I hope you enjoyed everyone’s favorite picnic holiday this Fourth! We had quite a unique celebration, camping for the weekend in Yellowstone National Park. It was Harper’s first camping experience. That child got dirtier than she has ever been before and loved every minute of it. Our scenic campsite included some extremely interesting visitors at nearly every meal. There were two gigantic bison (largest North American animal, by the way) that wandered right into our campsite each day and sniffed around to see what might appease their palates. Thankfully they were satisfied with their grass, but those guys are so huge. It was incredible…and a bit scary to have them so close. Had they decided they wanted to partake in our meal, I’ll be willing to bet their dish of choice would have been this broccoli salad. It was certainly a big hit among the humans.
I brought two cookbooks to Bozeman this summer. One was Martha Stewart’s Living Cookbook, which I was excited to have the time to explore. The other was my Big Green Cookbook, a gift from people who know just how to please me. This book not only has a lot of great recipes and grand variety, it is full of tips for living a greener life, both in and around the kitchen.
This broccoli salad uses yogurt for the sauce and is ever-so-slightly sweetened with both honey and jam (in my adaptation). Even if you have a broccoli salad recipe standby, you should really try this one. It is different without neglecting the reasons we love broccoli salad. This travelled well in our cooler and lasted through several meals with 6 or 7 munchers.
SUMMER BROCCOLI SALAD
adapted from Big Green Cookbook,Jackie Newgent, RD
Makes about 8 cups; great for a large crowd.
7 Cups Broccoli Florets
1/2 Large Red Onion, very thinly sliced
3/4 Cup Sharp Cheddar, Grated
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Jam (I recommend Raspberry, but whatever you have on hand will do)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 Cup Chopped Cashews
Layer the broccoli, onion, cheese, and cranberries in a large bowl.
Whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, jam, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing evenly over salad and gently toss.
Sprinkle with cashews and serve.
You’d never know I was such a grumpy lady while preparing this dinner. Yesterday was just kind of crazy. I feel like I had a fussy baby clinging to my leg and frizzed out hair and one shoe off around 5:30 yesterday. I guess that isn’t really true…well, except the fussy baby part. We are adjusting to the changes of being in a new place, as we must.
The tired child soon fell fast asleep, and the hubby and I sat down to this very tasty, very peaceful dinner afterwards. I feel much better.
I’m going to call this meal quite budget-friendly. I bought a large pack of chicken thighs and pan-roasted them all, saving some for another meal this week. Lettuce, radishes, and chives are not expensive. The cherries are our week’s very special treat. As long as I control myself with munching from the bowl, I will have some left for another cherry treat, but they totally make this salad. If you’re stuck in a dried fruit rut with your salads, using fresh cherries as this recipe does, is a vibrant change.
Pan Roasted Chicken and Sweet Cherry Salad with Dijon Dressing
adapted from Bon Appétit
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (I couldn’t find them with either skin or bones, but they were fine)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1/4 C Fresh Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Dill (I used dried b/c it’s what I had, again, loved it anyway)
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/4 C Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, plus one Tablespoon (divided)
2 Tablespoons Butter
4 Thick Slices Sourdough Bread, torn into 3/4″ pieces
1 Pound Fresh Cherries, stemmed, pitted, and lightly crushed
1 Large Head Leaf Lettuce
4 Radishes, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon Chopped Chives
Pan Roast Chicken Thighs-
Preheat oven to 475°. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy skillet med-high heat, until just before it smokes (It shimmers). Place chicken in with skin side down until skin is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer to oven to cook for 13-15 minutes more. Flip chicken and cook another 5 minutes until skin crisps and meat is cooked through. Let rest 5 minutes.
Using two forks, pull chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside*.
*If using my money and time-saving method, cook 7-8 chicken thighs the same way, pull apart all chicken. Reserve 2 Cups cooked chicken for the salad and store the remainder for a broccoli chicken and rice casserole later in the week.
Prepare the Dressing-
In a small bowl, whisk together the Lemon Juice, Dijon Mustard, Dill, Honey, Garlic. Gradually drizzle in Olive Oil while whisking to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
*I recommend doubling this recipe and keeping this dressing on hand in a jar. It is outstanding!
Croutons + Assembling Salad-
In the same skillet used for the chicken thighs (yes, use the fat!) Melt the Butter and 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil. When bubbling, place torn sourdough bread pieces in and cook, stirring frequently, for two minutes or until golden. Remove from skillet and drain onto paper towel. Season lightly with salt and pepper while hot.
