28 May 2013 8:25 AM
Cushaw Tart with Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onions



I wasn’t sure if this should go in the recipe section or not since I can’t really write out a recipe for it.  All I can do is throw out some ideas and hope that you can be inspired to play with your own food.

Last week we had Cuban food and came home with some leftover black beans and rice.  We also started getting Cook’s Illustrated. (How did I make it to 40+ and not know about this magazine?)  In the May/June issue, there was a recipe for Cuban-Style Picadillo.  So I made that, delicious, and we ate it with the black beans & rice + sautéed kale/collards because it is that time of year.  It would have served 10 so there was a lot left over.  I decided on empanadas the next day.

We’re still working on that last cushaw, so I also thought I’d make some squash & goat cheese empanadas.  Here is where our story begins.

Note:  In case you don’t know – and I wouldn’t if D hadn’t grown them last summer -- cushaw is a very giant, hearty winter squash.  We had four that we ate on all winter.  Just cut off a chunk, cover the end in plastic wrap, and stick back in the refrigerator.  The texture is like pumpkin, but milder in flavor.  If you Google it, you will see mostly cushaw pie, which aficionados seem to like better than pumpkin pie.  But we’re not a sweets family, so I’ve just been looking up savory butternut squash or pumpkin recipes.

Back to the “recipe”, I roasted a couple cups of diced cushaw with onion, olive oil & salt which I threw in the food processor with more olive oil.  Apparently, I had been a little heavy handed with salt.  Actually, a lot heavy handed, and it was completely inedible.  I added some milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, smoked paprika & pepper.  Still, inedible.  I boiled 3 small potatoes.  Inedible.  Boiled 4 more small potatoes.  Still salty, but possibly okay.  Added some more milk to get a creamy texture that I thought would be good in the empanadas.  I now had a quart of cushaw/potato puree.  After assembling some empanadas, which turned out great, by the way, I had a 3¾ cups puree.  Hmmm.

The puree sat in the refrigerator for another couple of days as I tried to figure out what to do next. D suggested ravioli which would be delicious, but still only use up a little bit of the stuff.  I needed something that was heavy on the filling and light on the wrapper.

If I made a tart, it would use up more of the puree than individual empanadas or ravioli.  So the next step.  I made my favorite pastry dough recipe (I also used it for the empanada dough - http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/05/french-tomato-tart-recipe/).  I always make this by hand by rubbing the butter through my fingertips and sweeping the flour mixture into the egg/water.  It always comes out perfect.  I put it in the refrigerator while I tackled the cushaw/potato puree.

I whisked together 2 eggs and about 1 cup whole milk ricotta.  Then I started adding puree until it seemed right.  It was most of the leftover puree and the salt level was finally right.  There was an ear of roasted corn left over so I cut the kernels off and threw those in for some texture.  In the meantime, I caramelized some onions, which I also managed to over salt.  I don’t know what is wrong with me and the salt pinching.  I filled the tart shell with the cushaw/potato/egg/ricotta mixture.  (I still have 2 cups left over which means ravioli, I think.)  Dotted the top with goat cheese leftover from the empanada making, and the caramelized onions.  Baked for 40 minutes at 400°.

Cushaw Tart

It was delicious and what T wanted in her lunch today along with sautéed kale/collards.  I guess the moral of the story is, sometimes cooking fails can be salvageable.  Here is the recipe, the best I can come up with.  I'm really not sure how accurate it is.

Cushaw Tart with Goat Cheese & Carmelized Onions

3 cups cushaw or other winter squash, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, unpeeled and diced
2 TBS olive oil, divided
1 t salt
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp pepper
2 eggs
1 cup ricotta
1 ear corn kernels, optional
2 oz goat cheese
1 onion, halved and sliced in thin half moons
1 TBS butter
Your favorite tart dough in a tart mold or pie pan

Preheat oven to 400°.  Toss cushaw, onion & potato with 1 TBS olive oil & salt.  Roast 30 minutes or until soft.  Let cool and puree in a food processor with additional 1 TBS olive oil & milk.  Add seasonings and taste.  It should be just slightly salty at this point.  The ricotta will mellow it out.

Melt butter in to sauté pan, add onions.  Cook over low to medium heat until caramelized.  About 20 minutes if you are impatient.  40 minutes if you do it right.

Beat together eggs & ricotta, add puree.  Mix in corn if using.  Pour into tart shell.  Dot top with goat cheese and caramelized onions.  Bake in 400° oven for 40 minutes, or until puffed slightly and set.


The Worleys

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07 February 2013 6:56 AM
Our Favorite Casserole, redux

We had a roast chicken last night with lots of yummy leftovers.  After going back and forth on how to repurpose the chicken, I went to my old standby, King Ranch Chicken Casserole.  I got this out of a Southern Living magazine years ago and they titled it, “Our Favorite Casserole”.  And it became ours too.  We used to eat it all the time which is why it is in my recipe file.  But I haven’t made it in, oh say, three years – the same time we stopped buying Cream of XXX soup.

Tonight I decided to test the waters with an updated, locavore friendly version.  Replacing the Cream of XXX soup with a homemade roux and using mostly local ingredients, except for the Grass Fed New Zealand Cheddar.

And the result – most delicious.  The flour tortillas got very crispy on top giving added texture.  They were actually better than corn.  The addition of one diced smoked Andouille Sausage gave the entire casserole a lovely south by southwest feel.  Further discussion resulted in endless variation ideas using the same simple method.  Feel free to riff on a good thing.  Give it a go, it’s worth it.


King Ranch Chicken Casserole, for the grass fed  enthusiast.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole, kinda

Main Ingredients:
Leftover Roast Chicken, chopped (about 3 cups)
Andouille Sausage, diced, optional (we had one leftover)
3 c grated sharp cheddar cheese,  preferably grass fed
2-3 flour tortillas cut into strips, homemade if you have them, but a good organic store bought variety will do in a pinch.  We used to use corn, but don’t want to eat the GMO stuff and I don’t make those yet.

