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Thursday, May 30

Blackberry-sage margarita

Active: 5 minutes; Total: 5 minutes; Serves: 1

Lime

½

Blackberries

6

Sage

2 leaves

Tequila

2 ounces

Triple sec

1 ounce

Simple syrup

½ ounce

  1. Add 6 blackberries and 2 sage leaves to a cocktail shaker, and muddle. 
  2. Squeeze in the lime juice, then add the tequila, triple sec, and simple syrup. 
  3. Add ice, cover the shaker, and shake for 15 seconds. 
  4. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. 
  5. Garnish with sage and blackberries. 
Recipe from tastingtable.com.

Wednesday, May 29

One-pan chicken with basil-anchovy butter & shishito peppers

Active: 20 minutes; Total: 20 minutes; Serves: 4

Chichen thighs, boneless, skinless

1 pound

Salt, kosher

¼ teaspoon +
¼ teaspoon

Pepper, ground

¼ teaspoon +
¼ teaspoon

Garlic powder

¼ teaspoon

Olive oil

1 tablespoon +

2 tablespoons

Butter, softened

1 ½ tablespoons

Basil, chopped

1 ½ tablespoons

Anchovies, minced

2

Shishito or Padrón peppers

6 cups

Lemon wedges for serving, charred if desired


  1. Make three slits on one side of each chicken thigh; sprinkle with ¼-teaspoon salt, ¼-teaspoon pepper, and ¼-teaspoon garlic powder. 
  2. Heat 1-tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. 
  3. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165F, 3 to 4 minutes per side; transfer to a platter. 
  4. Meanwhile, combine the butter, basil, and anchovies in a small bowl. 
  5. Add 2-tablespoons oil and peppers to the skillet. 
  6. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until starting to blacken in spots, 2 to 3 minutes; transfer to a bowl, and sprinkle with the ¼-teaspoon salt. 
  7. Top the chicken with the butter mixture, and serve with the peppers and lemon wedges, if desired. 
Recipe from www.eatingwell.com.

Lemony shrimp with bean stew

Active: 30 minutes; Total: 30 minutes; Serves: 4

Lemon zest

1 teaspoon

Lemon juice

2 tablespoons

Paprika, smoked

½ teaspoon

Garlic, grated

2 cloves

Salt, kosher

¾ teaspoon +

Pepper, freshly ground

¾ teaspoon +

Shrimp, deveined, peeled

1 pound

Butter, unsalted

4 tablespoons

Leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, white and light green parts sliced crosswise ½-inch thick strips 

2 large

Cannellini beans, rinsed

15 ounces

Chicken stock, low sodium

2 cups

Parsley, fresh, finely chopped

2 tablespoons

Bread, toasted


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the zest, paprika, garlic, ¾-teaspoon salt, and ¾-teaspoon pepper; add the shrimp, tossing to coat. 
  2. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. 
  3. When the butter is foaming, add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until pink and starting to curl, 2 to 3 minutes. 
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a plate; set aside. 
  5. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat until the leeks are soft and starting to brown on the edges, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Add the beans and chicken broth, and bring to a boil over high heat. 
  7. Lower the heat and simmer about 8 to 10 minutes. 
  8. Stir in the reserved shrimp and any juices from the plate, parsley, and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. 
  9. Serve with toasted bread. 
Recipe from nytimes.com.

Saturday, March 30

Crack on a Cracker

Active: 15 minutes; Total: 30 minutes plus 6 hours refrigeration; Serves: 8

Saltine crackers, crushed

3 cups

Sugar, granulated

2 tablespoons

Butter, unsalted; room temperature, cubed

½ cup

Cream cheese, whipped, room temperature

12 ounces

Peanut butter, creamy

1 cup

Honey, warmed to liquid state but not hot to touch

½ cup

Cream, heavy whipping

1 cup

Sugar, powdered

2 tablespoons

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the crackers and sugar. 
  3. Add the butter; knead with your hands until the mixture holds together. 
  4. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan; chill 15 minutes. 
  5. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes; let cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour. 
  6. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, honey, and peanut butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  7. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the cream until thick and light; add 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. 
  8. Gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. 
  9. Pour into the pie shell, and chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours. 
Note: I’m still deciding if a peanut butter-honey drizzle is needed… Stay tuned!

