The Lexingtonienne
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  • June23rd

    Salad Days

    Posted in: Recipes

    My friend Gena and I met several years ago at a birthday dinner for my then-boyfriend (I have since married him). She thought it was funny that, upon our first meeting, I announced my hatred for salad, and apparently it made her want to be my friend.

    I appreciated Gena for not judging me for my salad aversion, and I wanted to be her friend right back.

    I really do hate salad. When I lived in Kentucky, I thought I loved salad. Iceberg lettuce, bacon, dressing so thick you can stand a spoon upright in it, maybe even some Fritos. In California, a salad is a plop of field greens with a squirt of lemon juice, maybe even some “edible flowers.” Puh! Puh!

    Sorry, but field greens are gross. They’re vascular and stringy and bitter, and for some reason the thought of all the chloroplasts and chlorophyll moving through the leaves really grosses me out.

    When we attend weddings or other banquet-style meals where a dreaded mesclun salad is set before me, I smile and say, “Looks delicious!” before I lean over to Hubba Bubba and growl, “Hurry up and eat yours so you can eat mine too. I can’t push these leaves around the plate forever.” Poor Mike has eaten a LOT of mesclun salad.

    People think this is funny, that someone can detest salad so sincerely, but I can’t help how I feel.

    I can, however, make a REAL salad at home. We’re talking barbecue chicken, corn, cheese, tortilla strips, and lettuce that doesn’t look like weeds that grow in sidewalk cracks.

    While we are on the subject of salads, I’d like to say that I generally have a laissez-faire attitude towards government… but I do think that all salads should be required by law to be chopped salads. I am an American. I want the food to get in mah belly as effortlessly as possible. Salad preparers of the world, please stop making me do all the work!

    Anyway, this is a fun summertime salad to serve when you have company. You can put all the ingredients into a little buffet line and let everyone assemble their own salad just the way they like it.

    For example, Gena doesn’t like barbecue sauce or corn, which is really WEIRD but obviously I am not judging, since our relationship began with her not judging me.

    So the moral of this blog post is don’t judge people. And don’t serve salads that aren’t chopped.

    BARBECUE CHICKEN CHOPPED SALAD
    Hearts of Romaine lettuce – 1 heart per 2 people – rinsed, dried, and chopped
    Chicken breasts – 1 per person
    Fresh corn on the cob – 1 ear per 2 people – cooked and with the kernels cut off
    Cucumber, chopped
    1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
    Fresh tomato, diced
    Red onion, thinly sliced (soak the slices in a bowl of water about 5 minutes to take the “sting” off)
    Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
    Tortilla strips
    Barbecue sauce
    Salad dressing of your choice – I like ranch or balsamic

    OTHER OPTIONS:
    Basil chiffonade (this is just when you roll the basil leaves up and slice them thinly)
    Jicama, chopped
    Avocado, chopped
    Cilantro (which I hate more than salad, but if you love it, go for it)

    Grill chicken breasts and brush with barbecue sauce. Cut into bite-size pieces and brush with more barbecue sauce if you like (I do). Prepare remaining ingredients, placing into separate bowls. You can do all of this ahead of time and keep your ingredients stored in the fridge until you are ready to serve. When you are ready, create your salad buffet with all the ingredients and allow guests to assemble and dress their own salads.

    Bon appetit,
    Hannah

    P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR AMELIA!

  • June22nd

    When you go to the Farmers Market, do you ever “accidentally” buy more fruit than you can possibly eat?

    What ever could one do with these extra peaches?

    I obviously have no choice but to turn them into a peach crumble. And why not? It’s the middle of the week.

    We’re not going to any parties and we’re not having company over any time soon. So yes, it will be a very good idea to have a peach crumble sitting on the counter.

    Want to know a trick for getting peaches peeled quickly? Don’t get me wrong — peeling peaches all day is a real gangsta party — but if you’re a party pooper like I am and you want to work fast…

    Boil your peaches for about 1 minute.

    The skins will slip off like magic.

    While you assemble your crumble, enumerate the reasons why you deserve peach crumble in the middle of the week.