Cream of XXX soup:
2 T butter (Kerrygold -- making it from raw cream has become too expensive)
2 T AP flour (Bulk from Cloverdale)
½ c chicken stock (we used two cubes of frozen stock jello dissolved in ½ c hot water to cover)
½ c whole milk (raw if you can get it and want to – you know who you are)

1 T butter
1 small-ish onion, chopped (TJ's cause we finished last seasons onions in November)
1 small-ish green pepper, chopped (we used frozen from the 2012 garden harvest)
1 clove garlic (from last seasons last bulb)
1 12-oz jar Rotel style tomatoes & peppers (I canned this last summer – just use Rotel, or a mixture of 8-oz chopped tomatoes + 4-oz diced green chilies or pickled jalapeno)
½ t dried oregano (next year this will be mine!)
½ t cumin
½ t Mexican-style chili powder (or a scant t regular chili powder + a pinch cayenne)
Cream of XXX Soup

Preheat oven to 375°.

First make your “Cream of XXX” soup.  Melt 2 T butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk for about 2 minutes to cook the flour taste out of the flour.  Whisk in stock and milk.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently, until thickened.

In a frying pan, melt the 1 T butter.  Add the onion and sauté 5-7 minutes until beginning to soften.  Add green pepper for 2-ish minutes & then the garlic.  Sauté until the garlic is fragrant.  Add the tomatoes & spices.  We added the Andouille Sausage here to get some moisture back into it.  Once the tomatoes have cooked down a bit, add the Cream of XXX soup.  Stir, bring back to a little simmer, and remove from stove.

In your smaller casserole dish, layer the following:  ½ chicken, ½ sauce, 1/3 cheese, ½ tortillas.  Repeat.  Top with the final 1/3 cheese.

Bake in a 375° oven for 45 minutes.  Once everything is bubbly, remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before eating.  Enjoy!


The Worleys

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17 January 2013 1:01 PM
Country Ham, Cheddar & Zucchini Breakfast Muffins


Country Ham, Cheddar & Zucchini Muffins

I’ve been on the search for savory breakfast items that I can freeze so that T can pop them in the microwave in the morning before she runs out the door for the school bus.  Because variety is the spice of life, I keep trying to come up with different items that can go from freezer to microwave to decent breakfast.

I’ve made various flavors of breakfast burrito by changing up the sausage flavorings, cheese, & salsa.  The most delicious combination is in this year’s Christmas Cookbook that you can download here.  Since I make the tortillas, it takes two hours, start to finish, to make 15 – 18 burritos.

I’ve also made bacon, egg & cheese muffins.  This takes, mostly hands off, all day because I make the English Muffins.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  Once the muffins are finally cooked, baking the eggs & bacon doesn’t really take that long.

But I was longing for something that would be quick to make and still be savory with some protein.  Enter the Savory Breakfast Muffin.  After oodles of Google searches, I mashed together some recipes and came up with this one.

Country Ham, Cheddar & Zucchini Breakfast Muffins


1 ¼ c AP flour
1 TBS baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 TBS sugar
2 eggs
¼ c grape seed or other mild oil
¾ c milk
4 ½ c shredded zucchini  
½ c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ c chopped cooked country ham
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley (optional)


Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease or line 18 muffin cups.

Sift flour, baking powder & salt into a large bowl.  Add sugar and mix well.

In a 2nd bowl, beat eggs with oil & milk.

Add liquid bowl to dry bowl and mix well.  Add zucchini and mix until just incorporated.  Repeat with cheese, country ham and parsley.  It’s okay if it is a bit lumpy.

Fill muffin tin cups at least 2/3-rds full of batter.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack in muffin tin and then run a knife around the edge to dislodge the muffin.  Cool the rest of the way on the cooling rack.

Eat now – or…  Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.  To reheat, take off plastic wrap and re-wrap in a paper towel and microwave on high for 30 – 60 seconds, or until heated through.



The Worleys

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15 January 2013 1:23 PM
2012 Holiday Cookbook

Greetings all,

Our 2012 Holiday Cookbook is called "Bread" including all of our favorite bread recipes and a newsey update about what we've been doing.

If you want a hard copy, I'm adding a little store with the cookbooks.  Otherwise, feel free to download to your hearts content.

2012 Cookbook

2012 Cookbook - Bread

Happy New Year!

The Worleys

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17 August 2012 9:34 AM
Ode to Porky

My cousin A just ordered her first whole pig and I’m so excited for her!  There is nothing as exciting as opening your meat freezer and seeing a pig ear, snout, or tail staring you at the face, except maybe opening the chest freezer at the buying club and seeing 150 chicken feet.  Although I’d be more likely to describe that as disturbing.  Deeply, deeply disturbing.

So this post is my Ode to Porky.  When I was growing up, my parents had cows on the farm and they always kept one in a small pen at the barn.  That cow was destined for our freezer and his name was Beefy.  Beefy was delicious – and the cause of my 10 years of red-meat deprivation.  I didn’t realize how bad meat was until I went to college and tried to eat what they fed us in the dining halls.  I didn’t realize then that is was the product of our industrialized food industry.  But the truth is, cows raised in a humane, if slightly neglected, way on grass and hay on a lazy farm taste like a different protein altogether than the “beef food” offerings of a CAFO.   And even a sheltered 19 year old can taste it.

When we went crazy, in other words, on our food life exploration, we were determined to buy only locally raised meat that was grown on happy farms because happy animals make the best protein.  Really, it’s scientifically proven.  At least I think someone is working on proving it.  We can still get Beefy from my parents, but Porky, Lambey & Chickie (because Fowley sounds a little pretentious) are another story.

Chickie comes from the buying club and now I understand why chicken for Sunday supper was special.  A single local organically raised chicken starts at $15.00.  Yes, you read that right.  So we only eat chicken on special occasions.  We get four at a time, break them down, and freeze the parts shrink wrapped in the food saver thing.

Lambey has been purchased from a couple different people.  The first one came from my original raw milk family.  The second, still on order, also from the buying club.  The family lamb was amazing – I’m hoping the club lamb lives up to its predecessor.

Finally, Porky.  We usually use the same local farmer, but this one came from a different farmer who is going out of business and had a great deal on a whole pig, so we jumped at the chance to get one.  D called the butcher and had them put everything you don’t want to know about in the ground pork, including the heart.