Place pulled chicken in a large salad bowl. Add cherries, lettuce, radishes, and chives, and drizzle with the dijon dressing. Toss to coat. Divide among plates and garnish with croutons.
Whew. That was the longest road trip of my life- and I don’t mean in distance. Traveling with MSU’s Littlest Bobcat was way different from when it was just the two of us driving across the country! We made it, and the tot did amazingly well. For the past two days, we have been stretching our legs and exploring this gorgeous gem of a city, so I thought I would share one of my first restaurant finds and one of our first meals in the apartment…
Yesterday, after shopping for necessities, having arrived late on Friday night, we found this sweet little joint for a late-morning meal:
This laid back, order-at-the-counter restaurant seems like a chain, but after visiting their website, there is only this one, as far as I can tell. Clark’s Fork is an allusion to Lewis and Clark’s explorations and is geared toward fresher, healthier food, fast, as well as being very eco-minded. They serve breakfast all day, make sandwiches from fresh-baked bread, and also have a drool-worthy case of baked goods to accompany a coffee.
The price was right. I love eating cheap when you know you’re still getting something good. Soaking in the view from our table of the snow-capped mountains and green hills surrounding town, I felt sure this spot would be visited frequently during our time out west and missed when we make our return east.
I loved these posters they had on the walls; each with a different quote from Clark’s expedition journals, I assume. This one just seemed so perfect…
…which leads me to our first homemade meal in Bozeman…
EATING AT HOME:
After five days in a stuffed car and an unexpected delay in Wyoming with car trouble, our systems felt a little…ummm…rough. The first request was that I make something light. Second, something cleansing. I decided on using leeks since they are a mild diuretic. I had been able to catch glimpses of the Food Network while chasing the toddler around a car dealership for 3 hours, and I saw Claire Robinson, of 5-Ingredient-Fix, making a Cannellini Bean salad that looked yummy. I didn’t really hear much of the show, but it’s amazing what you can catch just from glimpses every now and then. I saw her flame-char her red pepper, and this really did add such flavor that I will probably do this much more, for any recipe. The majority of the ingredients are really just what I felt like throwing in. This is a great summery dish to serve with broiled tilapia and sourdough bread…
LEEK AND CANNELLINI BEAN SALAD
Inspired by Claire Robinson
1 Can Cannellini Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Leek, coarsely chopped (use only white and light green parts)
1 Medium Cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 Large Red Bell Pepper
1/2 Cup Coarsely Chopped Parsley
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1-2 Cloves Garlic, minced
Juice of 1 Large Lemon
1/4 teaspoon Herbs de Provence or Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper
Heat olive oil in a skillet and add minced garlic. Simmer for 3-4 minutes to infuse flavor.
Char red pepper either in gas flame or under broiler. Peel and dice red pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine beans, leek, cucumber, bell pepper, and parsley.
In a small bowl, whisk together Olive oil (w/garlic), seasonings, and lemon juice. Pour over bean mixture. Stir gently to incorporate.
Chill before serving.
The aroma from this sauce will dance off your stove and have your family investigating the peanutty, sweet smells. ‘What’s for dinner?‘ is a typical response. Compliments of The Grit! – an amazing vegetarian fare restaurant in the hip downtown of Athens, GA- these Spicy Thai Noodles are one of my favorite recipes from their cookbook. My friend, Helen, introduced me to this place a few years ago and it is the kind of food that I sit around all day dreaming about. Their Thai Noodle Bowl – ‘special of the day’ – had me talking about it for weeks! The list of vegetarian options at The Grit are endless, and each one is mouth-watering good.
I love to make these Noodles for parties – always a crowd pleaser! Also, it makes the best leftovers in the world and your kids will love them too.
I added a couple of carrots, sliced julienne. I love the color and it compliments the dish well. Also I want to mention that this recipe is not very spicy – my kids love it just like this – but if it were up to me I would add more chili paste, or oil, to turn up the heat on this dish because I love spicy!
12 ounces of slender pasta
4 quarts of water
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons chili paste or 1/2 teaspooon chili oil
2 teaspoons granulated garlic, or fresh
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 lime – freshly squeezed
5 green onions
1 cup of snow peas or 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 carrots julienne
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Combine water and salt in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain thoroughly in a large colander, rinse with cool water and drain again; set aside.
Combine all other ingredients except green onions, peas, carrots and almonds in a saucepan and stir well over high heat until gently boiling. Remove from heat. Toss noodles and sauce in a large bowl. Allow to cool slightly. Toss with remaining ingredients cover and refrigerate. Serve well-chilled.