Ha! Milk Street Magazine published these two flavor-packed dishes on the same page so I served them together. We ate the chicken and rice with roasted cauliflower. Delicious. 🙂
The avocado-cilantro sauce was amazing and would compliment any meat or chicken. It was inspired by a standard accompaniment to grilled meats in Venezuela called guasacaca. The recipe was adapted from Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Courtney Hill.
The rice was inspired by an everyday dish in Pakistan and India called jeera (or zeera) rice. The recipe was adapted from Made in India by Meera Sodha, via Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Dimitri Demopolous. The original recipe notes that it is ideal for pairing with any roasted or grilled vegetables or meat as well as with curries or dal.
To prepare these dishes together, I began by making the rice dish. While the rice cooked and rested, I prepared the chicken and the sauce.
For the Chicken & Avocado-Cilantro Sauce:
Yield: Serves 6
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 10) OR 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs OR breasts OR a combination, trimmed and patted dry
4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
1 1/2 cups lightly packed cilantro OR flat-leaf parsley, plus extra chopped, to serve
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and seeded
1/2 medium white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 T white vinegar
optional garnish: Lime wedges OR crumbled queso fresco OR chopped pickled jalapeños OR a combination
Heat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle position and another rack in the highest position. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
On a foil or parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet, toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then season with salt and pepper. (Using foil is a better choice if broiling the skinless meat after roasting.)
If using skinless meat, arrange thighs “skin side down” and roast about 10 minutes. Flip over and roast an additional 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven and adjust oven to the broil setting.
Place pan on the top rack and broil to finish browning the meat, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Meat should reach an internal temperature of 165. (Alternatively, if using skin-on, bone-in meat: Arrange skin side up and roast until the thickest part of the breast (if using) reaches about 160°F and the thickest part of the largest thigh (if using) reaches about 175°F, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.)
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the avocados, cilantro, jalapeño, onion, vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. (I used a Vitamix which made the sauce incredibly creamy.)
Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour over any accumulated juices. (If serving with cumin rice, plate chicken over the rice and pour over any accumulated juices.)
Sprinkle with chopped cilantro (or other optional garnishes listed above) and serve with the sauce.
For the Cumin Rice with Caramelized Onions:
Yield: Serves 6
3 T ghee OR salted butter, cut into 3 pieces, divided
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 cardamom pods
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained
chopped fresh cilantro, to serve, optional
In a large saucepan over medium-high, melt the ghee. (I used a 4-quart stainless steel pot.)
Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally to start and more often once browning begins, until the onions are deeply caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes; reduce the heat if the onions brown very unevenly or too quickly.
Meanwhile, rinse the rice. Drain and set aside.
Add the cumin seeds and cardamom pods to the browned onions; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in the rice, 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to low, cover and cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid, 15 to 18 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Using a fork, fluff the rice; remove and discard the cardamom. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, serve sprinkled with cilantro.
I usually need grilled cheese as a bribe for my family to enjoy tomato soup for dinner. My daughter loved this soup even more than the grilled cheese! 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Food 52.com, contributed by Carolina Gelen. I modified the method and proportions. It was a quick dinner packed with flavor. Perfect with our grilled cheese sandwiches and giant green salad.
We swirled pesto into the soup just before serving. Additional cream or crème fraîche could also be added.
Yield: Serves 4 to 5
extra-virgin olive oil
1300 gramsgrape or cherry tomatoes (about 4 cups)
2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
2 to 4 sprigs of basil
2 large sprigs of thyme
1 or 2 red chiles, optional (I omitted it)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup full-fat coconut milk or heavy cream (I used one 13.5 oz can of coconut milk), plus more for serving, as desired
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock, plus more as needed
homemade or store-bought pesto, for serving, optional
grilled cheese sandwiches or fresh bread, for serving, optional
Heat the oven to 450°F (230°C). (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Drizzle some oil into a deep baking dish. (I used a large enameled cast iron baking dish.)
Add in the tomatoes, onion, basil and thyme, and chile (if using). Drizzle more olive oil on top, plus a big sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix to coat. Add the garlic cloves, cut side down, nestled into the other ingredients.
Roast for 25 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly charred. (I roasted mine for 38 minutes.)
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme. Remove garlic cloves from the papery skin.
Add the rest of the ingredients to a blender, along with the coconut milk and stock. (I used a Vitamix on the hot soup setting.) Remove the little plug from the blender lid, then cover the lid with a kitchen towel and blend until smooth.
Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Adjust consistency with additional stock, as needed.
Serve drizzled with pesto and/or cream with a grilled cheese sandwich and green salad, as desired.
