This is such a beautiful and simple meal – it just takes a little time. It was also a really good excuse to break out our new butter-yellow enameled cast iron pot that we received as a wedding gift. Into the pot went two chicken legs, a handful of cherry tomatoes from the garden and the market, a couple of huge cloves of garlic, and basil from the front stoop – with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
An hour and a half later, we dug into an amazing summer dinner. The chicken was tender and flavorful, the tomatoes collapsed into a sweet broth, and the garlic cloves were caramelized and perfect for spreading on a few slices of bread. I need to remember this for next summer.
Tender Chicken Legs with Sweet Cherry Tomatoes from Jamie’s Dinners
Dinner was simple and delicious. I made a tomato sauce last night to save time for tonight’s prep – so making dinner was as simple as warming up the sauce and boiling the pasta, then tossing a few handfuls of fresh spinach into the sauce at the last minute. When combined and then dotted with soft goat cheese, it made for a creamy and savory bowl of happiness. It also very effectively cleared out the last of the spinach, goat cheese, and Al Dente pasta – and to some extent redeemed spontaneous pastas from Monday’s disappointment. With random spinach-y greens growing in our garden, I suspect you’ll see many more meals like this in the future.
Tagliatelle, Spinach and Goats Cheese from Jamie’s Dinners
I thought it might be a good idea to go running Wednesday night since the temperature appeared to be above freezing. And by ‘above freezing’, what I mean is that it was 33. And oh, did my lungs and knees pay the price! I spent all of today on the couch or in bed sleeping and generally feeling really uncomfortable. All of this is just my way of telling you that we had no dinner plan – and definitely not one that I was in any shape to execute.
In Jamie’s Dinners, Jamie Oliver presents a set of foundational recipes that can then be used in a variety of meals – pesto is one of these dishes, and it has served us well. When I picked up basil for Sunday’s polenta, the options were .4 ounces for $2.99 or 5 ounces for $4.99, so I bought the larger package and made up a bunch of pesto with the leftovers earlier in the week. That pesto made for a quick and delicious pasta dinner accompanied by a salad with sun-dried tomatoes. Sometimes simple and easy is also just right.
Pesto from Jamie’s Dinners
Several years ago, I started marking the pages of my cookbooks so that I could easily find recipes that I wanted to try. This one, from Jamie’s Dinners, wasn’t marked, and I suspect it was because of the high proportion of seriously funky ingredients.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the funk. I love olives, capers, and tuna. I can be persuaded with anchovies. I love tomatoes and lemon zest and pasta. But Shane put it best when he came up from the basement into the kitchen – “Wow, there’s some serious smells in here”.
The brilliant thing about this, though, is its simplicity. The sauce starts by adding anchovies to hot oil right after you’ve started the pasta water. When the anchovies melt away, toss in the olives, capers, garlic, and chilies and saute a bit. By this time, the water should be boiling, so in goes the pasta (we used Barilla plus spaghetti). Up next, the tuna and tomatoes are added – I also added a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste to extend and thicken the sauce a bit. By the time your pasta is al dente, you should also have a skillet full of savory, spicy, funky sauce. Drain the pasta, toss it with the sauce, and serve with a green salad and a bit of vinaigrette. So good, even if you don’t normally get down with the funk.
Working Girl’s Pasta from Jamie’s Dinners
Sunday night we made amazing UHmazing bison burgers on rosemary rolls with my homemade freezer pickles and also something else that I can’t remember – corn, maybe? The burgers were SO good and made enough that I repeated the meal for lunch twice during the week. Nom nom nom. Did I mention that I’ve started seriously considering beef again? It’s been 12 years, but I figure that if I can do bison, I should at least try beef. How’s that for news?
At the moment I’m too tired from my workout to really remember much else about our cooking this week, but SB did make some amazing breakfast sandwiches this morning with farmers’ market eggs and rosemary rolls, and one night I made an excellent green bean salad-type dish from Jamie’s Dinners. This week I think we’re making meatloaf.
I had intended to share the recipe for the pickles, but as the cookbook from whence it originates is currently packed – along with basically all the other books in our apartment – I can’t this week. Remind me, though.
Not much this week, but then I also forgot to water a bit. Our basil (and also Basil, of course) is still going strong, oh miracle of miracles. I’m disappointed with the yield from the tomatoes, but maybe they’ll do nice things in Mark or Mike’s gardens later in the summer. I did pick a delicious-looking chili today, though.
Chicken legs with sweet tomatoes, courtesy of Jamie’s Dinners
Corn on the cob, bourbon bison sausage, and grilled veg
Also, I canned tomatoes! 8 pints and 3 packets of spaghetti sauce. Hot and sticky work, but not a bad way to pass an afternoon.