I woke up yesterday morning with a craving for fried chicken, and as luck would have it, we had a package of chicken thighs. After more digging around in the freezer, I also found some leftover frozen biscuits and a package of Trader Joe’s frozen sweet potato fries. With that, grease-laden lunch was born! I got my Presto Fry Daddy, which does not get much use these days, and filled it with peanut oil. While the oil was heating up to 350 degrees, I put together my wet and dry ingredients for the fried chicken. I didn’t have any buttermilk (and didn’t want to go to the store), so I used whole milk instead. After frying the chicken, I brought up the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees and put the sweet potato fries in the fryer for about 3 minutes.
Since I’ve got a ready supply of jalapeños at the moment, I’m always looking for ways to use them. Chris recently discovered Trader Joe’s Pub Cheese, a “gourmet spreadable cheese,” reminiscent of Velveeta, but with more flavor. It comes in three flavors: Sharp Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar with Jalapeños, and Sharp Cheddar with Horseradish. For our new favorite dip, I melt the cheese, add a tablespoon or two of drained salsa, and some sliced jalapeños. It is so simple and easy, yet very tasty. Next time, I might make nachos by adding Ortega chiles, canned no-bean chili, diced tomatoes to the melted cheese and then spooning all that gooey cheese over tortilla chips. Yum!!
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation declaring the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day and designated July to be National Ice Cream Month. It coincides with our own proclamation naming this year, 2011, as The Year of the Ice Cream. As you know, Chris has been the diligent ice cream maker, churning ice cream at least once a week. Today, to mark the Day, Month, and Year of the Ice Cream, it was my turn to create a cold concoction – Razzleberry Ice Cream. My inspiration for this flavor came from Marie Callenders’ Razzleberry Pie, which is made with blackberries and raspberries.
I discovered these brown tomatoes at Trader Joe’s the other day. They are called Kumato tomatoes and they have an unusual brownish-reddish appearance. They are firm, juicy tomatoes that are sweeter than traditional tomatoes. The label says that they are distributed and sold exclusively by Trader Joe’s. I was originally drawn to its unusual color and I thought it would make for a unique presentation in a Caprese salad or a bruschetta.
Chris and I have been cooking from scratch lately and we came up with a decidedly un-Fourth of July dinner, using the newly discovered Kumatos – roas￼ted tomato and basil pasta and rosemary-olive bread. Chris made the fresh angel hair pasta and we collaborated on the sauce. I roasted the Kumatos in the oven in olive oil with a little balsamic vinegar and garlic for about 15 minutes. I transferred it to a sauce pan with more olive oil and garlic and added red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, basil, and salt and pepper.
As Chris was draining the pasta, he saved some of the pasta water so I could add it to the simmering sauce. The starchy water and the olive oil simmered together, forming the base for the sauce. When the sauce was almost done, I added the pasta and mixed it to coat the pasta evenly with the slightly thickened tomato sauce. I seasoned generously with salt and pepper and garnished with more cheese and basil.
For the bread, I made french baguettes again, but this time added rosemary and diced Kalamata olives. From start to finish, it took a few hours to make dinner, but result was a simple and deliciously satisfying meal we enjoyed making together. It was a lovely way to end the holiday weekend.