Lemon Apple Slaw and Aunt Betty’s Barbeque* Beef

The first day of fall and my Akane and Liberty apple trees are gleaned of their fruit.  That means more apples than I can eat!  I make mention of apple pie but my son is not in the mood for sweets, he says, having filled up on Cowboy Cookies pulled from the freezer.  He is set on having Lemon Chicken again for dinner, however, and the only produce I have on hand besides apples, is a lovely little head of organic green cabbage and, of course, plenty of lemons.

A simple autumnal slaw: cabbage, apples, a lemon, mayo and sugar.

Looks like it’s time for an autumnal slaw.  And, in honor of the equinox, I use equal amounts of cabbage and apples.  🙂  It’s what I’ll be bringing to an 80th birthday party luncheon next weekend as an accompaniment to take our favorite fried chicken from the neighborhood pub.  Yum!  Next time ’round, I’ll make my Aunt Betty’s Barbeque* (see bonus recipe below) to go with.  I can taste it now…

Lemon Apple Slaw

4 cups green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
4 cups chopped apple with peel on
1 c. real mayonnaise
Zest and juice of one lemon (approximately 2-3 Tbs. juice and 2 tsp. zest)
1 Tbs. sugar
1. Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, zest, and sugar.  Blend until sugar is dissolved.  
2. Mix dressing with cabbage before chopping apples. 
3. Toss apples with cabbage and dressing one cup at a time to prevent apples from browning. 
4. Cover and chill in refrigerator for two hours before serving. 
5. Plate on cabbage leaves and garnish with walnuts and a wedge of lemon  if desired.

Lemon Apple Slaw.  A crisp, zingy accompaniment to your favorite fried chicken or barbeque.

 

Note: This slaw is very versatile.  It can be served as a meal in itself with the addition of a can of albacore tuna, for example.  Like its Waldorf cousin, green grapes and diced celery can be included as well.  The tart and tangy flavor will also go great with any barbeque, particularly my Aunt Betty’s Famous Beef Barbeque, bonus recipe below:

Aunt Betty’s Famous Beef Barbeque (exactly as she has written)

6 lb. boneless chuck roast

1 or 2 large onions

3 bay leaves

3 c. water

Bake at 350 degrees at least 3 hours or until meat easily pulls apart.  Shred, reserving liquid.

Sauce

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

2 1/2 cup liquid from meat

1/2 c dark brown sugar

1/2 c. clear Karo syrup

1/2-1 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 Tbs. dried mustard

Simmer 15 min.; pour over meat; heat.  Aunt Betty says, “I’ve found this makes enough sauce for 12 lbs. of meat.”  Freezes well. 

*Aunt Betty spells barbecue with a “q” and that is correct, too!

Let me remind you of…Lemon Chicken

But first…I shall recount my day.

It is Saturday.  At 9:30 AM my 17-year-old son comes into my room, sits next to me on the bed where I am still sleeping, and–while cuddling the cat–informs me that he has  been up since 7:30 AM, has showered and washed his hair, and is ready to “do something.”  Dressed in the new long sleeve American Eagle shirt that I got him (at 40% off on the back to school say, mind you), he is looking sharp.  And awake.   So, I head down stairs to make a cup of coffee and find that he has already unpacked my Starbucks VIA (I gave up on coffee makers long ago) and put the little packets in the stainless steel creamer pitcher from my grandmother, just like I do.  Clearly, he has already had his cup.

While sipping on my coffee, I make a few calls to family member on the other coast and catch my mother first.

“It is a beautiful day and Drew and I are going to go do something,” I tell her.

“Isn’t it a blessing to be able to say that and with confidence?” she asks.

It is, I agree.  A beautiful day.  Feeling better.  Mother and son time.

Soon after, we head downtown to the Farmer’s Market where we have an early Ethiopian lunch.  The most tender chicken, golden potatoes, and red sauce with nutmeg and cardamom to soak up in the spongy flatbread or injera. 

A delicious Ethiopian lunch at the Bellingham Farmer’s Market.

Tummies full, we stroll through the market, stopping to smell Red Barn’s heavenly lavender soap slices (made by a now retired math teacher) and admiring the heirloom tomatoes at Tiny’s Organic.  It is a beautiful,  warm early fall day and so we head on to our next destination: Stimpson’s Nature Reserve.

Once onto the trail, we pass the beaver pond and hike up a steady incline for a three-mile loop that will take us deep into the forests so typical of the Pacific Northwest.  Tall cedars and hemlocks line a trail that has become dusty after a dry summer…okay, that parts not so typical.   Sunlight streams through the dense forest.

Waiting for Mom to catch up.

Next on our agenda?  My famous Cowboy Cookies, per his request.  (Bonus recipe below, although no lemon is involved).  🙂  Once home, he settles onto his computer, I find a move on HBO (Sommersby) and the baking begins.

A couple of hours and garage cleaning spree later, it is nearing time for dinner.  We contemplate going to the store for some salmon, but he suggests we just “make something we have here.”  Smart boy.

I check the freezer.  “Mini-tacos, tilapia with Cajun seasoning, or chicken?” I offer.

“Chicken,” he replies.  Very smart boy.

I take two skinless/boneless chicken breasts out to thaw and know just what I will make–after we return from walking the dogs, that is.

