Islay and Olive

Islay and Olive

I see you, dirty-martini drinkers. And I raise you this potent prize from Arkansas bartender Shaun Traxler. It’s a vodka martini— properly called the Kangaroo—gone savory with peaty Scotch and olives four ways. You’ll drop a few pitted green olives into your batch and let them linger, then garnish with some additional frozen ones to keep the mixture cool. Add a little brine and olive oil and you have a luxuriously silky drink, best served damn cold. Note that the olive oil will solidify if you let it hang out in the freezer, so it’s best to add it just before serving.

 

YIELD12 servings

 

INGREDIENTS

8 pitted green olives
1 ½ cups vodka
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Islay Scotch (such as Laphroaig 10)
¾ cup dry vermouth (such as Dolin)
½ cup water
2 tablespoons olive brine
10 dashes orange bitters
Pinch fine sea salt

 

To serve:

1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
12 lemon twists
12 to 24 green olives (optionally frozen)

 

PREPARATION

At least 2 hours and up to 4 hours before serving, make the batch. Place olives in a 1-liter swing-top bottle. Use a small funnel to pour in vodka, Scotch, vermouth, water, and olive brine. Add bitters and salt, then seal, turning gently end over end to mix, and chill in freezer. (If you’d prefer to batch further in advance, refrigerate filled bottle, then place in freezer 2 hours or so before serving.)

Meanwhile, freeze additional olives for garnish, if desired. I like to place one in each divot of an empty ice cube tray to keep them separated.

To serve, add olive oil to cocktail mixture. Reseal and turn bottle gently to mix. Pour cocktail into chilled martini or Nick and Nora glasses. Express oils from a lemon twist over each cocktail and use twist as a garnish, along with a frozen olive or two.
 

Islay and Olive
Print Recipe
Islay and Olive
Print Recipe
Ingredients
To serve:
Servings:
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Shrimp Ramp-y

Shrimp Ramp-y

The name says it all. Shrimp with a garlicky, pungent, buttery scampi sauce. The combination of garlic and ramps may seem like overkill, but we promise it’s not. The garlic will mellow as it cooks while the ramps stay pungent. We tried it without the garlic and it just wasn’t as good. Sometimes more is more.

 

Ingredients:

4 SERVINGS

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 bunch ramps (about 6 oz.), bulbs and greens separated, bulbs halved lengthwise, greens torn into 2″–3″ pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp. mild red pepper flakes (such as Maras, Urfa, or Aleppo-style), plus more for serving
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1¼ lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, preferably tails left on
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ lemon

 

Preparation:

Step 1

Combine 3 Tbsp. oil and ramp bulbs in a large skillet. Set over medium heat and cook, tossing occasionally, until bulbs are softened but have not taken on any color, 6–8 minutes. Add garlic and ½ tsp. mild red pepper flakes and cook, tossing occasionally, until garlic is softened, about 3 minutes. Add wine and increase heat to medium-high. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until wine is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add ramp greens, shrimp, and butter to pan. Season with salt and cook, tossing occasionally, until ramp greens are wilted, shrimp turn pink, and butter is melted, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Finely grate zest from lemon half over shrimp, then squeeze in juice.

 

Step 2

Transfer shrimp to a platter. Sprinkle with more mild red pepper flakes and drizzle with plenty of oil.

 

Shrimp Ramp-y
Print Recipe
Shrimp Ramp-y
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
The Soft Scramble Sandwich

The Soft Scramble Sandwich

To get the most flavor out of this open-faced breakfast sandwich, look for spring onions with round bulbs and very tender dark green stalks. If you can find only thicker-stalked spring onions, cut the stalks in half lengthwise, then into 3″ pieces. Cook the stalks along with the bulbs; they’ll benefit from the extra time.

 

Ingredients:

2 SERVINGS

  • 8 spring onions
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 5×5″ pieces focaccia
  • 4 large eggs, beaten to blend

 

Preparation:

Step 1

Place a rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°. Trim woody ends of spring onions. Separate white bulbs from green parts with a knife. Cut bulbs in half through the root end; if size varies wildly, cut larger bulbs into quarters. Cut tender green parts of stalks into 3″ pieces; set aside separately from bulbs.

Step 2

Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a 10″ nonstick skillet over medium until foaming. Add onion bulbs and toss to coat in butter; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until deeply golden brown and starting to soften, 4–5 minutes. Add vinegar, onion stalks, and ½ cup water and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all liquid is cooked off and bulbs are very soft and jammy, 6–8 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out skillet.

Step 3

While onions cook, mix ricotta and Parmesan in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Finely grate lemon zest and garlic into ricotta mixture and stir to combine.

Step 4

Warm focaccia in oven (place directly on rack) until soft and warmed through but not browned, 2–3 minutes. Divide between plates. Spread ricotta mixture in swooshing dollops on top of focaccia.

Step 5

Melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in skillet over medium-low heat. Add eggs; season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently in large sweeping figure-eight motions with a spatula, until eggs have set into creamy folds, 1–2 minutes.

Step 6

Divide scrambled eggs between focaccia. Top with onion mixture.

