If you, like me, wanna keep things real simple in the kitchen by the middle of the week… but also wanna make sure you have something healthy and satisfying for your family… this chicken dish is for you. Bonus if you, like me, only have two mouths to feed: you can pack up the rest and bring it with you to work for lunch. I was the envy of the office when, one morning around 10:30 (I get up early, remember), I peeled the lid off my tupperware, allowing the smell of mustard and shallots waft through the kitchen area. It was fantastic the night before, sizzling straight outta the skillet, but like most things even better cold the next day.
A few weeks ago we had dinner at our friends Noah and Marissa’s apartment and (for our first course) he made us this sensational salad. I know kale salad feels a little played out considering there’s one on every restaurant menu these days, but this one is different. This one is better. This one bursts with flavor and texture and sweetness so addicting that while I was eating it I asked for the recipe. (I usually wait til the next day / as part of a thank you note.) I then made it at home three times over the next two weeks. Twice I made it as a starter dish, and the third time I decided to go crazy and put a piece of mahi mahi on top (as seen below) and serve it as an entree. And now as I type this I’m dreaming up a way to make it again this week and still have it seem new and exciting.
I am so utterly tickled by how good my home smells right now… how delightful this bubbling pot of chicken, bacon, vegetables and spices looks…that I am left no choice but to post this recipe for you right now. I’m also waiting for B to get outta the shower and get ready to sit down and eat, but I’m not pointing any fingers… just pointing you to fantastic recipes — like this one on Food52! Try it, and you too can be as tickled as I am by this chicken cacciatore.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my Bubby and Zayda recently and sometimes when I do, I wear my Zayda’s shirt or my Bubby’s hand-knit sweater or necklace. Other times, I make food that reminds me of them. It makes me feel close to them, like they’re here or they know what’s going on in my life. Enter my Bubby’s roast beef / her signature dish. For years I had no idea that it was also called brisket or that roast beef could be served any other way besides in a big roaster with potatoes, carrots and a spicy tomato sauce gravy. Whenever she was serving it, or my mom would make it at home, we would all get so excited. The tenderness of the meat. The sweetness of the sauce. The comfort of potatoes. Best of all: how the house smelled… like love. That’s the power of grandparents. It’s magical, isn’t it?
I love applesauce. Gimme a spoon and I’ll take down a jar of it in one sitting. Only problem is that the first ingredient listed on most store-bought kinds is high fructose corn syrup. Not even apples! High fructose corn syrup. Kinda sad, isn’t it? Sad and disturbing.
Instead of standing tall on my anti-sugar soapbox though, let’s discuss how to make a healthier version… one that barely needs sugar at all.
I bring you: the prettiest rosiest homemade applesauce that won’t give you diabetes. (Didn’t promise I’d stay off the anti-sugar soapbox.) This recipe is adapted from Elana Carlson at Food52, who uses cinnamon sticks and a lot more water. I don’t particularly care for cinnamon, so I just used a dash of it. Some apples, water, the sugar of your choice (I like organic palm sugar), and you’re ready to roll.
My mom-mom used to make her own applesauce with a foley, but that’s way too complicated and laborious. And unnecessary! Leave the skin on, as per Elana’s advice, and if you like your applesauce smooth, just pulse it through a Vitamix (or any kind of blender) after the apples are cooked down.
This is not your grandma’s (or sugary store-bought) applesauce. This is the new and improved applesauce. Your new favorite TV Dinner side (or, if you’re like me, midday pickmeup). Grab a spoon and dig in.
- 15 apples (I used 11 of different red varieties, 4 pink-inside winesaps)
- Sugar, to taste (I used ~2 teaspoons of organic palm sugar)
- Cinnamon, to taste
- Cut and core apples and dump in a big pot.
- Pour water in to cover about 1 inch of apples on the bottom.
- Turn on medium heat and cover. When water and apples start to bubble, lower the heat, stirring occasionally.
- When apples get to your desired softness, taste for sweetness. I only used a dash of cinnamon and a teeny bit of sugar. It is naturally very sweet.
- If you want it smooth and not chunky, put a few servings at a time through a Vitamix/blender.
- Put in jar or container to store in fridge or freezer!
This recipe is adapted from Elana Carlson at Food52 who says you do not have to skin the apples. The skin gives it more flavor and (better) texture.
