Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Great Ingredients Make for Easy Cooking

I'm in training for summer cooking... those over-the-top muggy hot days when I know I won't want to actually cook anything. We finally had a day or two of nice weather... warm and sunny and so with a lot of help from my favorite guys at the market... easy suppers with no recipe .. or much work.. required. somehow, it's even hard to find the energy to read when it's hot! Ridiculous, I know, but hey... thank goodness for Getaway Farm's grass fed, super tasty steaks (this one is a skirt steak) that needs nothing more than a spice rub. This past weekend I bought a "grilling kit" from the Spice Man, with six incredible spice blends from Epices de Cru and I used the Tlalelolco Rub - "a blend of heat and smoky aromas ... made with native Mexican spices"... in a word...AWESOME! and it only took me a minute to coat the steaks before my Honey cooked them on the grill.

While the steak was grilling I whipped up a simple salad of mixed greens from Noggin Corner Farm Market and my standard vinaigrette that I could do blindfolded. Ahhh, the joys of summer cooking!

The Grilling Kit had another blend I couldn't resist - the Classic BBQ Blend that really did smell like a bag of BBQ chips, but this blend has no sugar, no salt and no chemicals that you can't pronounce. Just lots of chile, smoked paprika, mustard seeds,.. and so much more.

Everyone has their own vision of "BBQ Chicken" - my mother made hers in the oven with a wonderful tomatoey BBQ sauce, which I also love slathered on ribs; or I think of rotisserie chicken - my favorite being Portuguese Churrasqueira chicken grilled over a charcoal fire. But lately, I'm in love with Roasted Spatchcock Chicken made in a super hot oven - a whole chicken in 45 minutes - perfect! If you make it in the morning (turning the oven up to 500F/260C would be a disaster at the end of the day) you won't even break a sweat.. not to mention how amazing your house will smell.. but I digress... This time I rubbed the BBQ blend under and over the skin. This time the word...FANTASTIC! Now I have chicken for salads, sandwiches and pasta - what could be easier!
And last but not least, Exotic Roasted Lamb Neck & Bean Stew (because, even in the summer there are some damp and dreary days that need some slow cooking) . I mentioned before that Bill Wood of Wood 'n Hart farm gave me some lamb neck bones saying "I figured you'd know what to do with them". This time the other magic ingredient from The Spiceman... my Aleppo Seven Spice Blend (still one of my favorites). Probably one of my best stew creations yet... if I do say so myself. I'm glad I only used half the bones and saved the rest in my freezer, because I know I'll be wanting some of this once Fall rolls around.

I served it over steamed couscous seasoned with nothing more than some fresh mint and green onions. Which makes this last dish perfect for Presto Pasta Nights. This week Simona of Briciole will be hosting for the first time. To join in the fun, just write about your pasta, mention Briciole and Presto Pasta Nights with links, and send your entries to simosite (at) mac (dot) com and cc ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com by tomorrow night (Thursday, June 23) and come back for the roundup on Friday.


Joanne said...

Simple easy dishes are definitely the way to go in the summer! Though I will miss my stews...loving the lamb stew!

bellini said...

It has been a busy week Ruth!!!!

Simona said...

That spice blend looks very interesting. Your post just reminded me that I have not made couscous in a long time. The summer here is such that often a warm soup or stew is called for. Thanks for having me host PPN!