 

 

The Soft Scramble Sandwich
Print Recipe
The Soft Scramble Sandwich
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs With Artichokes

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs With Artichokes

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs with Artichokes, Leeks and Tarragon cooked over baby potatoes. A simple spring dinner to highlight the season’s bounty. 
This braised chicken recipe sings of Spring with fresh artichoke hearts, tarragon and leeks.  The star of this dish is easily fresh artichokes- and it’s best to save this recipe until they are in season and in abundance.  Not only will they be less expensive, they will be at their peak of flavor.

 

 

Braised Crispy Chicken Thighs with Artichoke hearts, leeks, potatoes and tarragon- a delicious one-pan recipe perfect for spring! 

 

 

Pieces of chicken thighs are simply seasoned with kosher salt and pepper and seared in a skillet. In the same pan, fresh artichoke hearts are sauteed with leeks and baby potatoes, then de-glazed with vermouth (or white wine) and chicken stock. Fresh tarragon leaves and lemon zest are added along with a tiny little bit of cream. The chicken thighs are nestled down in this lovely spring goodness, and it all goes in the oven for a bit. When it comes out, the chicken is juicy and crispy, and the artichokes flavorful and tender.  A delicious one-pot meal.

 

 

 

 

We’ve had a unusually warm Spring here and our city is exploding with blossoms.
Mothers day came and went, and the dogwood we planted (for my mother) burst out in white, shouting, I’m still here. The Lilies of the Valley returned quietly, laden with tiny white bells, unbelievably fragrant.
I’ve been thinking about flowers lately.  How quickly they bloom… and then go – their sole purpose being opening,
becoming fully what they are, no matter how temporary.

Last evening, while walking through the lilac grove, smelling each one, I thought to myself (a little morbidly) that I probably only have forty more springs to experience all this loveliness, if I’m lucky. And suddenly all the blossoms and all the flower smells in the night air…seemed so much more important.

This morning, as I study at the sleepy blossoms outside my window, I wonder, will I ever fully open? Some things just can’t be forced. We are, what we are when we are. But today at least, I feel somewhat willing.

Through the years, I’ve been a witness to this in others- the gradual opening of those close to me. Watching them become more and more of who they are. It is a beautiful thing to behold. It moves me.

 

 

 

 

Prepare a bowl of cold water with lemon juice. This will keep the artichoke hearts from browning. Working quickly, one artichoke at a time, snap off the tough outer petals.  I like to save mine for the next day, in a zip lock bag. These can be blanched, marinated and then grilled for a tasty side or  appetizer. Here is a marinade for grilled artichokes that I use repeatedly with good success.

 

 

 

 

Once the tough green petals are snapped off, you will see silky yellow petals which must come off too. Just pull them off with your fingers. Remember to work quickly to prevent browning.

 

 

 

 

Finally,  you will get to the fine thread-like filaments. These are inedible, even when cooked, so using a spoon, firmly and gently pry them off.

If you get the edge of your spoon, in just the right spot, they will come off easily.

 

 

 

 

Once these are off, using a sharp paring knife, quickly trim the artichoke edges and stem- removing the tough skin of the stem and the bottom 1/2 inch or so. Immediately immerse in a bowl of cold lemon water, to help prevent browning.

 

 

 

 

You can cut a whole chicken into pieces, or use chicken thighs. Pat dry, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper and sear in a hot skillet. I usually cook the bottom side longer than the tops, because the tops will brown in the oven, and you don’t want them overly brown. Once seared, set them aside.

 

 

 

 

After draining off some of the chicken fat, in the same pan, you will saute the leeks, artichokes and potatoes with a little butter.

For this dish, I use tiny baby potatoes, just cut in half.  Whatever potatoes you use, make sure they are cut to about a 1/2 inch thick,  so they cook to the proper done-ness.

When ready to saute the artichokes, pull them out of the lemon water and slice them to 1/4 inch thick.
Sometimes I’ll throw in some pearl onions. Mushrooms would taste good too. Or fresh English peas. Or caramelized fennel bulb. Make it your own.

 

 

 

 

This recipe calls for a 1/4 cup of fresh tarragon, which to me, pairs really well with artichoke hearts. But,  if you are not a fan of tarragon, fresh sage is a really good alternative.

Once the artichokes, leeks and potatoes are just tender, after about 10 minutes, de-glaze with Vermouth (or white wine). Bring to a boil and reduce by half, about 5 minutes.

Add stock, lemon zest and fresh tarragon and a little half and half. Once simmering, give a quick stir and taste for salt. You may need to add a pinch of salt and pepper. Nestle chicken into it so the undersides are immersed in the liquid and skin sides are up. Place in a hot  425F oven for 20-30 minutes or until thighs register 180F or breasts reach 160F.  If not crisp enough, place under the broiler for a few minutes.

 

 

 

 

When it comes out, it will be fragrant and delicious. Serve with crusty bread, a salad and white wine.

 

 

Braised Crispy Chicken Thighs with Artichoke hearts, leeks, potatoes and tarragon- a delicious one-pan recipe perfect for spring! 