(Image from http://nourishingideas.blogspot.com/2012/07/portland-meat-collective.html)

It really is the best ground pork we’ve ever had.  We don’t have the processing plant season the pork for sausage because there are so many different flavors we might want.  Instead, we season the plain ground pork ourselves based on what we’re having for dinner.

Finally, we’ve come to the point of this long post.  Sausage recipes.  I wanted cousin A to have my sausage recipes that I’ve amended from a sausage making web site to be useful with a single pound of ground pork.  Here are a couple of the more useful recipes – all available on the Sausage Recipe PDF download including Andouille, Chorizo, Pennsylvania Dutch & more.

Basic Sweet Italian

1 lb ground pork
1 t cracked fennel seed
1 t fine ground black pepper
1 t salt
Scant ½ t hot red pepper flakes. (Optional for Basic Hot Italian)
3 T ice water

Basic Homemade Breakfast Sausage

1 lb ground pork
1 t salt
½ t rubbed sage
½ t fresh fine ground pepper
3 T ice water

Maple Breakfast Sausage

1 lb ground pork
1 ¼ t salt
½ t fine ground black pepper
1 t rubbed sage
½ small onion, very finely chopped
1 ½ T real maple syrup
1 ½ T ice water

When a recipe calls for ice water (or vinegar), mix spices with water before adding to meat.  Leave those with water to dry for 4 hours before using.  If you don’t have 4 hours, reduce liquid to half (1 ½ Tablespoons).    Let all meat sit at least ½ hour for flavors to mingle.

For more ideas, check out MeatProcessingProducts.com.  Just remember to reduce your add-ins – most homemade sausage recipes call for 5 lbs of meat.


The Worleys

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15 February 2012 11:16 AM
4 Course Valentine's Day Dinner

I wish I had taken pictures of our Valentine's Day Dinner, but alas, we ate without even the thought of a pictorial memory.  For those of you who might want to try it...

1st Course:  Split Pea Soup ala Emeril with added carrot & celery.

2nd Course:  Lobster-Avacado Cocktail ala Bobby Flay.  The only change I made to this one was using the thinned greens from our vegetable starts instead of water cress.  Even with a mediocre CostCo lobster tail, this was to die for.  Served in a martini glass.

3rd Course:  Braised Short Ribs ala Pioneer Woman served over Dan's Mixed Greens with Bacon & Cream, Rachel's Herbs de Provence Potatoes, and topped with sauteed baby bella mushrooms with brown butter, olive oil, shallot, salt, pepper, lemon juice & parsley.

4th Course:  Chocolate Lava Cake (not sure where I got this -- note, needs closer to 20 minutes in the oven if prepared in advance) with Strawberry Sauce -- we accidentally thawed the Strawberries so I put them in a pot with some sugar and vanilla.  Brought to a boil for a few minutes.  Let cool and pureed in the blender.  Pressed through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.  Tried to make something pretty under the cake -- not so much pretty, but delicious!

Bon Appetit


The Worleys

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06 February 2012 3:51 PM
Mixed Greens with Bacon and Cream

We had friends over for a much needed and much enjoyed dinner/wine evening over the weekend. Besides Potatoes Anna (yum!) and a giant (and sadly somewhat overcooked) hunk of roast beast, we made this greens recipe that I'd made-up a few days before (we have a lot of frozen greens from the summer, and use them as often as possible now because in a couple months it'll all start again). In any case the recipe was requested. I said, "Oh you cook greens normally, leaving out the vinegar and tabasco, and add cream at the end." I assumed from the confused look (and "What do you mean 'normally?'" response) that I should write it up... so here ya go:
Mixed Greens with Bacon and Cream

1-2lb (ish) frozen mixed greens*
1 med. onion, diced
3 slices bacon, cut into lardons
2 tbsp olive oil
¾ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
¾ cup heavy cream
½ - 1 tsp crushed dried red pepper
Salt and fresh-ground pepper
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1 glass of dry red wine (zinfandel is nice)

Thaw the greens (mostly) in the fridge overnight, or in the microwave if you prefer, chop chunkily (if it’s a square block, cut into 9 little blocks) and set aside.

Heat oil in medium pan over medium-high heat. While heating oil add bacon and onions, a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Sip glass of red wine. Stir the onions and bacon. Sip red wine. Stir. When the onion has softened and begun to take on some color, add the white wine and scrape any brown bits off the bottom the the pan. Bring the wine to a boil and cook down for a couple minutes. Sip red wine. Add the chicken stock, return to boil and cook for a couple minutes. Sip red wine. Add chopped greens, a pinch (or so) of salt and a couple or four grinds of pepper to liquid and gently stir/fold until the liquid is evenly distributed among the greens. Sip red wine.

[decision point #1]
  1. If there is too much liquid (you can see a lot of it without stirring, or if it covers the greens), reduce heat to medium and cook until there’s just the right amount of liquid (proceed to 3).
  2. If there is too little liquid (you can’t see any liquid without stirring and you only see ¼ - ½ inch of liquid in the bottom of the pan when you stir) add enough chicken stock to have the right amount of liquid (proceed to 3).
  3. If/when there is just the right amount of liquid (you can see it bubbling up in and around without covering the greens, or you stir and see about ½ to ¾ of an inch of liquid [less accurate!]), reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45-60 minutes (a while), stirring occasionally, adding stock if needed (less than 1/16 inch in bottom of pan when stirring). Sip wine.
[decision point #2]
  1. Do you have cream? (if yes continue)
  2. Do you feel like having creamy deliciousness mixed with your greens? (if yes move to step 4)
  3. Skip the Cream [sigh] - add crushed red pepper, a couple dashes of tabasco, and a ½ tsp of red wine vinegar, stir, cover, and simmer for another 10-20 minutes... this is our normal greens recipe.
  4. Yes cream! Yay cream! - add cream and crushed pepper, increase heat to medium - medium low, stir until well combined, then cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until cream reduces to a mildly thick sauce (how thick? not too thick... but that’s not a disaster, just add a little water until it’s right), about 10-15 minutes. Sip wine.Check seasoning, add salt and/or pepper as necessary. Sip wine. Remove from heat and stir in most of the parmesan cheese, move to serving dish and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Sip wine.
Notes: This (surprisingly!) reheats well, and may even be better the next day, but, for the life of me, I have no idea why this would be the case. Also, I suppose the wine sipping should be optional, but I think it really adds to the flavor of the dish.

