It's been a while since my last blog post. And truth be told, the reason is quite simple. Life just gets busy. Has anyone else lost track of time? None the less, I have been wanting to share some more of our super-easy summer recipes, since I last shared our 'easy peasy summer salads' with you. It's difficult to make selections, so I'm beginning with those that have been most requested.
Investing in an air fryer recently has been, hands down, the best decision we've made in a long time. When it comes to meal preparation, this guy is the winner. As long as you season your food properly, this baby does all the work. Say goodbye to overcooking your meats and burning your vegetables. The bonus is, obviously, that you can prepare things like french fries and chicken wings, minus the fry! We served our chicken over roasted summer vegetables, with lemon wedges on the side.
Another summertime favorite in our household is corn. The children help with the husking, and we either throw it on the grill or steam it in the kitchen. A more popular version, as of late, is our Mexican Street Corn. The chipotle mayonnaise and the queso are a killer combo. Add a squeeze of lime, and voilà! You are instantly transported to heaven.
A simple summer salad for 'the win' is that of green beans. Steam them, then blanch them over ice-cold water to maintain their bright green color, as well as to keep them cool and crisp. Nothing is worse than a soggy/mushy green bean. The kids can also help with this preparation by washing and snapping the ends of each green bean. It can't get any easier! (See recipe below.)
An alternative to air frying potatoes is baking and serving them 'smashed' with a touch of sea salt and olive oil. They are as crunchy as a french fry, but a whole lot healthier. Serve them with a side of spicy aioli or a spicy 'crema', and I guarantee there will not be a single potato left. Top them with some parmesan cheese for a more enhanced flavor. (We are cheese lovers in this household and find an excuse to sprinkle it on just about anything).
Last but not least, another summer salad we've been making repeatedly is our crunchy summer slaw. What you can't see in the photograph below, are halves of avocado, hiding beneath the cabbage and the corn medley. Ripened, halved cherry tomatoes and shallots were added to the mix. The corn slaw serves well after being prepared and chilled the night before, making for a quick lunch in a snap. Simply peel and plate with avocados before serving. Then, you guessed it! Sprinkle a crumble of feta or goat cheese on the top if you are as fond of cheese as we are.
As an alternative way to plate the corn slaw, we enjoy serving it alongside tacos. The above leftover chicken can also be 'shredded' and served on taco night alongside warm taco shells, fresh crema, cheese, and homemade guacamole. We like to set a taco bar and provide an array of hot sauces and a variety of tortillas (both soft and hard, corn vs. flour). The children compete over who makes better guacamole. One prepares it chunky, and the other smooth. The more options on the table, the better!
For our next blog post, we will be sharing our version of a traditional bouillabaisse, a Mediterranean fish stew typically served in the south of France, and originating in Marseille. Ordinarily, we would pair this meal with a cold glass of Provençal rose. Furthermore, we will present another summer dessert for you. This time, we will poach some ripened summer peaches in that same Provençal rose and make a rose granite to top it off. What a perfect ending to a hot summer day!
Air Fried Chicken
4 Chicken Breasts (leave the skin on)
1 Onion (cut into large wedges)
1 Red Pepper (cut into large pieces)
1 Green Pepper
1 Garlic Clove
3 tbsp. of Soy Sauce
3 tbsp. of Olive Oil
1. Marinate the Chicken.
- Place the chicken breast in a large bowl.
- Add the peppers and onion.
- Add the chopped garlic.
- Season with the following: salt, pepper, paprika, olive oil, soy sauce.
- Mix until all the breasts are fully coated. - Marinate in the fridge for 45 min - 1hr minimum (could be longer).
2. Place the chicken in the air fryer. Cook for 30 minutes. (Skip to #4).
3. If you do not have an air fryer:
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat a cast-iron pan and add avocado oil or another high heat oil.
- Sear the breast skin side first until nice and brown.
- Turn the breasts and place them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
4. Remove when the chicken is cooked through. If using a thermometer, the center of the breasts should be 165 degrees.
5. Prepare the Vegetables.
- Place the onions and the peppers in a pan and roast for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.
- Roast them until they are golden brown.
6. Plate the Chicken and Vegetables.
- Place the vegetables on the bottom of the serving dish.
- Place the chicken on top.
- Squeeze a lemon on the chicken breasts and sprinkle salt flakes and freshly ground pepper.
- Add some freshly chopped cilantro if you would like.
Mexican Street Corn with Queso
4 Whole Pieces of Whole Corn (husked)
1 C of Mayonaisse (see recipe below)
1 Egg yolk
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 C of Avocado Oil
A short-cut is to use 1 cup of store-bought traditional or vegan mayo.
1. Make the Chipotle Mayo.
- Whisk the egg yolk, Dijon mustard, and avocado oil together.
- Add the chipotle seasoning and hot sauce, to your taste.
