delightful patchwork of cooking, growing, building, shoveling, chasing, eating, drinking, parties, more cooking ... Mark and I got everything checked off of our list and I helped out some clients in between. All-in-all, a very satisfying turn of events.

I'm pretty sure this was on our way to grab a pick-up-truck's worth of compost from Lewis Farm in Concord. They're a favorite local grower of ours and their compost is dynamite.

Compost led to garden beds. We finally have a spot to put all those heirloom tomatoes we bought on impulse.

Our newest family members arrived courtesy of our amazing friends Bob Jones and Abby Tomich. They hand-raised these little guys for us *and* Bob built their coop. I will forever attempt to repay their kindness. I worry I may always come up short.

Mojitos were a hit at the Robfoustinson house. I made a mint simple syrup, and all we had was dark rum. No matter, they still tasted great.

Hannah and Melissa joined forces to create this beautiful endeavor. There's St. Germaine liquor in the strawberries AND the whipped cream. Everyone in the room was floored.

These came from a client and very good friend's garden. They are currently perfuming the entire kitchen. I must grow peonies immediately!

So it seems I've gotten into the habit of over producing particular recipes for weeks at a time. Currently, No-Noodle Lasagna is in the lead:

3 to 4 zucchinis, washed and cut into thin strips (I find a long blade paring knife works great for this job)
Tomato sauce of your choice, though from scratch is always best
1 cup ricotta cheese (whole milk tastes best)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 small package of frozen spinach, thawed
1 lb turkey or pork sausage, cooked through

The key to this recipe is layering ... we've all had lasagna, we all know the fundamentals. Mix the cup of ricotta and one cup of the mozzarella together with the spinach (be sure to squeeze the water out of the spinach first). I layer like this:

Sauce, zucchini strips, cheese mixture, sausage, more zucchini, more sauce ... until whatever pan you're using is totally full. Top off with the remaining cheese and bake at 350 for 30 or so minutes. If it's bubbling frantically, it's done. And it's delicious!!! You'll never want the pasta version again, I swear. I've all but ruled it out, myself.

Another frequent that I fall back on this time of year is Lemon Anything Chicken. I call it that because you can literally pair it with any herb and it still tastes great. 

3 full chicken breasts, butterflied into 6 servings
zest of one lemon
juice of two lemons
1/3 cup olive oil (the good stuff)
2 large garlic cloves, pressed or microplaned into a paste
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs fresh ground pepper
Any fresh herb you choose ... dill, basil, tarragon, oregano, chive, seriously anything will work here.

Hence the name "Lemon Anything Chicken" ... mix all of these ingredients together in a heavy duty plastic bag- freezer bags usually do the trick- and allow it to sit for a bit, anywhere from a half hour to an hour ... don't let it sit longer than that, though ... lemon juice will cook the proteins in the chicken while it sits there.

I recommend grilling this outside or on a grill pan on the stove top. With that option you get the added benefit of delicious kitchen smells.

I would serve it with some orzo tossed with tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese, with a bit of lemon juice, zest and olive oil to keep things interesting.

There you have it, two amazingly easy and oh-so-tasty options for a summer meal this week.

Aren't you glad you bothered to read another one of these posts? I'm sure glad you're here. I hope everyone had a stellar holiday. 

May all your meals be celebrations. xo

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