In Mexico, this simple cake is called panqué de elote, pan de elote or pastel de elote. It is often served for breakfast. We ate it for dessert after our family favorite Middle School Tacos on Cinco de Mayo this year and ate the leftovers for breakfast. Perfect. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Milk Street. The original recipe accurately describes the texture as somewhere between cake and cornbread while hinting at custard. I used Greek yogurt and modified the method and the baking time for a convection oven. I served the cake with strawberries which was a lovely accompaniment.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
3 medium ears fresh corn, preferably yellow, husked (see Note)
36 grams (1/4 cup) fine yellow cornmeal
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
57 grams (1/4 cup) plain whole-milk yogurt (I used whole-milk Greek yogurt)
165 grams (1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
2 T cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
Confectioners’ sugar, to serve
fresh strawberries, to serve
Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. (I set my oven to the true convection setting.)
Mist a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.
Hold an ear of corn upright in the center of a medium bowl. Using a chef’s knife, cut the kernels from the corn. Repeat with the additional two ears. Measure 250 grams (1 1/2 cups) of the freshly cut kernels and add to a blender; if you have extra corn, reserve it for another use.
To the blender, add the cornmeal, condensed milk and yogurt, then puree until smooth, 15 to 20 seconds, scraping down the blender as needed. Let stand for 10 minutes. (I used a Vitamix.)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
To the blender, add the whole eggs and yolks, and the oil; blend on low until smooth, 5 to 10 seconds.
Pour the puree into a large bowl.
Add the flour mixture and whisk just until evenly moistened and no lumps of flour remain. It is important that you don’t whisk vigorously! Gentle mixing, just until no pockets of flour remain, will minimize gluten development so the finished cake is tender.
Transfer to the prepared cake pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes in a convection oven or 40 to 45 minutes in a standard oven.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
Run a paring knife around the pan to loosen the cake, then invert directly onto the rack and lift off the pan. Re-invert the cake onto a serving platter and cool completely, about 1 hour.
Serve dusted with Confectioners’ sugar with strawberry slices on the side.
Note: Don’t use frozen corn kernels—it results in a dense, gummy texture. Made with fresh corn, the cake’s crumb is much lighter and softer.
Christopher Kimball of Milk Street TV announced that this chilled tomato soup was superior in both taste and ease of preparation to my beloved summer gazpacho. I had to try it!
This puréed velvety soup is more elegant, creamy, and filling than gazpacho. We ate it as a complete meal with a green salad. It can be made year round with Campari tomatoes, which I used, or made with peak-season summer tomatoes, of course.
This recipe was adapted from MilkStreetTV.com, contributed by Diane Unger. The bread is undetectable in the finished soup but creates the desirable consistency. The sherry vinegar is an essential ingredient as well. I loved all of the garnishes. Lovely.
Yield: Serves 4
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored (I used Campari tomatoes)
2 1/2 ounces country-style white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)(I used fresh sourdough)
1/2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 large garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 tsp granulated sugar
3 T sherry vinegar, plus more to serve
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup plus 1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
4 thin slices of prosciutto (about 2 ounces), torn into pieces
3 or 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced or quartered, optional
finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
In a blender, combine the tomatoes, bread, bell pepper, garlic, sugar, vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Blend on high until completely smooth and no bits of tomato skins remain, about 1 minute. (I used a Vitamix.)
With the blender running, gradually add 3/4 cup olive oil.
Transfer to a large bowl of lidded container, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours.
While the soup chills, make the hard-cooked eggs, if using. Fill a saucepan about a quarter of the way with cold water. Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of the saucepan. Add more water so that the eggs are covered by at least an inch of water. Bring to a full boil, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes, drain. Place eggs in an ice bath. When cool enough to handle, peel and quarter or slice. Set aside.
While the eggs cool, place a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering.
Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and let cool completely, then roughly chop; set aside.
Taste the soupand season again with salt and pepper. (Chilling the soup blunts the flavor and additional seasoning may be required.)
Ladle the soup into (preferably chilled) bowls. Top with the prosciutto, hard-cooked egg (if using) and chopped parsley or cilantro.
Drizzle with additional oil and vinegar, as desired. (I omitted this addition.)
This is a full-flavored, weeknight summer dish. I served it with sautéed Napa cabbage, grilled radicchio, grilled fennel, and brown Basmati rice on the side. We squeezed fresh lime juice over the grilled meat, but next time I may also serve it with a garlicky lime-yogurt sauce.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used cubed pork tenderloin instead of pork shoulder and modified the proportions.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 ¾pounds boneless pork shoulder OR 2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1lime, plus some wedges for serving
¼cup cilantro or basil, leaves and tender stems, plus more for serving
2tablespoons fish sauce
2garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1jalapeño or other green chile, seeded if desired (I used an unseeded Serrano chile)
1 ½tablespoons fennel seeds
1tablespoon cumin seeds
1tablespoon coriander seeds
1small red onion, sliced, for serving
Season pork lightly with kosher salt and put it in a bowl or resealable bag.
