Friday, September 24, 2010


Autumn is officially here and so is my craving for kale. And sausage. And pasta. But there are still lovely summer tomatoes at the farmers’ market, so this recipe from Serious Eats fit my mood perfectly. I continue to be surprised that I haven’t already exhausted all the possible combinations of vegetables and pasta; not only was this considerably different than any recipe in my arsenal, but it might also be one of my new favorites. Hint: If you’re not sure you like kale, mixing it with garlic, red pepper flakes, fennel, and savory sausage is an excellent way to warm up to it.

My only complaint was that I definitely wanted more tomatoes (even though I’d already increased the amount from the original recipe; I used a whole cup and cut them in half to spread them around, to boot) and possibly more kale. I think I’ve gotten spoiled by Jack Bishop’s veggie-centric concoctions, and I get a little bored if I don’t have equal parts pasta and topping. So I’ve increased the amounts below. I also increased the amount of garlic, decreased the fennel (I love fennel seed and a teaspoon or two is my go-to secret ingredient in pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce, but 2 whole tablespoons seemed like it would be absolutely overpowering, considering most Italian sausage already contains it), and gave you the option of using less red pepper flakes (a teaspoon is quite generous, so start with ½ and see how you feel). But I was really impressed with how well the elements worked together and the way the sausage drippings, tomato juices, pasta water, and cheese made a silky, flavorful sauce (I’d been worried it would be too dry; it’s not the sauciest pasta in town and you can add a little drizzle of oil if you think it needs it, but I think adding extra tomatoes and kale will do the trick nicely). Oh, pasta, will your yumminess never cease?

1 pound fusilli or other short, curly pasta
1–2 large bunches kale, stems discarded and leaves chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed and discarded (I used chicken Italian sausage)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablepoon fennel seeds, crushed (if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use a meat tenderizing mallet or the bottom of a glass or heavy bowl)
½–1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

1. Bring two pots of salted water to boil: one for the kale and one for the pasta. Cook the kale in boiling water until tender, then drain well and set aside. Cook the pasta until al dente, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the sausage. Cook, breaking up well with a wooden spoon, until the fat is rendered and the meat is starting to brown. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes and continue cooking until the sausage is golden brown and caramelized.

3. Add the blanched kale to the skillet and stir to coat well. Cook for 2–3 minutes, then add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they just begin to lose their shape. Add the drained pasta, tossing to coat in the fat, adding pasta water and Parmesan as necessary to create a sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and divide among bowls, topping with remaining Parmesan.

Serves: 6
Time: 40 minutes
Leftover potential: High

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Yeah, as I’ve mentioned, I’m totally obsessed with corn this summer, and even though I’ve been eating it in record quantities, I’m not sick of it yet. So I’m hastily trying out as many of my bookmarked corn recipes as possible before the end of the season leaves me bereft. This one from Sassy Radish made it to the top of my list this week because I already had feta (another of my recent food obsessions) and cream in the fridge, and I’m a sucker for cilantro and lime. Not surprisingly, it’s fantastic. Creamy but not too creamy, warm but still fresh and summery, it makes a nice, zippy alternative to my default fave, corn on the cob. I halved the original recipe (though I threw in a bit more cilantro, mint, and lime than the halved version called for) and am seriously considering making some more this weekend with the rest of my feta. Corn doesn't need any adornment besides salt and maybe some pepper or a pat of butter in my book, but these delicious flavors sure don’t hurt it.

6 ears corn
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cream
3 ounces crumbled feta
½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon mint, finely chopped
Juice of ½ lime
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Shuck the corn and cut off the kernels off the cobs. Over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the corn and stir to coat with butter and oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until some of the kernels begin to brown, but overall the corn retains its firm, crisp texture. Add salt and cream and cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat.

2. Add feta, cilantro, mint, lime juice, and pepper to taste to the skillet and mix well. Serve warm.

Serves: 4–5
Time: 25 minutes
Leftover potential: Good

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This may seem similar to a Cooking Light potatoes-and-corn-and-other-vegetables-in-Dijon-vinaigrette salad I tried earlier this summer, but I liked this one much more. (I was trying to be bravely open-minded about the first version in my blog entry, but let’s face it, I won’t make it again.) The new recipe is more traditionally salady (only the potatoes are cooked), has less mustard, has basil instead of tarragon, and really features the corn (about which I am completely obsessive this summer), with the potatoes playing only a supporting role. I didn’t have white balsamic vinegar, so I used white wine vinegar instead, and I left out the goat cheese (I had intended to replace it with feta, but then at the last minute it seemed like the salad didn’t need cheese at all), but otherwise I followed the recipe and it was quite straightforward. Be forewarned, though: This makes a lot of salad. (I like how the magazine photo just shows a few arugula leaves scattered around, when in reality the recipe calls for 6 cups of the stuff; I actually ran out of room in my salad bowl.) I was serving it as a side dish with chicken, but when I read the recipe description more carefully, I realized it was intended to yield four main-dish servings, and apparently big ones. I got about six generous side servings. Luckily, the leftovers were tasty. If you still have access to fresh corn in September (looks like ours will last for a few more weeks here in Southern California), this is a great way to celebrate it.

8 ounces small yellow or red potatoes
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
2 cups assorted cherry tomatoes, halved
1½ cups chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups arugula, trimmed
½ cup torn fresh basil leaves
2 ounces goat cheese, sliced (I omitted this)

1. Place potatoes in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 11 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool, then cut potatoes in half lengthwise.

2. Combine potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and bell pepper in a large bowl.

3. Combine shallots and next 4 ingredients (through black pepper) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Slowly pour oil into shallot mixture, whisking constantly. Drizzle over corn mixture and toss well. Add arugula; toss. Sprinkle with basil and top evenly with goat cheese.

Serves: 4 (as a main dish) to 6 (as a side dish)
Time: 30 minutes
Leftover potential: OK (the arugula gets a little wilty, but it’s still fine for a few days)

Friday, September 17, 2010


With cooler weather upon us but the farmers’ market still full of summer fruit, I figured now would be the perfect time to make some ice cream. After consulting my ice cream bible, David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, I realized it had to be plum. Not only are stone fruits at their peak right now, but I’ve also never tasted plum ice cream before—let alone even thought about it. And I have no idea why plums don’t get more play in ice cream, because this stuff was phenomenal, with a brilliant bright pink color (the photo doesn’t do it justice), intense fruity flavor, and amazingly thick, velvety texture. Not to mention that I had all the ingredients except cream on hand already, and it was so very easy to throw together. I actually used pluots (not sure what variety; they had reddish-purple skin with brilliant red flesh—maybe Raspberry Jewel?) because that’s what we like to buy, but I think any variety of plum or pluot (or plumcot! or aprium!) would work here, and it would be fun to try this over and over again with different varieties.

1 pound pluots or plums (about 8)
⅓ cup water
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon kirsch

1. Slice the plums/pluots in half and remove the pits. Cut the plums/pluots into eighths and put them in a medium, nonreactive saucepan with the water. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.

2. Once cool, puree in a blender or food processor with the cream and kirsch until smooth. Chill the mixture thoroughly.

3. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Yields: 1 quart
Time: 20 minutes active work, plus chilling and processing time
Leftover potential: Good

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I visited England three times in the mid-to-late 1990s, and on the third trip, 13 years ago last week, I met A. I immediately introduced him to my favorite British food, Chocolate HobNobs, and during our three months studying abroad at the University of East Anglia, we consumed a great many of them. (I also think I ate a Cadbury bar every single day, alternating among the many exciting varieties only available in the U.K. Ah, for the halcyon era of my innocent young metabolism!) Since returning stateside, I’ve only been able to get my hands on HobNobs a few times, although (like the array of exotic Cadbury bars) they’re becoming more widely available here (I bought some at Cost Plus World Market last year). And, to be only slightly flippant, on those rare occasions when I do taste one, I am still reminded of those long-gone days of carefree adventure and young love.

