Month: July 2013

Farmer’s Market Dinner

Tonight’s dinner menu

A little bit of Melo(n)drama

Folks, I wanted to start this recipe with a really funny cantaloupe joke. Turns out, there aren’t any really funny cantaloupe jokes. That punny title was really the only workable, melon related, almost funny thing I found.*

“Jordan, why were you looking for cantaloupe jokes?” you might be asking. 

Because I made a recipe in which these bright, orange orbs of deliciousness are the star, and… well… that’s enough reason, right?

This recipe comes from the “3 Chefs, 1 Ingredient” Challenge in this month’s Bon Appétit. It’s a lovely, refreshing, cantaloupe gazpacho from Ryan Lowder at Salt Lake City’s The Copper Onion. 

image

I know that photo above with the ingredients list/directions is slightly fuzzy, so if you’re having a hard time reading it you can also find the full recipe here.

I made this as a starter for the chicken recipe I shared last week, and it couldn’t have been easier. In fact, I am pretty much in love with the idea of any gazpacho in the summer because there is no actual heat required—just take some great, fresh fruits and/or veggies that all work well together and throw them in the blender with a little seasoning, then chill. I probably even did a little more chopping than was necessary to begin with, but not knowing the capabilities or age of my friend’s blender I didn’t want to take any chances. Plus, I just really enjoy chopping things up.

image

I did make one substitution— I didn’t like the way any of the red onions at the grocery store looked, so I used a shallot, instead. I’ll also caution you to taste your cantaloupe before you add the salt. If it’s not as sweet as you think it oughta be, hold off on adding the 2nd tsp of salt until after you’ve got everything blended.

image

If your melon isn’t perfectly sweet, this might turn out a little saltier than you want it if you just dump all the salt in at once. I also didn’t end up using the full half cup of olive oil, but not because it didn’t taste good—I was just trying to save a few fat grams. Plus, I really like pretty much any kind of melon, and I wanted that flavour to be super pronounced.

The hardest part about this whole recipe was the prep on the melon— cutting it open, deseeding, peeling, and chunking it up. I really don’t think that’s too much work given how completely un-difficult the recipe is on the whole, but you could always opt to buy the pre-chunked cantaloupe that is sold in most grocery stores.

I tasted the soup straight outta the blender, and then again just before serving and that little hour of chilling (and chilling) in the fridge made a difference, so make sure you let this rest for a bit so all the flavours can really become friends before you serve.

image

This recipe is just a perfect summer treat. The melon and cucumber keep it super refreshing, and the savory ingredients make it interesting. If you threw together a great composed salad and a sparkly cold beverage, you’d pretty much have the perfect, light, summer meal. 

As an aside, the cantaloupe, cucumber, and mint all whirred up together would also be the makings for a delicious popsicle or paleta, no?

Enjoy!

*I did, however, find this website full of the cutest little fruit & veg cartoons you’ve ever seen. They’re actually set out in categories. It’s like an overload of adorable.

It’s fun to say garbannnnnnnnnzo

Howdy folks! I hope all of you had a lovely fourth of July. I did. I hung out with friends and cooked a lot, so you know I was happy. 

I made a few different things, but this time I’m going to share just one of the recipes, The Roasted Chicken with Garbanzo Beans from the May 2008 bon appetit

image

You guys, this dish was SO delicious, and super easy. The picture above shows the full ingredients list, but I’ll walk you through the recipe. 

First, pre-heat your oven to 450. If you cannot stand the idea of having an oven that hot inside your house in the middle of summer, I’m positive that the chicken could be done on the grill if you wanted, and the rest could be done on the stovetop or on your outdoor burner if you have one-a those fancy schmancy type gas grills. Luckily, my friends believe in running the air conditioner at full strength through the hottest part of the day so the house didn’t turn into the 7th circle of hell while I was cooking.

For equipment, you’ll need a knife, a cutting board, and a (per the recipe) “large, rimmed baking sheet.” If you have one of those baking sheets with sides on it (the kind a lot of us call “cookie sheets”), that’ll work just fine. You’ll also need a medium sized mixing bowl, a slightly smaller mixing bowl, and a couple spoons. The recipe said to use a whisk, but I just used spoons and nothing bad happened.

Mix the first five ingredients on the list together in your medium mixing bowl.

image

FYI, when it says the garlic cloves should be “pressed,” I assumed it meant that you should use a garlic press. I just smashed the garlic cloves and then gave them all a pretty good dice. Again, nothing catastrophic happened… Julia Child didn’t come down and cut my pinkie off, so I think it’s ok if you don’t have, or want to use, a garlic press. 

image

While you’re chopping things, you might as well go ahead and chop up that one cup of fresh cilantro. 

After you’ve got your spiced oil mixture all stirred together, measure about 1 tablespoon of it into your smaller bowl, and then stir the yogurt into it until it’s well combined. That’ll be your yogurt sauce. Easy, yes? Cover the bowl with some foil or plastic wrap or the lid (whatever) and stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. (I forgot to get a picture of this stuff, but you’ll see it later in the finished plate.)

Lay your chicken breasts out on your baking pan. I gave mine a quick rinse and a pat down with a paper towel first. Then, sprinkle them all over with some salt. I used sea salt, but if you don’t have any, don’t panic, Just use the regular stuff. Next, rub the chicken down with the spice oil. The recipe says two tablespoons total. I think I might have used a little more than that. You should have a couple tablespoons of the oil mixture left over. Add your can of garbannnnnnnnzo beans and the tomatoes to the bowl of whatever oil mixture you have left, along with 1/2 a cup of your chopped cilantro. Stir it all together until everything is pretty well coated, and then pour the whole mixture onto the baking pan, around the chicken breasts.

image

If you like, give everything a good sprinkle of salt and pepper, and then pop it in the oven. The recipe doesn’t specify a size for the chicken breasts, but it says they should be cooked through in about 20 minutes. Mine were pretty large, so I left them in for 25 and they were just done. I probably could have left them in for another 5-8 minutes and been ok. What you’re looking for is an internal temperature of about 170, keeping in mind that there will be some carry-over cooking that happens while you’re letting the meat rest. ALWAYS let your meat rest… for at least half of the cooking time. If your chicken is in the oven for 25 minutes, I’d let it rest for at least 12-15 minutes. 

Once your chicken is well rested, you can leave it on the bone (we did, but we did NOT finish a whole chicken breast each.) or debone it, and then plate it up with the roasted beans/tomatoes and some of that yummy yogurt sauce and the other 1/2 a cup of cilantro sprinkled over everyone’s plates to make it pretty and give everything another kick of “fresh.” (sorry for the slightly fuzzy pic. i think i got some shmutz on the camera phone lens. i’m super professional like that.)

image

This is a pretty “no fuss” recipe, and a meal you could easily prep ahead and have on the table in less than an hour. If you have leftovers, you could pretty much just dice up the chicken, mix it with the garbannnnnzo beans and yogurt sauce, and have a lovely filling for a pita sammich or a wrap. 

My favourite part about this recipe is the spiced oil mixture. Since you are using it to season the chicken AND the beans/tomatoes, as well as for the flavour base in the yogurt sauce, the whole cooking process is super streamlined with not a lot of prep. I think that same mixture could be used on nearly any protein, too, so once you’ve got the basic components in your head, you can use it as a “go to” for almost anything. 

And of course, you probably noticed that this dish is pretty healthy— lean protein, good oil, yogurt (i used fat free) instead of butter or sour cream, and it uses that lovely spice blend for the main flavour influence, letting you control the amount of salt used. I think that makes it a good “anytime” dinner instead of just something you’d save for a special occasion.

Enjoy!