A summer weekend in the country as house guests of wonderful hosts – what could be better? We had a terrific one with friends who, like us, are writer/editor and photographer. We were joined by our mutual art director pal who kept us all performing at our style-book best. At cocktails, we were treated to Michel’s (our photographer-host) favorite pissaladière baked by Mado at her tiny bakery on Main Street in Chatham, New York. Michel made his famous beer can chicken sans beer can and coerced me into trying to duplicate his grandmother’s clafoutis (see my October 10, 2010 post on this very same subject). Trying to remember the recipe didn’t exactly work as I had hoped but the results were good enough to take Michel back to the warmth of his grandmere’s cuisine and the rest of us to cherry dessert heaven. Another extraordinary chocolate cake again baked by Mado expanded our dessert table. Michel decided that the chicken was over-cooked and I decided that it was simply “burnished” to a lovely patina. Joel, the art director, heard me say burnoosed and so, of course, beer can chicken sans beer can is now known as burnoosed chicken. The evening was exceedingly warm but the friendship and good time was even warmer. And, over-cooked or not, Michel’s burnished, smoky chicken was absolutely delicious.
Archive for August, 2011
Posted in Books, Stephen Kolyer, tagged beer can chicken, chatham new york, cherry dessert, chocolate cake, clafoutis, dessert table, grandmere, Mado, Mado Bakery, smoky chicken on August 16, 2011 | 2 Comments »
I have always loved okra; even as a kid, I’d eat the okra pieces out of Lipton’s Chicken Gumbo Soup before I’d dig into the bowl. Don’t ask me why, ‘cause I really have no idea why it holds such appeal. But, I only cook it in the summer when it is fresh in the farmers market or at farm stands and I only buy the wee pods as the big ones are tough and stringy. The recipe I use is quite simple and so yummy – or, at least it is to me.
If this one doesn’t make you a convert, try it sautéed with lots of onion, a touch of tomato, and lots of Indian spices or curry powder and chiles – also delicious! And, if you have the time, there is nothing better than pickled okra – it is a crunchy snack or hors d’oeuvre.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and cut into a medium dice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound tiny fresh okra pods, trimmed of the stem end and cut, crosswise, into small pieces
4 plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, and chopped
or 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until softened. Add the okra and cook for a minute or so. Stir in the tomatoes and season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or just until the okra is still a bit firm and the tomatoes have softened and exuded their juice. Stir in the parsley, remove from the heat, and serve.
Posted in Recipes, Stephen Kolyer, tagged chicken and potato, chicken breast, chicken dinner, chicken recipes, Chrissy Chiacchia, Cooperstown Farmers Market, Gaia’s Breath Farm, Kalamata olives, Kalustyans, olive recipe, olives, potatoes and chicken recipe, Preserved Lemons, stephen kolyer, Tiny Chickens on August 3, 2011 | 4 Comments »
Some weeks ago I got it in my head to try to find what used to be normal-sized chickens – those about 2 to 2½ pounds. An impossibility! You can find a chicken breast half that weighs almost that much but no delicate little birds are to be found anywhere. So, my best buddy Lynn and I cornered Chrissy Chiacchia from Gaia’s Breath Farm (for mail orders try email@example.com) at the Cooperstown Farmers Market and she agreed to produce 3 small chickens for me to try.
This past weekend the chickens came home to roost and, although by now I had forgotten exactly what I had planned to do with them, they found their way into a spur-of-the-moment on the grill dish. I had a container of Kalamata olives and a small jar of 3 preserved lemons from Kalustyan’s (www.kalustyans.com). The combination of the smoke from the grill (we only use hardwood charcoal) and the wonderful farm-fresh flavor of the chicken wedded to the punguent, salty lemons and olives made for a very memorable meal. It didn’t hurt that we had a chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot to toast our good fortune.
This recipe should serve 6 people unless you are used to giant pieces of chicken – it would then feed 4 amply. And, if you don’t have a grill handy, it would work just fine in the oven.
Three 2 to 2½ pound chickens, rinsed and patted dry
3 small fresh spring onions
1 cup white wine
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 preserved lemons with their preserving liquid
1 cup Kalamata olives
About 2 to 3 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves
About 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
About 1 tablespoon torn fresh sage leaves
About 1 tablespoon torn fresh basil leaves
Whatever chicken giblets that came with the chickens except the livers
About 2 pounds small new potatoes, cut in half
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the grill. If using charcoal as we do, build a hot fire on one side of the grill and place the grill racks on. I don’t have any real experience with gas grills but would imagine you could heat one side of a gas grill as well.
Place an onion in the cavity of each chicken.
Place the chickens in a large baking dish – I used my largest cast iron skillet. Pour in the wine and olive oil.
Slice the lemons, crosswise, and randomly place the slices around the chickens and into the liquid. Add the olives and herbs to the pan along with the giblets.
Nestle the potatoes around the chickens.
Pour whatever preserved lemon liquid that remains in the container over the chickens and then liberally sprinkle pepper over all.
Place the pan on the grill away from the fire. Cover and roast, adding coals to keep the fire at about 400ºF for the first hour. Continue to roast for about another 30 minutes or until the chickens are golden brown and cooked through. The fire can be less hot for the final 30 minutes.
Remove from the grill and let rest for a few minutes. Cut each chicken in half and serve with the potatoes, lemon slices, and olives and any pan juices.
For years, I have thought that my family – with the exception of my granddaughter, Canada, hated zucchini so I never cooked it. Another exception – I do like zucchini bread which I make all summer when the squash beds are verdant with bulbs. (See the recipe in the cookbook idea, An American Family Cooks) Now, after all this time, I’ve learned that Steve, my dear photographing husband, actually likes zucchini, too. So beginning this spring, it has frequently been on the menu, particularly sliced, tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and roasted. With summer, I hate to turn on the oven so we have moved onto zucchini salad. It has become a favorite and since zucchini is so mild, it can be doctored up with whatever I find in the fridge – Chinese flavors, Thai flavors, Italian flavors, you name it, zucchini will absorb them all.
Here is one version – it should serve 4 to 6 people. Don’t worry about the cheese, it is simply what I had on hand – any hard cheese would work or no cheese at all. The vegetables can be prepared in advance, covered, and refrigerated, but don’t mix the salad until just before serving as the zucchini will wilt and the basil discolor.
1½ pounds zucchini, washed, trimmed, and shaved on a mandoline or other
1 carrot, trimmed, peeled, and shaved with a vegetable peeler
½ cup slivered Vidalia or other sweet onion
¼ cup slivered basil leaves
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons moscato vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Ricotta salata, optional
Combine the zucchini, carrot, onion, and basil in a large salad bowl.
Combine the olive oil and vinegar with salt and pepper to taste and whisk to emulsify. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing to coat evenly. Taste and, if necessary, add seasoning – if using the cheese be careful not to over-salt.
When plating, using a vegetable peeler, shave strips of the cheese over each serving and dust with cracked black pepper.