Cadiz Cucumber Salad

All of the vegetables in this salad served at the Capitol Annex cafeteria came from a farm in Franklin County, Ky.

2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced
3 or 4 cucumbers, thinly sliced
4 or 5 onions, thinly sliced
2 cups white vinegar
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon celery seeds

Combine the bell peppers,cucumbers and onions in a 1-gallon container with a tight-fitting lid. Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and celery seeds in a bowl and stir to dissolve sugar. Pour over vegetables, cover and refrigerate 3 or 4 days before serving. Makes at least 16 servings.

Fresh apple cake with brown sugar icing
(Adapted from Nancie McDermott’s Southern Cakes)
At the Kentucky Capital Annex Kentucky Proud day, they served this cake made with Weisenberger flour (sourced from Kentucky farmers), local apples and eggs.

3 cups (Weisenberger) flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups finely chopped peeled apples
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons evaporated milk, cream, or half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs well. Add the oil (substitute half applesauce, if desired), apples and vanilla, and beat well. Add flour mixture and stir until flour just disappears. Stir in nuts. Scrape batter into a bundt pan or 9- by 13-inch pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 1 hour for bundt, 45 minutes for flat pan, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in bundt pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cake plate (you can leave it in a 9- by 13-inch pan). Glaze while warm.

For the glaze, combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Cook for 3 to 5 more minutes. Spoon hot glaze over hot cake. Allow cake to cool completely before serving.

Spinach and chickpeas
(for Meatless Mondays)

Basically, you just want to make this dish as garlicky as you can stand it.

¼ cup olive oil
5 large cloves garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound (or more) fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
20 ounces (or so) canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Heat olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Mince the garlic and add to the skillet, cooking until it is translucent and soft. Add cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes and stir. Increase heat to medium high and add spinach, a few handfuls at time, stirring as you add. It will wilt quickly and become a fraction of its former self. Add drained chickpeas, ½ cup water and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, simmer briefly and taste for seasoning, adding more if you think it needs it. Serves 4.

Cooking local isn’t just a matter of switching from CAFO boneless, skinless chicken breast to pasture-raised boneless skinless chicken breast. Unless you’re independently wealthy, eating local meat often means eating bone-in (including dark meat!) and less tender cuts. And then there’s the matter of seasonal produce. . . . just the start of challenges to the well-meaning locavore. Here we present tried-and-true solutions to the local-food challenge in the form of recipes that have been cooked and approved in Sarah’s kitchen.

Quick cooking, simple, coq au  vin

Quick cooking, simple, coq au vin

Chicken with mushrooms
This is really an easy version of the French coq au vin. Using bone-in chicken pieces adds a great deal of flavor to the sauce (as does the bacon, duh!). Perhaps there is no need to say that this sauce is fantastic. Feel free to substitute dark meat quarters or whole, cut-up chicken. Dark meat will take a little longer to cook.
4 bacon slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
1/2 pound mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
6 bone-in chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken broth

Cook bacon in heavy deep, wide pot over medium-high heat until almost crisp, about 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Add onions, to pan and turn heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning (turn the heat down if burning appears imminent). Add mushrooms and garlic to drippings in pot. Sauté until onions are tender and golden, about 10 minutes more. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to bowl.
Sprinkle chicken with salt and cayenne. Add to pot skin side down and brown on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Return bacon and vegetable mixture to the pot and wine and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Remove to a serving platter or plates, raise heat to high and let liquid boil down to about a cup. Spoon pan sauce over chicken and any chosen side starch, like egg noodles, rice or potatoes. Serves 4.

Chicken Provencal

Fennel seed is what gives Italian sausage its distinctive flavor and it is wholly underutilized elsewhere. It is great in this dish, but leave it out if you don’t have it.

In a hurry? Skip the chicken browning. Browning meat adds a lot of flavor, but you’re getting plenty of flavor from the dark meat in this dish. The best olives for this dish are brine-cured black olives, but I’ve made it with green “salad” olives and it was delicious (I wouldn’t used canned black olives, however).

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken thighs and 4 drumsticks
1 large onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, optional
1/2 cup drained brine-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 cup tomato sauce

Heat the olive oil in a wide, deep, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down, and cook over medium high heat until it is very brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove to a plate. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 or 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until onions are tender and have reduced in size, 5 minutes or so. Add basil, salt, red pepper, fennel and olives. Replace chicken in pan and add chicken and tomato sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and simmer 30 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.


One Response to Recipes

  1. Sarah, the spinach & chickpea recipe is fabulous! Thanks. Phyllis

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