cool summer borscht

July 31, 2013 § 57 Comments

We have a serious affection for beets around here.  I have been baking beets every week for the past several, therefore it only seemed natural to seek out a beet soup recipe.  I prefer my soups warm  with the exception of gazpacho, which to me is much like salsa.  I can eat bowls and bowls of gazpacho!  Knowing we love beet salad with toasted walnuts and goat cheese I had a feeling we would also enjoy a cool borscht. I read a few recipes, gathered a few ideas and came up with my own palate pleasing soup.  Bringing in the beet salad idea we used toasted walnuts and goat cheese crumbles to top it off.  A soup and salad in one bowl!


I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 5 medium fresh beets
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 16 ounces greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 large cucumber, seeds removed and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, dry toasted
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus extra for serving


Place the beets in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook uncovered until the beets are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the beets to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve and also set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the beet cooking liquid, the vegetable stock, yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Peel the cooled beets with a small paring knife or rub the skins off with your hands. Dice the beets into small/medium bite size pieces. Add the beets, cucumber, scallions, and dill to the soup.  Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Prior to serving, place the walnut bits in a dry, non stick skillet over medium heat and cook until toasted and brown, giving the skillet a shake every now and them.

Season soup with salt and pepper, serve cool with a sprinkling of crumbled goat cheese, toasted walnuts and an extra sprig of fresh dill.

chicken chilaquiles and jicama slaw

July 29, 2013 § 46 Comments

The other day I roasted a chicken and we didn’t even eat it for dinner!   It was one of those days.  We are remodeling this old cottage and the weekends are completed devoted to just that, sun up to sun down.  I had purchased a whole chicken and didn’t want to freeze it so I roasted it knowing we were not going to be able to have a sit down dinner.  I am glad I did because using the chicken the next day for chilaquiles was  a delight.  Served with jicama slaw.


I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 small roasted chicken,  shredded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes in purée
  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, from same can of chipotles
  • handful of cilantro, 1/2 cup chopped
  • tortilla chips,  at least 4-6 cups
  • 1/2 cup greek style yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cotija or feta cheese

Combine the oil and garlic in a large heavy bottom pot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes with their purée, chipotles and adobo sauce and 1 cup of water.  Break up the tomatoes, season with salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes.  Add the chicken and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add 1/2 cup chopped cilantro.  Place a handful of chips in a serving bowl and top with chicken chilaquiles.  Make sure to spoon a little extra sauce on each serving.  Garnish with cilantro sprigs, greek yogurt and crumbled cotija cheese.


Jicama is such a curious root.  “The root’s exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some apples or raw green beans, and it is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon, or lime juice and chili powder. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes.”  (wikipedia)  I simply added lime, a little thinly sliced red onion, cilantro, salt and pepper.  This was so cool and refreshing alongside the warm, spicy chilaquiles.  This was a perfect matched dinner, texturally speaking.  The soft spicy chilaquiles, creamy yogurt, crunchy tortilla chips and the crispy cool jicama all together sang in harmony with each bite.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 medium jicama, peeled and juliennned
  • 1/4 – 1/2 small red inion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • coarse salt and pepper

I did not want the red onion to be dominant in this slaw.  Use what your palate enjoys and play around with the lime juice as well.

In a medium bowl place all the ingredients and toss well.  Serve right away, or allow to marinate in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours.

Serves 4.

summer linguine with fresh hand formed mozzarella

July 24, 2013 § 49 Comments

Right now heirloom cherry tomatoes are starting to appear in the markets in great quantities and I could not be happier.  Although I have five different cherry sized heirloom varietals growing in my own garden, which still need a few more weeks to ripen, I found myself with a basket of them at the checkout stand.  This particular market makes their own hand formed mozzarella and offers the best artisanal crusty breads the city has to offer.  With my greek basil bush doing so well I decided I would make bruscetta “caprese style”  for lunch today.


We sliced the tomatoes in half, put them in a bowl with fresh bush basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.  We let it sit and marinade for 30 minutes.  The tomatoes were placed on top of crusty bread and a slice of fresh mozzarella.  A fabulous lunch, of which I did not photograph.

With a large bowl of marinaded tomatoes and half of the fresh mozzarella left I extended the caprese idea into a summer pasta.


