A Pleasant Little Non-Recipe | Okra Cilantro-Lime Chicken Soup

Okra Cilantro-Lime Chicken Soup

Author note: This is an excellent soup for leftover chicken. It would also be excellent without the chicken . Homemade chicken stock makes this soup exceptionally better (click here for recipe).

chicken stock

salt

okra, sliced

leftover chicken (shredded or diced)

fresh lime juice

cilantro, chopped

  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the okra and salt. Simmer until the okra is softened. About 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken and warm through for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add lime juice and a few handfuls of cilantro. Salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Tomato Burrata Panzanella

Tomato Burrata Panzanella

4 cups Italian bread, crust removed and cubed

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes

20 basil leaves, chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 2-ounce burrata balls, cut into eighths

  1. Turn the broiler on to 500 degrees.
  2. Place the cubed bread on a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Broil for 1 minute. Remove and stir the bread to prevent burning. Place back into the oven and broil for 1 minute.
  3. Place the toasted bread into a bowl. Evenly coat the bread with the vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and basil leaves to the bread. Toss with the olive oil.
  5. Evenly sprinkle the kosher salt on top of the salad. Toss well to make sure the salt is distributed evenly.
  6. Add the burrata to the salad and stir. Serve immediately. 

Shortbread Cookies with Cherry Buttercream Frosting

Cookies.

It’s such a powerful word. Just a whisper of it can move mountains and turn a weary heart to joy. At least it does in my house.“If you pick up ALL the toys in the living room, you can have a cookie.”

Mountains moved.“Please. Stop crying. If you get your emotions together, I’ll give you a cookie.”

Hearts turned from weariness to joy.

Cookies, what would I do without you?Because this little bribe, I mean treat, is going to the people I love the most shouldn’t I make sure it’s the best quality?

Absolutely yes.

The best quality you can provide varies for each family and this is okay. For us it’s homemade.Don’t get me wrong, I do buy boxed cookies and divvy out with joy, but when I can give my children homemade baked goods it’s an even bigger sugar rush.

One of my favorite and easiest cookie recipes involves only five ingredients and about 15 minutes of my time. Plus, the dough is freezer friendly and is likened to the slice-and-bake variety that is oh so fun.Shortbread cookies.

Gently cream sugar and room temperature butter. Add flour, salt and vanilla extract. Separate into two dough balls and place onto parchment. Roll into a cylinder and freeze for 30 minutes.

Slice. Bake. The world rejoices.Warm, fresh homemade cookies— ready to treat your family.

This cookie is a shortbread cookie. Simple, delicious and full of eating options.Crumble and add it to homemade ice cream. Or smear ice cream between two cookies and, viola, an ice cream sandwich. Cookies. Mountain movers, joy givers— lovingly made by you.

Shortbread Cookies with Cherry Buttercream Frosting

  • Servings: 28 cookies
  • Print
2 cups butter, room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

2 1/4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

cherry butter cream frosting, optional (see recipes below)

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on low until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the flour, salt and vanilla extract. Continue to mix until just incorporated, about 30-40 seconds.
  4. Turn off the mixer and form two dough balls.
  5. Rolls the dough into parchment paper or plastic wrap, forming a cylinder.
  6. Place in the freezer and freeze for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the freezer and slice the cookies about ¼ inch thick. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 2 hours.
  9. Once the cookies are room temperature. Add the cherry butter cream frosting on top of the cookies.

for the cherry buttercream frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon cream

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoon cherry jam (see recipe below)

  1. With an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar. Slowly add the remaining ingredients until fully incorporated.

for the cherry jam

3 pounds fresh cherries, pitted

pinch of kosher salt

3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cinnamon stick

  1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Stir and cover. Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. Remove the lid, stir the mixture and increase the heat to medium or medium-high. Cook for 35-45 minutes (the cherries should maintain a steady boil). Stir frequently to prevent burning. When the mixture is reduced, thickened and coats the back of a spoon it is finished cooking.
  3. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge.

Instant Pot Charro Bean Soup

Instant Pot Charro Bean Soup

Author note: The pinto beans will still require an overnight or quick soak. If you prefer heat, consider keeping the jalapeno seeds instead of removing them. If you prefer the beans to be less of a soup and more of a side of beans, use 6 cups of low sodium chicken stock and 3 teaspoons kosher salt.

1 pound pinto beans, soaked over night

1 1/2 cups bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 cup onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

4 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

8 cups low sodium chicken stock

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 teaspoons ground cumin

4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1/2 bunch of cilantro, rough chopped

chopped cilantro, for toppings

sour cream, for toppings

queso fresco, for topping

lime wedges, for topping

tortillas

  1. Place the bacon, onions, garlic and jalapenos in the Instant Pot and using the sauté feature, cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. Add the tomato paste and brown for about 1 minute. Stir constantly.
  3. Turn the Instant Pot off and add the chicken stock, oregano, cumin, salt and bay leaf. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the beans and stir.
  5. Place the lid on top and cook on soup mode for 7 minutes.
  6. Once the cook time is finished, immediately turn off the Instant Pot. Set a timer for 20 minutes for a natural pressure release.
  7. After 20 minutes release any remaining steam.
  8. Remove lid. Add the vinegar and cilantro, stir to combine
  9. Serve warm ungarnished or with toppings and warm tortillas.

