Recently, we were able to take a trip to visit our COVID-vaccinated parents/grandparents. Yay! My mother-in-law made us a delicious buttermilk-brined roasted turkey breast. I had already bookmarked this recipe, so I had to make it myself after we returned home. Yum.
This recipe is from The New York Times, contributed by Samin Nosrat. Using this simple brine, the meat was incredibly moist and tender. The skin also browned beautifully. I marinated the chicken for 24 hours, used a 10-inch cast iron skillet for roasting, and served the chicken with broccoli, gold potatoes, and sweet potatoes that I roasted simultaneously in the same oven. Easy and absolutely perfect.
Yield: Serves 4
1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
2 cups buttermilk (I used low-fat)
The day before you plan to cook the chicken, remove the wing tips by cutting through the first wing joint with poultry shears or a sharp knife.
Season chicken generously with salt and let it sit for 30 minutes.
In a glass measuring cup, stir 2 tablespoons of kosher salt into the buttermilk to dissolve.
Place the seasoned chicken in a gallon-size (or 2 gallon-size) resealable plastic bag and pour in the buttermilk.
Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, place in a rimmed dish or plate, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. If you’re so inclined, you can turn the bag periodically so every part of the chicken gets marinated, but it’s not essential. (I turned it upside down after 12 hours.)
Remove the chicken from the fridge an hour before you plan to cook it.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack set in the center position. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Remove the chicken from the plastic bag and scrape off as much buttermilk as you can. (I just let it drip off.)
Tightly tie together the legs with a piece of butcher’s twine.
Place the chicken in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a shallow roasting pan.
Slide the pan all the way to the back of the oven on the center rack. Rotate the pan so that the legs are pointing toward the rear left corner and the breast is pointing toward the center of the oven. (The back corners tend to be the hottest spots in the oven, so this orientation protects the breast from overcooking before the legs are done.)
After about 20 minutes, when the chicken starts to brown, reduce the heat to 400 degrees and continue roasting for 10 minutes.
Rotate the pan so the legs are facing the rear right corner of the oven. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes or so, until the chicken is brown all over and the juices run clear when you insert a knife down to the bone between the leg and the thigh, and/or the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. If the skin is getting too brown before it is cooked through, use a foil tent. (I tented the chicken in this step after 20 minutes.)
Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
My kids ate this tender and delicious soda bread with their bowl of celebratory Lucky Charms for breakfast this morning. 😉 It was also wonderful on its own with and without a little butter and jam. It could be warmed and served with dinner as well.
The recipe was adapted from Kathleen’s Bake Shop Cookbook: The Best Recipes from Southampton’s Favorite Bakery for Homestyle Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Muffins and Breads by Kathleen King, the founder of Tate’s Bake Shop. I incorporated whole wheat pastry flour, unsalted butter, coarse salt and modified the baking time for a convection oven. My husband thought that it may be the best version I’ve ever made. Great.
Yield: two 7 to 8-inch round loaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 T granulated sugar
1 T baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
8 T (1/2 cup or 1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup raisins
2 to 3 T caraway seeds, to taste
2 cups buttermilk (I used low-fat)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
Add the raisins and caraway seeds and toss lightly.
Add buttermilk and mix with a fork until all dry ingredients are moistened. (The dough will be very soft and wet.)
Form the dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured board or counter. Knead for about 30 seconds or until the dough is smooth.
Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape into balls.
Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut and “X” on top of each loaf about 1/4-inch deep.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in a convection oven, or up to 50 minutes in a standard oven, or until crusty and golden. (I baked my loaves on convection for 37 minutes.)
One more recipe from Sarah Kieffer’s new cookie book!
These wonderful cookies may have tasted even more spectacular because they looked so simple and unassuming. Wow. The extra teaspoon of molasses may have been the secret ingredient. Like her snickerdoodles, they had a crispy edge and soft center.