To the marinaded tomatoes I added minced garlic, a little more basil and some of the best cheese I have had in awhile…Grana Lodigiano.  A hard texture cheese much the same as Grana Padano.  I liked it’s black rind which I learned is a tradition held onto for centuries.  In ancient times the wheels were matured with a clay coating, grapeseed oil and charcoal.  This compound gave it a black hue.  Today the wheels are still hand coated with natural ingredients to create the same black hue to specifically set it apart from Parmesan.  I do enjoy talking with the cheese monger at the market…

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded basil leaves
  • 8 ounces fresh hand formed mozzarella cheese, diced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
  • sprinkling salt and black pepper
  • 3/4 pound linguine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Lodigiano cheese or Parmesan cheese

M e t h o d

Place the tomatoes, garlic basil, mozzarella, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large serving bowl.  Stir to mix and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour.  Cook the pasta until al dente.  Drain briefly, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.  Add pasta and reserved water to the tomato mixture.  Add the Grana Lodigiano and toss to mix.  Serve right away while the pasta is still warm.

Serves 4.

buon appetite

conchiglie with yogurt, peas and chile

July 10, 2013 § 60 Comments

I love visiting food blogs specifically looking for something to prepare for dinner…”tonight”!   The other day I visited one of my favorite blogs (I have too many to count) and found this recipe.  I am a huge fan of Molly’s blog and I took heed to her urgency about cooking this pasta.  I ran out and pick up what I needed, came home that late afternoon and made one of the most delicious pasta dishes we have ever had.  I never imagined  pasta prepared with yogurt sauce.  This was so creamy, yet light, a bit spicy from the chile, yet a little sweet from the peas, nutty from the pine nuts and lightly salty from the feta.  All melty hot and delicious.  

I have yet to pick up my copy of  Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.  Convincingly after making this recipe I am heading out today to do so.

I could never in my wildest dreams come up with this so I am giving you Molly’s posted recipe “verbatim”.  And if you haven’t read Molly’s book A Homemade Life it is quite charming and features some incredible recipes.


A s   w r i t t e n   o n   O r a n g e t t e . . . . 

Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile

Adapted slightly from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

The original version of this recipe calls for conchiglie, or shell-shaped pasta, but you could use any small pasta shape you like: orecchiette, penne, farfalle, and so on.

If you have some exotic type of dried chile, like Urfa chile, Aleppo chile, or Kirmizi biber, you lucky lucky dog, this is a great place to use it. If not, you can use regular red pepper flakes. I happened to have some Aleppo chile, and though it was ground, not in flakes, and probably a few years old, it worked beautifully. Oh, and if you’re worried about the amount of heat, consider starting with a little less of the chile than what is called for – or just don’t put much chile oil on your pasta.

  • 2 ½ cups (500 g) whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed or pressed
  • 1 pound (500 g) fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound (500 g) pasta shapes of your liking
  • Scant ½ cup (60 g) pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons Turkish or Syrian chile flakes, or red pepper flakes
  • 1 2/3 cups (40 g) basil leaves, coarsely torn
  • 8 ounces (240 g) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the yogurt, 6 tablespoons (90 ml) of the olive oil, the garlic, and 2/3 cup (100 g) of the peas. Process to a uniform pale green sauce, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it until tastes like pleasantly salty seawater. Add the pasta, and cook until it is al dente. While the pasta cooks, warm the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and chile flakes, and cook for 4 minutes, or until the pine nuts are golden and the oil is deep red. Also, warm the remaining peas in some boiling water (you could scoop out a bit of the pasta water for this); then drain.

Drain the cooked pasta into a colander, and shake it well to get rid of excess water that may have settled into the pasta’s crevices. Add the pasta gradually to the yogurt sauce; adding it all at once may cause the yogurt to separate. Add the warm peas, the basil, feta, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss gently. Serve immediately, with pine nuts and chile oil spooned over each serving.

