Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hot Spiced Apple Cider with Bourbon

I'm the lamest cooking blogger ever.  I mean, we just finished the most epic cooking/eating holiday ever and I have nothing to show for it besides a measly little cocktail (figures, huh?).  I had 2 Thanksgivings in 2 cities with 19 total family members and 6 dogs.  There were dozens of dishes that were lovingly prepared and scarfed down as if we hadn't eaten in years.  And through all of this, I took 0 pictures and will blog about a total of 0 Thanksgiving dishes.  Sorry.  It was all really good, and I'll try harder next year.

BUT!  Thanksgiving and the weekend following it was lovely and tons of fun.  Some highlights (in chronological order so people don't think I'm rating family memories in terms of fun-ness):

1) Going to happy hour at a retirement home.  Did you know some retirement homes have bars in them?  And that between 4:30 and 6 every night, you can have 2 free drinks?  Who says getting old is hard?

2)  Throwing classiness to the wind and eating buffalo chicken dip as an appetizer for Thanksgiving.  Sure, it was a little out of place next to baked brie and a lovely Pinot Noir, but who's counting?

3) My husband's grandmother preparing a centerpiece for the serving table and including a neon patterned Nerf football made for dogs along with the flowers and greens.  In her defense, it did fit into the vase perfectly and the colors did kind of match.  Like the sweet people we are, we pointed and whispered and laughed.  And then left it there for the duration of the evening.

4) My dear, sweet Dad insisting upon sleeping on an air mattress in the study so his obnoxious offspring and their mangy pets could have the comfy beds in the house (HIS house, mind you).  And then one of said mangy pets leaving a little "nugget" on the floor of his study, right underneath when the air mattress goes.  And, one noticed the nugget until the next morning and we found it squished onto the bottom of the mattress.  At least it was the bottom, right?  Silver lining.

5) Spending an afternoon at a local winery with a friend.  The lady running the tasting room had a heavy hand and, like me, seemed to appreciate a healthy pour.  Free wine is always good in my book, especially when its enjoyed on a mountaintop with fried oysters and good company.

6) Nightly card games between several of the most competitive people on earth.  We duke it out for who gets deemed the sorest loser...its hard to choose just one.

All jokes aside, I had a moment on Saturday where I literally thought to myself, "life can't get any better than this".  I feel very blessed indeed and wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's.  Because the one I have is a darn good time and I have the best family and friends a girl could ask for.  So, let's have some bourbon!

I don't know where I even got the idea to make apple cider bourbon drinks, but I sure am glad it came to me.  This was so easy and delicious.  We felt so fancy drinking these bad boys!

Hot Spiced Apple Cider with Bourbon
Source: my own recipe

1/2 gallon apple cider
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
1/2 tbsp ground cloves
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 lemon, sliced
8 oz. good bourbon (recommend Knob Creek)

cinnamon and sugar combined on a small plate

Combine apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar, honey, and lemons in a crock pot, and heat on low for a couple of hours.  Leave on low to keep warm.

Wet the rim of a rocks glass with lemon juice and dip into cinnamon sugar mixture.  Add 1 ounce (or more if you like) of bourbon to glass, and then carefully pour hot cider in to mix.  Enjoy immediately.  And then again.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chorizo Stuffed Pork Loin and Arugula Salad with Maple Dressing

I've been meaning to blog about this amazing meal for, like, forever.  Or since Friday when it was born.  But much to my dismay, I haven't been able to think of a story I felt like telling alongside the recipe for chorizo stuffed pork and arugula salad with maple dressing.  I guess I could just say that we made it, ate it, and then drank a bunch of wine and then at midnight, while playing Wii bowling, we all decided we should go REAL bowling.  We piled into the car (driven by someone fit to drive, of course) and headed to the classy bowling alley down the street.  Despite my stellar skills at Wii bowling, I'm quite terrible at real bowling, especially after midnight.  It was shameful.  I think I only broke 100 once out of 3 games, and it wouldn't have been SO bad, except for the fact that on the way there, I announced (loudly) at least 5 times that I was really awesome at bowling and was going to kick everyone's butts.  Talking smack doesn't work if you can never back it up.

Anyway!  That's all I've got for today.  Its rainy and gloomy outside and things are awfully slow here in my home office today.  Makes me want to take a nap (not that I would EVER do that).

I had been wanting to make this cornbread and chorizo stuffing for awhile and we thought about making Friday Night Dinner a practice Thanksgiving, but the boys nixed that idea.  So instead we decided to butterfly a large pork loin and stuff the chorizo mix in there, roll it up, and bake it with a little spice rub on the pork.  It was amazing!  And luckily since we cooked at our house, we got to keep the leftovers!  We served this with garlic butter roasted mushrooms and arugula salad with pomegranate seeds, blue cheese, bacon, and maple vinaigrette.  Yum!  And totally easier than it sounds - enjoy!

