This past weekend I had the honor of cooking a buffet meal for the birthday party for Paolo, one of our CSA members. He and his wife Louise, and their two daughters Francesca and Julianna are our Albany hosts. It was such a treat to work on putting together this menu, which of course highlighted so much growing on the farm at the moment. It was a simple spread which allowed the vegetables to take center stage and shine. The evening reaffirmed my belief that food from stores just never tastes this good. Sure it might often look better, but the flavor is seldom equal. And once again I was reminded that simple food, made with fresh and flavorful ingredients, doesn’t need much fussing. For this meal I made Chimichurri Sauce and a Roasted Tomato Salsa, such great ways to take advantage of box ingredients (the recipes are below).
Chicken, Eggplant, Onion and Cherry Tomato Skewers
Recipe from the Farmhouse Kitchen
One of the two meat dishes I made were these skewers marinated in the Chimichurri Sauce. The nice thing with kabobs/skewers is you can really reduce the amount of meat because visually you are not grabbing a slice or hunk of meat. It is also a fun way to eat that kids tend to enjoy. If you don’t have a grill, you can bake these in a hot oven at 450 for about 10 minutes, then turn and bake another 10 to 15. It requires less time if the chicken pieces are smaller. If you are doing this in the oven take advantage of having the heated and roast some potatoes to go with it! Or you could cube up some potato and add them to to the skewers.
1 lb of Chicken meat, I used a combo of thigh and breast meat, cut into small chunks
Eggplant, cubed about 1”
1 Onion, cut quartered then cut into 2-3” chunks
Cut chicken and marinate in enough Chimichurri sauce to coat well (recipe to follow). Let marinate over night or at least for several hours. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes. To assemble the skewers I first put on one chunk of eggplant and slide it all the way down leaving a good 2” of space for grabbing room. Then I put on a hunk of chicken, followed by some onion pieces, followed by more chicken, followed by Cherry Tomato, then a bit more chicken and topped with eggplant. I used the eggplant to cap top and bottom of the skewers. I packed the chicken on pretty tight, I would recommend not doing that, as I found it was hard to determine if the meat was cooked well through. Next time I will give the meat just a little bit more space.
I read a lot of Chimichurri recipes and kind of put my own version together taking a little from all of them.
1/2 cup Parsley, finely chopped OR if you have a food processor, just rough chop
1/2 cup Cilantro, same as with the Parsley
1 tsp dried Oregano
2 TB Basil, rough chopped
3 cloves Garlic
2 Green Onions, chopped
1/2 Serrano Pepper, seeds and veins removed
2 TB fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Put all of the ingredients into a food processor if you have one, and pulse until finely chopped. This definitely tastes better after sitting in the fridge for a day.