We don’t celebrate our anniversary per se, except to casually remark its passing, but I bookmarked this copycat HobNob recipe at Cookie Madness forever ago and figured the start of our 14th year together would be a good excuse to give it a try. If you are unfortunate enough to have never tasted a HobNob, (a) my condolences; and (b) they're basically crisp oat cookies--er, biscuits--with chocolate on top (there are also plain ones, but I've never bothered with those). Sounds simple, but there's something in their crumbly texture and wheaty, not-overly-sweet, slightly salty flavor (and, in my opinion, its interplay with the sweet, creamy milk chocolate) that makes them incredibly addictive. Amazingly, the copycat recipe pretty much nails this.

I was a bit surprised the recipe worked out at all, considering how much I ended up messing with it. Usually I follow cookie recipes to the letter, because I know that precision is important in baking and I'm no great improviser. But having gotten all set to make these cookies, I realized that the entire recipe was structured around making the dough in a food processor, and I don't own a food processor. Feeling uncharacteristically cavalier, I decided to just wing it by rearranging the steps as in a standard cookie recipe--mixing the dry ingredients, creaming the butter with the sugar, adding the rest of the wet ingredients and then the dry ingredients--and making the dough with my KitchenAid mixer. I didn't have salted butter, so I used unsalted and added extra salt, and I didn't have whole wheat pastry flour, so I used white whole wheat (but made sure to weigh it out), and following the suggestion in the comments for the original recipe, I also added wheat germ to amp up the wheaty flavor. Then, I figured that since I was already flirting with disaster and I'm terrible at working with dough, I'd skip the laborious effort of rolling out the dough and cutting circles with a cookie cutter and just make drop cookies instead, rolling tablespoons of dough into balls with my hands and flattening them slightly on the cookie sheet to approximate HobNobs' neat circles (actually, I originally planned to shape the dough into a log, chill it, and then slice it into cookies, but I got lazy). Miraculously, even with all these changes, the cookies turned out deliciously, and just as HobNoblike as I could have hoped, down to the characteristic grainy texture (McVitie's calls it "nobbly," which is adorable), although since they contain butter instead of palm oil, they're more flaky than the sandy original--not entirely a bad thing. I'd have to do a side-by-side taste test to be sure, but the homemade version might even be better than the real thing. I'll definitely be making these again every September 8--or any time I have a craving for a little taste of nostalgia.

1¼ cups rolled oats (120 grams)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (50 grams)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour (50 grams) (I substituted white whole wheat, but if you do this, be sure to weigh out the 50 grams because the density is different)
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1–2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
9 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
¼ cup packed brown sugar (50 grams)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (25 grams)
2 teaspoons corn syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces chocolate (I think Cadbury milk chocolate is perfect in this case, but if you prefer dark, you won't be totally inaccurate--there is also a dark chocolate HobNob variety now)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

2. Process oats in a food processor or blender until fine. Add to a medium bowl with both flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and wheat germ and whisk to mix.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or just a large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer), cream butter with both sugars. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and mix well, then reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in several additions, mixing just until blended (dough will look dry).

4. Scoop out 1 heaping tablespoon of dough, roll it into a smooth ball with your hands, set it on the baking sheet, and flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand. Repeat with remaining dough.

5. Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a cooling rack.

6. When cookies are completely cool, melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Spread melted chocolate over cookies. When the chocolate is partially set, you can drag a toothpick or fork through it to make a HobNob-like crosshatch pattern, if you like.

Yields: 12–14 cookies
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: I did not try freezing these, but they stayed pretty fresh in a sealed plastic container on the counter for nearly a week.