Juice the lime into a blender or food processor and add cilantro, fish sauce, garlic, chile and honey. Blend until the chile and garlic are puréed, then add fennel, cumin, coriander seeds and pulse four or five times to bruise the spices and mix them in.
Pour mixture over the pork, tossing to coat the pieces. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes while you heat the grill, or up to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, heat the grill or broiler with a rack positioned 4 inches from the heat source.
Thread the pork onto skewers, leaving a little space between cubes. Grill over the highest heat possible, or broil on high, for 2 to 5 minutes, then flip the skewers and continue cooking until the meat is browned all over and charred in spots. It should be just cooked through: A little pink is OK, but there shouldn’t be any red spots.
Serve the pork with cilantro sprigs and onion slices on top, and lime wedges on the side for squeezing.
I am a major fan of this pretty pink cocktail. It was very light, refreshing, and minimally sweet. Puréed watermelon is the only source of sweetness. Perfect.
This recipe was adapted from 3-Ingredient Cocktails by Robert Simonson, via The New York Times. I did not strain the puréed watermelon and omitted the jalapeño slices. We tried it with both the cayenne and salt on the rim, and salt alone. Both were delicious. 😉
The original recipe recommends to taste and add more watermelon juice if your margarita is too boozy, and extra lime juice or even a pinch of salt if it’s too sweet.
Yield: 2 drinks
For the (optional) Salted Rim:
1tablespoon coarse salt or fine sea salt
1teaspoon Tajín or 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional)
For the Cocktail:
ice, as needed
6ounces fresh watermelon juice (from about 1 1/2 cups chopped seedless watermelon)(I used cubes from a mini watermelon)
2ounces tequila, preferably blanco
2ounces fresh lime juice (from 1 to 2 large limes), rinds reserved (I used 1 1/2 limes)
2 to 3thinly sliced jalapeño rounds, optional
small slices of watermelon, for garnish, optional
Prepare the salted rim, if using: In a small shallow bowl or plate, combine the sea salt and Tajín or cayenne. Set aside.
Blend the watermelon in a Vitamix or blender; strain if desired. (I left it puréed.)
In a shaker filled with ice, combine the watermelon juice, tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and jalapeño (if using). Shake to combine. (Note: The watermelon flavor shines brighter without the Cointreau, but the liqueur takes the drink into more traditional margarita territory. If you’d like to compare, first try the mixture without, the liqueur, then add 1 ounce of it per serving.)
Using one of the squeezed lime halves, run it along the rim of two margarita or rocks glasses, then dip the rims into the salt mixture.
Fill the glasses with ice, then strain the margaritas into the glasses. Garnish with additional jalapeño slices and/or watermelon slices. Enjoy immediately.
I love Meyer lemons! I am even dreaming of having a Meyer lemon tree in my house. 🙂
This dessert recipe was adapted from ViewfromtheGreatIsland.com. They are made with an entire Meyer lemon- minus the seeds. The crust incorporates the zest from another entire lemon which made them packed with flavor. It was essential to eat them cold, after being chilled for four hours to overnight, so they must be made in advance.
Yield: about 12 servings (one 9×9-inch pan)
For the Crust:
zest from one Meyer lemon
1 1/2cupsall purpose flour
3/4cupcold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
For the Filling:
1whole Meyer lemon, about 4-6 ounces
pinch of coarse salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
Grease and line a 9×9 inch pan with parchment paper.
To Make the Crust:
Using a sharp vegetable peeler, peel the zest from one Meyer lemon, taking only the yellow part, with little to none of the white part, which is bitter.
Put the zest and sugar into a food processor and process until the two are well combined and the zest has completely incorporated into the sugar. You will still see tiny specks of zest, but no big pieces. Keep processing until you get to that stage.
Add the flour, and cold butter to the bowl and pulse/process until the mixture is moist, crumbly, and almost comes together into a lump.
Sprinkle the crust mixture into your prepared baking pan and pat down firmly and evenly. You should have a layer of even thickenss.
Bake for about 17 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
To Make the Filling:
Thinly slice the second Meyer lemon and remove any seeds. Tip: do this over a bowl so you don’t lose any juice.
Put the lemon and accumulated juice into a high speed blender like Vitamix or a food processor.
Add the sugar to the lemon and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the container, if necessary, to get a smooth puree.
Add the eggs, cornstarch, and salt, and purée briefly until well combined.
Pour the filling mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps or bubbles.
Pour the strained filling onto the hot crust immediately after it comes out of the oven.
Put the lemon bars back into the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm and just starting to take on some golden color. Don’t over bake.
Let the bars cool completely on a rack, then put them in the refrigerator to chill for 4 hours or up to overnight.
When cold, remove the bars using the parchment paper “handles,” and slice into squares.