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Seared Chicken and Autumn Vegetables

This dish is bursting with the savory-sweet flavors of autumn. We’re searing chicken thighs and sautéing creamy purple top turnip and tender cabbage. Then we’re finishing them in a light pan sauce—or “jus”—made with dried figs, sharp whole grain mustard, thyme and tart apple cider. The key to beautifully crisp chicken is drying your chicken thoroughly, using a hot pan and letting the skin get browned and crispy before flipping. This way, all of the incredibly flavorful fond (the browned bits) left behind can be used to coat the vegetables and make the delicious pan sauce.  This recipe really takes advantage of the ingredients and with patience, comes out perfect every time. It's one of those frustrating recipes that until you add the cider, mustard and figs, you don't realize what an amazing plate of food you have in front of you. :) I hope you like this one as much as I do.
  • 2 Boneless, Skin-On Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Purple Top Turnip
  • 3 thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 Cone Cabbage
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1 Bunch Thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons Chicken Demi-Glace
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Ounce Dried Figs
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Djion Mustard
  • ¼ Cup Apple Cider
  • 1/2 cup Craisins
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts, diced
  1. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and medium dice the turnip. Peel and medium dice the onion. Remove and discard the outer leaves of the cabbage; halve, core and medium dice. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Small dice the figs.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken, skin sides down. Cook 6 to 8 minutes on the first side, or until the skin is browned and crispy. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan of reserved fond; heat on medium-high until hot. Add the turnip and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned and slightly tender.
  4. Add the onion, cabbage and all but a big pinch of the thyme to the pan of turnip; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is slightly wilted.
  5. To the pan of vegetables, add the figs, mustard, demi-glace, apple cider, ⅓ cup of water and cooked chicken (along with any juices from the plate); season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly reduced in volume. Add the butter and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. Remove from heat.
  6. Divide the finished vegetables and chicken between 2 dishes. Garnish with the craisins, walmuts, and remaining thyme.
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Well I'm on my second week of Blue Apron, and this week's grand slam is this slaw. Again, flavors I would have never though to put all together, but it creates a flavorful slaw that is now going in my top ten side dishes list going into the holiday party season. I think for a party side dish I'd add craisins, candied walnuts or pomegranate seeds. But here is the recipe as I made it today:
  • Cup Semi-Pearled Farro
  • 4 Ounces Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 Apple
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Large Bunch Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 Tablespoons Citrus White Vinegar (or white vinegar of your choice)
  1. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the farro. Cook 16 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly.
  2. While the farro cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the stem ends of the Brussels sprouts; then grate them. Zest the lemon, then quarter and deseed the lemon. Peel and mince the shallot to get 2 tablespoons of minced shallot (you may have extra); place in a bowl with the juice of 3 lemon wedges. Pick the parsley leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Core and then grate the entire apple.
  3. In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the Brussels sprouts, vinegar and lemon zest; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add apples and cook for 1-2 minutes then take off the heat.
  4. Add the mustard to the shallot-lemon juice mixture; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until thoroughly combined.
  5. To the bowl of cooked Brussels sprouts, add the hot cooked farro and the vinaigrette. Stir to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
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20151001_155050So today was my first launch into making a Blue Apron recipe. The first recipe is a spicy turkey and chickpea chili with eggplant, tomato sauce and spices. The recipe had no glitches; and came together really quickly. Right off the bat, the flavor and texture combos were something I would have never thought of  - but that make sense. Crunchy red onion, soft chickpeas, heavily spiced turkey -- with a delicious middle eastern cheese called Labneh - and toasted pita croutons. Not like any chili I've ever had, but oh my gosh! :) Labneh is a rich, creamy cheese made from strained yogurt. ("Laban" is the word for strained, or "Greek," yogurt in Arabic.) Mixed here with lemon juice and salt and pepper, it's absolutely divine! The recipe comes together very quickly and was incredibly flavorful! It is very onion centric - so if someone in your household doesn't like chunks of onion, take 3/4 of the diced onion in a food processor and pulse into a paste. That will keep a strong onion flavor without as much chunks of onion in the recipe. This is a great first impression for me from Blue Apron. The recipe made 6 cups of chili, easily tupperwareable into individual servings. (Yay, Portion Control!) and the toppings and the croutons keep well in tuppers as well. This recipe was a solid win! In the recipe, you'll see the spice blend. In the Blue Apron box is came premade and I just added it, but they are kind enough in the recipe to show the ingredients. However, most stores carry a pre-made "ras el hanout" blend - dried orange peel and Aleppo Pepper are usually available at cooking stores like SurLaTable or WilliamsSonoma; and are fun to have in the pantry to add a hint of something special. Vegetarians: You could VERY easily adapt this with spiced tofu instead of turkey for a splendid meal everyone at your table would enjoy, vegetarian or not. :) Ingredients
  • 10 Ounces Ground Turkey
  • 1 Pocketless Pita
  • Cups Chickpeas
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3 Tablespoons Labneh Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Turkey Chili Spice Blend (Equal parts: All-Purpose Flour, Ras El Hanout, Cumin, Coriander, Cardamom, Crushed Aleppo Pepper & Dried Orange Peel)
Directions
  1. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Small dice the pita. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Cut off and discard the stem end of the eggplant; small dice. Peel and small dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic; using the flat side of your knife, smash until it resembles a paste (or use a zester). Using a peeler, remove the yellow rind of the lemon, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter and deseed the lemon. Finely chop the cilantro leaves and stems.
  2. In a large, straight-sided pan (or large pot), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the pita; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and toasted. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the pan.
  3. In the pan used to toast the pita, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the eggplant; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned. Add the ground turkey; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  4. Add the onion, spice blend, tomato paste and ¾ of the garlic paste to the pan of eggplant and turkey; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant and the onion is softened. Add the chickpeas and 2 cups of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Chermoula & Cheese Topping: While the chili cooks, in a small bowl, combine the labneh cheese and the juice of 1 lemon wedge; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine the cilantro, lemon zest, remaining garlic paste and the juice of the remaining lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in enough olive oil to create a thick paste.
  6. Divide the finished chili between 2 bowls. Garnish with the pita croutons, chermoula and seasoned labneh cheese. Enjoy!