Two tired and happy dogs later, I wash my hands in warm, sudsy water and am ready to get cookin’.   I scrub and quarter the Yukon Gold Potatoes and rinse and slice the narrow leafed Lacinato Kale from my bi-weekly Acme Farms and Kitchen local and organic Produce Box.  Both go into pots of boiling salted water.

“It’s going to get loud,” I warn before pounding and tenderizing the chicken breasts till they double in size.  I set half a stick of butter in a large skillet to melt while juicing a Meyer lemon. Some of the juice gets poured over the pulverized side of the chicken so that it soaks into the nooks and crannies and the rest gets added the butter in the skillet.  After flouring the chicken breasts on both sides, I place them in the pan to brown.   I sprinkle a little garlic salt on one side and when ready to turn, a little kosher salt on the other.  When the chicken breasts are nearly done, I add a few fresh rosemary leaves from my herb garden to the chicken breasts.

Meanwhile, more butter, kosher salt, and rosemary leaves are added to the potatoes.  The kale is plated with a dab of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice.

We eat.  He is hungry and quiet.  Soon, however, he comments, “The chicken is good!”

“It’s easy,” I tell him.  “Lemon Chicken.”

“But what’s that flavor?” he asks.

“The rosemary?” I suggest.

“No, that flavor on the chicken?” he probes, indicating that something more must be making the chicken so tasty.

I take another bite and can taste what he means.

“Fresh squeezed lemon juice,” I tell him.  “It’s amazing how well pure lemon juice goes with chicken,” I say and he nods in agreement.

I promise to show him how to make it next time.  So easy.  So good.

He cleans his plate.

“There is more of everything,” I tell him.

“I think I’ll just have a little dessert now,” he says.

That means Mom’s homemade Cowboy Cookies and Grandma’s Cake Batter Ice Cream.

What else is a growing boy to do?

Cowboy Cookies
1 c. sweet cream butter with salt (microwaved for 15-seconds)
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 c. old-fashioned or steel-cut oats
1 c. rice crispies
1 c. sweetened flaked coconut (optional but chewy good)
1 c. Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cream brown sugar, sugar, and butter.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and beat till well-blended.  Add flour one cup at a time with soda and salt.  Stir in oatmeal, rice crispies, coconut, and chocolate chips.  Drop by 1 1/2″ cookie scoops onto baking stone or greased cookie sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes.  When you smell ’em they’re done!  Makes three dozen yummy cookies.

Chewy cowboy Cookies. Chocolate, coconut, rice crispies and oats.

Improvisations on Lemon Chicken

This is not the lemon chicken recipe that I made with lemon juice and fish sauce once in my college years–gotta find that recipe–but Susan Branch’s rendering is so pretty, I just had to try it.   This is a lovely, simple lemon chicken recipe and goes perfectly with browned rosemary potatoes and asparagus.  It’s a great way to make chicken, too,  period.   Adding lemon, as usual, just elevates things to a whole new level…  The sauce is not really a sauce, as such.  I prefer to call it lemon butter.

And while this recipe is lovely in and of itself, you can punch it up a notch by substituting fresh rosemary for the parsley.  Enjoy Susan’s artistry and then read on for my inspired improvisation of…Lemon Chicken. 

 Pound away on those chicken breasts.  Notice that they will nearly double in size.

 After coating in flour, fry the chicken breast halves in the butter and olive oil until golden brown.  Take care to monitor the heat so that butter doesn’t blacken.

Brown chicken breast in butter and olive oil, about three minutes or so on each side.

Now here’s where the improvisation inspiration comes in.  As I didn’t have parsley flakes, either fresh or dried, I tiptoed out to my herb garden on a February night to snip branches of  “winter hardy” rosemary–first time in five years that it has actually survived, mind you.   After frying up the chicken until golden on each side, and removing it from the skillet to a warming pan, I looked at all that browned  butter and could not resist but to add the organic, local potatoes I had just boiled and the fresh rosemary I just snipped. 

Browned potatoes with rosemary.

After  browning the potatoes and placing them in a warm oven next to the chicken, throw a big bunch of fresh asparagus into boiling water.   Next, add the 4 Tbs. butter to your skillet and scrape down browned bits.  Stir in lemon juice (I used half of a Meyer lemon) along with more freshly chopped rosemary leaves.  Again, watch the butter, taking care to lower the heat so butter becomes nutty but not burnt.  When asparagus is tender and bright green, plate with chicken and potatoes.  Drizzle the lemon-rosemary butter over the chicken and asparagus.  Add a wedge of lemon and rosemary sprig for garnish.  Serve with a white wine that is complementary to poultry and lemon.  Recommendations anyone? 

  “Mmm,” the boyfriend says between inhaling bites.  “I can taste the rosemary.  Rosemary is my favorite herb, I think.” “Squeeze the lemon wedge over your chicken,”  I encourage.  “Can you smell that? The fragrant lemon and astringent  rosemary are a match made in culinary heaven.  So good together.”  “They’re friends,” he agrees. We both nod and succumb to eating in silence, letting our taste buds and olfactory senses do the talking.  “It’s still relatively healthy since it’s chicken, right?” he asks, after consuming the butter goodness. “Right,” I say.  “That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.” “And for dessert?”  he leads… “Lemon bars,” I reply. But, of course.