week 47

FRIDAY date night
SATURDAY mustard chicken + herbed pasta + leeks vinaigrette
SUNDAY cowgirl salad
MONDAY steak frites + tomato crostini
TUESDAY roasted cauliflower salad
WEDNESDAY asian barbecue chicken + napa slaw
THURSDAY gnocchi & meatballs

the week before last was a bit of a gong show and so a couple recipes got postponed to last week. one of those was a meal inspired by the food52 cookbook club: from my paris kitchen, david lebovitz’s mustard chicken with herbed fresh pasta, and leeks vinaigrette. making all three together was a bit of an undertaking, so i spent the entire afternoon prepping and cooking while the old guy worked on painting the house.

mustard.JPG
we’re not normally bone-in, skin-on chicken people, and to be honest, next time i make this i’m going to try it with boneless, skinless chicken thighs (several members of the cookbook club say it’s delightful that way), but this time around, i followed the recipe exactly. the flavours were amazing! that sauce? gahh!! the herbed pasta was the perfect vehicle to sop it all up. altho regular dried pasta or even mashed potatoes would do in a pinch too.

pasta.JPG

herbed fresh pasta
adapted from david lebovitz’s my paris kitchensmitten kitchen
serves 6

1 cup semolina flour
1 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
⅓ cup mixed chopped herbs (i used parsley, oregano, sage, thyme and tarragon — and mostly i could taste the tarragon)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks
water, if necessary

blend flours, herbs, and salt in food processor to combine. add eggs and yolks and process until mixture just begins to form a ball, adding water, drop by drop, if dough is too dry (dough should be firm, not sticky). process dough for 15 sec more to knead it. transfer to a floured surface and let stand, covered with an inverted bowl, for 1 hour.

on a lightly floured surface, divide dough into eight pieces and flatten them into rough rectangles. dust lightly with flour and pass first one thru pasta machine at the widest setting once, fold it in half and pass thru again. dust with extra semolina if pasta is sticking.

continue passing thru the machine, decreasing the opening each time, until desired thickness. run sheets thru fettuccine or linguine cutter (according to manufacturer’s instructions). hang on pasta drying rack if not cooking immediately.

cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, well-salted water for anywhere from 2 to 6 mins (depending on thickness), until al dente. drain and serve immediately.

leeks.JPG
this was a fairly rich dinner so in hindsight, i probably shouldn’t have served the chicken and pasta alongside his leeks vinaigrette but it’s an iconic french dish, and delightful at that, so i’ll serve this with, or as a starter to, something lighter next time. also, i’d toss the delicious dressing with the leeks better so the flavours get distributed properly; i just didn’t want to muss up my plating but as a result, not all of my leeks were coated. note: i did not serve this with chopped hard boiled eggs cos honestly i can’t think of anything worse. (not true: mushrooms!)

browns
after saturday’s heavy meal, i wanted to lighten things up a bit, so on sunday i made my interpretation of browns‘ cowgirl salad. i used to order this every time we ate there but making it at home is so much healthier (each order at the restaurant contains six tablespoons of oil!) they have since changed their dish to include black beans and salsa, replacing them with a few original ingredients, but i make it the way i remember it. this recipe is incredibly easy to scale up or down, altho i always make the full batch of dressing cos it’s soooo good and i’ll toss it on other salads throughout the week.

cowgirl salad with grilled chicken & apple-miso vinaigrette
inspired by browns social house
serves 4

16 oz mixed greens
4 oz coleslaw mix (i often use broccoli slaw)
2 oz frozen corn niblets
2 oz pecans, toasted
4 oz edamame
20 grape tomatoes
2 oz dates
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
chopped parsley

mix greens and slaw in a large salad bowl and set aside.

in a small skillet over medium-high heat, pan fry the frozen corn till slightly blackened; season with a little salt & pepper. set aside.

toast the pecans; blanch the edamame; cut the tomatoes in half and slice the dates.

season the chicken with salt & pepper and a little garlic powder, then either grill on the bbq or broil in your oven until no longer pink inside. remove and let rest for a bit to distribute juices.

toss the greens with a little more than half of the dressing and divide among 4 large bowls or dishes. top each with a quarter of the corn, tomatoes, edamame and dates.

slice the chicken into thin strips and place on top of each salad. chop the pecans and sprinkle on top. garnish with crumbled feta and parsley. drizzle with some or all of the remaining dressing.

dressing:
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp white miso paste
3 tsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp agave
1 tbsp dijon mustard
pinch freshly ground pepper
½ cup olive oil (i often replace ¼ cup with walnut oil)

shake together all ingredients except oil(s) in large jar. add oil(s) and shake to emulsify.

kate.JPGi was super excited to make this roasted cauliflower salad from cookie and kate‘s new cookbook love real food seeing as i didn’t get a chance to make it the week before last. aside from the fact that i classify roasted cauliflower as its own food group, what intrigued me about this particular recipe was the use of farro — kate was the one that introduced me to freekeh (omgyum!) so i figured i’d have to give this one a go too! i made a big mistake in that i prepped everything super early and then let it all sit for literally two hours before we ate. the farro soaked up all the dressing and the flavour got diluted when i mixed everything together. plus everything was stone-cold. duh! rookie move! i will defs be making it again because individually, everything tasted amazing!!

chicken.JPG
when i was little, my family was friends with this lovely lady named evelyn, who was the most amazing cook. our families used to go boating together and when someone caught a  fish — rock cod or whatever (even sea cucumber once, i’m not kidding), it would disappear with her into their tiny galley kitchen and reappear as the most insanely flavourful dish. and this was for lunch!! (she also used to make spaghetti and hamburgers for her kids’ lunches! on a boat! who does that??) anyway, one of the recipes my mum managed to get from her was her bbq’d chicken. easiest recipe — it’s all about the overnight (or longer!) marinade!

chinese barbecue chicken

evelyn’s recipe is for 2.5 – 3lbs bone-in chicken, but i always use 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs now. you do you.