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Blue Apron

So I joined Blue Apron, after getting a glowing review from my friend Linda. Blue Apron describes itself like this:
Blue Apron makes cooking fun and easy. We'll provide you with all the ingredients that you need to make a delicious meal in exactly the right proportions. http://www.blueapron.com
I tried a neighbors box a few weeks back - and what I liked was the lack of food waste. They literally ship to you EXACTLY what you need to make two portions and now more. I'm constantly having herbs and greens and specialty ingredients go bad. So I'm looking forward to being better at that. I am also excited to try some new things - or ingredients I use prepared in new ways. I get my first box tomorrow. They've been criticized for the sheer amount of packaging they send everything in - but I know I'll reuse all their resealable bags and such - - - and they just sent out an email announcing they are changing all their packaging choices to be able to put in local recycling programs. I'll be posting here about recipes that work, ones that don't - and what I do change them up while I'm cooking. I will also be posting their promotional images along with side by side photos of how the actual recipe looks on the plate by the time I'm done with it. :) Here is this week's selections and the photos provided with each recipe: [gallery link="none" size="medium" ids="1505,1506,1507"]
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(Cooking) Moonblush Tomato Pasta Sauce

sheery

This time of year, when our gardens are overflowing with tomatoes, nothing makes me happier than fresh tomato sauce. It is one of those old fashioned recipes that always delivers. And this overnight in the oven method, makes it easier than ever. The slow roasting renders the entire plum tomato useable in the finished pasta sauce.  The sauce will last in the freezer in small portions, for up to three months. So you can thaw summer fresh tomato taste later in the fall and early winter. Truly - this recipe is both failsafe and always delicious. 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (about 24) of cherry or other baby tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Directions: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Cut the tomatoes in half and sit them out cut side up in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the salt, sugar, thyme and olive oil. Put them in the oven, bake at 500 for 15 minutes, monitoring carefully - - then turn it off. Leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight or for an eight hour day without opening the door. Transfer the tomatoes to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully heat over medium heat - and serve with hot pasta.

This sauce freezes spectacularly - and I enjoy popping out a pack of it in the middle of winter for a gorgeous taste of summer. 

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