Baked Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Garlic

Baked Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Garlic

If you’re looking for a quick, inexpensive weeknight dinner, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a great option. All they need is a few minutes in a marinade, 25 minutes or so in the oven (even quicker on a grill or grill pan) and they’re ready to go. Unlike chicken breasts, which dry out if you stare at them too long, thighs are extremely forgiving. They’re actually hard to overcook.

I like baking them with this lemony, garlicky marinade (recipe below), but you could easily switch the flavors around. I sometimes use soy, honey and ginger. Sometimes sage, rosemary and mustard. The process is the same. Really, by the time you’ve made a salad and opened a bottle of wine, they’re pretty much done.

IMG_3112 - Version 2If you do have a little extra time, they’re perfect with Mashed Butternut Squash with Thyme and Mascarpone.

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Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad

Pickled Cucumber and Avocado SaladI’ve already admitted that I’ve become obsessed with cucumbers since discovering my dog loves them so much. I love them in cocktails, dipped in Feta-Yogurt Sauce, even just plain. But lightly pickled with rice vinegar and sesame oil is my all time favorite.

This is an incredibly quick and easy side dish with Thai Shrimp Cakes. It’s also great with seared salmon or any other fish. It takes seconds to make. It’s also vegan and gluten-free, to boot!

Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad

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Arugula, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

imageMatt and I used to live just around the corner from one of the best Italian specialty stores in Brooklyn. Caputo’s. Oh dio, this place is fantastic. They import the best stuff from Italy and make their own sausages and fresh pastas. They also make mozzarella and ricotta several times a day so it’s always extremely fresh. Needless to say, we were there a lot.

Note: This story gets a little sad… It was actually the owner’s elderly father who made the mozzarella and he liked to pick out the perfect ball for each person, dip it in the salty brine and hand it to you himself. It was very sweet. So one day Matt and I go in and order a bunch of stuff and as we’re chatting with the old man, he asks us how long we’ve been married. We tell him and he tears up, grabs my hand and tells me that his wife died. So of course, I tear up as he says how much he misses her. Now the old man and I are creating quite an awkward spectacle. Not what people expect to see as they’re buying their gnocchi. The owner comes out from the back and calms his dad and explains that his mom actually passed away a few years ago but his dad forgets this. Then he kindly hands me a tissue as I am no longer at all sanitary.

After that day, for some reason, every time the old man saw me, he would burst into tears. I felt so bad that I was triggering this reaction that I would lurk outside to see if the old man was there, and if he was, I would get the counter guys to sneak a mozzarella ball into my order while I would duck behind the counter. He stopped working eventually but mozzarella now has this bitter-sweet association for me. Maybe now it will for you too! You’re welcome.

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Zucchini blossoms with frizzled capers and green garlic

Fresh zucchini blossoms, about to become fried zucchini blossoms
Fresh zucchini blossoms, about to become fried zucchini blossoms

A not-so-fringe benefit to growing squash is having access to the loveliest edible of the summer. Squash blossoms! So dang perty. They are usually stuffed with ricotta cheese and fried in batter which is (of course) delicious but we didn’t have a lot of them and didn’t want to do a whole fried bonanza so we just sautéed them in a bit of olive oil until they were wilty and brown and then frizzled some capers and garlic to go over them. It took about 5 minutes and ended up being really tasty. The fried zucchini blossoms become silky and translucent, almost like stained glass. Of course, they wilt down to nothing so don’t plan on this being dinner but if you grow squash, fried zucchini blossoms is a pretty good way to use the flowers without a lot of fuss.

We used the last of our green garlic (young, hard neck garlic from the farmers market) which is milder than regular grocery-store garlic. Either would work though so don’t sweat it.

IMG_1899

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