This is what my brother and I called the gooey mixture of peanut butter and honey that we spread on saltine crackers. Our parents taught us the recipe but we perfected the peanut butter to honey ratio. This pie is my attempt to create the flavor but in a funner form. In a chat with my aunt, it seems the recipe came by way of my mother's side. My grandfather kept bees, and they grew peanuts. Thus the perfect combination was formed.

First attempt: The filling is perfect, but the crust needs more butter, like 1/4 to 1/2 cup.

Tuesday, March 26

The Blue Pig

Active: 30 minutes; Total: 4 hours; Serves: 12

Pork tenderloin

2  1-pound tenderloins

Pepper, freshly ground

2 teaspoon

Salt

2 teaspoon +

¼ teaspoon

Garlic powder

4 teaspoons

Blueberries, fresh

1 cup

Garlic; smashed,

 minced

4 +

2 teaspoons

Thyme

7 to 8 sprigs

Honey

1 tablespoon

Balsamic vinegar

½ cup

Rice, rinsed

1 cup

Water

1 ½ cup

Butterfly-pea flowers

6 blossoms

Lemongrass purée

1 tablespoon

Pansy, fresh picked

Garnish


The Blue Pig:
  1. Pat the tenderloin dry with paper towels.
  2. Combine the pepper, 2-teaspoons salt, and garlic powder in a small bowl; rub the mixture all over the tenderloin.
  3. Using a sous vide, preheat the water to 145°F; place each tenderloin in a separate foodsaver bag with two smashed garlic cloves and several thyme sprigs, seal, then cook them both for 3 to 4 hours. Let rest 15 minutes, then brown on all sides in a skillet over medium-high heat with oil.
  4. Using an oven, preheat to 375°F; line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the tenderloin on the baking sheet, and onto the center rack of the oven; bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until an internal thermometer reads 140°F to 150°F; rest for 15 minutes before cutting. 
Blueberry balsamic sauce: 
  1. Combine the blueberries, garlic, honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Mash the berries with the back of a wooden spoon to release the juices. 
  3. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes, until the berries are softened. 
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar, and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced and thickened. 
Blue rice: 
  1. Beat the lemongrass stalk with a mallet, then tied it in an overhand knot. 
  2. Place the rice, lemongrass, and butterfly-pea flowers in a small pot, add the water; bring to a boil, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. 
  3. Let the rice rest for 15 minutes, fluff with a fork, and remove the lemongrass. 
Gussying up the pig:
  1. Shape the rice onto a large serving platter with a crater in the center for the tenderloin. 
  2. Slice the tenderloin into ¾- to 1-inch slices, and arrange in the center of the rice. 
  3. Drizzle some of the blueberry balsamic sauce over the tenderloin, and serve the remaining with the dish. 
  4. Garnish with flowers, and serve! 
Note: This is a work-in-progress for an upcoming color-themed dinner party. First attempt had the flavors but lacked the textures; might have been the meat thickness. Also, tried to dye the tenderloin in the sous vide by adding butterfly-pea flowers but was unsuccessful; it was a speckled sow. The sauce is addictive. Lastly, the forget-me-not flowers lacked any plate appeal as garnish. Second attempt: we baked one and used the sous vide on another tenderloin. I thought the baked was overcooked and was bland, and the sous vide was juicy and flavorful; however, James thought the baked was what his tastebuds expects, and suspects the sous vide version was undercooked. Non-jasmine rice worked better, and beware of overcooking the sauce.

Recipe from me having to figure out a “blue” dish for a color-themed dinner party.