Category Archives: Entertaining

Chicken with Lemon & Olives

Chicken with Lemon & OlivesUnsurprisingly, the way to my heart is through my stomach. I mean, I’m a food blogger–of course it is.

To get specific though, it’s through salty, briny, acidic foods. Dessert is a wonderful thing, but I will happily destroy a jar of pickles or smear dijon mustard on everything or give you a tour of my salt collection (nerd alert!) any day of the week. And then I will make you a batch of cookies, because of course I will. But that’s a post for another day.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesToday, we’re talking about Chicken with Lemon & Olives, which is a dream dinner for someone like me. It’s got crispy-skinned chicken thighs, briny roasted olives and a garlicky, herby, dijon-spiked lemon sauce, so…yeah, um, hi. Sign me up.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesChicken with Lemon & OlivesChicken with Lemon & OlivesThis dish, y’all. It’s so delicious. The sauce is tangy and acidic from the lemon and mustard, and rich (but not overly so) from the chicken and olive oil. And the olives—ohhhh, the olives. They’re cracked open before cooking so that all that tangy, schmaltzy sauce gets in there and gets a little briny and…well, it’s very good.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesSpeaking of olives, I prefer to make this with castelveltranos because they’re my favorite. More of a kalamata person? Want to try a mix? Do what makes you happy. I used olives that still have their pits because, frankly, they always taste better. If you want to use pitted olives though, I won’t stop you. Just make sure to skip the step when you give them a thwack with the bottom of a cast iron skillet—nobody wants to clean that mess.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesI should note that the sauce stays on the thin side. If you’d like it to be thicker, you can reduce the amount of stock a bit when you pour it in, or remove the chicken, etc., and thicken it with a cornstarch slurry after roasting. Truly, the consistency of the sauce was the only thing I had reservations about during testing, but I like it as written. It nestles perfectly into a pile of polenta or mashed potatoes. Next time I’m going to try serving it with slices of toasted baguette.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesCan we discuss how absurdly beautiful this is? I love the golden chicken in contrast with the vibrant olives and roasted lemon wedges. This is definitely one of those mains that works as well for a dinner party as it does for a weeknight. And on that note, if you’re having a dinner party and making this, please invite me.Chicken with Lemon & Olives

Chicken with Lemon & Olives
makes 6-8 servings

2 cups olives (with pits), brine discarded (I used castelveltrano)
8 chicken thighs
1/2-3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2-3 lemons, divided
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (based on preference)
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 cup chicken stock
polenta or mashed potatoes, for serving
chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 450F. Grease a large casserole dish or 9×13-inch pan. Set aside.

Crack olives. On a sturdy surface, sandwich olives between two pieces of parchment. Use a heavy object (bottom of a cast iron skillet, meat tenderizer, large can) to give them a few whacks to crack the skin open a bit. You may also use a sharp knife to lightly score each olive.

Blot chicken thighs with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Use your hands to lightly and quickly massage oil and salt into the meat for even distribution.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches (unless your pan is giant), place chicken thighs in the pan skin-side-down and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Meanwhile, juice 1-2 lemons, until you have 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. Slice remaining lemon into 8 wedges. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of rendered fat. Add garlic, thyme and rosemary, and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute). Stir in red pepper flakes and mustard, followed by stock. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

Pour sauce into prepared dish. Place chicken in a single layer over the top. Arrange olives around chicken and tuck lemon wedges in between. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon olive oil. Bake 45-50 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Let cool a few minutes until bubbling stops. Serve over polenta or mashed potatoes with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesChicken with Lemon & OlivesChicken with Lemon & Olives