A Recipe From Jamie Stelter | www.thetvdinner.com
I eat fast. I know I shouldn’t. I should slow down, savor each bite, take a breath, enjoy the fruits of my labor. But I can’t help it. I scarf food down like it’s going to be taken away from me if I don’t finish within minutes. Brian, on the other hand, eats slow. So slow that after I’ve finished eating (and checked Twitter, instagram, my email…) I’ll joke that he must hate the food I’ve made. (He doesn’t; what he hates is me saying that.) I’ve said before that I equate how much (and how fast!) he finishes with how much he loves me. Which is why just minutes after I gobbled down this plate of beef ragu and courgetti… or as I like to call it, zucchini noodles bolognese… I was gobsmacked to see that Brian had also cleared his plate. I checked under the table, inside his crumbled up paper towel, even behind him on the couch, but he ate it. Every. Last. Bite.
Today is ma husband’s birthday. Happy birthday, Brian!
But this past Sunday, because he makes me feel so special, so at home every single day… I wanted him to feel the same as we celebrated him turning 29. So special, so at home. So I took him to see his family at the farm!
Kidding! I did take him to a farm though. But not just any farm: Blue Hill Stone Barns, a magical place just 30 miles north of the city. If you haven’t been, you must add it to your list.
It’s a once in a lifetime experience. You can take a tour of the farm with their staff to see where your entire meal is coming from, or, if you’re lucky like me your husband will grab a map from the farm store and take you on a self-guided tour of all the vegetable gardens, chicken coops, and open pastures to see animals like this guy! (Thing I learned: sheep are much cuter than they are friendly.)
You can even play on some of the farm equipment (and dream about your own future farm)! It’s always fun to get nice and sweaty and dirty before the fanciest dinner of your life.
And I mean fancy. There are no menus, just a 20-course tasting feast made from whatever’s been harvested from their fields. You can get the official wine pairing to go along with it, or you can opt for a la carte drinks as we did, which I highly recommend. See this rose champagne cocktail? The flowers were edible!
Speaking of edible flowers, here were some that we had for one of our courses… served alongside some kind of cola made from a plant. (Don’t ask / this was during my second cocktail, and I’m not much of a drinker.)
For another course we had all different kinds of beans foraged from the garden, some delicious piece of dried meat served atop a glass of what tasted like the best apple juice I’ve ever had, salted cucumbers with fresh yogurt, and a canteloupe/cheese plate that made me drool. Literally, drool coming out of my mouth. What I really loved though was the waiter dropping off a bag of forks, knives and spoons and saying, “Use whatever silverware you like.” We ate with our hands.
We noticed during the meal that each table got taken outside by the waiter for a little while. Brian’s reporter curiosity kicked into high gear and he made me try and ask the woman two tables down from us what happened out there. “We saw the composting.” The composting? We thought, based on our cocktail-induced mathematics of when other tables were whisked away, that we were getting the shaft and wouldn’t be taken outside. But alas! Just as we were giving up hope, we were escorted to this little slice of heaven: our own private farm table to enjoy one last course before dessert. (Doesn’t he look sexy in this setting? We really need our own farm.)
Every detail at this place — from the soft bathroom towels, to how they catered every course of mine to my grain-free needs — was perfectly executed. It’s a seamlessly orchestrated experience, like none other. To wit: this adorable nook inside the private farmhouse room. So cute, right?!
And finally, here it was! Brian’s favorite course (besides dessert, of course): the goat.
Before we left we hit up the farm store for some eggs, a souvenir tote bag (of course, cause I need another tote bag), and some fresh vegetables from their farmer’s market. Ya have to bring a little Stone Barns home with you! And I’m so glad we did, cause the next day I sauteed these shishito peppers with some olive oil, garlic and sea salt… and it almost felt like we were back at the farm. Almost.
I had so much fun talking to Jessica Murnane earlier this week for her One Part Podcast. You may remember when I was featured on her site One Part Plant as a “Babe in Plantland”; since then, she’s created an e-cookbook all about cookies and started this delightful (and super successful!) podcast.
We talked food / arthritis / love / so much more — so I’ll hope you’ll check it out. Jessica’s doing really great and really important work / spreading the good word about eating good food and living the good life, so it was an honor to be a part of it.
More recipes coming in September… til then, happy Labor Day weekend!