When padrón peppers come into season, they signal the winding down of summer. They cook quickly, so they are perfect for those lazy nights when you’d really rather just eat than cook. While they’re frying, you can chop up some nice cheese and sausage, open a bottle of red wine or a nice hoppy beer, and rip a hunk of bread and voila: Dinner! …with randomly very spicy peppers. Did I forget to mention that part?
I had never tasted chicken confit until a birthday dinner date at a little French bistro in Northeast Portland. Needless to say, my brain melted. I immediately began lobbying for an internship in that same kitchen. That summer, I got my foot in the door, and I came away with another notebook of wonderful recipes and a new appreciation for all things deliciously bitter. This recipe, however, is all about the slow-cooked, fatty goodness that generally comes to mind when one thinks of French cuisine.
This is some slow, lazy, budget cooking. There was a chapter of my early adult diet that consisted entirely of lentils, rice, beans, and pasta with the occasional splurge on a nice block of cheese or some chicken. Luckily, these easily affordable foods are delicious and filling, and it’s easy to make a giant batch if you have an army to feed or just need to have dinner ready for yourself for the rest of the busy week.
This light soup is sweet, tart, and buttery. It’s perfect with a melted cheese sandwich on a cool fall day, and not so labor-intensive that those ever-increasing cold-weather lazy feelings will keep you from getting up and making it.
I love a soup that is just as good hot as it is cold. With the unpredictable Oregon springtime weather, my lately medium-low attention span, and my busy schedule, having something quick and easy that can be served a few different ways is always nice.
Isn’t it nice to have a standby recipe that you can whip together quickly and that you nearly always have all of the ingredients for, even when there is NOTHING in your kitchen? In that respect, this one goes in my mental recipe book right next to pasta marinara and grilled cheese, but has more than just a little appeal on my “I don’t want to leave the house again” whiny sort of evenings. Got an onion? Some flour? One stray piece of bacon? A somewhat bug-eaten sage plant somewhere in the yard? The tiniest bit of heavy cream left in the carton? Zero energy left for the day? This one’s for you!
Pizza dough is even easier than no-knead bread! Making it at home will save you a ton of money. Those pre-baked shells are tasteless and expensive, and the somewhat tastier ready-to-bake doughs are outrageously expensive. (Not to mention the cost of buying a delivered pizza… and who knows what’s really in that.) You’re only four basic ingredients, ten minutes of actual work, two dirty dishes, and one floury counter top away from having a homemade pizza crust anytime. Save that extra cash and tip your beertender!
This dish is so simple, quick, easy to clean up, and delicious that it has earned its spot in my standard home dinner rotation. It’s a total crowd pleaser, too. With it, I’ve seen some very picky kids learn to love capers, so long as they’re slathered in lemon butter.
I am a big fan of eating without cooking. The week gets busy, and it’s nice to have a giant batch of something that I can just eat straight out of the fridge or throw into a container to take out the door. Chicken salads are a summer favorite, especially when they are heavy on crunchy fresh vegetables and nuts, with some fresh and dried fruit to add a little sweetness.