Friday, September 10, 2010


This is a perfect end-of-summer soup, sweet and light and loaded with lots of fresh garden veggies, yet with the savory, comforting quality of a creamy chowder. The weather turned autumnal suddenly (and probably only temporarily, considering September and October are usually our hottest months) here in L.A., and we ended up eating this on a perfect Soup Day, chilly and overcast, but it would have been just as welcome on a warm summer night with a nice tomato salad (or bruschetta, the original serving suggestion, which I skipped only because I am lazy and was undergoing dental work earlier in the day, hence why soup made it into the meal plan to begin with).

I have a couple of other good corn chowder recipes in my arsenal already, so when I spotted this one in the gem-packed August issue of Cooking Light, I questioned whether I really needed to try another. But what sets this one apart is the lack of potatoes—the base is just corn pureed with milk, which adds body without heaviness. Also, the inclusion of yellow summer squash, a vegetable often overlooked in favor of its cousin zucchini; you see a lot of mixed yellow-and-green-squash combos, but rarely a recipe for just yellow squash on its own. Also, cheddar cheese, my first and truest cheesy love and a natural compatriot of corn and bacon.

First of all, I do think Cooking Light is crazy for publishing a corn soup recipe IN AUGUST that calls for frozen corn. Sure, corn is one of the more decent-quality frozen vegetables and it’s fine to allow the option for using frozen corn if fresh is unavailable, but if you’re building an entire recipe around two seasonal vegetables, why would you completely ignore the possibility of fresh corn? I can only guess it’s because the Dinner Tonight section, in which this recipe ran, is geared toward quick recipes, and cutting the kernels off fresh corn would have put this over the 30-minute mark (although of course these promised timeframes exist only in the test kitchens anyway—I think I’m pretty dang efficient as a cook and it always takes me longer than the advertised 30 minutes anyway). Which is sad, because fresh corn is one of the great delights of this world and really makes this dish awesome (not that you shouldn’t try it if you don’t have fresh corn; I’m sure it’s perfectly tasty when made with frozen as well).

Secondly, some of the CL online commenters are even wackier than the magazine itself. While this recipe scored a deserved four out of five stars and has mainly glowing reviews, there were a few heated negative ones that gave me pause when I was weighing the decision to make the soup. Now I can confidently say that those complaints are due to user error, personal tastes, or just plain nuttiness. Among my faves: “I don’t really get this dish. It’s a bunch of vegetables sautéed, then served in warm milk” (apparently this reviewer missed the step of pureeing the corn and milk into a thick base entirely), “I did not get four full servings” (we ended up with four-plus, and I measure ingredients almost as obsessively as CL does), and “the squash had a very prominent flavor” (er, there’s a pound of it in there and it’s mentioned in the recipe title). Not to mention the person who rated it one star with the review “Good recipe! what a great taste of summer” and the person who rated it two stars with a review admitting they hadn’t made it yet and asking if anyone had tried adding crabmeat to it. (Oh, I could do you a whole separate rant on recipe reviewers who are always saying they threw in some chicken or shrimp “just to make it a full meal.” I’m a happy omnivore, but I don’t get the “it’s not a full meal without meat in there somewhere” contingent. We had big bowls of this soup with small bowls of peaches on the side. It was definitely a full meal.)

But anyway, this was an easy and surprisingly flavorful soup, and we both enjoyed it (that’s a big compliment coming from A, who is not much of a soup lover). I’ll admit I used a bit more bacon and cheese than the parsimonious CL, which I’m sure did not hurt the deliciousness factor, but it was the corn and squash that really shone through (with the celery, which I do not ordinarily like in soup, playing a surprisingly important supporting role in balancing out the sweetness with a bitter tang). I also really enjoyed that it only made four servings. Sometimes it’s nice to make a big pot of soup and enjoy it for weeks (or months, if you freeze some), but summer is about fleeting pleasures, and corn soup is one of those.