*we use frozen greens from our garden, which are steamed and frozen in random sized blocks or rounds... frozen greens from the store are fine, they just probably won’t be available “mixed”, in which case collard, mustard, kale (longer cook time), or spinach (shorter cook time, less liquid) will work just fine. Also fresh chopped greens should work also, but you may need more, the initial cooking time may need to be lengthened, and we haven’t tried it.


The Worleys

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20 January 2012 9:20 AM
Country Lasagna

I have two favorite pasta dishes.  Carmine’s Country Rigatoni (I actually had D buy me the cookbook so that I could get the recipe for this) and Lasagna.   After deciding that I wanted to learn how to make Timpano, I figured I'd better go back to lasagna and play with it a bit before I tackled something so daunting.  And what better way to start then to see if I could riff on Carmine’s Country Rigatoni.  It worked and so I’m sharing.

Country Lasagna


1 cup white beans (or one largish can/jar)
¼ cup olive oil
½ onion, sliced thin
2 TBS minced garlic
8-10 leaves Fresh Basil, chopped
2 – 4 TBS Italian Parsley, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
4 TBS butter
1 lb sausage or (1 lb ground pork mixed with 1 tsp fennel broken up in a mortar & pestle, 1 tsp finely ground pepper, 1 tsp sea or kosher salt, ½ tsp crushed dried red pepper – mix thoroughly and let sit for a few hours in the frige)
1 16oz container whole milk ricotta
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup parmesan, grated & divided
1 lb mozzarella, grated
1 pkg no-boil lasagna noodles


Sort & rinse beans and place in a pot with stock to cover.  Throw in some dried onion.  Cook covered for 1 ½ hours making sure there is always enough liquid to cover.  Salt and cook until done.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat oil in large sauté pan.  Add onion and a pinch of salt.  Cook until soft, about 5 mins.  Add garlic, and sauté until fragrant.  Add basil & parsley and sauté another 2 minutes.  Add beans, chicken stock, & butter.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until starting to thicken, about 8 mins.  Take off heat and stir in ¼ cup parmesan.  Adjust seasonings (salt & pepper).

Cook sausage in a second sauté pan, breaking it up as you brown it.

Mix together ricotta, eggs, & parmesan.  Squeeze excess water out of spinach, add to ricotta mixture and combine well.

Assemble the lasagna.  Here is the trick.  If your 9x14 baking dish is shallow (2”) you will only use 12 lasagna noodles, if it is 3” deep, you will use all of them (16 noodles), but use ALL of the filling for either dish – just adjust accordingly for layers.

1. Put some sauce in the bottom of your dish.
2. Layers 1 – 3:  4 noodles > ricotta > meat > bean sauce > mozzarella
3. Top Layer:  4 noodles > bean sauce > mozzarella

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour until bubbly.  Remove foil and bake for another 5 – 10 minutes until cheese browns a bit.  Let sit 15 minutes while you make your salad (dressing recipe follows).  Enjoy!

Megan’s Salad Dressing

My sister-in-law makes a fantastic salad dressing.  You can use this technique to make any combination of flavors.  She uses balsamic vinegar in place of the lemon juice & white wine vinegar, but I wanted something a little different for tonight’s white country lasagna.

1 - 2 garlic cloves, chopped
Generous pinch sugar
1 TBS Dijon mustard (or just grab a teaspoon and add a generous spoonful)
Salt & pepper
Juice from ½ lemon
2 TBS tarragon white wine vinegar
¼ cup Good Olive Oil

In a container with a tight fitting lid, mash the garlic and the sugar together with a fork.  Add mustard and continue to mash.  Add salt & pepper, lemon juice & vinegar.  Mix vigorously.  Add olive oil, cover container with lid and shake.  We tossed this with a plain green salad.



The Worleys

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18 January 2012 10:19 AM
Butternut Squash Gratin

I made up my first recipe -- I mean, completely made up.  I've never done this before.  D does this all the time, but I'm a recipe girl.  Over the last couple of years, I've learned to riff a bit, but usually it's by just substituting some things in a tried & true recipe.

I'm so proud of myself that I wanted to share.  D & T said it was the star of the meal, which is either the biggest compliment ever or they didn't want to hurt my feelings :-)


1 Butternut Squash
2 Pears
1 largish handful of frozen leeks (or 1 leek if you didn't freeze them last summer)
1 TBS Butter
1/4 cup sherry or dry white wine
1/2 - 1 cup cream
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup Freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375°.  Peel, de-seed, and thinly slice* the butternut squash and pears.  Place one overlapping layer of squash in a greased casserole.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Add a layer of pear slices.  Another layer of squash, salt & pepper, & pears.  Top with a third layer of squash.

In the meantime, sauté the leeks in the butter over medium low heat.  Add a pinch of salt to the leeks.  When they get soft and start to turn brown, douse with a bit of sherry.  Cook until the liquid evaporates, more or less.  Then douse with cream**.  Cook until heated through.

Pour leeks and cream over butternut squash/pears.  Top with parmesan.  Bake for 1 hour.  Let sit 10 - 15 mins to set after it comes out of the oven.

*We had a small electric food processor that broke and we just never replaced it, but kept needing it.  Finally, we decided on a manual "food processor" and found this one on Amazon.  Ours didn't come with the salad spinner, but we didn't need that.  It's fantastic and we use it all the time.  I mention it because, it came with a mandolin slicer that is more convenient than my giant one that is a pain to clean and I only use when I'm preparing food for the dehydrator.  I used this mandolin to slice the butternut squash and pears.

**You want enough cream to come up 1/4 of the way in the baking dish when poured over the squash -- don't worry if you have too much or too little.  It's just a guess and will be good no matter what.


The Worleys

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05 August 2011 12:52 PM
Cherry Tomato Gratin

By Special Request from Jonathon -- Thanks to Jacques Pepin for this amazing recipe.