No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream

No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamCan you believe it’s Labor Day Weekend? I am stunned at how quickly this summer has gone by! It was a really great one for me: my entire immediate family visited over the course of three months and I got to go to my beloved Swan’s Island. The best.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamOne of my favorite memories from the last few months is my parents’ last-minute trip to NYC. Long story short: in late June, I was telling my mom about how much I loved The Ferryman and how I wished she could see it before it closed in couple of weeks…and six hours later, she and my dad had booked flights and a hotel, we’d been offered a front row seat to the East River fireworks display, and we had tickets to both The Ferryman (the day before it closed!) and Come From Away! My family are not terribly spontaneous people, so this was pretty wild.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamThe whole visit was a ball, and even though we were all exhausted by the last night, we decided to go for one last good meal. And so it was that I loaded my parents into a car and we took the short ride down to Red Hook for some harbor views (my favorite), lobster rolls (my mom’s favorite), and ice cream (my dad’s favorite). Red Hook’s got something for everyone.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamThis recipe is based off the scoop of Rice Krispies Treats-centric Snap Mallow Pop! that I had that night at the Red Hook location of Ample Hills. Like the ice cream that inspired it, this one’s got a marshmallow base and is studded with Rice Krispies Treats. Unlike the original though, this recipe can be made at home without an ice cream machine—one of the few pieces of kitchen equipment I don’t have—instead relying on a four-ingredient no-churn base.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamMaking a no-churn ice cream base is simple. At its most basic, it’s just folding whipped cream (for creaminess, heft and scoopability) into sweetened condensed milk (for sweetness and to prevent ice crystals from forming). I always throw in a little vanilla, and this time I added a cup of marshmallow fluff for big marshmallow flavor!No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamAs far as the Rice Krispies Treats go, you can make whichever version of that recipe you like (if you go with the original recipe on the back of the box, I’d cut it in half). I tend to go rogue and keep mine to a 1:1:1 formula: 1 tablespoon butter, 1 cup mini marshmallows, 1 cup Rice Krispies cereal. Except in this case I double it, so 2:2:2…?No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamOnce they’re made and cooled, pinch/pull the treats into small pieces. Those will get layered with the marshmallow ice cream base and then frozen.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamAnd scooped. And eaten in a cup.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamOr a cone. Or maybe both. It’s the last weekend of summer. Get wild. Eat ice cream twice.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream

No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream
makes about 8 cups

Rice Krispies Treats:
2 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
pinch of salt (optional)
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Marshmallow Ice Cream Base:
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup marshmallow fluff
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, very cold

Make Rice Krispies Treats. Grease a rimmed pan (I used a quarter sheet pan). Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add butter and swirl to melt. Add mini marshmallows and salt and stir constantly until melted. Remove pan from heat and stir in Rice Krispies cereal.

Transfer cereal to prepared pan. Use greased implements or hands (be careful—the mixture is hot!) to press the mixture into an even layer. Let cool for about 30 minutes.

Use lightly greased hands to pull Rice Krispies Treats into small pieces. Set aside.

Make marshmallow ice cream base. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, marshmallow fluff, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer (or a whisk) to whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into sweetened condensed milk mixture just until combined.

Transfer 1/3 of the ice cream base to a 9×5-inch loaf pan or other freezer-friendly 8-cup vessel. Top with about 1/3 of the Rice Krispies Treats pieces. Repeat layering process two more times so that you have 3 layers each of the ice cream base and rice Krispies Treats pieces.

Cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing for a minimum of 6 hours. Scoop and serve as desired. Leftovers should be kept covered in the freezer.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream

Mango Granita

Mango GranitaI first came across a granita recipe in the summer of 2009 and thought “That looks easy and delicious. I’m going to make that.” And then ten years passed.

But I did make granita, and it was/is easy and delicious, and now I’m here to tell you to do the same. Maybe skip the ten years of procrastination though.Mango GranitaMango GranitaIf you are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, granita is a semi-frozen Sicilian dessert–basically a classy snow cone. The texture is fluffy and snowy, but instead of being ice flavored with brightly-colored syrup, it’s made from real fruit with very limited added sugar, and you don’t need a special machine to make it.Mango GranitaTo make this Mango Granita, you’ll need:

  • a few pounds of fresh mango. You could probably use thawed frozen if that’s all you can find.
  • lime juice for brightness. Lime and mango are great together.
  • the tiniest amount of sugar to round things out. Yes, ripe mango is already very sweet, but cold temperatures mean that flavor doesn’t always shine through the way it does at room temperature. I like to add two tablespoons of sugar to the entire recipe. That small amount makes a big difference!
  • a pinch of salt for balance. You can leave this out if you want to, but salt is rarely a bad idea.
  • a blender (or food processor), a dish, a fork, and time.

