Here’s what was cooking in my kitchen recently.
Scallion pancakes: I had loads of scallions from a recent produce box order from a local farm, so I used about a third of them in these scallion pancakes. They’re a Chinese flatbread of sorts, made with a simple dough that does not require yeast. Chopped scallions, both the white and green parts, are then worked into the dough, which is rolled out thinly and then pan-fried. On the side, I served a carrot slaw and meatballs glazed with a mixture of honey, rice wine vinegar and sriracha. For the pancakes, I used the recipe from Molly Yeh on foodnetwork.com.
Whole roasted chicken: What’s easier than roasting a whole chicken? Honestly, nothing, which is why I opted to make it on a recent Monday. Bonus: My husband and I got two meals out of this bird. This was a kitchen sink meal: I threw whatever veggies I had and needed to use up into the bottom of a large baking dish. I roughly chopped them — grape tomatoes and carrots and red onion — then drizzled them with olive oil and some sliced garlic, about 4 cloves. The chicken goes on top of that, breast side up, then it also gets completely coated with olive oil. Season it well with salt and pepper, then pop it in the oven at 425 degrees and check in an hour. It’s done when a temperature inserted into the breast meat reads 165 degrees, and the skin is nice and browned.
Cheesy cannellini beans: This dish could not be easier to make, and yet it is so satisfying. To a large skillet, I added 3 or 4 cloves of thinly sliced garlic to a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Once the garlic was sizzling and nicely fragrant, I added some tomato paste. I squeezed in about 2 tablespoons, then stirred it to make sure it coated the garlic. That cooked for a few minutes, then I added a can or two of drained and rinsed cannellini beans. That all gets stirred to combine, then I dotted the top with pieces of fresh mozzarella and placed the skillet in the oven. The whole thing gets broiled until the cheese is melted and bubbly, then served straight from the skillet. But be careful, it’ll be hot.
Bagel sandwiches: The effort of making bagels at home is always worth it for me, because I store the dozen in my freezer and pop one out whenever I am in need. They are great for breakfast, yes, but why can’t one also enjoy a bagel egg sandwich for dinner? I lightly scrambled four eggs in a skillet with salt and pepper and a bit of butter, added plenty of shredded cheddar cheese, then toasted two bagels and split the eggs between them. I topped the eggs with a slice of fresh tomato and a squiggle of sriracha mayonnaise. We had sliced apples and strawberries on the side.
Baked ziti: Another weekday meal that comes together fast. This is a riff on my beloved pantry pasta. I sauteed some sliced garlic (are you sensing a theme here? Almost every dish in my kitchen starts with fresh garlic) in a large Dutch oven, then added a couple of links of spicy Italian sausage and broke them up, cooking until mostly browned on all sides. Then, I added a can of plain tomato sauce, some salt and pepper, and a dash of red wine vinegar. I cooked that until the tomato sauce was bubbling, then added a couple of servings of fresh pasta (I used some fun shell shapes instead of traditional ziti) and stirred everything to combine. Top with cheese (I used mozzarella and Parmesan), bake until cheese has melted and enjoy.
This was a leftover night, a time to clean out the fridge before our next grocery order for the following week. To pair with that, I whipped up some delicious cocktails: bourbon brambles. To make, muddle some fresh blackberries in a glass. You can use any berry you want, really. Then, add 2 ounces of your favorite bourbon, ½ ounce simple syrup and ¾ ounce lemon juice in the glass, and fill with ice. Stir with a spoon, swirling the spoon around the inside of the glass until the glass is really cold. Add ½ ounce blackberry liqueur to the spoon and gently dunk the spoon into the top of the drink, to float the liqueur on top of the drink. Cheers to the weekend!