Life continues at a rapid pace sucking the time out of every day. Sure, things are being cooked, cars are being restored (just not the one mentioned here), we drive up to open the house in Maine for my Mom this Saturday - turn on the water, reconnect the dishwasher, the ice maker, the washing machine, etc, gardens are being planted, flower pots are being filled, water features are cleaned out and restocked with a GIANT bullfrog tadpole named Hermione (pictures if I can get her(?) to sit still long enough) and recipes are beginning to be culled for Summer camp.
Ah Summer. That will be 11 weeks of 5 - 8 recipes a day for just the 11+ age group. Given all of that activity there are not a lot of words forming in my head and not many pictures are being taken to keep things up here. I am sure that my new car and a season ahead of winding roads and far flung farmer's markets, road side stands and foodie field trips will remedy that. In the meantime I bring you this quick dinner dish.
Pictured above is one of my quick go to recipes. I make the aioli in about 5 minutes in a mortar and pestle. Speaking of, I was reading Jamie Oliver;s website recently and I saw a thread where someone was bashing Jamie for having a recipe that suggested pounding something in a mortar and pestle. The ranter was suggesting that he didn't have a 'gourmet' kitchen with all sorts of extra specialty equipment like that. I just want to take a second to say that I really couldn't live without mine. I use it all the time and it has a permanent home on my counter as it should since it weighs about 10 pounds and is made of a rough stone. I bought it for a whopping $15.00 at an Asian market it is an indispensable tool.
These thighs are so easy to make. 10 minutes to get them ready in the morning (or the night before) and another 5 minutes before you put them in the oven. BIG reward for very little effort. The aioli I use is more of a Spanish aioli, it is not mayonnaise based and I don't even use yolks in it. It is pretty loose when you make it, so don't worry, it tastes lovely and GARLICKY! No vampires here.
For those car fans who allowed me a little moment of gearhead mixed in with the cooking recently do continue on, for those who want the recipe, just scroll on down and skip my little car diatribe.
In the end the family Pontiac was beyond the scope of restoration given her value as a restored car. I would have had to pour 8 - 10 thousand into her to make her a nice set of wheels again. In the end Dad and I decided to sell her and my hunt for a convertible carried on. I had it pared down to a Mercedes 450SL or a 500SL or a Jaguar. Older ones are not difficult to find at a really reasonable price. My dad has collected many a Jag over the years and husband, being a Brit, was rallying for the English to win over the Germans. Dad also has quite a few great jag mechanics under his belt (hello Elston!) for me to go to and that is key if you are going to own one of these beauties. This car came my way at just the right time and in just the right situation. She is a California car, then Arizona. Stored when she came to MA and not driven at all for the last 4 years, the sticker on the windshield was from 2006 and the property of an estate. I brought her home a few weeks ago and I could not be happier. So if you ever see her pulling up at your local Farmer's Market come and say hello I plan on spending lots of time with her this summer.
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Aioli and Herbs
5 cloves garlic, peeled
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Bone in skin on chicken thighs
Fresh herbs - I use thyme, rosemary and sometimes tarragon and savory- don't chop it, use the whole twigs and branches
Lemon slices, at least one for each thigh
Place the garlic cloves in the mortar with a good pinch of kosher salt and pound into a paste.
Scrape everything to the center and begin adding oil a drop at a time while using the pestle to grind in a circle, not pounding. Continue adding and stirring, adding and stirring. After a TBS or two has gone in it should hold together fairly well and you can stream in the oil, but continue stirring with the pestle, grinding against the sides. Stop occasionally to scrape down sides. I generally end up with about 1/2 cup of oil.
Gently loosen the skin on the thighs so you can slather the mixture UNDER the skin, but keep the skin intact for roasting. I pop them all in a ziploc and leave them in the fridge to hang out.
When you are ready to cook them, get a shallow roasting dish, set the oven to 425F. Lay a lemon slice down, cover with some of the fresh herbs, no need to chop, whole twigs and branches are fine, lay over 1 thigh, season with a little kosher salt and pepper. Continue doing this until all the thighs are in the pan. I even use a spatula to scrape out any extra aioli from the bag to drizzle on top of the thighs.
Place in the oven and roast until an instant read thermometer reads 170F and the skin is nice and crispy. Thighs are pretty forgiving and do not dry out easily. Depending on how large your thighs are, this could take 25 - 35 minutes.
Once they are done I remove the thighs, take some tongs and squeeze out the lemon juice from the slices, pour off the pan drippings, remove the fat and use this as a sauce to pour over the chicken or the rice you might serve it with.