Pea and Parsley Salad

One of my friends mentioned in passing how her mother often makes a parsley salad.

Parsley Salad?!  My brain immediately latched on to this idea and  it became a nagging thought to the point that it would distract me at the strangest moments in my day.  My husband says that I am food obsessed and in this instance, he was correct!

I never thought to ask my friend for a recipe but I felt that because of  how flavorful parsley is by itself, that it did not need much more than lemon juice for extra flavoring.

I was correct.  And I do so love being correct!

Lets make salad!

Separate any large stems from the parsley leaves and place in a salad spinner to dry.

Once dry, finely mince the parsley.  When you think you have minced it enough, mince some more!

Add 1/2 cup of peas.

A pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon of chili flakes

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Toss to combine, taste and add a little more salt if needed.

Delicious!

My husband felt that 1/2 a lemon was too much acid but I really liked the tang that it imparts in contrast to the sweetness of the peas and the slight spice from the chili flakes.  Feel free to start with juice from 1/4 a lemon and add more from there.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely minced – you should have about 2 cups after mincing
  • 1/2 cup fresh/frozen & thawed sweet peas
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 tablespoon chili flakes
  • salt to taste

Method:

Finely mince the parsley.
Add 1/2 cup peas, a pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of chili flakes and juice of 1/2 a lemon.
Toss to combine, taste.  Add a little more salt if needed or if the salad is too acidic for your taste.

Mushroom and Arugula Bruschetta

I got married on Saturday!  Somewhere between getting married and trying to find a place in our little apartment for the many wedding presents, I also found time to cook for my husband and entertain guests.

Gosh! will it ever become second nature to refer to my husband as ‘my husband?!

I digress…

Sometimes I find that there is no better snack than a big pile of sautéed mushrooms with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  I’d be happy to serve just a plain ol’ sautéed mushrooms to guests as an appetizer but then realize that not everyone loves them this way as I do.  So, for when I need to gussy up some mushrooms without making them too fussy, I make bruschetta.

Mushroom and Arugula Bruschetta

Prep Time: 15 minutes      Cook Time 30 minutes      Serves: 6 as an appetizer

Ingredients

1/2 lb shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons butter,
1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
10 slices bread from a baguette
A handful of arugula or other greens of choice
A few shaved slices of parmesan cheese

 

Method: 

Melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a hot, heavy bottom pan over medium high heat.  Add mushrooms to the pan and stir once to coat in the butter and oil.  The mushrooms will quickly start to create their own juice.  Stir occasionally to keep the mushrooms from sticking but let them develop a deeper color, soften and till the liquid evaporates.  Add another tablespoon of butter after about 7 minutes.

Reduce heat and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, toast bread in a toaster oven, toaster, pan over the stove top – whichever way you fancy.  Just get it a toasty brown.

Cut down to desired size if necessary and smear with a little butter.

Top toasted bread with arugula, mushrooms and parmesan cheese. Serve.

Spicy Coffee Roasted Chicken

I see a whole chicken for roasting as a blank canvas. Sort of like the pasta of poultry. I can do whatever I want to it and flavor wise, I find it hard to mess up a chicken.

Garlic makes an appearance in the ingredient list but feel free to leave it out.  I usually throw a couple of bulbs whenever I roast anything because I love how melty and sweet garlic gets.  Try spreading a couple of cloves on toast. YUM!

The croutons are optional but a delicious addition to the meal.  Unfortunately, I ate a good third of it right out of the pan and before it even made it to the table!

Spicy Coffee Roasted Chicken

Ingredients: 

1 whole chicken, split into two and cleaned,*
1 tablespoon Instant Coffee/espresso (I used Nescafe)
1- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-2 garlic bulbs, cloves separated but kept in skin
2 shallots, quartered
8 sprigs fresh thyme, or rosemary
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
Optional: 4-6 thick cut bread, preferably slightly stale and sliced into cubes

Equipment: Small-medium roasting pan/oven proof skillet

Method:Adjust oven rack to lower middle position.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Place roasting pan/skillet in the oven to preheat the pan.  Combine instant coffee and cayenne pepper and spread all over chicken.

Working from the edge of the chicken closest to the breast, lift the skin to create a pocket between the chicken meat and skin; place two springs of the fresh herbs and a quarter piece of the shallot in the pocket.  Do the same in the area closest to the thigh. Repeat over the other half of the chicken.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt.

Place the chicken in the preheated pan and add the shallots and garlic.

Top the chicken with two tables spoons of butter, divided.

Roast in the oven for 60 minutes till juices run clear.  The FDA recommends an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Carve and dig in! Or, make croutons…

For the croutons (optional):

Plate the chicken and pour out all but 2 tablespoon of the cooking liquid left over from roasting the chicken.  Add bread to the pan and gently toss to combine.  Place pan under the broiler without moving the oven rack and let the croutons get crispy, about 5 minutes, watching to make sure that the croutons do not burn.

* You can butterfly a chicken at home, or, have it done at the grocery store.  I saved the back bone in a large ziplock bag for use in stock another day

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