Mango GranitaMango GranitaThe process is simple. Blitz all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, then pour the purée into a large dish and put it in the freezer for an hour.Mango GranitaWhen that time is up, remove the dish from the freezer. Starting at the outer edge, use a fork to drag the frozen purée into the looser center. This will begin the process of making fluffy, snowy ice crystals. At first, you may feel like you’re dragging a fork through soup, but an hour later, it’ll be a different story.Mango GranitaAnd then, thirty more minutes will go by and crystals will really begin to form! The grainy texture is the “gran-” in granita.Mango GranitaYou’ll know it’s ready when it looks like this:Mango GranitaMango GranitaMango GranitaMango Granita is as delicious as it is beautiful—light and refreshing and perfect for these sweltering last few weeks of summer! The texture is somewhere between a snow cone and a sorbet. Where you might think this would be icy, it’s super smooth and surprisingly creamy. This is the sort of dessert that is great for any occasion from watching Netflix in your PJs to a cookout to a dinner party. It’s vegan, nut-free, low calorie and low sugar–a wonderful option for a crowd!Mango GranitaMango GranitaBefore I get to the recipe, here are a few more tips for granita success:

  • use the largest dish you can. The shallower the layer of purée, the faster it will freeze.
  • you can use any fruit you like! I love mango, but peaches, melon or berries would be magnificent here!
  • make granita on a day you’ll be spending a lot of time at home. This recipe is low maintenance, but the ice crystals need to be scraped every hour at first and then every half-hour. Give ‘em one final scrape before serving.
  • for the love of everything, don’t wait ten years to make this. Ideally, you should make Mango Granita as soon as possible. Like tomorrow.

Have a great weekend, y’all!Mango Granita

Mango Granita
makes about a quart

3 large ripe mangoes (about 3 pounds), pits & skin removed, sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Combine mango, lime juice, sugar and salt in a high-powered blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into a large shallow dish (I used a 9×13-inch casserole). Freeze for 60 minutes.

Remove cold mixture from freezer. Starting at the outer edge, use a fork to scrape/drag the icier edges of the mixture into the center of the dish. Mixture will still be quite loose. Return dish to the freezer for 45-60 minutes before repeating scraping. Continue to scrape every 30 minutes for the next 1-2 hours, or until the texture is fluffy and snow-like.

Freeze until ready to serve. Give one last scrape before serving in small bowls.

Leftover granita will keep in the freezer for about a week. Scrape before serving.Mango GranitaMango GranitaMango Granita

Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble

Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleCherry season is late this year, but it’s finally here. Thank goodness for that—otherwise, you might have to wait a year to make this Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble. That would be a shame. I mean, who doesn’t need another quick & easy crowd-pleasing summer dessert in their repertoire?!Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble is exactly what it sounds like: a layer of soft sweet cherry filling topped with a crispy sugar cookie crumb. Where crisps have oats and nuts to contrast with the fruit beneath, this crumble relies instead on a craggy layer of buttery topping. Some of the crumb mixture will sink into the fruit as it bakes and remain soft, too, so there are all sorts of great textural things happening.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleThis is the sort of dessert that can be made in an hour start-to-finish and be served warm from the oven—no need for fussing over delicate pastry or waiting hours for molten filling to become cool enough to slice.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleTo make this crumble, toss together a quick fresh cherry filling and tip it into a baking dish. Next up, stir together the sugar cookie crumble, which is just the crumb topping from my Double Funfetti Crumb Cake without the sprinkles.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleScatter that over the top of the cherries and then bake the whole thing at 375F until the crumb is golden and the fruit is bubbling and tender. Let it cool about ten minutes before spooning the hot crumble into bowls and topping it with vanilla ice cream.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleEat. Go for seconds. Repeat.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble

Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble
makes 8-10 servings

Cherry Filling:
2 pounds fresh or frozen (thawed) sweet cherries, pitted
1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar (depending on preference & sweetness of fruit)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Sugar Cookie Crumble:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

For serving (optional):
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Make the cherry filling. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sweet cherries, sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, and almond extract. Toss together until combined. Transfer to baking dish and create an even layer. Set aside.