The recipe was adapted from 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars and More by Sarah Kieffer. I chilled the dough prior to baking and modified the cookie size. I also reduced the amount of granulated sugar needed for rolling. Great!
Yield: 30 to 32 cookies
364 g (2 1/2 cups plus 1 T) all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt (I used fine sea salt)
1 cup (2 sticks or 227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
350 g (1 3/4 cups) dark brown sugar
1 tsp molasses
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar, for rolling
Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). (I did not use the convection setting.)
Line rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
Add the brown sugar and the molasses and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined.
Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl.
Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, ration the dough into 30g (1 oz or 1 1/2 T) portions. (At this point, I wrapped the scoops with plastic wrap and chilled them. I baked half after 1 hour and the other half after 24 hours.)
Roll each ball in the granulated sugar and place 8 cookies on each sheet pan.
Bake one pan at a time, rotating halfway through baking. Bake until the sides are set and the bottoms are light golden brown, 12 to 13 minutes (for the chilled dough).
Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the pan, then remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough.
Note: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
I have made this wonderful roasted chicken twice recently. The grated Parmesan forms a crispy and delicious topping on the skin and the meat is very nicely seasoned with fresh rosemary and lemon zest. I served it with roasted potatoes and vegetables on both occasions.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. If roasting vegetables with a short cooking time, such as asparagus, it would be amazing to roast them in some of the pan juices while the chicken is resting. I drizzled my roasted potatoes and other vegetables with the lemony pan juices after they were cooked. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
zest and juice from 1 lemon, divided
2teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1teaspoon chopped rosemary, plus 3 to 4 sprigs
large pinch of red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving, optional
1(3 1/2- to 4-pound) whole chicken, patted dry
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1/3cup finely grated Parmesan (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
parsley, for garnish, optional
Finely grate the zest from the lemon and place it in a small bowl. (Save the zested lemon for the drippings.)
Stir in 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, chopped rosemary and red-pepper flakes, if using.
Season the chicken inside and out with salt mixture. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or refrigerate uncovered for up to overnight.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. I set my oven to convection roast.
Place chicken, breast-side up, in a large skillet, sheet pan or roasting pan. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
Stuff cavity of chicken with rosemary sprigs. Drizzle breast with a little olive oil.
Roast chicken for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle chicken all over with Parmesan.
Return pan to the oven and continue roasting until bird’s juices run clear when skin is pierced with a knife and the skin is golden, 25 to 30 minutes longer. (I used an oven probe and cooked the chicken until the breast reached 165 degrees.)
Let chicken rest for 10 minutes. (I tented it with aluminum foil.)
Squeeze juice from the zested lemon, to taste, into the pan drippings and season with more salt and red-pepper flakes if you like.
Carve and serve with drippings spooned over the meat. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. (I also had extra drippings available at the table.)
This quick weeknight dish was packed with flavor. The seasonings had a great balance too. The original recipe notes that tofu can be substituted for the pork to make a vegetarian version.
This recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com, contributed by Dawn Yanagihara. I reduced the amount of kimchi and increased the amount of garlic. This dish could definitely gobble up more kimchi- I may incorporate the full amount next time. I served it over brown Basmati rice to make a complete meal. Wonderful!
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin (can substitute 14 oz extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups Napa cabbage kimchi, drained, large pieces chopped, with 2 T reserved juice (I used 10.6oz jar of Trader Joe’s kimchi)
2 1/2 T soy sauce, divided (I used reduced sodium soy sauce)
brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional (I used 1 cup rice cooked in 2 cups stock)
Cut the tenderloin in half lengthwise, then slice each half crosswise about 1/4-inch thick.
In a medium bowl, stir together the pork, 1 tablespoon of the reserved kimchi juice, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
In a 12 or 14-inch skillet over high, heat 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil until beginning to smoke. Swirl to coat the pan, then add the pork and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl.
In the same pan over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil until beginning to smoke.
Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid released by the mushrooms has mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, if necessary (I omitted it), and the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Return the pork to the pan with any accumulated juices and cook until the juices evaporate, 30 to 60 seconds.
