Many week’s back, we talked about the art of enjoyment under strained circumstances. Food and wine, from purchase to preparation, presentation and serving has continued to brighten our spirits and strengthen our joie de vivres.
2 medium eggplant
¼ cup tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon sea salt
Finely chopped parsley, for garnish
Pinch of smoked paprika
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
Pita and veggies, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°F and wrap the eggplant in foil. Roast the eggplant for 50 to 60 minutes, or until it is soft and collapses to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Once cool to the touch, peel the skin from the eggplant, removing any big clumps of seeds. Place the flesh in a strainer over a bowl and let stand for 20 minutes to remove excess water.
Place the eggplant flesh, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes, if using. Serve with pita and veggies.
Art Smith’s Chicken and Dumplings
one 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Place the chicken, onion, celery, and carrots in a 5-quart Dutch oven or covered casserole and add the water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and cover tightly. Simmer, occasionally skimming the broth, until the chicken is tender, about 50 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter (keep the broth and vegetables simmering), and cool it until it’s easy to handle. Discard the skin and bones and cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Meanwhile, increase the heat under the broth to high and cook until the liquid is reduced to 6 cups. (If you’re in a hurry, strain the broth, reserving the vegetables, and measure 6 cups of broth, reserving the remaining broth for another use. Return the 6 cups of broth and vegetables to the pot). Skim off any fat from the surface of the broth. Stir the chicken back into the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make the dumplings, place the flour, pinch of salt, and oil in a medium bowl and gradually stir in the water to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Roll out ¼ inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-inch wide strips. (If you wish, you can do what my mother does — make the dumpling strips while the chicken is simmering, and freeze the strips until ready to cook.)
Slide the strips into the simmering soup, placing them next to each other without stacking or crowding. Cover tightly and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the dumplings are cooked through and tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the dumplings with parsley. Serve from the pot, breaking up the dumplings as needed.
Bourbon Pecan Pie
Dough for single-crust pie
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark sorghum syrup
3 large eggs
1/4 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups pecan halves
Preheat oven to 325°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 9-in. deep-dish pie plate. Trim crust to 1/2 in. beyond rim of plate; flute edge. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
In a large saucepan, combine butter, sugar and corn syrup. Cook over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved; cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, bourbon, vanilla and salt; slowly whisk in sugar mixture. Stir in pecans; pour into crust.
Place on a baking sheet. Bake until a knife inserted in center comes out clean, 55-60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Sir Verde’s Wine Suggestions: 2019 Dry Chenin Blanc has Loire Valley-inspired roots. From Dry Creek Vineyard. This is versatile as an aperitif and food friendly. Tawny Port will add to the enjoyment of pecan pie.
Stay Safe. Eat and Drink Well. Love One Another.