My friend Michelli came up with this simple recipe one early-summer afternoon as a way to use up a big pile of chiles and some honey that I had recently taken from the beehive. The dish soon became a favorite. Chicken tenders cook very quickly, which helps keep them juicy, and the honey in the recipe caramelizes in no time. Remove the jalape ño seeds for a less spicy version. If you don't want to grill the tenders, they can be broiled about 5 inches from the heat for about 6 minutes.
I wanted to call this recipe "Zuppa di Ceci con Pomodori," but my copy editor insisted that it be in English. But doesn't it sound better in Italian? For optimum flavor, use dried beans to make this hearty dish. However, the beans do require overnight soaking before being cooked, so in a pinch you can use canned garbanzos. Orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta that lends itself well to this soup, but feel free to substitute any pasta you happen to have on hand.
Essentially a lasagna with tortillas standing in for noodles, this is one of those dishes that can miraculously be on the table in short order, made from things you most likely have in your pantry and fridge. If you don't like, or you don't have, one of the ingredients, skip it. Or, if you have something else that you think might be appealing all layered in (like slivered bell peppers to sauté with the onions, kale, chopped, cooked broccoli — whatever the people in your home will eat), then fling it on in.
The Mediterranean is rich in mussels, in particular in the rocky coastal regions. They are also abundant in the coastal regions of the United States. Cozze, or mussels, are a very popular dish in Italy, especially around Naples. It seems that just about every Italian American restaurant has some rendition of a mussels dish: alla Posillipo (spicy tomato sauce), alla marinara (mild fresh tomato sauce), and so on. Well, here is a spicy one. Mussels are not an expensive seafood and deliver a lot of flavor if fresh and still briny from the sea. Otherwise, save your San Marzano for another dish.
Chard grows easily. How gratifying that it's cut-and-come-again. If you have a plot for chard, you learn to harvest a huge quantity and steam an enormous potful at once. Then you drain and cool the much-reduced clump of greens, squeeze out the water, and form softball-size balls. What a boon for the cook. You can freeze these balls individually in plastic wrap. They're then ready for soups or this very typical saut é. Always use most of the stems, cut into small hunks. Kale works just as well in this recipe.
Lemon curd whizzed in a food processor for a minute or so becomes a lighter-than-air, creamy sauce for these sweet and tangy dessert crepes, which were created by pastry chef and cookbook author Kir Jensen of The Sugar Cube food cart in Portland, Oregon. If you're using fresh rhubarb, pick out the darkest red stalks you can find—they have the best flavor and color.
Kir Jensen, a pastry chef and owner of The Sugar Cube food cart in Portland, Oregon, created these crepes to go with the roasted rhubarb and lemon cream recipes. But these nutty crepes would be great in many of the sweet recipes in this book, or eaten on their own with just a smear of butter and a drizzle of honey. Look for almond paste and almond meal in the baking section of your local supermarket. (When choosing almond paste, avoid marzipan, which is not the same thing.) Almond meal is very finely ground almonds; it's like a coarse flour.
This is the quintessential spring luncheon dish, all about the sweetness that's finally bursting up in gardens — long-awaited asparagus, shallot and carrot — made rich with sweet cream. It's also about the way that sweetness seems more pronounced against the salty ham and the tangy mustard.
Man, do I love Australia. First, my oldest daughter was conceived there on our honeymoon…and while we're on the subject, have I ever shared with you that we almost named her Sydney as a nod to her... um... point of origin? In the end, I chickened out, though —I thought that might be a little corny. Or awkward to explain. Or…nevermind.