Add the kimchi, mirin, the remaining 1 tablespoon kimchi juice and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce. Reduce to medium and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the kimchi is heated through, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the sesame oil, half of the sesame seeds and half of the scallions.
Transfer to a bowl or platter, over rice, if desired. Sprinkle with the remaining scallions and sesame seeds. Serve.
This is another wonderful weeknight pasta that uses simple ingredients. I was excited to make it while Meyer lemons are still readily available. The lemon added brightness which had a nice contrast to the richness of the browned butter and cheese.
This recipe is from Bon Appétit, contributed by Andy Baraghani. I used a mandoline to slice the lemon into 1/8-inch thick (thin) rounds. I loved that the original recipe called for “an almost ridiculous amount of pepper.” I’m a huge fan. 🙂
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 lb. short tube pasta, such as paccheri or rigatoni (I used mezzi rigatoni)
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, divided
1 small regular lemon or Meyer lemon, very thinly sliced into rounds, seeds removed (I used a mandoline)
1 oz Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
freshly ground black pepper
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling generously salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions (pasta will finish cooking in the sauce).
Meanwhile, heat half of the butter in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium until melted.
Add lemon slices and cook, stirring often, until softened and bottom of pot is browned in spots, 5–7 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer one-third of lemon slices to a plate; set aside.
Just before pasta is al dente, scoop out 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Add 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking liquid to butter sauce. (This may seem like a lot of liquid, but it will thicken once the remaining ingredients are added.)
Add remaining butter a piece at a time, whisking until each piece is incorporated before adding more, until the sauce is emulsified and creamy.
Drain pasta and add to sauce.
Cook, stirring often and adding the grated Parmesan a little at a time.
Once all of the cheese is added, continue to cook, still stirring, until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy and clings to pasta, about 3 minutes. If sauce looks very thick, add more pasta cooking liquid 1–2 Tbsp. at a time to thin (saucier is ideal as it will thicken as it cools).
Remove from heat and sprinkle with an almost ridiculous amount of pepper (about 2 tsp.); toss once more.
Serve pasta topped with reserved lemon rounds and more Parmesan.
I first heard about this spectacularly easy viral pasta dish from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. I think I was the last to know… My daughter has seen countless people make it on TikTok, of course. 😉 She was absolutely thrilled to make it with me!
The original recipe is called “Uunifetapasta,” created by the Finnish blogger Jenni Häyrinen. The foundation of the dish is a block of feta placed in the center of a baking dish surrounded by seasoned tomatoes. After being baked, the cheese and burst tomatoes are combined to create a creamy and delicious sauce to serve over pasta. Deb Perelman incorporated chickpeas in her version- nice.
This version from the Washington Post, contributed by Aaron Hutcherson, recommended using Greek sheep’s milk feta to maximize the creaminess. I used an enameled cast iron baking pan, modified the proportions and incorporated za’atar to the seasoning on the tomatoes prior to baking. It was super creamy and tasty- and as simple and easy to prepare as expected.
Yield: Serves 6
3 pints (750 to 800 g) grape or cherry tomatoes
5 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
8 T (1/2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 block (10.5 oz) Greek feta cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
za’atar, to taste, optional
17 to 18 oz medium-length dried pasta, such as campanile, rigatoni, or rotini (I used Gigli)
fresh basil leaves, for serving
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine the tomatoes, garlic and 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. (I used an enameled cast iron baking pan.)
Sprinkle the tomatoes with some salt and toss to coat. Sprinkle with za’atar, if using.
Place the feta cheese in the center of the tomatoes and garlic, top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle the entire dish with red pepper flakes and a little black pepper.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the garlic has softened and the tomatoes have burst their skins.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir the feta and tomatoes with a wooden spoon until evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary.
Mix the sauce with pasta, adding the reserved pasta water as needed if it looks a little dry. (I incorporated quite a bit of pasta water.)