Sorry, folks but it looks like another column of updates and tying up a few loose ends.
I finally got the flowers and vegetables planted last week. As I write this, I can see The Berkshire Eagle gardening columnist, Ron Kujawski, shaking his head at that confession. I’m sure the marigolds and dianthus I planted will be OK; I’m also pretty sure any hopes I have of harvesting tomatoes and peppers are slim to none.
The good news is that the rose bushes in the front of our house, which for the past two springs I thought were dead, are once again showing signs of rebirth -- one is actually in bloom.
Part of the fun of writing this column is the interaction with the readers -- on the phone, via emails and in person. Many of you share recipes with me, others tell me that they could relate to a column I wrote, some are looking for a recipe and some give me helpful hints.
Such was the case when I went to breakfast with my friend, Sue, on Saturday morning. As we waited for the waitress to come over, we discussed Sue’s daughter’s recent bridal shower and the guess-the-spice game we played. (An update on that follows Š) The waitress, whose name I didn’t catch, came over and in the course of conversation, offered an unique way for cooking fresh corn on the cob.
Our waitress told us that when cooking corn for a crowd, she puts the shucked ears of corn into a beverage cooler, then pours in enough boiling water to cover them, closes the cover and leaves them alone for 30 minutes. She claims the corn comes out perfectly every time, and also added when she cooks corn for her family, she does it the same way, but using a smaller cooler.
So, back to the spice game at the bridal shower ... I asked readers for recipes using coriander, which I had never encountered until the shower. I love how it smells and bought some last weekend -- and just in time! Bill Haddad, a former North Adams resident now living in the state of Florida, emailed:
"This recipe comes from a Middle East cookbook, ‘Lebanese Cuisine’ by Madeline Farah with over two hundred authentic recipes designed for the gourmet, the vegetarian, the health food enthusiast.
"If you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger." -- Kahlil Gibran
Okra with Oil
1 pound young whole okra
2Ž3 cup olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
2 teaspoons coriander seeded or
1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 can of tomato sauce (8 oz.)
1Ž2 to 3Ž4 cups lemon juice
Clean okra with a slightly dampened cloth. Cut off stems. Sauté in olive oil until lightly brown. Set aside.
Place remaining oil (1/2 recipe ingredient) in a saucepan and sauté chopped onions, garlic and seasoning. Add okra to sautéed onions, then the tomato sauce and enough water to barely cover okra. Cook on medium temperature for 20-25 minutes. This is especially good over fluffy rice or vermicelli rice.
Note: Frozen okra may be used, omitting the sautéing of the okra in oil.
Delicious! When I make this I sometimes use fresh or frozen green beans. (Good to know since okra is not one of my favorite veggies!)
Elaine Pierce of Clarksburg was quick to respond also, sending me recipes she had spotted in Cooking Light magazine the same day she read my column.
Chipotle Chicken with Coriander Rice
3Ž4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1Ž2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1Ž2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1Ž4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1Ž2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1Ž2 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1Ž4 cup cherry preserves
2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1Ž2 teaspoon ground cumin
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and coriander; sauté 1 minute. Stir in rice and 1Ž4 teaspoon salt; sauté 11Ž2 minutes. Stir in parsley and lemon juice.
Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1Ž4 teaspoon salt and 1Ž4 teaspoon black pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side. Place chicken on a baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes or until done. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add stock; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in remaining 1Ž4 teaspoon black pepper, cherry preserves, and remaining ingredients; cook 3 minutes or until reduced to about 1Ž4 cup. Serve sauce with chicken and rice.
Yogurt Marinated Chicken and Zucchini
1Ž2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1Ž2 teaspoon ground cumin
1Ž4 teaspoon ground ginger
1Ž4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cut into 32 cubes)
32 (1/2-inch) slices zucchini
8 (8-inch) skewers
1Ž2 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, ginger, coriander and minced garlic. Add chicken; toss. Thread chicken and zucchini coated with cooking spray alternately onto skewers. Sprinkle with salt. Place skewers on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 8 minutes, turning skewers occasionally for an even char. Sprinkle with fresh dill.
Note: If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes before grilling.
And by the way, five Rasta hats knitted and counting ...