Roasted Pork Loin with Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing
Source: highly adapted from Epicurious

For the stuffing:
1 pound fresh Mexican chorizo, casings removed (I used chicken chorizo to make it healthier)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the chorizo, breaking it up with a spoon and stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have browned, about 10 minutes. Add the crumbled cornbread and cilantro and gradually pour in enough of the stock so the stuffing is not too dry but not too wet. Stir gently.
For the Pork:
1 pork loin roast, 3-4 pounds
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove fat from pork loin and butterfly, so that it lies flat (almost like a thick pizza crust).  Spread cornbread chorizo mix evenly on pork, going about an inch from the edge.  Press down to adhere and then sprinkle chopped cilantro onto the mixture.  Carefully roll pork loin (like sushi!) and secure with cooking twine.  Combine spices in a small bowl and rub mixture onto rolled pork.  Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake 20 minutes.

Lower heat to 350 degrees and bake 20 additional minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 150-155 (make sure you insert thermometer into the meat itself, not the stuffing).  Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing into 1" slices.

Arugula Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Dates, and

Blue Cheese

Source: My own creation

For the salad:
1 bag baby arugula
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
3 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped (I used apple cinnamon flavored bacon from Whole Foods, and it was AMAZING)
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
7-8 large dates, pits removed and chopped

For the dressing:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2-3 tbsp apple cider
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used sugar free)
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Combine first 7 ingredients (through salt and pepper).  Slowly add in olive oil, whisking to combine.  Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cola Braised Pulled Pork and Stovetop Mac and Cheese

You guys.  Have you ever seen the movie, "The Strangers"?  Its basically my worst nightmare realized in the form of a completely ridiculous yet painfully believable showing of cinematic genius.  Its about these people who make the mistake of answering the door to a stranger in the middle of the night and then they are terrorized and killed for no reason.  Sounds classy, huh?  I literally couldn't sit still while we watched it and instead paced the room, yelling at my husband, "why are they DOING this to me!?!?!  I can't even look!  Turn it off!  NO WAIT, leave it on!!!" and then I would plug my ears for the really scary parts. 

Ever since I watched that movie, I've been kind of scared to sleep in our house alone at night.  Because I'm convinced that I'll wake up to someone knocking at the door, and we KNOW that once that happens, its all over.  I often lay in bed and plan my escape routes should someone break in to come and get me.  I decide whether to hide or scream like a banshee and try to escape, depending on where the imaginary intruder might enter the house.  I think about if I climb out the window, how do I get Lola (the dog) out the window too?  Do I grab a butcher knife or a baseball bat?  Or neither!?!?  Its very stressful, just thinking about it.  And then of course when I go to sleep, I dream about it, too.

My husband was out of town this past week, and of course like a huge idiot, I start thinking about The Strangers as I'm getting ready for bed.  And then I have nightmares and lay awake, listening for the dreaded knock on the door.  Good lord, writing it down makes me sound a little bit crazy.  Anyway!  So then I can't go back to sleep right away because if I do, the dream will pick up right where it left off.  So I have to watch something on TV to get my mind off things.  I had a bunch of DVR'd episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and that show is not scary at all.  It was perfect!  Until I fell back asleep in the middle of the third one.  My stranger dream picked up right where it left off, except that this time, instead of trying to kill me with a knife, the intruder tried to kill me by suffocating me with a pork chop.  I kid you not.

Anyway, now that I've confirmed that I'm completely insane, let's talk about pulled pork, shall we?  Made this for Monday night football when the Eagles lost to the Bears.  Shameful.  The pork, however, was anything but.  I could eat pulled pork every day.  But then I'd be too fat to climb out the window when an intruder comes.  So we'll keep this filed under the "once in awhile" bucket.

Crockpot Pulled Pork Braised in Cola
Source: Tasty Kitchen 

1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 large Bone-in Pork Butt
1 whole Large Onion, Peeled
1 cup Cola (can Also Sub Cherry Cola Or Root Beer - I used Dr. Pepper!)
4 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar (divided In To 2)
1 cup BBQ Sauce (homemade, recipe below)

In a small bowl, combine all of the dry spice ingredients for the rub. Liberally season the pork roast all over with the rub. You may have extra left over, I save it for later use in an empty spice jar.