1 1/4 lbs cherry tomatoes (approximately 3 - 5 cups)
3-oz day-old french bread (about 3.5 cups) cut into 1" cubes
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced (about 2 T)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
2T virgin olive oil (I use a bit more, usually)
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (even good without this)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Wash tomatoes and discard stems.  Mix tomatoes and all ingredients in a bowl.  Transfer the mixture to a 6-cup oven proof dish.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Worley notes:

It doesn't really matter if you follow the recipee exactly, this is really delicious.  I like to chop the tomatoes to roughly a uniform size since we have so many different sizes we throw in.  D doesn't bother.  Chop or slice the garlic.  We have been out of parsley for a while so don't put it in at all -- just some more basil.  The bread is whatever we have around -- sometimes frozen bread crumbs, sometimes nothing.  But the bread is a great way to soak up all those good tomato juices.  Our favorite is to mix it all up (and just guess about proportions) and let it sit for 20 mins or so before going into the oven so the bread really tastes like everything else, but with a nice crunch after baking.  From our experience, this recipe is impossible to mess up, and we've tried!

The Worleys

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29 June 2011 1:05 PM
Kale Chips Rock

Thank you so much to cousin Amy who told me about kale chips.  We are in love and have decided that kale chips are better than popcorn.  Here's what you need.

Kale (you'll want a lot)
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wrip up your kale into smaller pieces and place on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  If they are crisp, they are done.  Eat.

Really -- that's it.  Fabulous cousin A just does this at whatever temprature her oven was for the meal she cooked.  She said she makes them almost every day when kale is in season.  Adjust your cooking time accordingly (350 degrees - 15ish minutes, 450 - 8ish minutes).

The Worleys

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25 March 2011 3:40 PM
Cheese Cave

As promised, pictures of the fabulous new growing tower.  On left, covered with the Mylar blanket.  On right, happy little tomatoes & spinach & herbs & whatever else D planted.


Growing Shelves with MylarGrowing Shelves with Plants

I spent the winter perfecting my cheese making.  I’ve far from perfected, but think I’m starting to get the hang of it.  It takes 4-5 hours to make cheese and you can’t really do much during your down time because the down time is just too short.  30 minutes here, 45 there.  So I really have to devote a full weekend day to cheese when I’m going to do it.  (I did try and mix it up with some laundry, but it never did work very well.)  We’ve eaten my first “cheese” – remember that first time I tried it?  Also my first Jack, Cheddar, Feta, Mizithra, and lots of Mozzarella & Ricotta.

To follow is a picture of my cheese cave – I learned lots about cheese caves and they are a royal pain in the patootie.  I started with a cooler and had to change the ice twice a day and wipe out all the moisture (BAD for cheese!) and attempt to keep it at about 55-ish degrees.  The more I read about fancier cheese caves, the more I knew it wasn’t going to happen for me.  The best is a modified wine frige since you can keep it at the correct temp and I guess they already have a way to deal with the moisture.  But the shelves that hold the wine aren’t really practical and they can run well over $100 for a good one.

I went to a charity ball with my Mom and the Food Network had donated a tailgating warmer/cooler.  It would maintain my coveted 55-ish degrees and not have to be constantly babysitted.  I begged my Mom to buy it for me for my birthday.  My Aunt stood by the table for the last 15 minutes not allowing anyone else to bid on it.  It was a hoot.  But we won!

So here you go – the fantastically awesome cheese cave filled with products from my winter endeavors.

Cheese Cave

Top Row (Left to Right) 1 lb Jack, 2 lb Cheddar
Bottom Row (Left to Right) 1 lb Gouda, 1.5 lb Parmesan


The Worleys

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14 June 2010 9:05 AM
Cheap chicken and an Indian feast!

I bought a “hippy friendly” chicken from Fox Hollow two weeks ago and it was $20.00.  I’m totally not kidding.  When did chicken become the special occasion meal?  At that price, we’d be able to eat chicken twice a year.  We do get two meals and stock out of it, but still.  Thus began my quest for cheaper “hippy friendly” chicken.

Last Sunday I went to Fresh Market for the first time and discovered that it is a cross between Whole Foods & Trader Joes with the worst of both mixed together.  It has a lot of it’s own brands (like Trader Joes) but the prices rivaled Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck as K calls it) and was way out of our budget.  They only had one chicken that was raised on a farm in Georgia that sells exclusively to Fresh Market.  The butcher told me they have rules at the farm – not too many chickens in the pen, whatever that means.  So I passed on the chicken and the $5.00/lb raisins.

My next stop was Doll’s Market.  Doll’s is a local gourmet-ish market that used to be a corner grocery.  D had a friend who was a bag boy there.  I love Doll’s.  It reminds me of the old Merchant of Vino in Ann Arbor which was our absolutely favorite place to shop.  The food was interspersed amongst the wine so when you went down the Italian isle, the pasta was on one side and the Chianti on the other.  If they could sell wine in grocery stores in Kentucky (please KY congress, if you are reading this, we need wine in the grocery store and then we could have a Trader Joes), Dolls would be the store that might organize like that.

Doll’s had two fresh chickens, one was generic chicken, but the other was an Amish chicken from Ohio:  Relatively local and raised by people who care about chicken.  I still need to call the farm to make sure, but I think I’ve found my new chicken source and the chicken was only $5.00.  I did the happy dance in my car seat all the way home.

Monday I tried to decide how to prepare this new, very exciting and affordable, chicken.  We have some Indian spice packets left from the days when we valued convenience over food, and some of them are for Tandoori Chicken so D & I decided to make an Indian feast.  Friday was the big day and we planned the rest of the week around it.

Here’s the menu:
Tandoori Chicken on the grill
Saag with Chickpeas (using the last of the mixed greens from the garden including Spinach, Mustard Greens, Russian Kale & Chard.)
Gujerati-style Green Beans
(Side Note:  Once we started cooking and realized only the Saag would be “saucy”, D decided to add…)
Lentils with Garlic & Onion
(Another Side Note:  Now that D makes our bread, he thought it wouldn’t be that hard to add…)

Yup, crazy.