Yield: about 6 servings

orecchiette pasta with cilantro pesto

July 1, 2013 § 32 Comments

We are finally having HOT sunny days here in Seattle.  Thank goodness for the tomato plants who have been very patiently waiting for the sun during the past three weeks.  Seattle can be a unkind to tomatoes.  Typically my plants are late bloomers and by the time their skins should  turn red a blanket of clouds cover the sun once again leaving them an orange hue rather than red and a good supply of green ones too.  I have learned it is best to plant “little” tomatoes such as cherry, grape, sun gold and/or a medium size roma varietal for our short lived tomato growing season.  However, it could just be me and my lack of tomato growing knowledge.


s u g a r   p l u m   g r a p e   t o m a t o e s

I have a pasta recipe here which requires only one burner on your stove for boiling the orecchiette.  A summery fresh pasta while keeping the heat out of the kitchen!

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 pound good quality orecchiette
  • 2 bunches cilantro, washing and thick stems removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 heaping tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste
  •  sugar plum grape tomatoes

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta, and cook until it is al dente.  While the pasta cooks prepare the pesto.


f l o w e r i n g   c i l a n t r o

Place cilantro in food processor and whizz until finely chopped.  Add the remaining ingredients and whizz until it is a well mixed pesto.

Slice sugar plum grape tomatoes into small bits and set aside.

Drain the cooked pasta without shaking the colander too much leaving a trace amount of the cooking water.  Return to the pot and stir in the pesto.  Taste to see if you need to salt.  Place in serving bowls topped with sliced sugar plum tomatoes and a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan.


orecchiette pasta with cilantro pesto and a page in my son’s drawing  journal

Serves 4

buon appetite.

asparagus lasagne

June 28, 2013 § 43 Comments

We have been cooking up bundles of asparagus this season.  I am feeling as though we have come to the end of our season and this lasagne was my last act.  I delighted in preparing this baked dish of luscious pasta layered with béchamel sauce, steamed asparagus, cheese and potatoes.  The process was very satisfying and somewhat a test of my kitchen organizational skills.  Preparing the layer ingredients prior to making the béchamel sauce helps to keep order in the kitchen.  This is the first time I made a garlic, onion and thyme infused béchamel sauce and it is an especially nice flavor for the potatoes.

This is one of those posts.  The dinner turned out perfect and the photographs didn’t.  I almost scratched the whole idea of posting it and then something occurred to me.  This lasagne is so delicious… I have to share the recipe!

I always have a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I place a lasagne in the oven.  I just wish I had the same feeling about my photographs…


L a s a g n e

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 3 medium yukon gold potatoes, sliced into 1/8 inch thick rounds
  • 12 ounces lasagne noodles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded aged white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • chopped fresh parsley

Bring two large pots of salted water to a boil.  In one pot add the asparagus and the other add the potatoes.  Cook the asparagus 3-5 minutes until crisp tender. Remove using a skimmer and transfer to a bowl of ice cold water. Drain and pat dry.  Keep the asparagus water boiling.  Cook the potatoes until almost tender, 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.   Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the boiling asparagus water and add the lasagne noodles a few sheets at a time stirring to keep separate.  Cook until barely tender.  Drain and set aside.

B é c h a m e l   S a u c e

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Bring the milk, onion, garlic and thyme to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from the heat and allow it to sit and infuse of 10 minutes. Strain, discarding the solids.   Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.  Whisk in the flour and let it bubble without browning for 2 minutes. Whisk in the warm milk and bring to a simmer.  Continue cooking whisking often until the sauce is smooth about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.  You may press a sheet of plastic wrap on top to keep a skin from forming.


A s s e m b l e

Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly butter a 13×9 inch baking dish.  Spread a thin film of the béchamel sauce in the bottom of the dish.  Arrange 3 or 4 pasta sheets in the dish, slightly overlapping as needed.  Spread with one third of the sauce, half each of the potatoes, asparagus and aged white cheddar.  Top with another layer of pasta, half of the remaining sauce and the remaining potatoes, asparagus and cheddar.  Finish with a layer of pasta and spread with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and dot with the butter.

Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden, about 30 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

buon appetite.


June 26, 2013 § 57 Comments


Polenta is one of my best loved dinners and I enjoy it served creamy and cheesy, delicate and sweet, as well as complex and hearty.   This polenta recipe is a bit hearty and crowned with a fresh parsley pesto and cherry tomato sauté.  I particularly enjoy Bramata polenta.  It is a rustic stone-milled corn which is moderately coarse for a thicker consistency.

