Finally I have come around to realize that is crazy to run the oven or stove top indoors when temperatures rise above 85 and the humidity is so thick you can barely lift your arm. Grill it or go out instantly become the only options.
A classic grilled chicken breast never goes out of style.
A fresh grilled corn, tomato, feta and parsley salad along side always makes a nice accessory.
The nice thing about a meal like this, the chicken can be eaten hot, warm or even cold.
If you already are grilling the chicken – make the effort to grill the corn too. Just shuck it and throw it on. Nothing fancy – keep an eye and turn when it’s charred a bit.
Typically I usually take the time to peel back the green leaves, carefully remove the silk, smooth back the green leaves and soak the corn in water for at least 20 minutes, then throw them on the hot grill to steam in their water-soaked jackets. This method is good too but requires more prep and doesn’t allow for the actually charring of the corn.
Pick your corn grilling method according to your time and patience!
…because a hot day in July always seems like the perfect day to roast a chicken in the oven right?
Not really the best idea, but I had a craving! And a hankering for some sage which I grow in a pot in my back yard.
fresh sage from the garden
Ever since I started growing sage I am always looking for ways to incorporate it into lighter, summer-like food. But this day I just needed a really good roasted chicken.
I kept it simple adding only a high quality lemon pepper blend, additional fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. Half a stick of butter always make things juicy and tasty too.
Fresh chopped sage, lemon-pepper blend, sea salt and ground black pepper
I used classic technique and massaged the butter and spices all over and under the skin. Roast at 425 degrees until your meat registers 160 degrees in the thigh and juices run clear. Some people bother to tuck and tie their bird but I didn’t bother this time – just a little bit of foil on the wing tips and drum tips to keep them from burning too much.
After this last winter here in the Boston area, summer can’t come fast enough! However we have had some pretty decent spring weather (maybe a little too hot for me, but then again a true ‘New Englander’ is really never satisfied with the current weather!)
As spring/summer comes so does my favorite comfort food…. Watermelon!
Yep Watermelon. I mean I love carb-loading on stews, mac-n-cheese, and warm bread from the oven as much as the next person. But truly watermelon is a comfort food for me. Growing up my mother would always serve this to us if we were feeling bad. “Easy to digest” she would say. Admittedly it was the perfect first food after a bout with a stomach flu, a tooth pulling or even a fight with my brother. Somehow its refreshing sweet flesh always made everything better.
My father and I would sneakily compete to see who could get to the much-desired ‘heart’ of the watermelon first. The ‘heart’ is the best part – sweet and seed free. He would wander out to the fridge at night looking for the perfect TV snack only to discover that I had already carved out the best part!
To this day, my late night snack of choice is some watermelon!
A recent business trip to Montreal had me both shivering with cold and eating a yummy classic.
“Charlevoix poutine with braised pork & Migneron cheese” to be exact.
If you are unfamiliar with “poutine” I will explain.
In the most basic form it is french fries covered in cheese curds and gravy. The gravy is usually a chicken fat gravy. The cheese curdsare the chewy, salty little pieces (milk solids) that are the beginnings of a great cheese. (like cheddar) Folks can opt to make Poutine more deluxe by adding meat, other cheeses and exotic garnishes.
This version had shredded, braised pork, an extra cheese called “Migneron de Charlevoix” and some green onion.
That extra cheese is extra special. Its made locally by Maurice Dufourand has helped bring the Quebec province into the artisanal cheese market.
This Poutine version really hit the spot that night considering the temperature was dropping rapidly into the 30’s and, yes I swear there was a few flakes of snow.
By the way… take a few minutes out of your day to remember that Memorial Day is more than grilled food and beach fun, it is a day for remembrance of those who have died in service to our country. Also a day to honor all who have served, not only in the past, but in the present.
When I considered the restaurant brunch options for Mother’s Day in my mom’s hometown I couldn’t think of any place nicer then her porch. Besides I know her likes and dislikes better than any chef and I love to cook!
We had a full day ahead of us, opening up the porch to ready it for summer, changing out storm windows for screens and getting the hoses out in the extensive yard.
So breakfast on Mother’s Day was not going to be an elaborate, leisurely affair but rather a quick, nourishing start to our busy day.
And lucky for everyone her garden chives are already up so I paired that with the “corn and tomatoes on the porch” leftovers from the night before to make tasty omelets!
So fresh and yummy – even if I do say so myself! and of course it’s never really too early for a decadent dessert made with early strawberries, warmed slightly and sweetened with just a touch of honey, served over the best vanilla ice cream! (crumbled chocolate brownies optional!)
I actually graduate tomorrow (yippee!) and I am looking forward to new and more frequent blog entries now that I can have my life back! Stay tuned….
Here in New England we have a saying… “knee-high by fourth of July!”
What we are referencing is the corn needs to be about “knee-high” in the fields in order for it to be on schedule for our typical growing season. This means local corn doesn’t really come into the stores until early august. (Maaaaybe late July if we had a warm spring and a farmer willing to take a gamble and plant early)
But if you are willing to contribute to a “carbon-footprint” you can have your “fresh” corn-on-the-cob in May, grown and flown in from Florida.
We finally hit 50 degrees around here and moods are improving everyday! Snow is still lurking in the yard but bare patches outnumber the snow patches and the crocus are making a run at growing!
As I continue to “single-handily” will spring to come sooner with my cooking, I incorporated some fresh parsley into my dish. Poor parsley doesn’t have many admirers. But I think nothing says “fresh” and “bright” like some chopped parsley added in. And not just as a garnish but as a primary player!
Pan seared steak with sautéed potatoes, red/green bell pepper, shallots, feta cheese and lots of fresh parsley!
A couple of tips:
I like to add the feta and parsley in after I cook so they retain the fresh, bright green of the parsley and the cold, salty of the feta!
Also its nice to only toss in the shallots in the last-minute or so – the rawness is removed but they are not “cooked” to death!
In general, with exception of the potatoes, I enjoy not overcooking my veggies – no pre-blanching – just throw them in the hot pan and cook till just starting to get tender!
Other posts proclaiming my love for Parsley here and here !!