Slice onion in half crosswise, then cut those slices in half again so that you have 4 large pieces, or dice it if you prefer. Separate the onion into rings. Lay almost all of the onion in the bottom of the crockpot, leaving a few rings for the top. Place roast on top of the onions and lay the rest of the onion on top of the roast. Pour cola and 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar over roast. Cover, turn on low, and cook for 7 hours. After 5 hours check to see if the meat is pulling off the bone.  If it is you are ready to shred, if not check it again in 30 minutes.

When the pork is ready, remove it from the crockpot. Pour out the juices into a large measuring cup or bowl. Set aside. Remove onion from crockpot. Either use them to top sandwiches, or slice them up and add them later to the shredded pork.

Using two forks, shred pork and return it to the crockpot. Mix 1 cup of BBQ sauce with 1/2 cup of juices, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar. Pour over the shredded pork and toss gently to coat the pork. If it isn’t wet enough, add a little more juice, if you like it thicker, add more BBQ sauce. Keep it on warm until you are ready. Then serve and enjoy!

Emeril's BBQ Sauce
Source: Emeril!

4 cups ketchup
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup pure cane syrup, or molasses
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Creole or other spicy whole-grain mustard
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon or other hot pepper sauce  
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Easy Mac and Cheese
Source: Sunny Side Up

16 oz box pasta, I used small shells
2 Tbsp butter
12 oz can evaporated milk
2 egg, beaten
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp red pepper optional
1/8-1/4 tsp Black Pepper
2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese (I used gouda and cheddar mixed, and it must be freshly grated)
Salt to taste

Boil pasta shells 1-2 minutes short of the suggested time on the box. In the meantime, combine the evaporated milk, eggs, mustard powder, and pepper in a large measuring cup and whisk together.

Drain the pasta in a colander and then return it right back to the hot pan. Reduce heat to low. Add the butter and stir until melted.

Carefully add the milk egg combination to the pan, stirring constantly to avoid making scrambled eggs. Stir for 3-4 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Add the cheese in 4-5 increments, making sure that each addition is completely melted before adding the next.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Mona's Egg Salad Sandwiches

Oh hey there!  Me again.  Been traveling for the past few days and am just now settling back into a routine (not that I have a routine at all....but if I did, I'd be settling into it).  I was in Nashville and Atlanta and got to see some old friends and their cute baby, Thomas, AND my sister and sister-in-law, and my darling niece, Blair.  I even babysat for her and didn't scar her for life.  Super win.

I had some successful meetings and closed tons of business.  Woot!  That's the good news.  The bad news is that I learned that Hyatt Place hotels are not the same thing as Grand Hyatt hotels.  Not the same at all, people.  I wish I had known that before I booked Hyatt Places while I was gone...I've turned into such a snob.  The Hyatt place in downtown Atlanta was the first time I've locked the deadbolt AND chain lock in a hotel, like, ever.  Oh well, live and learn.  And only book Grand Hyatts from now on.

Anyway, I haven't cooked in like a week but luckily I have some tasty things saved up so I don't have to abandon my blog.  I'm sure all 12 of you who read this would be real sad if that happened.

This chicken noodle soup was ah-mazing.  A perfect concoction to enjoy on a chilly weekend, and it was super easy.  My husband did happen to mention, however, that I made his mom's egg salad wrong because I used Duke's mayonnaise instead of Helman's.  He's right that I used Duke's, but he is NOT correct in his assessment that its somehow inferior to Helman's.  I mean, really.


Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
Source: Smells Like Home

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks celery, medium-diced (1 cup)
3 carrots, medium-diced (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups wide egg noodles
2-3 cups cooked shredded chicken
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.

Pour in the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook for 10 minutes, then add the chicken and parsley. Continue cooking until the chicken is heated through and serve immediately.

Simple Egg Salad
Source: My mother-in-law, Mona

8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
3/4 cup mayonnaise, or to taste
1/3 cup yellow mustard, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
couple sprinkles of garlic powder

Mash cooked and peeled eggs in a large bowl.  Add mayonnaise and mustard and stir to combine.  Adjust mayonnaise and mustard amounts as needed.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve on white sandwich bread.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beef Bolognese over Rigatoni (With Red Wine, Of Coure)

I can't believe its Sunday again already.  I don't know what the heck I've been doing all week, but if I don't remember, there's a good chance that it wasn't anything particularly exciting.  I haven't been traveling for the past 2 weeks, so the number of days I get dressed is, well, taking a bit of a beating.  I keep having to do laundry because all of my lounge clothes are dirty.  If by "do laundry", you mean, "go to Target to buy more lounge clothes".  I know that people say its best when you work from home to get dressed every day as if you were going into an office.  These "people" have lost their minds.  How exactly is it best to put on dress pants or a pencil skirt when you're going to sit at the desk in your spare room with a puppy snout on your knee?  What kind of hare-brained idea is that?  No one can see me when I'm doing my wheeling and dealing on the phone and email, so why not be comfy?  And I don't care what anyone says, PJs are the most comfy thing one can wear.  Except for maybe the exception of this:

If there's something more awesome than working from home, its working from home in THIS.  How sexy is that?  I'm sure my husband would be thrilled if he came home to me in this pink monstrosity every day.  It even comes with socks!

