Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Early Risers

Those who know me well know that I am not an early riser. During the school year, mornings come painfully early and the only thing that gets me out of bed most days is the mug of coffee my husband hands me. Summer is my bliss...I'm allowed to sleep in much of the time (if I'm lucky enough to sleep through the early birds who start chirping at sunrise), and everyone is so much better off because of it. Trust me.

But the world needs early risers--like these radishes, always the among the first things to be harvested out of the garden. Coupled with other eager beavers, snap peas and mint, they make for a cool and crisp early summer salad--and as a bonus, flaunt their preppy colors proudly.

How is your garden coming along? Our beans are getting high, there are blossoms on our squash, tomato and cucumber plants...but no fruit yet....

Snap Pea and Radish Salad with Goat Cheese

Sweet peas, spicy radishes and creamy goat cheese meld in a bright salad that makes use of your early summer harvest.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Yield: serves 4


1 pound sugar snap peas, de-stringed and cut in half if large
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Zest and juice from one lemon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh mint, thinly sliced
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


1. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Blanch the peas in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and plunge immediately in the prepared ice bath. Set aside.

2. Whisk lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, scallions, lemon zest, goat cheese and mint in a medium bowl.

3. Drizzle with dressing and add salt and pepper to taste. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Greetings from the Cape

Happy summer! We've been busy settling into our summer digs and visiting all our favorite haunts. I've already been to the Bass River Farmers' Market, Tuckernuck Farm to pick up our CSA basket, and Miss Scarlet's Blue Ribbon Farm to pick up 113 pounds of piggy that my in-laws purchased. We visited this property (drool), and fantasized about starting a little farm of our own here on the Cape, complete with a pony, some goats and a few chickens too. Maybe someday.

And despite the fact that we've eaten here (twice), and here (swoon), and here, and here, and here, and, that's a lot of eating out....I have also managed to cook up a few good meals! I cannot, however, fit into my pants. C'est la vie.

The first meal I made was a couple of roasted chickens from Miss Scarlet's Blue Ribbon Farm in Yarmouth Port. (Read more about her and her farm here.) Of course I made Piero's chickens. Remember Piero? He's my wealthy, aristocratic Italian boyfriend who spends half the year producing amazing wine in Argentina. He raises bees...chickens...and wee bit of hell, I suspect.

Anyway, the last 5 times I have roasted chickens, I made this recipe. The skin is burnished and the flavor is outstanding. I highly recommend it, especially if you are using locally sourced chickens and honey. From your backyard is preferable...but in a pinch, you can call on Miss Scarlet like I do.

Honey, Lemon and Soy Glazed Chickens

This chicken is rich and flavorful, both from the simple glaze and the aromatic stuffing. Serve with roasted potatoes and a green salad.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: about 1 1/2 hours
Yield: serves 4-6


2 three-pound chickens
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
4 sprigs of rosemary
2 lemons, one sliced and one juiced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pat both chickens dry and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Place in a large roasting pan.

2. Stuff each chicken equally with the smashed garlic, rosemary springs and lemon slices.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the honey with the soy sauce and lemon juice. Brush each chicken liberally with this mixture (about 2/3), reserving the rest for basting.

4. Roast chickens in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and brush all over the rest of the glaze. Return the chickens to the oven and continue to roast for 45 minutes longer, or until the juices run clear when the thighs are pierced (and the meat registers 170 degrees). Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve and serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Figgy Piggy Pizza

I'm just popping in to say hi. This week is a crazy one as we are wrapping up our lives here in California and preparing to make our annual summer trek eastward. No, we are not driving again...that was a one-time deal. But there is still a heck of a lot of preparation involved. Whew.

So I'm spending my week packing and going to each and every play, recital, choir show, meeting, team party, class party that I can, all the while trying to get my house (and pantry) ready for my sister's arrival. She has graciously agreed to take care of this place (and my doggy) while we are gone, and I don't want her to find out how big a slob I actually am.

Things are going fairly well, except for that I think that each and every one of my heirloom tomato plants is suffering from early blight. Does this mean the end for them? Does anyone know what to do about this? Help! I guess I just need to add this to the list of things to do....

I will say, that despite the craziness of that last few weeks, I have managed to get dinner on the table occasionally, and we have all taken comfort in our Friday ritual--pizza. Last week, I was invited as a fundraiser to teach a group of moms how to prepare six different kinds of gourmet pizzas. We had a blast (and quite honestly I can't believe I pulled it off). This fig and goat cheese pie was one of the recipes I shared with them, and it's one of my absolute favorites. The sweetness of the fig jam is a perfect foil to the tartness of the goat cheese, the sharp bite of the arugula and the saltiness of the prosciutto. I love it also, because it's a complete and salad in one!

It was the last pizza I baked for them, and everyone was stuffed...but there's always room for one more slice, yes?

Fig Pizza with Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Arugula

Printable Recipe

This is one of our favorite grown-up pizzas. The creamy goat cheese, spicy arugula and salty prosciutto pair perfectly with the sweet fig jam.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Yield: serves 3-4


1 pound of fresh pizza dough

1 (8.5 ounce) jar of Dalmatia Fig Spread (found at Whole Foods) or other similar product

1 (5 ounce) log of goat cheese

1 (7 ounce) ball of mozzarella, sliced

1 (3 ounce) package of sliced prosciutto

1/2 (5 ounce) bag of arugula

Olive oil, for drizzling


1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees one hour before you plan to bake the pizza if you have a pizza stone (which should be on the bottom rack of the oven). If you don't have a pizza stone, just heat it right before you bake the pizza.

2. Carefully stretch or roll the dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface. If the dough seems tight, let it rest for 5 minutes, then try stretching it again. Cover with a clean cloth and set aside for 10 minutes.

3. If you're cooking the pizza on a pan, lightly flour it and place dough in the pan at this time. If you are using a pizza peel, lightly flour the peel and set the dough on top of it now.

4. Spread the contents of the jar of fig spread evenly over the dough, leaving a one-inch border. Crumble the goat cheese over the spread. Place the slices of mozzarella evenly over the fig spread and goat cheese.

5. If using a peel, carefully shake the pizza back and forth over the peel to make sure it will easily slide into the oven. If it seems stuck, carefully lift the edge in a few places and blow some flour under it. Carefully shake it again. It should slide easily. If not, repeat with the flour. Slide the pizza into the oven directly on top of the stone. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is crisp and blistered. (If you're using a pan, just place the pan on top of the pizza stone).

6. Meanwhile, as the pizza bakes, toss the arugula with a couple of splashes of olive oil. Remove the pizza from the oven, top with prosciutto slices and arugula, slice into 8 slices and serve immediately.