January welcomes cold weather, a likely chance of snow and a strong desire to make new creations for dinner.
Winter is officially here and I am trying to find new ideas for our weekday dinners. I am tired of butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, Caesar salad, roasted root vegetables and beet, walnut and goat cheese salad.
I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, but this year more leafy greens will be added to our diet. I’m fortunate that Edward loves all leafy greens, so over the next few weeks I am going to seek out recipes for kale, Tuscan kale, Swiss chard and escarole. The best way to do this is to pull out the cookbooks, settle in with a nice hot cup of tea and a few bookmarks.
Cookbooks organized by season was a good way to start my recipe hunt. One of my favorites is Judith Huxley’s “Table for Eight: Recipes & Menus for Entertaining with the Seasons.” I opened the January chapter and discovered an Avocado, Artichoke and Mushroom Salad, a fitting first course. I also found an easy recipe for Chocolate Pots de Crëme, a French version of chocolate pudding that is a favorite comfort desserts from my childhood.
On Wednesdays, I enjoy reading Melissa Clark’s “A Good Appetite” column in The New York Times. Her recipes are always intriguing, sometimes unusual, but always easy to follow. Since I purchased a bunch of Tuscan kale, I was lucky to discover a recipe from the January chapter in her book “Cook This Now.” The chicken thigh recipe is from Clark’s “In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite.”
1 teaspoon of Dijon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of olive oil
3 ripe avocados
1 15-ounce can of artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and sliced
1/2 pound of white button mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and sliced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
3 tablespoons of parsley, minced
1 head of Boston lettuce
Whisk together the Dijon, vinegar and oil in a medium bowl. Peel, pit and dice the avocados and place them into the vinaigrette. Stir gently to cover the avocados. Add the artichoke hearts, mushrooms, celery and parsley and stir gently.
When ready to serve, arrange cups of Boston lettuce on salad plates and divide the salad among the cups.
1 large or 2 small apples, cored and sliced as thin as possible
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch strips
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of white vermouth
1-1/2 tablespoons of gin
2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, dill or parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a 9-by-13-inch pan, toss all of the ingredients except for 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, parsley or dill. Spread the ingredients out into one layer in the pan. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the apples are softened, for about 20 minutes. Garnish with the remaining tablespoon cilantro, parsley or dill.
Serves two to three.
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