    Let’s see… you got up this morning. There’s one reason. And it’s Tuesday!

    And don’t forget the main reason — you “accidentally” bought too many peaches at the Farmers Market. Look at you, not being wasteful! You deserve a peach crumble for being so economical.

    Now remember, since it’s the middle of the week, you don’t get ice cream or whipped cream with your peach crumble. You get a glass of skim milk. And you will like it. (You really will like it :) .)

    SUMMER PEACH CRUMBLE
    Adapted from the Apple Crisp recipe in the Bible Joy of Cooking. My recipe is considered a “crumble” because I added oats to the topping.

    8 peaches (some of mine were kind of small, so I added 1 green apple), peeled and cut into chunks
    1 T cornstarch
    1 C sugar, divided
    3/4 C all-purpose flour
    1/2 t salt
    1/2 t ground cinnamon
    1/4 t ground nutmeg (I left this out b/c I wasn’t feeling nutmeg-y, but it’s up to you.)
    1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

    Preheat oven to 375. Mix fruit with cornstarch and 1/4 C of sugar. Stir thoroughly and pour into an 8×8 or 9×9 inch (or similar size) baking dish. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, 3/4 C sugar, oats, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add butter and pulse in food processor or mix with fingers until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Scatter the topping over the fruit. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 50-55 minutes.

    Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream, or — on Monday through Thursday — a glass of skim milk.

    xoxo,

    Hannah

  • June21st

    The Sure Thing

    Posted in: Recipes

    Mike says he knew he loved me when he found out I could turn a green vegetable into a pork product. Ladies, if you are a-lookin’ for a sexy man like this one, keep reading.

    My friend Cheryl has a friend she calls Nanny, and Nanny is somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 years old or so. Well apparently the other night while at a party, Nanny was very disappointed that at 1:15 am — as she herself put it — she still hadn’t gotten laid.

    If you are like Nanny, you need to put some Latisse on your eyelashes, cook up these deal sealers green beans, and watch the men come aunnin’. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.

    You are going to need ham and salt pork. In case you haven’t figured it out yet from reading this blog, I’m not here to make you skinny, but I can make you fat and sassy. And boys like sassy ladies.

    There’s really not much to these things, which is what’s so great. You throw everything in a pot, then set it to simmer for a couple of hours while you put on lipstick and practice your “come hither” glance in the mirror.

    And when your date tries them, he’ll say, “I know that green beans are a vegetable, but you have magically turned them into a pork product. You must be some kind of sorceress, because I am captivated by your transformative abilities and mythical charm.” Done and done.

    Green beans: Some say down-home; I say dead-sexy.

    SOUTHERN-STYLE MAN-MAGNET GREEN BEANS
    fresh green beans, washed, stringed and with the ends snapped off
    onion, diced (btw, I always use a sweet onion… in every recipe)
    ham, diced
    salt pork – 4-6 slices
    garlic – 2-4 cloves
    ground pepper to taste (but be generous)
    chicken broth – enough to just cover the beans

    Note: There are no measurements here. Adjust your amounts according to the number of gentlemen callers you plan to entertain. Also, you will not need to add any salt… you will be plenty puffy the next day without it.

    Throw everything into a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook on low heat for a few hours, or until they look like your Mimi made them.

    Get it girl,
    Hannah

  • June18th

    I got into LAX last night and am already missing everyone in Kentucky…

    Cousin Parker and Cousin Ava

    Aunt Allison (here with Cooper)

    Cousin Kate and Little Brother

    Mama, Lori, and Dad

    Papaw

    Mimi, who wouldn’t let me take her picture but whose blueberry pies are very photogenic

    Sister and Dan

    and, most of all — yep, I’m playing favorites here — my main man Cooper

    I better run… now that I’m back in LA, I have a consultation with my plastic surgeon, a meeting with my guru, and an appointment to test-drive a Porsche I can’t afford. (Just kidding, I’m just going to the grocery store. In my Camry.)

    Thanks to all for a wonderful visit in Lexington!

    Have a fantastic weekend, everybody! I’ll be back in the kitchen next week and blogging some new recipes, so stay tuned…

    xoxo,
    Hannah