 

 

Braised Crispy Chicken Thighs with Artichoke hearts, leeks, potatoes and tarragon- a delicious one-pan recipe perfect for spring!

 

 

Braised Crispy Chicken Thighs with Artichoke hearts, leeks, potatoes and tarragon- a delicious one-pan recipe perfect for spring! 

Hope you enjoy this recipe and leave your notes  in the comments below!

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 large artichokes, trimmed and sliced
  • one lemon, zest and juice.
  • 6 chicken thighs (bone in skin on)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter, divided.
  • 1 large leek, sliced and rinsed, drained.
  • 2 cups tiny potatoes sliced ( 1/4 thick in pieces)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vermouth or white wine.
  • 1 Cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 Cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, divided
  • Optional Addtions: Mushrooms, ramps, pearl onions, fresh English peas, fennel bulb

 

Instructions

Zest the lemon, set zest aside.

Prep the artichokes. Fill a med bowl with 4 cups cold water and squeeze with the juice from the lemon. Because artichokes will easily brown, work on one at a time as quickly as possible. Snap off all the hard out leaves using your fingers ( Save for later) With a sharp paring knife, trim off all the outer green skin around the base and stem, keeping the stem in tact. Remove the yellowish soft leaves and using a spoon, gently scrape away the white or purple silk like threads. Immediately place in the lemon water, to prevent browning. Slice just before placing in the skillet.

Preheat oven to 425F. Pat chicken dry and season with kosher salt and pepper. Heat 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in a heavy bottom oven proof skillet over med high heat. Place chicken skin side down and sear for until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn and brown undersides until golden, about 7-8 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Drain some of the chicken fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon oil in the pan. Add 1 tablespoon more butter. Add leeks, sliced artichokes, sliced potatoes and fennel seeds. Saute on med heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until they just begin to soften. Season with a generous pinch of kosher salt and pepper.

Deglaze the pan with vermouth (or white wine). Reduce by half, about 4 minutes. Add stock, mustard and fennel seeds, half and half, half of the fresh tarragon and 1/2 of the zest. Give a stir, bring to a simmer, and taste broth adjusting salt and pepper. Nestle the chicken pieces into the stew with skin sides up, and roast in a hot 425 F oven for 20-30 minutes, until golden, and thigh internal temp is 170F, or breast internal temp is 160F. If needed, broil for a couple minutes to get skin extra crispy.

Garnish with remaining lemon zest and fresh tarragon before serving.

 

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs With Artichokes
Print Recipe
Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs With Artichokes
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Baked Shrimp Scampi

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi is a shrimp dish just about everyone loves.  It’s a simple dish with just 4 ingredients; and it can be made in a matter of minutes.  I mean how hard is it to sauté shrimp in a garlic butter sauce?

Sautéing in garlic butter is very easy, specially if you’re making scampi for just 2 or 3 people.  But how about making it for a crowd?  If you’re making scampi for a crowd you’ll probably want to make it in batches, you really can’t expect perfectly cooked shrimp when you’re pan is heaped with raw shrimp.  It’s not always easy to get a frying pan of shrimp to cook evenly.  So what’s the solution?

Baked scampi!  Yes instead of sautéing a huge pan of shrimp or making several smaller batches it’s  easier to bake them.  This is seriously the easiest way to make Shrimp scampi for a crowd!  It takes just minutes to put together then baked for about 15 minutes.  This impressive looking dish can be made in about half an hour leaving you plenty of time to spend with guests instead of slaving away in the kitchen!

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients:

1 Lb. Medium Shrimp, peeled but leave tail on

1/4 Cup White Wine

1 Stick butter, melted and divided in halves

1 Lemon, juiced and zested

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

1/2 Cup parsley, chopped, divided into thirds

Dash of Cayenne Red Pepper

1/2 Cup Panko bread crumbs

1 Tbs. Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Pasta, cooked and ready to serve

Lemon wedges for garnish

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425º

Combine wine, 1/2 of melted butter, lemon juice and zest, garlic, 1/3 of chopped parsley, Cayenne pepper in a bowl.

Toss raw shrimp in this mixture and let sit about 5 minutes.

Arrange shrimp on baking dish and drizzle marinade over it.

Toss Panko in olive oil and 1/3 of the chopped parsley

Sprinkle over shrimp.

Drizzle remaining butter over all.

Bake in hot oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the shrimp has turned pink.

Serve over pasta, sprinkle remaining parsley over all and serve with a wedge of lemon.

 

 

Baked Shrimp Scampi
Print Recipe
Baked Shrimp Scampi
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425º
  2. Combine wine, 1/2 of melted butter, lemon juice and zest, garlic, 1/3 of chopped parsley, Cayenne pepper in a bowl. 
  3. Toss raw shrimp in this mixture and let sit about 5 minutes.
  4. Arrange shrimp on baking dish and drizzle marinade over it.
  5. Toss Panko in olive oil and 1/3 of the chopped parsley
  6. Sprinkle over shrimp.
  7. Drizzle remaining butter over all.
  8. Bake in hot oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the shrimp has turned pink.
  9. Serve over pasta, sprinkle remaining parsley over all and serve with a wedge of lemon.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe