As usual, we spent the long July 4th weekend up in the White Mountains, and the main reason is this:
Sometimes we just like to veg.
But, we are never too lazy to eat up there, and this trip was no exception. There were all the usual suspects, like Polly's Pancake Parlor and Chutter's, but this time we also tried out the Schilling Beer Company, which was excellent. Check out their website for info on all the many wonderful beers they brew there; the website, however, barely hints at the wonderful food they serve. We all split an appetizer called "The Slate," which is in fact a large slate with tasty fresh and local things on it, like cheeses, cured meats, pretzel bread, marinated veggies, salmon paté, etc. Then we each got a thin-crust wood-fired pizza, and they were really, really good. This place could easily have been in any major city (great atmosphere, too!), so it was quite a treat to find it up in the boondocks.
While Julie recuperates from her surgery, she is never far from the kitchen. As I type this, she is downstairs baking the second Berry Buttermilk cake in as many weeks and also making ricotta-honey ice cream. All of the important ingredients came from the farmers' market, where Julie was also heard to exclaim with delight, "They have sorrel!!"
A couple of weeks ago, on a Meatless Monday, I tried a new tofu technique from America's Test Kitchen. You press the tofu, cut it into rectangular "fingers," coat it in a mixture of 3 parts cornstarch and 1 part cornmeal, and then brown it on all sides in a little oil. It did indeed come out nice and crispy, even when mixed in with my other stir-fry ingredients. I kind of did a mashup of two recipes, using the sauce from this one and the veggie technique from this one (using bok choy, broccoli, and carrots), and served it over rice noodles. Everyone approved.
I also recently tried a new chicken recipe, from the "dunk the pieces in something wet and then in something dry and put them in the oven" family. Sometimes the "something wet" is buttermilk or melted butter and sometimes the "something dry" is panko or cornflake crumbs. Here's how this one went:
Juicy Oven-Fried Chicken
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek style.)
1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey (I used honey.)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 to 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Combine the yogurt, brown sugar or honey, and garlic in a mixing bowl. Turn the chicken pieces in the yogurt mixture and, if you have the time, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Combine the flour, paprika, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish.
Lightly oil a baking dish large enough to accommodate the chicken without crowding. Coat the chicken with the seasoned flour and shake off any excess. Set the chicken, skin side down, in the dish and bake for 25 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue baking until cooked through, about 35 minutes more.
This was delicious (no weird tanginess from the yogurt), and cold leftovers were equally wonderful for lunch the next day.