- Cover and chill.
2. Husk and Roast the Corn.
- Husk the corn and rinse it.
- Season it with salt and pepper.
- Roast it in the oven at 350 degrees.
3. Plate the Corn.
- Using a pastry brush, 'paint' a generous helping of the chipotle mayonnaise onto the corn.
- Sprinkle crumbled queso on top.
- Serve with lime wedges.
Green Bean Salad
2 lbs. of Green Beans
1 Tbsp. of Dijon Mustard
A Pinch of Salt
A Pinch of Pepper
3 Tbsp. of Sherry
9 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Make the Sherry Vinaigrette.
- Combine the Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and sherry vinegar with a whisk.
- Slowly add the olive oil, one tablespoon at a time.
2. Prepare the Green Beans.
- Wash the green beans and snap or cut the ends off of each one.
- Cook the beans in boiling water with salt.
- Drain them while still crisp, and before they become overcooked and get soggy.
- Plunge them in a bath of iced water.
- Once they are chilled, drain them, again.
3. Plate the Salad.
- Mix the green beans with the sherry vinaigrette.
- Top with chopped shallots.
Garlic Smashed Potatoes
1 lb. of New Potatoes, Baby Potatoes, or Creamer Potatoes
Olive Oil (a generous helping)
1. Prepare the Olive Oil Coating.
- Chop the garlic and the thyme.
- Mix the above together in a bowl with a generous amount of olive oil.
- Set aside.
2. Boil and 'Smash' the Potatoes.
- Wash the potatoes and keep them whole. (Do not halve them).
- Boil the potatoes in water until they are thoroughly cooked through.
- After draining the potatoes, put them onto a sheet pan.
- With a fork, lightly 'smash' the potatoes.
3. Roast the Potatoes.
- Drizzle the potatoes with the garlic, thyme, and olive oil mixture.
- Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Roast them in the oven at 400 degrees until golden brown.
4. Plate the Potatoes.
- Simply remove the potatoes from the pan with a spatula.
- Plate by adding a sprig of thyme for the garnish.
Crunchy Summer Slaw
1/2 White Cabbage
2 Whole Pieces of Roasted Corn
1/2 lb. of Cherry Tomatoes
Red Wine Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Prepare the Slaw Mixture.
- Chop the white cabbage and place into a bowl.
- Slice and add the 2 roasted pieces of corn.
- Half and add the cherry tomatoes.
- Remove the skin of the cucumber. Dice and add to the bowl.
- Chop and add the shallots.
2. Prepare the Vinaigrette.
- Whisk together even amounts of both olive oil and red wine vinegar.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Toss the Salad.
- Toss the slaw mixture with the vinaigrette.
- Optional: Halve and slice avocados to add to the salad.
Our Air Fryer was purchased at Costco and is the Gourmia Air Fryer, also available for purchase at Williams-Sonoma. This air fryer is not only quick and efficient but easy to use and easy to clean! A 'win-win' in our book.
The green stemmed glassware photographed in the last photograph are vintage Libbey in the color Juniper Green and are available for sale in our online shop. (Also, pictured below). https://www.backcountrymercantile.com/product-page/vintage-libbey-wine-glasses-in-juniper-green-set-of-4
The ceramics featured in both the chicken and the corn photographs are from the Backcountry Mercantile spring 'Bunny' line. For those interested, we are taking pre-orders now for both our 'Bunny' as well as 'Cardinal' ceramics, all of which sold out after their launches (December 2019, and March 2020). All pre-ordered 'Bunny' items will be delivered after September 15th, 2020, when the autumn line arrives. 'Cardinals' arrive by November 1st, 2020. For more information on our Italian crafted, handmade and hand-painted ceramics, read more about our partnership with famed ceramic maker FIMA Deruta. https://www.backcountrymercantile.com/ceramics-1
The above photo is from one of our dinners spent in quarantine. We snipped daffodils from the garden, rather than buying them at the market, and made do without linens being draped over the tabletop. Leftover ribbons were used as an alternative to napkin rings, and we used the 'Bunny' ceramicware and vintage glassware, night after night. Gone were the days when we saved the hand washing and use of finer tableware for special occasions. We wanted to make the best of our days and mealtimes spent together in quarantine.
To browse other vintage glassware, including the below mid-century green goblets, and more, tap the link below to discover all we have to offer in our online shop. https://www.backcountrymercantile.com/glassware
We plated both the 'green bean salad' and the 'garlic smashed potatoes' on fine porcelain plates made and designed in Limoges, France, by Aurelie Pergay. We are absolutely smitten with this collection and will be sharing more pieces in another blog post soon. We have had many requests to bring this stunning line to our customer base in the United States. Stay tuned, my friends! For more information on Aurelie Pergay and her father Jacques, read more here: https://www.backcountrymercantile.com/porceline
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