Let me be the 12 millionth person to recommend Salt Fat Acid Heat, both on Netflix and in book form. This is Samin Nosrat’s Vietnamese-style cucumber salad. I served it with pan-seared chicken thighs and rice, and it was the interest in an otherwise unremarkable meal. The extra dressing from the salad made a nice sauce for the chicken.
2lbs (about 8) Persian or Japanese cucumbers
1 large jalapeño, seeds removed if desired, thinly sliced
3 scallions, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
0.5c coarsely chopped cilantro
16 large mint leaves, coarsely chopped
0.5c toasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
0.25c neutral-tasting oil
4-5T lime juice
4t rice wine vinegar
1T fish sauce
pinch of salt
Using either a mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly slice cucumbers, discarding the ends. In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, jalapeño, scallions, garlic, cilantro, mint, and peanuts. In a small bowl, mix remaining ingredients and stir until salt & sugar are dissolved. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix. Taste and adjust with more salt or lime juice. Serve immediately.
It’s tomatillo season at my local farmer’s market, so when the latest Milk Street magazine had a *super* easy tomatillo stew recipe, we jumped on it. You can eat it both as a stew, but also as fillings for tacos, as you see in the picture above. Both are good options.
2.5 lbs boneless beef chuck, trimmed & cut into 2″ chunks
1 yellow onion, diced
5 medium garlic cloves, smashed & peeled
2 jalapeños, 1 stemmed, seeded, roughly chopped, 1 stemmed & sliced into rounds
3 bay leaves
1t dried oregano
0.5t ground cumin
salt & pepper
1lb Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1.5″ chunks
12oz tomatillos, husked, cored, and roughly chopped
pumpkin seeds, toasted, for serving
roughly chopped cilantro, for serving
- Heat the oven to 325F. In a dutch oven. toss together beef, onion, garlic, chopped jalapeño, bay, oregano, cumin, 1.5t salt, and 1t pepper. Cover, transfer to oven and cook for two hours.
- Remove pot from oven, stir in potatoes and tomatillos. Cover, return to oven and cook until potatoes are tender and a knife inserted into the beef meets no resistance, another 1-1.5 hours.
- Remove and discard the bay, taste, and season with further salt & pepper. Serve sprinkled with pumpkin seeds, sliced jalapeño, and cilantro.
You know what tastes like summertime? Fresh tomatoes from the farmers’ market. The best way I know to use some of them up is homemade salsa. It’s easy to make and we have been known to go through a batch a week.
Homemade tomato salsa
12 small-ish tomatoes (I like early girl, Roma will do in a pinch)
1 onion, quartered
1 jalapeño, remove seeds if you don’t like it spicy
2 cloves of garlic
juice from 0.5 lemon
1T-ish of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
cilantro to taste
Core the tomatoes, put them, the onion, the jalapeño, and the garlic in your food processor. Run it until everything is as pureed as you like it. move to bowl. Add the lemon juice and seasoning salt. Mix. Chop about 2T of cilantro. Taste, adjusting seasoning to your liking. Once satisfied, let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Salsa, like soup, tastes better when the flavors have a chance to blend.
Because I am a working parent, quick dinners are a must. I’m a big fan of making a big pot of soup on the weekends and storing it in individual sized containers.
I’m also a big fan of stir-fries and pastas. This drunken noodle recipe is a bit of a hybrid. It’s an asian-style stir fry that uses rice noodles. Like any stir-fry, it requires some chopping, but it cooks quickly. It’s probably 45-ish minutes from pulling out the recipe to setting the serving dish on the table.
12oz rice noodles
12 oz chicken breast (the packages of chicken breast at our grocery store are 1lb, we just use the whole thing)
1T + 0.25c tamari or gluten-free soy sauce (or heck, if you’re not gluten-free, regular soy sauce is probably fine!)
0.75c packed brown sugar
0.33c lime juice (~3 limes if you’re juicing your own)
0.25c Asian chili-garlic sauce
0.25 c vegetable oil
0.5 head Napa cabbage, cut into 1″ pieces (~6c)
1.5c coarsely chopped cilantro
4 scallions, sliced thin
- Cover noodles in very hot tap water. Leave until pliable (~35 minutes, which, if you do this first and then chop the chicken & veggies, is conveniently about how long until you’ll need them again).
- Slice chicken breasts into strips 0.25″ thick. Toss with 1T tamari sauce.
- Whisk together remaining tamari/soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, water, chili-garlic sauce. Set aside.
- Heat 2T oil in 12″ nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook for ~3 minutes. The strips should be nearly cooked through. Transfer to clean bowl.
- Add 1T oil to skillet. Add cabbage and cook until spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with chicken.
- Wipe out skillet, add 3T oil, heat over medium-high heat. Add drained rice noodles and tamari mixture, tossing gently until sauce has thickened and noodles are tender. (This typically takes ~5 minutes, but the recipe claims it could take as long as 10. That’s never been my experience.) Add chicken-cabbage mixture and cilantro. Cook until chicken is warmed through. Sprinkle scallions & serve.
I freaking love tortilla soup. I love its warmth, its spiciness, how filling it is, and I love that it’s a soup the rest of my family will eat. I’m the soup person in my family, and finding one that we all like can be a challenge. This is a go-to. Note: this is a weekend recipe, not a weeknight recipe. It takes 60-90 minutes to make, so unless you have extra time, don’t try to squeeze it in after work.
8 6″ corn tortillas, cut into 0.5″ wide strips
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or 4 bone-in, skin-on thighs)
8c chicken broth (you can used canned, but homemade is yummier)
1 large white onion, root end trimmed, and quartered
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
8-10 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 sprig fresh oregano
2 medium tomatoes, cored, quartered
0.5 medium jalapeño
1 chipotle chile in adobo + 1t sauce
1T veg oil
1 lime, cut in wedges
1 avocado, diced fine
8 oz cotija (crumbled) or monterey jack (cubed)
- Heat oven to 425F. Spread tortilla strips on baking sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt. Cook for 7 minutes, flip strips over, cook for another 7 minutes.
- While tortilla strips bake, bring chicken, broth, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro, oregano, and 0.5t salt to boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to plate (or cutting board), and strain broth into bowl. Discard solids in strainer.
- While broth is simmering, puree tomatoes, remaining onion and garlic cloves, jalapeño, chipotle, and adobo sauce in food processor until smooth. Once broth is strained, use soup pan to heat veg oil over high heat until shimmering. Add puree and cook (still over high heat), stirring nearly constantly, until mixture has darkened in color and most of water has evaporated – about 10 minutes. Stir strained broth back into tomato mixture. Bring to boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Cut chicken meat into 0.25″ cubes. Add to broth, then simmer for about 5 minutes. To serve, place portion of tortilla strips in bowl, ladle soup into bowls, pass garnishes separately.