I had visitors from South America this weekend—JC’s mother and sister who live in Bogota, Colombia. I’ve enjoyed a number of good meals in their home and country, especially homemade arepas—a delicacy that Robin and JC sometimes make.
On the Menu
Since I had to work around a few Lenten diets, as well as food allergies for the evening meal at the farm, I went with a basic recipe: Chicken Parmesan. Few ingredients, easy and tasty. The chicken had a nice crunch after having been dipped first in flour, then an egg-water combination, and finally a Panko-Parmesan mixture.
I sometimes add tomato sauce and shredded Mozzarella atop and slip the cooked chicken into the oven until the cheese melts. But this time I kept with just a squeeze of lemon that gave a clean, pleasant tang to the parboiled pieces.
Stay Calm and Carrot On
I also served carrots, a versatile vegetable that dresses up nicely for company. In food magazines, carrots are often shown with a bit of top still attached, giving a colorful, artsy look to the dish.
I’d planned to make the carrot recipe from Chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, that includes harissa paste and creme fraiche, but couldn’t find my harissa paste. Agggh! Hate it when that happens. I considered another recipe that uses rum, honey and butter.
But in the end, I turned the dish over to Robin, who brushed the root vegetable with oil, added a dash of salt/pepper, slivered green onions, toasted pistachios and a sprinkle of thyme. She served it in our oven-to-table, black La Chambra bowl from Colombia.
Shells, Socca and More
Cyndy recommended a colorful side dish that she has served guests: Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells topped with a tomato sauce. It tastes like lasagna, she said, but without the meat. She was right; everyone loved it! To cut corners, I used Rao Marinara Sauce, the favorite of America’s Test Kitchen.