Weeknight Kitchen with Melissa Clark takes on one of the biggest dilemmas of busy people: what are we going to eat? In each episode, you’ll join Melissa in her own home kitchen, working through one of her favorite recipes and offering helpful advice for both beginners and seasoned cooks. It’s a practical guide for weeknight eating, from the makers of The Splendid Table.
My kids cannot resist these tender, juicy Asian-inspired chicken skewers. The combination of ginger, cardamom, and curry, sweetened by brown sugar, is sweet, savory, and bold! Serve them with a side of peanut coconut sauce and your taste buds will thank you.
From The Fresh & Green Table: Delicious Ideas for Bringing Vegetables Into Every Meal by Susie Middleton (Chronicle Books, 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Susie Middleton. Photographs copyright © 2012 by Annabelle Breakey. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
This favorite of street stalls, simple cafés, and roadside stops is ideal for a casual meal for friends. Serve with a selection of fresh and cooked salads. Calculate three brochettes per person.
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.