My first polenta dinner was quite an experience.   I had a friend over who wanted to prepare a classic dish he had as a child growing up in Italy.  In my friend’s opinion the only way polenta should be eaten is with a rich meat sauce.  His plan was to prepare Polenta with Chicken Livers.  Once the polenta was cooked it was poured directly onto my dining table and topped with the chicken liver sauce.  Although I was very impressed by the presentation, I do not have the palate for chicken livers so I kept trying to scrape the edges where the sauce didn’t touch.  Even without the sauce, I was captivated by the creamy texture and tiny bits of corn meal similar to the grits my mom would prepare.

Throughout the years I have formed my own opinions about preparing and serving polenta.  When cooking polenta, for added flavor I like using broth rather than water.   Sometimes I add a few tablespoons of rosemary.  I always include butter and when I am preparing a savory polenta a nice grated parmesan.  To top it off…tomato sauce, pesto, honey and butter, or simply a handful of parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.


polenta with cherry tomatoes and parsley pesto

p o l e n t a

  • 1 cup good quality polenta
  • 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

p e s t o

  • large handful of parsley
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated grana padano or parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste

t o m a t o   s a u t e’

  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

In a large pot heat 6 cups of broth.  When the broth is about to boil, sprinkle in the polenta.  Stir continuously over a low heat until it is a thick smooth mass.  Continue cooking on low heat for about 40 minutes, stirring slowly and evenly.  If polenta starts to spatter turn your heat lower and stir continuously until it settles.  I usually stir once every 3-5 minutes until done.

While polenta is cooking prepare pesto.  Place all pesto ingredients in a food processor and whizz until well combined.  Set aside.

Place a non stick skillet on the stove with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat.  Saute’ tomatoes for 2 minutes until soft.  Season with a pinch of salt.

Once polenta is cooked add butter and parmesan, mix well and pour onto a large serving platter (or directly onto your table!).  Top with pesto, tomatoes, grated cheese of choice and serve right away.

Serves 4

buon appetite.

walla walla sweet onion soup and herb farmers five cheddar biscuits

June 24, 2013 § 42 Comments

I am always delighted when mid June rolls around and I stumble upon the first harvest of Walla Walla Sweet Onions.  Walla Walla is a county in southeastern Washington and is known for it’s sweet onions.  These are a very pleasant mild onion which easily can be eaten raw on salads and sandwiches.

A cool rainy day always triggers my soup craving so I set out to make a light soup.  I was toying with the idea of french onion soup when I spotted the Walla Walla Sweet Onions.   I purchased four sweet onions, the most ripe juicy strawberries I have ever tasted and headed home.


I have a little cook book titled “Fresh” by John Bishop which features wonderful seasonal recipes made with local foods (Pacific Northwest).  I found today’s soup recipe along with an herbed cheddar cheese biscuits.  I struggle as a baker.  I can usually bake a good simple quick bread, but if I have to knead or rise the dough, I fail.  The recipe specifically said to “turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 10 times”.  I figured, “how can I fail?”.


biscuits served with butter and sun dried tomato pesto

The biscuits would have made my mom proud.  The soup was naturally sweet, creamy and keeping the spices at a minimum allowed the flavor of the onions to come through.  While the soup is simmering, prepare the biscuits.

h e r b e d   c h e d d a r   c h e e s e   b i s c u i t s

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add butter and work into the flour mixture with your fingers until the dough has the consistency of cornmeal.  Stir in thyme and rosemary.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

Place cheese, yogurt and milk in a small bowl and stir to combine.  Pour the yogurt mixture into the well and combine lightly until the dough forms a ball.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 10 times.

Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1 inch.  Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 biscuits. Arrange biscuits 2 inches apart on the baking sheet and bake in the top third of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden.  Transfer to a cooling rack.


s w e e t   o n i o n   s o u p

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups sweet onions, thinly sliced and quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups stock, vegetable or chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh spring onions, sliced

Melt butter in a stockpot on medium heat.  Add onions and garlic.  Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove the lid, stir in flour and cook for 5 minutes.  Deglaze the pot with wine.

Add stock, salt, pepper and increase heat to medium high.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.  Stir in cream and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Ladle soup into warm bowls and sprinkle with freshly sliced spring onions.