2–4 slices bacon, diced
¾ cup sliced green onions, divided
¼ cup chopped celery
1 pound yellow summer squash, chopped
1 pound fresh (from 3–4 large ears) or frozen (thawed) corn kernels, divided
2¼ cups 1% milk, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
½ teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra to taste
¼–½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add ½ cup onions, celery, and squash to drippings in pan; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

2. Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside. Place the remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add remaining 1¼ cups milk, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to blender; process just until combined.

3. Add pureed mixture and reserved 1 cup corn to pan. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide soup evenly between 4 bowls; top each serving with some bacon, remaining onions, and cheese.

Serves: 4
Time: 40 minutes
Leftover potential: Good

Thursday, September 09, 2010


I apologize: To do full justice to the magic of magic juice, the above photograph should have been taken on a sunny porch, not in my dark apartment kitchen. The first time I made this recipe, I drank it from a thermos while lounging on a picnic blanket on the grass at twilight listening to an outdoor concert, and it was perfect, because magic juice is like summer in a glass. But I didn’t have my camera with me, so I mixed up another batch one night at home. I’m pleased to report that it was just as delicious indoors, if not so photogenic, so there’s no need to wait for a special occasion to make this drink. Any Tuesday evening will do.

The recipe is from Design*Sponge, where you can see much prettier pictures than mine. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try it. I adore gin, but I don’t often make drinks at home—in fact, adding gin to ginger ale is about the limit of my mixology, and I’m much more apt to open a bottle of beer instead. Summertime, however, always makes me long for cool evening cocktails, so I was glad to be able to feed that yearning for once. The recipe is a little too resource-intensive for my everyday life—if you make a double recipe, which I highly recommend if you’re drinking with a friend because you’ll crave another drink once you’ve finished your first, you’ll need to have nearly a pint of strawberries, two oranges, half a cucumber, and a whole bunch of mint on hand—but is so irresistibly refreshing, fruity without being sickeningly sweet, I know I’ll be making it periodically from now on. The gin flavor isn’t overwhelming, so even if you’re one of those crazy people who doesn’t care for gin, you should still give this a try.

A few recipe notes: I don’t own a muddler (see above re: not making drinks at home), so I used a meat tenderizer mallet to crush the fruit and bruise the mint, which worked well enough for me—as far as I’m concerned, the more juice that gets into this drink, the better. I used Hendricks gin, which is my fave and works especially well here because of its cucumber undertones. Fresh lemonade was called for, but I wussed out and used Trader Joe’s brand (a staple in our refrigerator) and it tasted plenty good. The first time around, I even skipped the ice, since we were bringing it to a picnic—I just poured the magic juice into two water bottles and chilled them in the fridge for half an hour or so before packing them up.

6 strawberries, hulled and diced
1 orange, peeled and diced
¼ of a large cucumber, peeled and diced
5–7 mint leaves
4–6 ounces gin (I recommend Hendricks)
8 ounces lemonade (ideally fresh, but I used Trader Joe’s)

1. Muddle strawberries, orange, cucumber, and mint. Pour gin into mixture and let sit for 10–15 minutes.
2. Strain over lemonade and ice. Garnish with a fruit slice or mint leaf, if desired.

Serves: 2
Time: 20 minutes
Leftover potential: None

Friday, September 03, 2010


We were going on a picnic, and I had a sudden desire for sandwiches. I never really make sandwiches, except for grilled cheese and BLTs and—lately—these, none of which are terribly picnic-ready. So I plugged “sandwiches” into Food Blog Search and almost immediately stumbled across this recipe from Simply Recipes. I was intrigued by the lemony zucchini-ricotta spread, enlivening what would otherwise be a standard chicken-breast sandwich. It sounded so fresh and summery that I had to have it immediately, despite the fact that it didn’t exactly seem to fit the picnic-portable criteria.