Make the sugar cookie crumble. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add vanilla and melted butter and stir until dry ingredients are saturated and clumps form.

Use your fingers to evenly distribute crumble over the top of the cherry filling. Bake crumble 25-30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.

Let crumble cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Top with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to four days. Warm before serving.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}If you’re searching for a plant-based summer recipe that is as visually striking as it is delicious, look no further. This Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust combines two of my favorite things—simply-prepared vegetables and soft corn polenta—and elevates them into one magnificent main. Did I mention that it’s naturally gluten-free and vegetarian?*

*I wrote vegan swaps in the recipe, too.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}While this recipe takes some time to prepare, none of the steps are difficult and the results are more than worth the effort! You can make things easier for yourself by preparing the polenta and forming the crust a day ahead.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}When you’re ready to bake, spread on some tomato sauce and slice up a bunch of summer produce. If you’re a little fancier than I am and have a mandoline, this would be a great time to use it.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Assemble the tart by arranging the sliced vegetables in concentric circles and finishing them off with olive oil and fresh thyme. Cover the whole thing with a parchment round to ensure that everything cooks evenly. And then…Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}…well, let’s just say I’ll pray for you during the thirty minutes between baking and slicing. I promise it’ll be worth the wait. I mean, when are polenta and ratatouille not worth the wait?!Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}I love this tart when it’s fresh, but you should know that it slices particularly well at room temperature and cold, meaning this is a great make-ahead option. The tart pictured here was made on a Monday and reheated by the slice for lunches all week long.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}It was exactly as wonderful as it looks.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust
ratatouille adapted from Deb Perelman
makes 1 9-inch round tart, 4-6 servings

Polenta Crust:
2 cups water
1 cup whole milk (or unflavored, unsweetened plant milk)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon prepared dijon mustard
few grinds freshly ground black pepper

Ratatouille:
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2-1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt (based on your taste), divided
~1/2 small, thin eggplant, 1/8 inch slices
~1/2 medium zucchini, 1/8 inch slices
~1/2 medium yellow squash, 1/8 inch slices
~1/2 long, thin red bell pepper, seeded, 1/8 inch slices
~1 1/2 roma tomatoes, 1/8 inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
few grinds freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

For assembly:
9-inch round piece of parchment paper

For serving (optional):
fresh parsley or other herbs
feta or goat cheese

Grease a 9-inch round springform pan or tart pan with removable bottom. Set aside.

Make polenta. Bring water and milk to a simmer. Keep an eye on it, as milk can boil over dramatically without much notice. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Whisking constantly, add polenta in a thin stream. Reduce heat to medium-low, whisking very frequently for 25-30 minutes, until thick. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, dijon, and black pepper. Transfer to prepared pan and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to spread it to the edges. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Using the back of a wet spoon, press the polenta from the center toward the edges of the pan to create a rustic crust. Set aside. At this point, the crust may be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare the ratatouille filling. Spread tomato sauce on the bottom of the tart. Scatter minced garlic and shallot over the top, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Starting from the outer edge and working in a concentric circle to the center, arrange sliced eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper and tomato in an overlapping pattern. Drizzle with olive oil and top with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper and fresh thyme.

Cut a piece of parchment to fit over the pan, covering all exposed tart. Gently lay it in the pan. Bake tart 45-55 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove and discard parchment. Let tart cool at least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve with fresh herbs or cheese, if desired.

Slices will be neatest at room temperature, but tart may be served at any temperature. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}