Garden Gazpacho

Garden Gazpacho

Author note: Gazpacho is a chilled Spanish vegetable soup that can be created in a variety of ways. This non-recipe is a rustic form of gazpacho, with a more textured finish than most traditional gazpachos. However, be creative. If the gazpacho ends up thick like salsa, add a few more pours of olive oil or a splash or two of water.

4 cups tomatoes, cored and cut into large chunks

2 bell peppers (I prefer red and orange), cored and cut into large chunks

1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1/2 cup parsley leaves

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

3/4 cup chives

1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

extra-virgin olive oil, for topping

fresh corn, for topping

torn parsley, for topping

  1. In a food processor, puree the tomatoes until watery and thoroughly broken down.
  2. Next, add the cucumber, bell peppers, parsley, bread crumbs, chives, salt and vinegar into the food processor with the tomatoes. Puree until smooth.
  3. While the processor is still running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until the soup is smoothed out and thickened.
  4. Sample the gazpacho. Add salt, olive oil or additional vegetables as needed.
  5. Store in an airtight container overnight (this is important in the development of flavor). Serve chilled topped with torn parsley, fresh corn and drizzles of olive oil.

Grilled Old Bay Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Baked Beans

Grilled Old Bay Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Baked Beans

for the Grilled Baked Beans

Author note: To cook the beans indoors, cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour in a 350 degree oven. Stir once or twice.

2 cans navy beans, rinsed and drained

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves, torn in half

5 cloves garlic, crushed

5 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

3/4 teaspoons cayenne

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons yellow mustard

3 teaspoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  1. Prepare the grill for indirect heat at 350 degrees.
  2. Place the ingredients into a large cast iron skillet and stir to combine.
  3. Place the skillet onto the grill, using an indirect cooking setup.
  4. Close the grill lid and let cook 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the baked bean sauce reaches a desired consistency. Stir the beans every 20 minutes. Serve warm.

for the Old Bay Pork Tenderloins

Old Bay Grilled Pork Tenderloins

2 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloins

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

  1. Remove the tenderloins 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. Heat the grill to 350-400 degrees.
  3. Place the pork onto the grill and grill over direct heat for 15-20 minutes or until the temperature reaches 140 degrees, rotating and turning every 5-10 minutes for even cooking.
  4. Remove the pork and cover. Let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve warm.


A Pleasant Little Review | America’s Test Kitchen’s How to Roast Everything

Roasting meat and vegetables is one of the best kitchen skills to acquire. The ability to cook with an oven is a valuable skill, that once mastered, allows you the cook to roast almost anything without a recipe. America’s Test Kitchen’s cookbook How to Roast Everything is the perfect tutorial for achieving this skill.Regardless of where you are in your cooking journey How to Roast Everything will help on many levels. If you are a new cook it will introduce to you the skills needed to roast well. Whereas for the seasoned cook, it will hone and develop this cooking technique with its signature Test Kitchen creativity and preciseness.
I was excited when I picked up this book because roasting is central to A Pleasant Little Kitchen. Whether it’s vegetables, meat or sometimes fruit, roasting is a weekly ritual during every season. I am always ready to improve my kitchen skills and I knew How to Roast Everything would help me do this.
I’ve cooked through a handful of recipes from this fantastic book and each one has been a complete success that has taught me how to roast smarter. These recipes are approachable with very specific directions for achieving the perfect outcome…which is everything I have come to expect from ATK.

The roasted spice-rubbed chicken was a stand-out among the recipes I made.First off, I’m a sucker for roasted chicken thighs and drumsticks. They are one of the perfect forms of comfort food, and something I cook frequently. This recipe in particular contained a few techniques that elevated the roasting game.

  1. slashing the chicken skin before seasoning with the spice rub
  2. refrigerating the chicken for at least 6 hours before roasting
  3. increasing the oven temperature from 425 to 500 degrees mid-roast

These suggestions will change the way I roast chicken. America’s Test Kitchen finds the best method to cook a specific meal while using an approachable technique. Recipes from ATK are always worthwhile, valuable and educational, which says a lot about the dedicated and very skilled cooks who develop the recipes in the Test Kitchen.
Other elements of this book that I found helpful were:

  1. the very detailed information pertaining to the different types of meats, such as particular cuts to purchase, how to butcher at home and brining techniques.
  2. the optional flavorings and ingredients listed with several roasted vegetable recipes.
  3. the additional instructions on particular recipes to help the cook walk-thru a tricky task, like butterflying a lobster tail (page 228 Roasted Stuffed Lobster Tails).

How to Roast Everything is a kitchen staple, just like roasting. Learn from the best and develop your roasting ability with America’s Test Kitchen by your side. I promise you will grow as a cook and get especially hungry for dinner.

America's Test Kitchen Roasted Spice-Rubbed Chicken

Author note: This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen’s How to Roast Everything. The recipe can be found on page 64-65. I also served this chicken with the raita recipe from page 66. The coolness of the yogurt paired beautifully with the spicy chicken.