Thursday night D made yoghurt – we were going to need a lot of that – and soaked chickpeas.  We didn’t have enough so he added some red beans.  Friday morning D dismantled the chicken for me and I marinated it in yogurt and the spice packet.  I put the beans in the mini-crock pot on low for the day.

D went to the hill and picked two pounds of greens for the Saag while I trimmed a pound of green beans.  We started cooking about 5:30.  D started the Naan (it only rises for an hour).  Washed all the greens and decided a pound of greens was just too much (good decision).  Blanched the green beans and drained the chickpeas/red beans.  Started the grill.  Used all our little bowls for various spices.  Dinner took 2 ½ hours to make and was, as all proclaimed, fantastic.  Interestingly enough, although flavorful, the chicken seemed incidental because everything else was SO good.  It was the first time in ages that we decided a vegetarian dinner would have been just fine.

Here are links to the recipes.  This is by far the best saag recipe I've found and the green beans are so out of this world, you might want to make them every day:

Tandoori Tikka
Saag (Use any kind of hearty greens and just add whatever extras you want – chickpeas, potatoes, or paneer which is quite easy to make.)
Gujerati-style Green Beans (one of the best green bean recipes around!)
Lentils with Garlic & Onion (we used yellow lentils)
Naan (this is a british recipe so the measurements are in weights.  If you want it in cups, shoot me an e-mail.)
Rice (Yup, I found a link for how to cook Basmati rice.  Basmati is best if you have it.  Don't forget to rinse and soak first to get the separated grain thing going.)

The Worleys

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08 June 2010 4:11 PM

So my latest obsession has been cheese.  I’ve been toying with the idea since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  In one of the chapters they take a cheese making seminar and said it was much easier than you would think.  There is also a recipe for 30-minute mozzarella that makes it look really easy.  So I thought, why not cheese.  D makes bread, yogurt, beer, wine, ice cream, and most of our meals so I should at least be able to contribute sometimes.  And thus, in my head, a cheese makers career is launched.

I started my research at New England Cheese Making Supply Company and realized that there was a lot more too it and wasn’t sure if I could find all those strange ingredients (Mesophilic & Lipase Powders to name two) in Louisville and I wasn’t really ready to place an order for a bunch of stuff that might go to waste in my pantry, so that was out.

For about 6 months, I was at an impasse on the cheese making.  I get the Splendid Table weekly recipe e-mails and a while ago, there was a recipe for Queso Blanco.  I saved it and finally thought, why not.  I have all the ingredients for this.  On a whim, I made it and it was so easy, and so tasty, that I thought I really might be able to do this.

Time for more research.  I moved on to Frankhauser’s Cheese Page and although he has a syllabus for a cheese making course, I jumped in with both feet and started with Lesson 4:  A simple basic cheese for one gallon of milk.  Off to Fox Hollow for the milk ($10.00/gallon – this cheese had better be good!) and I started the “basic” who’s-on-first cheese of cheese making.

You:  So, O, what kind of cheese are you making?
Me:  Cheese.
You:  I know, but what kind?
Me:  The cheese kind.

This is what I learned.  If you want to make cheese, it's a lot easier than you think and you will probably be a little scared, but the outcome, even when you do everything wrong, is still cheese.  However, if you have a cheese making class in your area, you should probably take it.

I did everything wrong.  One of my ½ gallons of milk was old because they weren’t going to be able to sell it and I was just going to make cheese with it, after all.  I then broke my first cheese rule, I read later, by not using the freshest milk possible.  I got the rennet from Kroger and who knows how long that had been there.  It took 3 hours to coagulate the milk.  And then I wasn’t getting this “clean break” thing.  So back on the interwebs and off to YouTube to see if I could find out what a clean break looked like anyway.

I found this guy.

He made it seem so easy that I went back to my coagulated cheese in the kitchen, and what do you know, it had worked.  So I also took his advice and used the strainer to cut the curds more (turns out that was another mistake ‘cause than they were too small I found out later which is why the final result is grainy and not solid, or it’s because I pressed it wrong.)

We didn’t have anything for a homemade press (I watched videos on that too) so I used a tin can.  Yet another mistake – it really needs holes in the side to get all the whey out.  I also put a 10 pound bar bell on the top, it got tippy, and probably compressed too much too quickly, I think.  Because of the old milk, we can’t eat it until it’s aged for 2 months so it’s shrink wrapped and in the refrigerator.  Here’s a picture of my first attempt.

Strangely inspired, I decided to try mozzarella.  So back to Fox Hollow for another gallon of FRESH milk, and I followed Frankhauser’s Mozarella recipe which took a lot longer than ½ hour.  It took all day.  And I thought that wasn’t going to coagulate right either.  I barely had to cut the curds, but it turned out beautifully and T, K & I all got to pull the final balls of mozzarella.

This was absolutely delicious!  Next time I want to try the 30-minute mozzarella from the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle site.  It would be nice if it didn't take all day.

From the whey of both batches of cheese, I made ricotta which means “cooked again” (gotta love the Italians).  We are now freezing it and when there is enough, and the tomatoes have come in, we’re going to make lasagna with homemade egg noodles.  Since I don’t have a pasta roller, I’m only making egg noodles.  It will still be a meal really cooked from scratch.

But for now, we’re eating mozzarella on D’s fabulous bread and waiting on the “cheese” to finish aging. Oh yeah, I broke down and ordered a basic hard cheese kit from the New England people.  I'll let you know how it goes.


The Worleys

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04 June 2010 9:15 AM
Steak & Greens

For those of you who don’t know, we got a ¼ cow a couple weeks ago.  Beefie was raised on the farm next to my parents and was slaughtered just for us (and my parents & my bother).  Beefie has been dinner pretty much since then.  Last week I was getting a little ground beef overkill so I ordered a pig from Dream Catcher Farm.  But that will be a couple of weeks and I needed something besides ground beef to make for dinner.

My advice is – during your formative years of learning to cook, don’t suddenly decide to become vegetarian.  Not vegetarian, exactly.  I just gave up red meat from ages 20 to 30.  When I got pregnant with T, my iron cravings overrode any possible intestinal discomfort and I started eating red meat again.

