14 October 2017

Jamie Oliver's Roasted Cod with Tomatoes, Basil, & Mozz

Jamie Oliver's "Roasted Cod with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella" from Happy Days with the Naked Chef (Hyperion, 2002) remains one of my favorite ways to prepare cod. It's a fantastic-tasting dish -- very simple with bright, clean flavors -- and goes together lickety-split, making it perfect for weeknight suppers. It takes less than an hour to prepare and is so satisfying! I usually serve it with green salad and/or buttery parslied potatoes.


Oliver's recipe calls for fresh basil, but I've also made it several times with a mixture of fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano -- much depends on which herb plants are thriving at the time. Also, cherry tomatoes are great in this recipe, but sliced beefsteak tomatoes will also work. Again, much depends on what's in the garden!




12 October 2017

Improv Cooking Challenge: Sugar & Spice

October's Improv Cooking Challenge is all about sugar and spice (and everything nice). Since the local farmers markets and orchards are brimming with apples, I thought I would combine the three to make a spiced apple cake perfect for celebrating the autumn season. And then I thought I'd bake it in a bundt pan, because a bundt makes an effortlessly pretty cake and I am all about least effort.


I grated the apple using the largest holes on my box grater as the smaller holes just turned the apple into applesauce. As far as what kind of apples to use, I would say any cooking apple you enjoy would be fine in this cake.

While I used slivered almonds in this cake, I think finely chopped walnuts or pecans would give the cake a better texture. The slivered almonds were a little large and hard and kind-of dominated the mouthfeel of the cake.

But, almonds aside, this cake is good. Moist, sweet, and fragrant with spices ... it's something I'll be making often with my CSA share apples. It is equally tasty as a snack or as breakfast.

Apple Spice Bundt

Yield: 1 10-inch round

Ingredients

  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cored grated apple, peeled if desired
  • 1 cup slivered almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter and flour a 6-cup bundt pan.
  3. Mix the flour, baking soda, and spiced together in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Cream the shortening and sugars together. Add the eggs and beat well.
  5. Add flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating. Add apples and nuts.
  6. Pour into bundt pan and bake for 1 hour at 350°F or or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven. Let stand 20 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Glaze, if desired, or eat. Will keep in a well-sealed cake tin for 4-5 days.

I chose to glaze my bundt with a simple spice glaze of 1 cup confectionary sugar, 2 Tbsp milk, and 1 tsp Penzeys pie spice blend. Because I knew it would take another hour or so for the glaze to set, I helped myself to a good chunk of cake before glazing so I wouldn't have to wait! Turns out the cake is equally good with or without the glaze!


For anyone new to my blog, the Improv Cooking Challenge is a monthly blog hop where two ingredients are assigned, participants must make a new-to-their-blog recipe using both ingredients, and publish a blog post about it on the second Thursday of the month. If you think that sounds like fun, click on the Improv Cooking Challenge logo below.





11 October 2017

08 October 2017

Lazy Roasted Chicken Thighs & Vegetables

This dish one-pan chicken and vegetable dish makes a comforting supper on a murky October Sunday. Not only will it fill your house with delicious odors, but it assembles in no time at all and can simply be forgotten in the oven until the timer goes ding -- leaving sufficient time for book-reading or cat-petting.

While I used fresh thyme when I made this, because that's what was still thriving in my garden, fresh oregano or marjoram would be tasty, too. You could probably use drumsticks instead of thighs, but I don't know how that would change the cooking time -- a meat thermometer would be a your friend, there. I wouldn't use boneless skinless thighs, because the bones lend flavor and the crackly roasted chicken skin is not to be missed.




Lazy Roasted Chicken Thighs & Vegetables

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 small yellow potatoes, quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • Salt and pepper, as desired

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken thighs in a casserole dish.
  2. Arrange tomatoes, potatoes, and garlic cloves around the chicken.
  3. Drizzle everything with olive oil and season generously of with salt and pepper. Scatter with thyme sprigs.
  4. Roast, uncovered for 45 minutes or until chicken thighs reach 165°F.
  5. Set oven to broil and broil 5 min or until chicken skin is crisped and brown.

Serve the chicken and vegetables in shallow bowls with chunks of delicious crusty bread to sop up all the lovely pan juices.

04 October 2017

Wordless Wednesday: Autumn Comes Creeping In

Mother Nature's been splashing around with her paint pots, again.