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons pepper

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

5 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half, drumsticks, and/or thighs), trimmed

  1. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Combine sugar, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne in a bowl.
  2. Using sharp knife, make 2 or 3 short slashes into skin of each piece of chicken, taking care not to cut into meat. Coat chicken with spice mixture, gently lifting skin to distribute spice mixture underneath but leaving it attached to chicken. Transfer chicken, skin side up to prepared rack (if desired, secure chicken of each breast piece with 2 or 3 toothpicks placed near edges of skin). Tent chicken with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove foil and roast chicken until smaller piece registers 140 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees and continue roasting until chicken is browned and crisp and breast pieces register 160 degrees, 5 to 8 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Remove pieces from oven as they reach correct temperature.) Continue to roast thighs and/or drumsticks until they register 175 degrees, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to wire rack and let cool completely before refrigerating or serving.

for the raita

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1 garlic clove, minced


cayenne pepper

  1. Combine yogurt, cilantro and garlic in bowl and season with salt and cayenne to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Raita can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

Elderflower Gin and Tonic

Elderflower Gin and Tonic

Author note: This recipe was featured in The Dallas Morning News. Click here to read the story and find the recipe.


2 ounces gin

1 ounce St. Germain (Elderflower liquor)

hearty squeeze of fresh lemon

1 1/2 ounce Fever Tree Tonic water

lemon slice

  1. Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Pour the gin and St. Germain over the ice. Add the lemon juice. Shake well.
  2. Place ice cubes into a serving glass. Pour the gin mixture over the ice. Top with the tonic water. Stir well. Add the lemon slice and serve.

Cherry and Brie Honey Puff Pastry

Cherry and Brie Honey Puff Pastry

  • Servings: 8 puff pastries
  • Print
2 1/2 cups cherries

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons sugar and more for topping

3 tablespoons honey and more for topping

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 wheel of brie cheese

2 sheets puff pastry

egg wash

canola spray

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Remove the cherry stems. Pit and quarter the cherries. Place in a bowl.
  3. Add the salt, sugar, honey, lemon zest and lemon juice to the cherries. Stir well.
  4. Spray a rimmed baking sheet (or two baking sheets) with canola oil.
  5. Lay the puff pastry onto a floured surface (do not roll out the puff pastry) and cut into four equal squares. Place the squares onto the baking sheet, arranged in a diamond.
  6. Add two slices of brie cheese (lengthwise) in the middle of the puff pastry. Spoon a generous amount of cherry filling over the top of the cheese, from one end of the diamond point to the other. Top with a sprinkling of sugar and honey.
  7. Take the other two ends of the puff pastry and fold them towards the middle. Secure the ends tightly by pressing one dough end over the other. Continue this process until all eight pieces of dough are filled.
  8. Lightly brush each side of dough with egg wash. Sprinkle more sugar onto the tops of the dough. Place in the fridge and let cool for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove the sheet pans from the fridge and place into the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
  10. Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Let cool for 2 minutes. Drizzle additional honey on top of the pastries. Remove the pastries from the pan and place onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Instant Pot Rosemary Meatball Sliders

Instant Pot Rosemary Meatball Sliders

  • Servings: 9 large meatballs
  • Print
Author note: Remember that the Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker and that this recipe can apply to any brand of electric pressure cooker. This recipe was also featured in The Dallas Morning News. Click here to find three more weeknight Instant Pot recipes. To make 18 meatballs, double the recipe.

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound ground turkey (thigh meat, preferred)

1 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon crème fraiche

2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

1/2 cup diced onion

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 egg

2 cups water

slider buns, for topping

mayonnaise, for topping

arugula, for topping

manchego cheese, for topping

Author note: This recipe is easily doubled to make 18 large meatballs.

  1. Place the pork, turkey, salt, mayonnaise, crème fraiche, bread crumps, rosemary, parmesan, onion, garlic and egg into a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Form 9 large meatballs and place into the fridge.
  3. Pour the water into the Instant Pot. Place a silicone steamer basket into the Instant Pot. Place 4-5 meatballs into the steamer. Cook on high pressure for 9 minutes. After 9 minutes, release the pressure. Remove the meatballs and place on a baking sheet. Repeat these steps until all of the meatballs have been cooked. Be sure to empty the cooking liquid and refill the insert with fresh water with each batch.
  4. Toast the slider buns. Spread mayonnaise on each side of the buns. Lay a slice of manchego and a generous amount of arugula on the bottom layer of the bun. Top with a meatball and the top bun. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Buttered Radish Toast

Buttered Radish Toast

french baguette, sliced

salted butter

radishes, thinly sliced

radish greens, chopped

fleur de sel

  1. Toast the bread slices.
  2. Spread a generous amount of butter onto the toast.
  3. Top the toast with radishes. Top with radish greens and a pinch or two of fleur de sel.

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