Basil Green Goddess Grilled Chicken with Red Onions

Green Goddess Grilled Chicken with Red Onions

Give grilled chicken thighs or breasts a long pre-cook marinade in Green Goddess dressing, and then char them to perfection along with sweet red onions. Then dollop more herby dressing on them for good measure and eat dinner under the stars.

Well, it was inevitable. Last week, after complaining that the summer had been so cold after a spring that was so cold and a winter that was so very cold, we finally got hit with the annual New York heatwave. And to the friends and family members who always say “OMG I love this heat! I could take it all year round!”, I literally do not know who you are and please get off me with your sweaty hug. While we were merrily cavorting around the garden a few days ago, tending to the herbs, the tomato plants and the budding zucchinis, now we’re staring sadly through the window from the air-conditioned interior. It may look pretty out there, but just half an hour in the sun and we both tend to go all Mad Max Fury Road. And nobody wants that.

So if we can’t go to the herbs, the herbs must come to us. And that’s best achieved in the form of Green Goddess dressing. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a fancied up ranch, loaded up with Greek yogurt, a little mayonnaise, garlic and all the soft herbs in the garden.

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Arepas with Pulled BBQ Chicken, Cheddar, Pickled Onions and Avocado

Arepas with Pulled BBQ Chicken, Cheddar, Pickled Onions and AvocadoCrispy on the outside, pillowy and creamy in the middle, Arepas make the best sandwich ever, with easy BBQ Chicken, shredded Cheddar cheese, pickled Red Onions and Avocado. 

In 1994, I had just graduated college and was living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. During the day I worked my first job in the film industry. I was interning in the editing room of a film called Surviving the Game (starring Rutger Hauer, F. Murray Abraham, Gary Busey and Ice T. Yes, you read that list correctly.) At night and on the weekends, when I wasn’t bartending, I was attempting to make a living as a custom hand-bound book artist. This is the long way of saying I was ridiculously flat-out broke.

My friend, Adriana

My partner in book-binding, loft-living and cooking on a budget was my best friend from college, a beautiful and talented artist from Colombia named Adriana, who sadly passed away in 2004. She and I spent countless hours in her loft (a former fish-canning factory which, worryingly, always smelled a little like anchovies when it rained). We laughed at a million stupid jokes, bound hundreds of books, and watched many episodes of the X-Files. We also ate a gazillion Colombian-style arepas, slathered with butter and salt (or sharp cheese and guava paste, Adriana’s favorite).

Not to get too emo on you but looking back, I realize what a formative and precious time those years were. It taught me that I can make anything, including furniture. I learned that film editing is basically magic. And most importantly, I learned that when you cook with people, what you learn from them stays with you forever, so they’re with you forever.

Whenever I miss her I make arepas. I make arepas often.

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Japanese-style Chicken (or Turkey) Meatballs (Tsukune)

Japanese-style Chicken (or Turkey) Meatballs (Tsukune)

These Japanese-style chicken meatball skewers, called Tsukune, are grilled to a deep golden brown and brushed with a sweet soy glaze. Great for game day snacks or just when you feel like eating something on a stick (which is every day for us). 

Well, it’s finally that time of year. You know, when we can all go outside, hang out on the deck with friends, throw stuff on the grill, enjoy the warm summer’s evening because OF COURSE NOT, IT’S JANUARY, WE JUST GOT DONE WITH -10F TEMPS, ARE YOU CRAZY. And yet this weekend my inbox included an email from our favorite national home-improvement chain inviting me to shop all their grill options. Thank you, Home Depot, I’ll wait until I can defrost the patio furniture before I start thinking about firing up the grill.

But who are we to tell you when you can and can’t eat something? If you want to make a strawberry Pavlova in November, or roast a butternut squash in March, you do that, friend, and go with our blessing. If you feel like grilling meatballs on a stick in January, whether you brave the cold to man the grill, or use a grill pan on your stovetop, or forgo the grill entirely and opt for the broiler, is there any good reason you shouldn’t? There isn’t. There’s no good reason at all.