It’s rare that I decide to make a recipe more difficult, but the original recipe called for roasted, skinned, boned, sliced chicken breasts. This would be a great use of leftover chicken if I had some on hand, but I didn’t, so rather than roasting, I decided to grill—if you can call using the George Foreman “grilling.” A plain chicken breast sounded totally boring, so I decided to crib from one of my old recipes and make a simple lemon-garlic-olive oil marinade. Basil also seemed like a good addition for maximum summeriness, and I threw some into the ricotta mixture. Both of these were excellent improvements on my part, I think. The sandwiches turned out quite deliciously, perfect for a warm August evening on the grass, and I've already made them a second time since. They weren't even as hard to transport as I'd feared, although it helped that the picnic was just a few miles away from our apartment, so we were able to eat them within 45 minutes of making them. I even managed to make these leftover-amiable (not exactly downright friendly; you still need a big lunchbag to tote all these containers around) by storing the toasted ricotta-smeared bread, chicken, and tomatoes in three separate sealed containers in the fridge, briefly reheating both the bread and the chicken in the microwave the next day, and then assembling them.

One tip: This calls for a full container of ricotta, and there always seems to be extra zucchini spread left over, at least when I make these—perhaps I don't spread it on as thickly as intended, or maybe my bread is just too small. But not to worry! Spread on crackers or small toasts, this stuff makes excellent crostini just on its own. You might even try it as a dip.

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt, plus extra to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total)
2 medium zucchini, shredded
15 ounces ricotta cheese
½ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
4 5x4-inch pieces focaccia or ciabatta bread, halved horizontally
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced

1. In a large zip-top bag or a large glass bowl with a lid, mix together the lemon juice (note that you’re going to need lemon peel later, so you may want to zest that lemon before you squeeze it and set the peel aside [it will do OK in a small airtight bowl in the fridge until you’re ready to use it]), garlic, ¼ cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken breasts, make sure they get thoroughly coated with the marinade, and let them marinate at least one hour and no more than 24 hours.

2. When ready to make the sandwiches, mix zucchini and salt in a colander set over the sink. Let stand 15 minutes to drain liquid from zucchini, then rinse, drain, and squeeze zucchini (wrapping it in a kitchen towel works well) to remove as much liquid as possible.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and sauté 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. While it’s cooling, combine the ricotta, basil, Parmesan, and lemon peel in a bowl and then stir in the zucchini. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread pieces cut side up on baking sheet. Broil bread just until lightly toasted. Spread ricotta mixture generously over each piece, then broil until ricotta mixture is heated through and beginning to brown in spots, about 4 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, grill the chicken.

6. Top 4 bread pieces with tomato slices, then with chicken breasts. Cover with remaining 4 bread pieces, ricotta-mixture side down.

Serves: 4
Time: 45 minutes, plus 1-24 hours marinating time
Leftover potential: OK, if sandwich components are stored separately.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


How convenient: Just a few weeks ago I was saying I wanted to try oatmeal pancakes, and then the September issue of Cooking Light arrived in my mailbox with an oatmeal pancake recipe that is both as healthy and as simple as I could have dreamed (in contrast, other recipes I’d been contemplating either called for a whole stick of butter or required ground or pre-cooked or pre-soaked oatmeal). These were easy to make and quite delicious. With their crispy outsides and chewy insides, they were a bit less like the traditional soft, fluffy pancake than the whole wheat ones I made before, but as an oatmeal lover I preferred these (and as a lazy cook, I found them much easier—no blender, no separating eggs!). They’re officially my new go-to pancake recipe, at least until a new contender takes the field.

1.1 ounces all-purpose flour (¼ cup)
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg
Butter or cooking spray for greasing griddle

1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

2. Combine buttermilk, butter, and egg in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

3. Heat a nonstick griddle over medium heat. Coat pan with butter or cooking spray. Spoon about 2½ tablespoons batter per pancake onto griddle. Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles; cook until bottoms are lightly browned.

Serves: 2–3 (Cooking Light says you’ll get 3 servings of 4 pancakes each; I got 2 servings of 3.5 pancakes each, so I’m guessing I made mine too big?)
Time: 45 minutes
Leftover potential: Unknown