But the crux of the matter is that I have no idea how to cook beef or pork or lamb or buffalo or deer or rabbit or goat.  I’m pretty comfortable with chicken and fish, but that’s the extent of it.  For the last 13 years I’ve let D cook the meat (unless its ground beef which I can just pretend is ground turkey and I’m fine.)  Since I have to cook more now as he’s at the farm and far too exhausted on most days to cook when he gets home, I figured I’d better get to learning how to cook strangely named things like “rump roast”.  Was is that, anyway?

Jumping in with both feet, I got a round steak out of the freezer on Wednesday and set to work at Food Network to find something to do with it.  I usually don’t make Paula dishes because they can be complicated and even though I’m a fat fan, just reading her recipes usually makes my arteries clog.  However, this one caught my eye.

Since we’re coming to the end of the spring greens, I asked D to get as much of the greens as he could from the farm.  He brought home Russian kale, collards & southern mustard.  With Paula in my head, I set to work and the result was absolutely amazing.  D is hoping to get enough greens for another try with his spice mix.

Steak & Greens

1 container of D’s spice mix or –
Paula’s Rub (mix all together):
1 T paprika
2 t salt
2 t dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger


4 T rub
1 1/2 pounds round steak, thinly sliced
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion (1 med-lg onion)
6 cups beef broth
15 cups washed and chopped greens (suggested mix of mustard, turnip and collard)
1/2 stick butter
Salt to taste

For the rub:

Toss sliced steak with 3 T rub.

In a cast iron skillet, add flour over low heat. Brown flour, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, about 10 minutes.

Heat oil over medium heat in a 5-quart or larger pot.  Brown seasoned meat for 2 or 3 minutes. Add onion, some salt, and sweat for a bit.  Add browned flour and stir until all the meat & onions are coated. Pour 1-cup of broth and stir to combine well. Add some of the greens, and then add more broth. Repeat this until there's no more broth and greens.  (Note – I let it come to a simmer between each addition of broth.)  Lower the heat and cook for 45 minutes, or until greens and meat are tender.  Remove from heat and add 1 T of rub and 1/2 stick of butter. When the butter has melted, transfer to a serving bowl and serve over rice.

This dish is saucy so some of D’s homemade bread, or your local artisan bread, is a great addition.

The Worleys

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29 April 2010 7:48 AM
Our Favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette

I found this recipe a couple years ago for a New Orleans party we had.  It’s not strictly a New Orleans’ dressing, but it is totally fantastic and we have it almost every night on our salads – sometimes switching to Buttermilk Ranch, French or Caesar (all homemade of course.)

I’ve made a few changes, not many really, and it does make the most amazing salad.

¼ c Balsamic Vinegar
2-3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon mustard (Grey Poupon, Horseradish, anything you have in the house except yellow or English hot)
1Tablespoon honey
A few dashes hot sauce (Tobasco!)
¼ c Olive Oil
¼ c Canola Oil *

It’s really easy if you have an old Good Seasons’ Cruet, but any container with a tight lid that you can shake will work.

Fill vinegar to vinegar line in Cruet (or in jar).   Add the rest of the ingredients, except oil, and shake well.  Add oils to oil line (I eyeball it but it’s about half and half).  Shake again.

Toss salad greens with dressing and sprinkle on some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

* Use the mixture of oils so the dressing doesn’t get too solidified in the refrigerator.  Dan made it with all olive oil once and it would barely pour after a night in the chill chest.


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23 April 2010 5:45 AM
Dinner with Spring Greens

Spring has arrived and the vegetables are well on their way.  Last night Dan thinned the spring greens in the small garden in our back yard.  We’re thinking of this as our own personal summer market.  Stroll through the back yard, see what is ready, and plan dinner around it.   So yesterday, with the help of Lynne Rossetto Kasper of The Splendid Table, I made a pasta dish with Shimp, Chickpeas and Young Greens.

I praised Lynne all through dinner.  Her recipes are always delicious, no matter how unusual they may sound to us.  I have a couple of favorites that I always return to; Roasted Butternut Squash and Greens over pasta for instance.

This pasta dish was just perfect.  Spicy and very flavorful.  It says it serves 2, but I just boiled a little more pasta and the three of us ate it with leftovers.

Lynne’s Original Recipe

My Version (with what we had on hand)

½ c white onion
½ red bell pepper
1 dried cayenne pepper from last years garden (including all the seeds.  We like it hot!)
8 small jarred black olives (D & T could have done without, but I loved them)
¾ lb penne pasta
2-4 T extra-virgin olive oil
½ c dried chickpeas (1 hour quick soak in morning, rinse, simmer 1½ hours)
Salt & Pepper
2 big handfuls mixed greens (we had mustard, spinach, borage, collards, & arugula)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
8 jumbo shrimp, peeled and cut into thirds
¼ cup wild onion (growing all around our house) minced

Start pasta water.

Chop together the onion, peppers, and olives into ½ inch to ¼ inch pieces.

Cook pasta until you think it’s done.  Save ½ c pasta water and drain pasta.  (Lynne says to put your measuring cup in your colander so you don’t forget the pasta water.  It works.)

While pasta boils, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add onions, peppers, olives, salt & pepper.  Sauté for a bit until onions turn translucent.  Add chickpeas, sauté some more.  (At this point I had to turn the heat off because Dan was still harvesting and I didn’t want dinner done too early.)

Assuming your heat is still on, add garlic, sauté about a minute, add greens until they cook down enough to add shrimp (and more salt) – cook until barely firm.  At this point the greens should be pretty wilted.  Add ¼ - ½ c pasta water.  Toss with drained pasta and wild onion.  I had to add a little more pasta water than to get the sauce to cover all my pasta.

It was a perfect meal for our first spring green mix.


The Worleys

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27 April 2010 12:59 PM
Braised Chicken Thighs With Stuff From The Garden

Yesterday I made one of my favorite “recipes”… Braised Chicken Thighs With Stuff From The Garden.  It’s a favorite because it’s always different, extremely versatile, easy and hard to mess up.  This one was braised in white wine, chicken stock and herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme – because that’s what we had).  I also added collard and mustard greens, as well as arugula, to the braise for the last ten minutes because, again, that’s what we had in our home garden, and I needed to trim back the mustard a bit because it was starting to shade the chard…  but it could just as easily, say in July, have included tomatoes, summer squash and basil, or (in October) butternut squash, sage and bacon, or (in May) peas, carrots and thyme, or (in June) green beans and chick-peas… you get the idea.  It will work with most intuitively appealing combinations of seasonal veggies.  So here’s how you make it.