Pancakes with Simmered Peaches and Whipped Cinnamon Crème Fraîche

Growing up my grandparents would take us to pick peaches every summer. The memories of walking through the orchard and searching tree after tree for the most perfect pick still fills my heart with joy.

After foraging through the orchard, boxes of peaches would be divvied up among our family and taken back home—then devoured.That’s when I learned that a summer ripened peach has no comparison and must be eaten quickly.

Minimal effort was taken in preparing the peaches. All that was needed was a quick slice and then, if desired, a sprinkling of sugar. It was served by itself or on pound cake with whipped cream.Everything about a peach, especially the scent, transports me back to that orchard with my family. It’s been several years since I’ve walked among peach trees searching for the perfect fruit, but I’m reminded of this memory yearly with the arrival of peach season.Thankfully, there’s Market Street just around the corner to alleviate my heart’s longing for freshly picked summer fruit. Without fail, Market Street provides me with the perfect peach year after year.

In June, the wooden crates are rolled out and variety after variety of peaches begin to appear. As it gets deeper into summer, the peaches become more fragrant and tantalizing.With every visit to Market Street I can’t resist grabbing a brown bag to fill with an assortment of peaches— from Sugar Tree Peaches to Peach Pie (yes, they taste like peach pie!) peaches.

Like the summer peaches of my past, these are also devoured quickly, yet I choose to do a little bit more with my treasures. I skip the pound cake and make pancakes with simmered peaches and whipped cinnamon crème fraiche.

Pancakes with Simmered Peaches and Whipped Cinnamon Crème Fraîche

Author note: This recipe is easily doubled or tripled, however adjust the sugar according to how sweet the peaches are. If you’re doubling, less sugar is advised—taste as you cook and adjust. Make sure the crème fraiche and whipped cream is very cold right before whipping.

4 peaches, diced

1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

pinch salt

8 ounces crème fraîche

3 tablespoons whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pancakes

mint leaves, for topping

  1. Place peaches, 1/3 cup sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and cover. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Uncover the pan and increase the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes, or until the peaches are soft and the juices are reduced and thickened.
  3. Remove from the stovetop and set aside.
  4. Combine the crème fraiche, whipping cream, 3 tablespoons of sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract into a bowl and using an electric mixer, whip on high until stiff peaks form. Place in a container and store in the fridge before serving.
  5. Place the peach topping on top of the pancakes and top with whipped cinnamon cream fraiche and mint leaves

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Market Street. All opinions are my own and I appreciate your support of the brands and companies I love.

Strawberry Lemonade with Blueberry Ice Cubes

Strawberry Lemonade with Blueberry Ice Cubes

5 ounces of fresh lemon juice (juice from about 4 ½ lemons)

1 1/2 cups simple syrup, cooled (recipe below)

4 cups water

pinch of salt

strawberry puree (recipe below)

blueberry ice cubes (recipe below)

  1. Combine lemon juice, simple syrup, water and salt into a large pitcher. Stir and place the lemonade in the fridge to chill.
  2. Fill each glass with 2 tablespoons of strawberry puree and blueberry ice cubes.
  3. Pour lemonade into each glass and stir. Serve immediately.

for the simple syrup

Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Heat through and stir until sugar has dissolved.

for the strawberry puree

16 ounces strawberries, leafy ends removed

2 tablespoons simple syrup

  1. Cut the strawberries in half.
  2. Place the ingredients into a food processor and puree until the fruit is a smooth, soup-like consistency.
  3. Place in the fridge and chill before using.

for the blueberry ice cubes

Place 2-4 blueberries in each compartment of an ice cube tray. Fill the tray with water and place in the freezer. Freeze for 24 hours or until solid.

A Pleasant Little Menu | Summer Grilling

The heat is on, people. Literally. It’s summer and it’s hot outside.

Summer days are long and hot which means balmy late nights are in full swing. Those long evenings can be chock full of outdoor fun– swimming, gathering, laughing and GRILLING.One thing about A Pleasant Little Kitchen is that the cooking is not limited to indoors. Outdoor cooking and dining is one thing that makes APLK a little more special. Let me encourage you to get outdoors (bug spray and all) and cook.

This menu captures what I love most about the hot months of the year: summer’s bounty. This season’s produce provides the best inspiration for outdoor dining and when summer arrives I can’t wait to fill my table with its harvest.

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, allow this pleasant little menu to help you turn on the grilling heat:

peach and sage rose sangria

all purpose dry rub

pimento cheese on grilled bread

chilled sliced and salted cucumbers and tomatoes

smoked chicken thighs

grilled hatch green chile baked beans

 

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