1 tsp minced garlic
¾ tsp onion powder
4½ tsp honey
1½ tsp salt
1½ tsp chinese 5-spice
1 tsp grated ginger
dash pepper
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1½ tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil

whisk together in small bowl.

pour over chicken pieces (i do this in a large ziplock freezer bag) and massage chicken to make sure marinade is evenly coating all the pieces. refrigerate overnight.

pro-tip: make a double batch and the next morning, pop the second bag in the freezer. this makes the best campsite bbq chicken ever! i bring this every camping trip; the frozen pack also helps keep my cooler cold till i cook it that first night.

slaw.JPG
and for years, both at home and camping, i’ve served that chicken with asian napa cabbage slaw. also, with corn on the cob if it’s in season. this makes a lot tho and doesn’t keep particularly well once dressed. but it’s so good that i’ll often make the full batch, just bagging the greens and veg, and tossing what i need with the toasted almonds and dressing. such an easy camping meal! now I’m wishing we’d booked a campsite or two this summer.

gnocchi
the last meal this week was in honour of my sweet boy who turned 21! this was a bit of a labour intensive meal but he’s worth it ❤ his dad and i are very fond of nook, an italian restaurant in vancouver that features fresh local ingredients. we don’t go as often as we’d like, but enough to discover how delicious their gnocchi with baby meatballs dish is! i tried to recreate this dish last year for my husband’s birthday and it turned out quite well, if i do say so myself. my son sure loved it so requested it for his birthday this year.

gnocchi and meatballs
adapted from serious eats, smitten kitchen and ina garten
serves 4

gnocchi
12 oz best quality ricotta cheese
1 oz finely grated parmesan cheese
3½-6 oz all purpose flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
semolina flour, for dusting

line a large plate with three layers of paper towels. scoop ricotta on top of paper towels and spread out evenly. place another triple layer of paper towels on top and press down firmly to get out as much moisture as possible. peel off upper paper towels.

weigh pressed ricotta to get exactly 8 oz (reserve excess ricotta for another use). add parmesan, 3½  oz flour, whole egg, and egg yolk to bowl. season with salt and pepper. combine mixture with a rubber spatula. it should be sticky but not loose. add flour a tbsp at a time if it is still very moist after kneading with the spatula for 1 min.

transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and dust the top with flour. flatten into a 4- to 6-inch disk and cut into quarters. working one piece at a time, roll dough into a log about 6 inches long, dusting with flour as necessary. split log in half and roll each half into a log about 12″ long and ¾” wide. you should end up with 8 logs.

cut each log into 10 gnocchi, transferring to a parchment-lined baking sheet dusted in semolina flour as you go. shake to lightly coat gnocchi and prevent sticking. (at this point, gnocchi can be frozen. transfer baking sheet to freezer until gnocchi are completely frozen, about 30 mins. store in a ziplock freezer bag, in the freezer, for up to 2 months. cook directly from frozen, adding a few mins to cooking time.)

mini meatballs
1/4 cup milk
1 slice good white bread trimmed of its crust
½ lb ground pork
½ lb ground beef (or 1 lb of one or the other)
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp chopped parsley
20g freshly grated parmesan
1 egg
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup flour, spread on a plate
grapeseed oil for frying

heat the milk, but don’t let it simmer. tear pieces of the white bread into it and let it soak for 5 minutes.  with your hands, squeeze out the milk and put it in a large mixing bowl.

add the ground meat, garlic, parsley, grated cheese, egg, salt, and pepper to the bowl with the bread. combine with a fork until everything is evenly mixed.

pinch off a small lump of meat (about the size of a raspberry) and roll into a ball in the palm of your hands. when all the meatballs have been shaped, roll them in the flour, 10 or so at a time. place the floured meatballs in a strainer and shake smartly to dispose of excess flour. lay floured meatballs in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. i did not and they all stuck together.

pour just enough oil in a skillet to rise 1/4-inch up the sides of the pan and turn on the heat to medium high. when the oil is hot, put as many meatballs in the skillet as will fit without overcrowding. brown them until they form a nice crust all around. when one batch is done, transfer it with a slotted spoon to a platter covered with paper towels to drain and do the next batch until all are done.

marinara sauce
1 tbsp good olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1½ tsp minced garlic
½ cup red wine
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet. add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. add the garlic and cook for 1 more min. add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 mins. stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 15 mins.

in the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. add gnocchi to pot, stir gently, and cook until gnocchi float for 30 sec, about 3 mins total (6 mins max if from frozen). drain gnocchi, reserving about a half cup of pasta cooking water. add gnocchi and ¼ cup of cooking water to pot with sauce and bring to a hard boil, stirring gently. add more pasta water to thin sauce to desired consistency. add meatballs and stir till heated through. season to taste with salt and pepper.

so that was quite the week, and i didn’t even get to the steak frites! not exactly all easy weeknight recipes but certainly delicious and well worth the time to make.

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