Sunday, June 17, 2018

Early Summer Flavors

My beautiful wife keeps a small herb garden for us on our back deck. What you see are chives, marjoram, rosemary, parsley, thyme, oregano, mint, basil, and sage. Unlike some, we don't eat the marigolds , but they add color.

Since I have not posted in a while, I thought I would post a blog which emphasizes these summer flavors.

Let's start with the protein. I vacuum packed boneless, skinless chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and some thyme.

I put the chicken in a sous vide at 165 degrees for 3 hours.

Meanwhile I made ice cream. I processed a quart of blackberries I bought at a farmers market. I poured the puree into a fine mesh sieve. I used a wooden spoon then to express the juices from the seeds. (Note: this process is tedious. When peaches come into season, this recipe gets easier.) To the juices I added a cup of heavy cream and a simple syrup made from 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. You heat the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves completely, then cool the syrup to room temperature. When cool add the syrup to the fruit and cream mix. The mixture goes into the ice cream maker. When the mix is stiff, pour it into a vessel and freeze it.

After I made the ice cream, I made pesto. Pick the leaves from enough stems to make two packed cups. You will need nearly twice as much basil as this to reach the required amount.

Process the basil with two large cloves of garlic and three Tablespoons of pine nuts. When you have a well minced mix, begin to add olive oil in a stream as the processor runs. Continue to add oil until you have a texture similarly to a loose but not liquid gravy for biscuits. Mix in by hand 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. (Do not add salt until after the cheese is added!)
 I changed that basic recipe in two ways. I used a lemon olive oil and I used a parmesan, asiago, romano cheese blend.

At dinner time, I put a half cup of Orzo in a sauce pan and added enough chicken stock to cover it plus the juices from the sous vide chicken. I cooked the orzo over low medium heat to the al dente stages then added the salt and pepper needed.

Next I broke the woody part off the stems of fresh asparagus. Just before serving, I seared the asparagus in neutral oil over high heat until barely done.

I slathered the chicken that had been resting under foil with pesto and sliced it. (I should have sliced the chicken and plated it, then poured pesto on top of it as a sauce.)

On the side, I served a tomato, radish, and cucumber salad dressed with an herb blend from Penzys called Sunny Paris, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. The cucumbers and radish came from a farmers market. It is too early for farmers market tomatoes so I used a cherry tomato blend.

After dinner, Nancy and I enjoyed our blackberry ice cream.

Now you understand the title of this blog entry.