Anyway, lucky for him he usually comes home to me in something slightly less ridiculous, and usually with something tasty simmering on the stove.  Friday it was homemade bolognese sauce.  Smelled so good he even overlooked the fact that I would deign to put carrots in a pasta dish.  I probably should have halved this bad boy, though, because it made a boat-ton of sauce.  We'll have leftovers for years.

Found this on Pioneer Woman's site, and I adapted it a bit to my liking but also based on what I had in the pantry.  It turned out great...hearty without being to heavy, and even relatively healthy.  As healthy as a meat sauce served over pasta can be, I guess.


Beef Bolognese over Rigatoni
Source: Adapted from Pioneer Woman
1/2 cup Olive Oil (I used less)
1-1/2 cup Grated Carrots (I used 1/2 grated, 1/2 diced)
1 whole Large Red Onion, Diced
2 pounds Ground Beef (I used 1 1/2 lbs beef and 1/2 pound ground chicken breast)
2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano (I used fresh)
2 Tablespoons Dried Basil Flakes (I used Italian Seasoning Mix)
1 can (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
5 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 cup (to 2 Cups) Red Wine (I used 2.  Of course.)
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
2 cans (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
1 cup Milk (I used skim)
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Fresh Parmesan Cheese (I added a bunch of grated parm to the sauce)

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture, and then add in the ground meat. Cook for a few minutes until brown, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.

Throw in oregano and basil.  When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat. Add garlic and stir to combine.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine. Stir together. Add Worcestershire and stir. Add canned tomatoes. Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours—however long you need.

Serve with pasta and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spicy Flank Steak with Avocado Cucumber Dipping Sauce

I have this friend named Kara.  We go back a LONG time....I believe that if I think really hard about it, she is my oldest friend.  Like, she's been my friend for the longest, not that she's older than all my other friends.  Funny story about Kara being old, though, which I will tell you below in case you care.  Kara and I got into our fair share of typical teenage mischief together, but I'd say we both turned out okay as adults (if you start adulthood at age 25).  We were especially fond of cruising around in our beat up cars - her's a blue Ford Taurus named Big Blue and mine a 1983 yellow Volvo (with a poop brown interior!!) named Colonel Mustard.

The other day, Kara was telling her 11-year old son Jordan about how she and I loved to drive around in our beaters and we didn't even care that they weren't fancy cars, because any car = freedom.  The conversation went a little like this:

Kara: "Ann's car was named "Colonel Mustard", isn't that funny?"
Jordan: "Andrew is SO awesome."  (side note, Andrew is my husband, and he IS awesome)
Kara: "Uh, yeah, but we were talking about Ann.  Don't you think she is awesome?"
Jordan: "I mean, sure, I guess, but Andrew is REALLY awesome."


Jordan: "You are older than Ann, right?"
Kara: "Actually, no.  Ann is one month older than I am."
Jordan: "REALLY!??!?!  No way!!!  Are you sure?  Because Ann looks a LOT younger than you."

So, the good news is that I look younger than my dear friend Kara, and the bad news is that my husband is WAY more awesome than I am.  I could have told you that without the help of an 11-year old.

Anyway, its clear that Kara too is awesome for spawning such an insightful child.  She's also beautiful and smart and talented and funny and I love her like she's my own sister.  But despite her array of skills, not many of them are of the domestic type - she only knows how to cook approximately 4 things.  Good thing she knows how to use a credit card, and most importantly (especially for her family), she isn't AFRAID to use a credit card. 

I posted a story awhile back (I swore not to link to it, but you MIGHT be able to find it if you search for "guacamole") that didn't portray her cooking skills in the best light.  And the funny thing is, I was mostly just talking smack, because her guacamole was actually quite delicious.  Just not as delicious as mine.

Anyway, after that post, she demanded that I make one of her other recipes and post it on my blog and rave about how amazing it was.  She emailed me a recipe for spicy flank steak with avocado dipping sauce like 6 months ago, and like the good friend I am, I've been ignoring her many pleas to make it.  UNTIL NOW!  I whipped this little concoction up last night and served it with cheesy chile rice and broccoli.  And guess what?  It WAS delicious and its definitely going into the "make again" file.  Kara is now a culinary genius and because of this wonderful contribution to my blog, I will from now on refer to her as "my friend with the tasty flank steak recipe" instead of "the friend I beat in the guacamole smackdown". 