You’ll need:

4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (yes bone-in-skin-on… that’s where the flavor is and you want it in the sauce).
2-3 cups of flavorful liquid (in this case 1-ish cup dry white wine and 2ish cups homemade chicken stock… but it could be dry red wine with the tomatoes and liquid from a jar of tomatoes, or beer, or whatever… just don’t use bullion cubes)
Salt, Pepper (fresh ground please) and optional Seasoning Of Choice (I used my Creole mix)
AP Flour for dusting (could be corn meal… or rye flour… or rice flour).
½ of a large onion, diced (optional)
2-5 cloves of garlic, minced (optional – could be shallot, or green onion or nothing)
Some fresh herbs (if you have them)
Stuff From The Garden (or the Farmer’s Market, if you don’t have a garden… but not from so-called “produce” aisle of your Mega-Mart... even when it’s fresh it’s not fresh)
A heavy skillet with a lid.
Olive Oil

Rinse the chicken (you don’t know where it’s been) and pat dry, do not remove the skin.  Season liberally on both sides with salt and fresh ground black pepper (and a seasoning blend if you want), pressing the seasonings into (onto?) the chicken gently with your palm before flipping.  Lightly dust the chicken with flour on both sides pressing with your palm again before flipping.  “So why not just do both at the same time?  Wouldn’t that save time?” you may ask.  Well, you want the seasonings next to the chicken and the flour next to the pan.  And, I’ve heard (read, saw on TV?), but have no scientific verification, that the flour will help keep the seasonings from burning… in any case it works.  Let that sit while you dice the onion, mince the garlic and chop any herbs.

Now that that’s over, heat a couple tablespoons or so in the heavy pan over med-high to high heat.  When the oil just starts to smoke use tongs (or your hands, just not one of those pokey-fork-like things) to gently and patiently place the chicken in the pan (skin side down? sure if you want, won’t matter a whit in the long run).  Set your timer for 4 minutes and do not touch the chicken until it goes off.  You may want to turn on the exhaust fan.  If there’s a lot of smoke turn the heat down some.  Some smoke is OK and expected.  [beep, beep, beep goes the timer]  Using your tongs again (hands are not recommended here), gently and patiently turn the chicken over, set the timer again, don’t touch. [beep, beep, beep]  Using tongs, gently remove the chicken to a waiting plate or platter.

Now, put in the onion (and carrots if you’re using them), stir a bit, sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt and a few grinds of black-pepper.  Reduce the heat a bit.  “What about the garlic?”  Patience, it’s coming.  Stir frequently to “promote equal browning” until the onion is translucent and starts to brown on the edges (how long? maybe 5 minutes, maybe 10, maybe 4 minutes and 33 seconds).  Get your liquid(s) ready and keep them close.  Add the garlic (at this point I also added about a tablespoon of bourbon-smoked paprika and two bay leaves) stir for about a minute, but not much longer (burnt garlic is not so tasty).  Now, if you’re using wine (or bourbon, or tequila, or rum, or brandy) add this.  There will be hissing.  Scrape any stuck bits off the bottom of the pan, stir.  When this has reduced by about half (how long? don’t know), add the remaining liquids (tomatoes plus liquid if you’re going that route, for me it was chicken stock) and chopped herbs (this time it was rosemary, thyme and sage) and bring to a boil.  Gently and patiently return the chicken and any collected juices to the pan (skin side up? doesn’t matter) and return to a boil if necessary.  Reduce heat to low-medium-low and cover.  Set your timer for 10 minutes and push start (I hate when I forget that part).  Now prep your vegetable additions (collards, mustard greens and arugula this time – stems removed and leaves torn on the heartier mustard and collards – more than seems right, they shrink… about a pound combined.)
[beep, beep, beep]

Gently and patiently turn the chicken over and cover.  Set the timer for 10 minutes (did you push start?  I didn’t).  Continue prepping, or pour yourself a glass of wine, or both (I did… I also got everything together to make rice*).
[beep, beep, beep]

Gently and patiently turn the chicken over and cover.  Set the timer for 10 minutes and push start this time.

Start the rice*, if you’re making any (highly recommended).
[beep, beep, beep]

Gently and patiently turn the chicken over but do not cover.  Add your greens a pinch of salt and some grinds of pepper.  They won’t fit.  That’s OK, pile them up on top of the chicken and cover the pan.  Wait three minutes.  They fit now, so stir them in.  [If you are adding summer squash, green beans or peas, don’t add them here, wait five minutes after turning the chicken.  If you are adding chick-peas, put them in right after you turn the chicken.]  Do not cover the pan once the greens are stirred in.  Increase heat to medium and let the sauce reduce for the remaining time.

If the sauce isn’t reduced enough to “coat the back of a spoon” (mine wasn’t), or the vegetables aren’t cooked enough, keep on cooking.  Don’t be a slave to the timer, the chicken is done and will not really over-cook.  This is why we use thighs.  When the veggies are done and the sauce is sauce, remove from the heat (“When?”  When. It’s. Done.).  Serve over rice with a nice salad of lettuce from the garden (or Farmer’s Market).

*Rice = 1 cup of long grain rice (other rice requires different proportions, check the package), 2 cups of water heated to boiling in the microwave, 1-2 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper.
Procedure:  Melt butter in pan.  Once it’s not terribly foamy add rice, a heavy-ish pinch of salt and a couple grinds of pepper.  Stir continuously while the water is heating in the microwave (3 minutes?).  The rice+butter should start to smell nutty.  Gently and carefully add boiling (or nearly boiling) water to pan.  Stand back.  Wait for it to quit freaking out.  Now stir once or twice around the pan.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover tightly.  Set timer for between 16 and 20 minutes.  [beep!]  Fluff rice with fork, cover and set aside until you need it (5 minutes is good, but 15 is OK too).



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