As a wedding gift, nearly a couple of decades ago, I received a subscription to Gourmet magazine. I very much admired the glossy photos and exotic locations featured in the magazine, but found myself discouraged by the recipes. It seemed to me that each one had a minimum of 12 ingredients and involved at least 3 different and necessary purveyors. I didn’t have time that.
I don’t remember how I came to subscribe to Bon Appetit, but suspect there was a niece and a school fundraiser involved. How it started doesn’t really matter, I suppose. The important fact is that I have continued to renew this subscription, even when I get totally annoyed because they repeatedly send me renewal notices for months and months prior to my present subscription expiring.
The latest issue caught me at a perfect time – a midwinter’s week at home with the boys. As I leafed through the magazine the other morning before heading to the grocery store, two recipes caught my eye, the Fauxtisserie Chicken and the Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder. As is generally the case in Bon Appetit, the ingredient list was reasonable and easily obtained. The only item which provided some challenge was the fresh marjoram, a new herb in my repertoire, but one I was willing to invest in since it was present in both recipes.
My chicken after about 2 hours of low roasting.
Friday’s chicken was as tenderly falling apart as promised, yet moist with a surprising spicy kick. The potatoes which had been roasted alongside the bird were tasty, yet a little more firm than I expected. There was a lack of basting juices so I added a few ladles of water about an hour into the three-hour roasting time. Next time, I’ll add a little more.
My 7lb Boston Butt prepped for a looonnng slow roast.
Saturday’s slow roasting pork roast was a seven hour promise of what was to come. My entire house was filled with the fragrance of Dijon mustard, sage, garlic and marjoram – intense and mouth watering. After removing the roast from the oven, I deglazed the pan with a bit of red wine and tossed Friday’s remaining potatoes into pan juices for a quick reheat. The pork was fork shreddable with a delectable skin crowning a layer of fatty deliciousness. It was truly outstanding.
I never claimed to be a Gourmet, but I am all about Bon Appetit.
If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I love beans and greens. I’ve been known to make it with a variety of different varieties of greens, including broccoli rabe and escarole but generally I go with bacon as my salty, meaty addition. Recently, though, I had a hankering for sausage, which coincided with there being an excess of kale and a new variation was born!
This dinner takes 25 minutes – start to finish, and only requires a handful of ingredients. It’s also one of those recipes which comes from the pantry, the freezer and the produce drawer. You know, a little of this, a little of that, stuff that you probably already have on hand. Here’s what you need:
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 5-6 sausages – your call on sweet or spicy, chicken or pork
- 1 can of canellini beans – rinsed and drained
- 1 generous bunch of kale, coarsely chopped
- Olive oil, salt & pepper, crushed red pepper flakes
Start with a few tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic in a fairly deep pot. Did I mention this is a one-pot meal? As the garlic lightly browns over low heat, slice sausages into rounds and add to the pot, increasing heat to medium. Another option would be to use loose sausage or remove the casings, breaking sausage up with a wooden spoon as it browns.
When sausage is still a little pink, or slightly undercooked, toss in the kale and chicken broth. Cover and cook until the kale wilts a bit and gets tender. Throw in the beans, heat through, season and enjoy.
We like lots of noodles in our soup!
Recently, the boys and I had a hankering for Chinese food. We were looking for takeout, which eliminated our usual spot, Emperor’s Palace, but I remembered Steve Barnes doing a review a couple of months ago for a spot on Central Avenue. After a quick check on their menu and confirmation that they offered Peking Duck, I placed an order. You remember how the Lilly boys like their Peking Duck, don’t you? It’s kind of their go-to dish when ordering Chinese and at this point, they’ve sampled it in 4 states in 3 countries, which is pretty cool if you ask me. Despite all that experience, what we got from the new incarnation of Ocean Palace was a first…
When I arrived to pick up our meal, things weren’t quite ready. As I waited for our order to be complete, I was asked a question I had never before been asked – “Would you like the bones from the duck?” Hell, yes, I would! I’m all about making stock and I immediately knew exactly what I would do with the carcass from our bird – duck noodle soup! I tossed the bones in a pot and covered them with water and set them on a low temperature on the stove. I usually put onions and carrots in my stock, but for this, I really wanted to extract as much pure duck flavor as possible, so I left it unadulterated. After about 14 hours, I strained the stock and refrigerated it for another day.
On soup day I heated up the stock which, surprisingly enough, had very little visible fat and got busy slicing and chopping vegetables. My veggie share this week contained some gorgeous shiitaki mushrooms and baby bok choy which were the perfect additions to my soup, along with a package of rice noodles. I seasoned with soy sauce and, when my son demanded meat for the soup (as if the love I put in wasn’t enough?!) , I stir fried some thin slices of beef in sesame oil to add to the pot. I was a little nervous about how my half-assed version of hot-pot would be received, but the guys went gangbusters on it and I was rewarded for my efforts with a “it’s not bad, Mom” as they slurped it up. Success!
As for the rest of the original meal, the food was terrific. Looks like we have a new takeout spot.
I’ve got a question for you – what do you do with your shrimp shells? Please don’t tell me you toss them in the trash because that would make me sad. You know that tossing the uncooked shells into the freezer could eventually give you something gorgeous like this, right?Since it is so simple, and basically free, why don’t you promise to begin saving those shells beginning with your next shrimp-centric meal? After peeling your uncooked shrimp place shells (and heads, if available) into a zip top bag and throw in freezer. Once you have a decent amount – think enough to fill a stock pot 2/3 or so, remove from freezer and place in a roasting pan with a little oil and cook at about 400 degrees for maybe 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Remove shells from oven and place in a stock pot with whatever random vegetable peelings/herbs you have on hand and cover with water.
Cook on low to medium for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. Strain and use in soups, risottos and pasta dishes as desired. Believe me, you will never throw these babies away again. Nothing shrimpy about it.
A recipe for you, courtesy of Quinn Lilly, for a fast breakfast treat for the whole family. Here’s the “list*” of ingredients:
Lacking punctuation – it’s ice, milk not ice milk
Place together in blender and push the button. Simple!
The chocolate mustache tells the tale.
Seeing as how we’re (finally) done with foil-wrapped chocolate Easter eggs, I imagine we’ll be modifying this recipe. What will remain consistent is the absolute joy this boy gives to me.
*Some may call it a recipe, but Q prefers list.
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Nope. More powerful than a locomotive? Sometimes. Proficient at getting a healthy, fast dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time? Now you’re talking! How about you? What’s your superpower?
Here’s my latest Moms@Work post.