Healthy and refreshing, but oh so satisfying, our fresh and zesty Chilled Cucumber & Avocado Soup is what you want to eat when the weather turns hot. It puts the ahhhh in spa food.
MATT: It’ll be July 4th soon! We should make something appropriately red, white, and blue, like you Americans (sniff)… enjoy.
EMILY: First, (waving citizenship papers) that’s *we* Americans, buddy, and second, what do we have in the pantry that’s red and blue?
MATT: I WILL FIND OUT. (Matt disappears into the pantry for several hours. Cue special effect of the hands of a wall clock spinning forward. Eventually he re-appears with a can of tomatoes and a ball of blue string.)
EMILY: (Long, long pause). What other colors do we have?
MATT: (Chews on the ball of blue string, thoughtfully, and looks out of window at the deck, where a Triffid-like mass of herbs threatens to destroy the house.) Green. Lots and lots of green.
EMILY: THAT GIVES ME AN IDEA. (Grabs sunglasses and a large pair of scissors, heads outside.) Get ready to be…(lowers sunglasses enough to peer over them)…REFRESHED.
I like to think of myself as an organized person. I mean, I’m a film editor, for chrissakes. I basically organize millions of digital moments into a cohesive story for a living. So why is it that I cannot, for the life of me, plan ahead and shop for a week’s worth of recipes?
Is it because I was raised in New York City, where 24-hour bodegas and Korean markets permit, nay, encourage a person to decide at 11pm that they’re going to make a Chard Onion and Goat Cheese Tart even though there is neither chard, onion or goat cheese in the house? Why are you looking at me like I’m attempting to deflect blame for my questionable decisions? Ahem. Anyway, now I live in the boonies and that means I either have to:
A. Get organized and make a menu plan and corresponding shopping list at the beginning of each week.
B. Hit the lottery so I can hire a personal chef (one who allows me to post their recipes all over the internet and hover over their shoulder taking pictures as they cook).
C. Create delicious things that use pantry staples almost exclusively so I can continue my reckless and dangerously chaotic lifestyle.
Guess which one I chose?
I almost always have everything on hand for this recipe and, luckily, it also happens to be incredibly good. Obviously if you eat chicken and enjoy crispy things, nothing’s going to beat real fried chicken but I think we can all agree that deep-frying is not really an option for an easy, healthy, weeknight dinner. This chicken though, is all those things and more. It gets great flavor from the tangy mustard, garlic and thyme and develops a crunchy, golden brown crust.
I also make a simple yogurt sauce to go with it (if I remember to make or buy yogurt), but it’s equally good with just a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of Maldon salt over the top.
So you’ve made a batch of delicious Rhubarb-Lemon Curd. Well done, sir or lady! Now I suppose you want to know what you can do with it (other than devour it slathered on toast or Pound Cake, or, let’s be honest, from a spoon straight out of the jar). [Matt says: “What’s wrong with that?” Actually, he has a spoonful of rhubarb curd in his mouth at this very moment, so it’s more like “Mwro rong wiwa?”]
These are all perfectly respectable options but if you really want to step it up a notch, you could use it as a filling in a tiny little tart, slather it with whipped vanilla-flecked mascarpone cream and top it with beautiful, local, peak-season berries.
To me, these beauties just scream “Summer!” as well as “July 4th!” and also, “Eat me quick, before anyone knows you made me!” (also, “Our deep orange egg yolks turned the curd into an unfortunate beige hue, so whipped cream and berries are a perfect and delicious disguise”). Very long-winded tarts, these.
Creamy pudding-like rhubarb lemon curd makes a great filling for desserts or as a sweet spread on toast. Believe us, it’s a lot tastier than it looks!
Oh hello, I didn’t see you there. Sorry, I was just recording some crowd noises. Now, where was I? Oh, yes, rhubarb. Lovely vegetable, er, fruit, er, whatever it is (it’s a vegetable).
We’re not yet growing rhubarb ourselves, but enough of our local farms seem to be doing so now that it’s relatively cheap and abundant. When we lived in the city, buying rhubarb always seemed to be an “either/or” proposition: we could either buy rhubarb, or we could pay our rent. We really had to have a plan for it ahead of time. That’s not the case now, and we’ll gladly buy it when it looks good, and then figure out what to do with it afterwards.
Our first batch this summer went into a crumble (eaten too fast to blog). The next batch became cocktails. Now we’re on to batch number three. We’ve already got a great recipe for lemony lemon curd, and one day Emily walked into the kitchen, eyed the pile of rhubarb, and said, “What do you think of making rhubarb lemon curd? Is that even a thing?”
It sounded pretty good, and with a little research we discovered that yes, it was a thing, but the various recipes floating around the internet seemed deficient in one way or another. Many were extremely complicated, requiring a double-boiler and an excessive number of steps. Others were insufficiently rhubarby, and if there’s one thing I require from a rhubarb recipe, it’s that it at least has the decency to taste of rhubarb. So we decided to nerd-up our own version (translation: simplify and improve flavor).
Grilled eggplant – or aubergine – is kicked up with a miso ginger glaze before grilling or broiling. This is our favorite tasty addition to a barbecue party.
Do you like eggplant? (Or, as my fancy European husband calls it, “aubergine”; oh, la de dah.) I really like eggplant. In fact, until recently, I had no idea that so many people really, really, really hate it. I know, shocking! (I’m easily shocked).
If you find yourself in the “hate” camp, might I respectfully suggest that maybe you just haven’t found the right recipe yet? (I’m a total hypocrite because celery is my Kryptonite and there is nothing and no one that will make me change my mind about that).
But we’re talking about you here. Don’t try to change the subject.
To be fair, it can be a little tricky to work with. If you’ve ever tried to cook eggplant with very little oil (I have), it becomes tough and leathery. No thanks. If you use too much oil, it can be greasy and heavy. Also no thanks.
That’s why I either like to roast it in a hot oven or, even better, grill it. Both methods work well because you can control exactly how much oil to use, allowing it to become tender and charred, without soaking up cups of oil. We’d like to show you our favorite way to make grilled eggplant.
Let’s talk about the sauce – or properly, a glaze, with the flavors of miso and ginger. For me, the pairing of eggplant and miso is one of those perfect things. It’s like peanut butter and jelly (or peanut butter and chocolate, for that matter). Hey, now I want peanut butter.
In winter months, I roast eggplant in the oven, brush on the miso glaze and then run it under the broiler until it caramelizes. Now that it’s grilling season, it’s even easier. And there you go: grilled eggplant for a BBQ side or a light lunch. The next time you have a barbecue party, invite us over and you know what we’ll be bringing!