Serves 4

buon appetite.

spaghetti carbonara

June 17, 2013 § 36 Comments


And yet, another pasta recipe.  You see I have a thing about pasta.  I would eat it everyday if I wasn’t thinking too hard about all the carbs I don’t need.  After an extra long commute home the other day, I arrived, said my hello’s and headed to the kitchen.  I didn’t have a dinner plan whatsoever.  Looking through the refrigerator I found a little log of chavrie goat cheese, a little pancetta, a handful of parsley, a shallot and by this time a pasta sauce was formulating in my mind.  I thought if I had Parmesan instead of goat cheese I could make Carbonara.  Then I remembered I do have some Grana Padano!   Realizing I have never made carbonara I took my copy of Marcella Hazen’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking off the shelf.

Now let just say when I was “with child” spaghetti carbonara was “my dish”.  I craved it everyday and dined on it at least once a week for a good six months!  And to imagine I have never made carbonara is quite nonsensical.   I left it up to the chef at my favorite trattoria.  I didn’t even want to try to prepare it because I knew I could never match the quality of La Trattoria’s carbonara.  Well…Eureka!  Success in the kitchen.  Here it is, in my humble opinion, a most delicious carbonara.  Of course in the spirit of improv I made a few very minor adjustments to Marcella’s recipe due to not having all of her listed ingredients.  In place of the Grana Padana you could use a good quality Parmesan.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 4 ounces of diced pancetta
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese
  • Black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti

M e t h o d

Place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat.  Once your water is at a roaring boil add a tablespoon of coarse grain salt and drop your pasta in. Cook until al dente,  spaghetti cooking time is approximately 9 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.


Put the garlic and olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Sauté until the garlic is golden.  Remove and discard garlic.  Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until crispy, then add the shallot.  Continue to cook until shallots are soft and turn off the heat.

Using a fork lightly beat two eggs in a medium size bowl.   Add 1/2 cup grated Grana Padano, a grinding of black pepper and the chopped parsley. Once the spaghetti is cooked, slowly drizzle in reserved pasta water until smooth. Mix thoroughly, using something like these!


Briefly reheat the pancetta over medium high heat, turn off the pan and add spaghetti, toss to combine well.  Add the egg mixture and continue to toss to combine and allow the egg to set without scrambling.  Serve right away with freshly grated Grana Padano cheese.

Serves 4.

buon appetite.

chicken and parsley

June 8, 2013 § 25 Comments

A new look for COTTAGE GROVE HOUSE!  I have been wanting to make a theme change and spring seems like the perfect time to do it.  I do prefer this theme…

Finally, a complete herb garden is growing out back!  When we moved into the Cottage Grove House I was delighted a small herb garden was established with mature thyme, rosemary, mint and chives.   Then it occurred to me one day while at the market purchasing basil, cilantro and parsley, I needed to expand my garden!   Here we are four years later and I have succeeded. We have nine herbs living happily ever after in my garden.  I chose herbs we use regularly and I am learning how to take cuttings from the plants to help promote growth.  So far they are producing and thriving.  We built these little boxes and strategically placed them here and there in close proximity to the kitchen door.


thyme, sage and chives

Chicken and parsley

Originally I was going to make this chicken with chives.  I chopped parsley for the boiled baby potatoes and chives for the chicken.  Then I accidentally tossed all of the parsley into the chicken pan!  I stood there a minute looking at it wondering how I could so quickly change the outcome of my plan by one simple movement.  In the end it didn’t matter.  The chicken was delicious and you really can not mess up simple boiled potatoes, right?  So if you would like to try this chicken with chives instead of parsley let me know how it turned out!


I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 4 large boneless chicken cutlets
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup parsley

M e t h o d

I have been purchasing cutlets form the market.  They are thin sliced breasts without skin.  If you are using whole chicken breasts, place them one at a time between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and lightly pound with a mallet until 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil and butter in a large sauté pan.  Add the chicken breasts arranging them in one layer.  Cook over medium high heat, turning once until the centers are cooked, but still moist, no more than 8 minutes.  Transfer the breasts to a serving platter and keep warm.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir to mix.  Cook over medium heat for 1 minute, until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken a little.  Pour over the breasts and serve right away.

Serves 4.

buon appetite.

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