Dinner Ideas II: Kolaches, Creamy Tomato Soup, Apple Panzanella

So much cheese! Did I get carried away? Potentially.  These are kolaches- the savory variety.  I used this recipe for sweet kolaches, omitted the toppings, and instead stuffed the dough with a local jalapeno smoked sausage and so much cheddar.  I brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled them with sea salt.  So nice!

A simply roasted chicken, done using Thomas Keller’s method (dry the bird, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, roast at 450 for an hour) and one of my favorites- apple panzanella.  My friend Abbie created this recipe, and it really is fantastic. You can toast the bread cubes while the chicken is resting, and then your salad will have warm bread and cool crunchy apples. I made a couple changes to the recipe- I used a simple  french batard and tossed the cubes with olive oil and salt and pepper before toasting.  I used parmesan instead of manchego, because that’s what I had on hand, and omitted the arugula because Andy’s not into it.

Cobb Salad. Yes, there is lettuce under there somewhere.  I’m a little embarrassed to show you this picture on account of the obscene pile of bacon in the upper-left, but there you are. This is as simple as it looks- shredded chicken leftover from the night before (rewarmed in bacon drippings), hard-boiled eggs, last-of-the-season tomatoes, avocado, bacon, lettuce, and a simple lemon-y dijon vinaigrette (juice of a meyer lemon, dash of salt and pepper, dip a fork in dijon mustard and then use it to slowly whisk in a couple tablespoons of olive oil- taste and adjust).

My very favorite Creamy Tomato Soup and a grilled cheese sandwich- a meal to celebrate cooler temperatures. This soup is fantastic- try it if you don’t have a tomato soup recipe to call your own. [Side note: you would not believe how many shitty blogs I had to read to find one that listed this recipe as it’s written in the cookbook.  The one I linked to was the best of the bunch, and even so has me rethinking my intentional overuse of exclamation points :/ ]

Orecchiette with Fennel Sausage and Swiss Chard.  I mostly made this because it uses fennel pollen, an up-and-coming ingredient that I’d read about but never tasted.  I sought it out at a special spice shop! This recipe was more work than I wanted to expend for a simple pasta dinner (and I didn’t make the sausage, like the recipe calls for- I bought a fennel sausage from Richardson Farms at the farmers’ market).  It was good, but I don’t think good enough to warrant all the work.  But the fennel pollen- that was fun! Lovely lovely- like a flowery, anise-y breeze!

Up next week: Khichdi, Crispy Chicken and Apple Salad, and Cumin Roasted Cauliflower and Mahogany Glazed Chicken.

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