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One-Pan Crispy Chicken with Buttery Lemony Mushroom Orzo

One-Pan Chicken with Buttery Lemony Mushroom Orzo

There’s a reason we make so many one-pan dinners: in a small kitchen, it keeps the oven clutter to a minimum, simplifies the cooking process, and makes clean-up straightforward. The aim, of course, is to get everything properly cooked at the same time: with meat, achieving both the desired Maillard sear (aka; that burnished, dark brown skin) and safe internal temperature; with pasta or grains, getting the texture perfect without overcooking it into a limp mess. Our crispy chicken and orzo dish takes advantage of the pre-oven searing of the chicken and handles the orzo like a risotto, resulting in success on all fronts. The addition of plenty of mushrooms, leeks and spinach turns it into a healthy, one-pot meal.

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Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard

Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard Tender chicken, caramelized onions and Swiss chard in a creamy garlic sauce, topped with a blanket of buttery, flaky, ultra-crisp phyllo dough. This is comfort food pretty enough for the fanciest dinner party, but tasty enough for a relaxed family meal. 

(Note: This would also be a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving or holiday turkey. Chop or shred the cooked leftovers and fold into the sauce and vegetables before adding the pastry top.)

I think it was probably about 12 years ago that my mom bought us our first piece of really good cookware, a 5-quart Le Creuset dutch oven. At that point, we were still using a cheap, thin-gauge pan set I had bought in college, which burned pretty much anything that got near it, even if the oven wasn’t on. Being the weirdo that I am, I even remember the first thing I made in it, Duck Leg Ragu. I remember it, not because it was particularly amazing, but because while I was cooking it, something miraculous happened … The bottom of the pan didn’t scorch before the duck had browned. There wasn’t a blackened ring of sauce in the exact same shape as the burner. It was a red-sauce miracle!  That’s when I realized that investing in a few items of really special, well-made cookware was much better than having a crappy set of pans in every size. Since then, our special collection has slowly grown, and I love each piece. We cook a lot (I know you’re shocked) and I use these skillets, fry pans, and grill pans almost daily. The great thing is, well-made cookware lasts for generations so if you have kids, tell them whoever helps in the kitchen inherits the good stuff.

Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard
Super crispy phyllo tops a comforting, creamy chicken stew.

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Loaded Summer Nachos with Grilled Corn and Bourbon BBQ Chicken

Loaded Summer Nachos with Grilled Corn and Bourbon BBQ Chicken

We take what we love about most about nachos (crunchy chips and an unapologetic amount of cheese) and loaded them up with the best flavors of summer. Grilled corn, fresh tomatoes, avocado, pickled radishes and shredded chicken with bourbon-brown sugar BBQ sauce. 

I don’t know about you, but spring was something of a damp squib. It seemed to rain pretty solidly throughout April and May (you know the old rhyme: “April showers, May even more showers, let’s just forget about June entirely”) and while the garden is now as lush as it’s been in years (“July – finally! – flowers”), we hadn’t had much of a chance before the outset of summer to get out there and enjoy it. Now, at last, the heat is on, the tees and shorts are in rotation, and we’re fully into the swing of the season.

So we wanted to celebrate with something that represented all the things we love about summer eating. The flavors of outdoor grilling and BBQ. The fresh seasonal produce like corn and tomatoes. The potential for spending an evening on the deck with friends and easily-shareable finger food. Wasps. (Just kidding, we hate wasps.) And so our mind, as it often does, turns to nachos. Now, there may be many of you for whom nachos are irrevocably twinned with cool weather sports events or movies. And that’s fair enough – you’re in front of the TV, and you want something you can make a meal of without tearing your eyes away from the action. But for us, celebrating summer means taking it outside. (Also, we’re terrible game-night dunces, and only annoy our more sporty friends with idiot questions such as “How do they choose which team has the brightest socks?”)

Note: This recipe is part of our ongoing collaboration with Serious Eats

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