The Simple Life: Summer Eating Without a Grill

Roast Asparagus and Potatoes with Pan-Cooked Chicken

I’ve been on vacation “down the shore” for the past week and it’s felt great to get out of the city and live a bit of a slower, simpler life. Thankfully, it has also been a fresh and tasty life thanks to the well provisioned Wegman’s (suburban grocery paradise) within biking distance of our vacation rental and the Asbury Park farmer’s market, which takes place in Sunset Park (that’s Sunset Park in Asbury Park, New Jersey!) on Saturday mornings from 8a.m. to 1 p.m. One of my favorite things about summer is cooking simply and eating light. Since I’m on vacation I also wanted to minimize the ingredients I had to buy and then haul back to Brooklyn with me. So here is a simple summer supper of pan cooked chicken breast, roasted fingerling potatoes and roasted asparagus. For the next day, with the left overs you can make a mighty chicken salad with homemade mayonnaise.

A note about these recipes: One of the best features of summer cooking is the grill. However, in our Brooklyn apartment I’m constantly stymied because we have no outdoor space for grilling. Thankfully, the broiler and a little imagination can go where a grill cannot. However, if you are blessed with a grill, go ahead and grill the chicken and asparagus.

Pan Cooked Chicken Breast

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken breasts

1 TBL olive oil

Salt and Pepper

1 Lemon

1/4 cup water

1. Add olive oil and heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts on either side and place in skillet.

3. Cook on 1 side until golden and then flip. This only takes a few minutes.

4. When both sides are golden, turn down the heat to medium, add the water, juice the lemon over the chicken and cover. Cook about 20 minutes, flipping at least once, or until the chicken breasts are cooked though (all white, no pink and the juice runs clear).

Take the chicken out of the pan and let rest for several minutes before serving.

Roasted Asparagus

1 Bunch Asparagus

2 TBL Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

1. An hour before cooking trim the ends off the asparagus, wash and place in a jar of cold water. This crisps and freshens the asparagus.

2. Pre-heat the broiler on “high.”

3. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet or dish.

4. Broil on high heat, flipping once, for 2 to 5 minutes (depending on the strength of your broiler) until soft and the spears begin to look roasty. Check frequently, it’s very easy to go overboard on broiling!

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

2 Pound of Fingerling Potatoes

2 TBL Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

1.Pre-heat oven to 450 F.

2. Wash the potatoes (no need to peel) and cut in half lengthwise.

3. Toss the potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange in one layer on a baking sheet or in a baking dish.

4. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring at least once, until soft and looking “roasty.”

See a pattern to these recipes? Just a few of the same ingredients that help bring out the flavors of the food itself!

After you’ve enjoyed your summer evening dinner (yes, you used the oven, but not for very long, so hopefully your whole apartment isn’t too hot) save a chicken breast for the next day’s lunch.

Chicken Salad with Homemade Mayonnaise

Chicken Salad with Homemade Mayonnaise

For the salad:

1 Chicken Breast

2 Stalks Celery

1/2 Vidalia Onion

1/3 cup dill pickles

1. Cut or tear the chicken into small dice or strips.

2. Dice the vegetables and pickles.

3. Mix with mayonnaise (below) and add salt and pepper to taste and serve over lettuce leaves or on toasted bread for a sandwich.

Homemade Mayonnaise

Note: I really feel squeamish about mayonnaise. I rarely put it on my sandwiches and I avoid mayo-filled salads like Coleslaw. But homemade mayonnaise has completely changed my opinion of the white sauce and it is so easy to make!

Yolk of one egg

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp mustard

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup oil

1. Place the egg yolk, salt, pepper, mustard and lemon juice in a blender. Have oil at the ready.

2. Turn on the blender at high speed and slowly (drop by drop) drizzle the oil into the egg mixture. You may not work the entire half cup in. Stop when the mixture is white and creamy. If you go to far the sauce may “break” and become runny. If this happens, fear not! Add a little more mustard, a little more lemon juice and keep blending.

That’s it! Enjoy summer!

Eat a nice, fresh green salad with all of this while you are at it!

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About 2cooksinthekitchen

Two cooks, one from Bushwick and a passionate meat-eater, one from Sunset Park and a former vegan, and both NYC transplants, set out to share original recipes that can be made dairy free and vegan deserts; showcase culinary resources in the outer boroughs (and sometimes Manhattan) where one can find unique, specific and fairly priced ingredients; and participate wholeheartedly in the many cultures of cooking and eating that make up New York City.
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