Spicy Flank Steak with Avocado Dipping Sauce
Source: My Dear Friend Kara

2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
2 lb flank steak

Avocado Dipping Sauce
1 english cucumber (3 inches chopped)
1/4 c sour cream
1 med avocado, peeled & pitted
1/4 c fresh dill, chopped
2 T fresh lime juice
2 t minced jalapeno
1 t minced garlic
1/2 t kosher salt

Lightly brush steaks with olive oil.  Season evenly with rub.  Let stand @ room temperature for 30 minutes. (I marinated my flank steak in some vegetable oil, Dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, a few crushed garlic cloves, and red wine vinegar for about 5 hours beforehand as well.  You can do this if you want)

Grill steaks over direct heat (high 500 F) w/ lid closed as much as possible.  4-6 minutes for medium rare, turn once or twice.  Slice across the grain.

To make dipping sauce, mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Serve with steak.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Let There Be Light

I love Fall.  Its all cozy inside and pretty outside.  The weather gets cooler so I can wear sweaters and cute scarves and leggings and (one of my 3 new pairs of) boots every single day.  I can vote on the football games and eat delicious tailgate food (even if we aren't tailgating).  No one expects you to wear a bathing suit (thank God).  Fall is, just....perfection!

Except, it gets dark much earlier which really cramps my style when trying to photograph food.  I have this bad-ass Nikon DSLR camera and despite its best efforts, it take horrible pictures in my kitchen (clearly the outcome of the photos has nothing to do with MY shortcomings).  Everything looks yellow, which is no bueno.  The color yellow should be reserved for food items like Chardonnay, not short ribs.

So, I did some reading and decided I needed an external flash, or speedlight.  I don't actually know exactly why this little concoction makes such a difference, but it does.  Something about the flash being stronger and the fact that it faces upwards instead of straight ahead, which allows the light to bounce off the ceiling, thus softening it so the photo looks natural.  Or, something like that.

Anyway, my new Nikon SB400 arrived in the mail the other day and I got right to work on practicing using that bad boy.  I love it!  The chicken recipe below was actually prepared by the lovely Lauren, and I can take no credit for how well it turned out.  I was, however, there for moral support and provided the wine.  Do what you do best, eh?

All of these photos were taken indoors, under kitchen lights while it was dark outside.  Not bad!  I still need to work on tweaking some of the camera settings and practice my photoshop skills, but a vast improvement from how we were looking before.  And look how cute my dog is!

Chicken with Farro and Herb Roasted Pistou
Source: Bon Appetit (prepared by Lauren)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 2 1/2-3-lb. chicken, halved, backbone removed
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Farro with Acorn Squash and Kale (recipe below)
Herb Pistou (recipe below)
1 lemon, halved

Whisk 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 Tbsp. chives, and next 7 ingredients in a medium bowl. Divide marinade between 2 (gallon-size) resealable plastic freezer bags. Season chicken with 2 1/2 tsp. salt; place 1 chicken half in each bag. Seal bags, releasing excess air. Chill overnight.

Place bags side by side in a large pot. Add cold water to cover by 2". Heat water over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 150°. Turn off heat, cover, and poach chicken for 50 minutes. Transfer bags to a large bowl of ice water to cool, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken from bags; pat dry.

Preheat oven to 450°. Heat vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add chicken halves, skin side down, so chicken sits against sides of pan. Cook, moving chicken occasionally for even cooking, until skin is browned all over. Flip chicken and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes.
To serve, divide Farro with Acorn Squash and Kale among plates. Place chicken on top of farro. Drizzle 1/4 cup Herb Pistou around farro. Drizzle 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil over each plate. Squeeze lemon halves over chicken. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. chives over.

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; stir until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add wine; increase heat to high. Stir until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add farro and 1/2 cup warm stock mixture. Stir until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue cooking, adding broth by 1/2 cupfuls and allowing broth to be absorbed between additions, until farro is tender, about 1 hour.
Add kale, squash, remaining 1 Tbsp. butter, and cheese; stir gently until butter and cheese are melted and vegetables are heated through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Herb Pistou

1 1/4 cups flat leaf parsley
1 cup fresh chervil leaves
3/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
kosher salt
1/2 garlic clove
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Blanch herbs in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer herbs to a medium bowl of ice water to cool. Drain. Squeeze dry; chop. Purée herbs, garlic, and 3/4 cup ice water in a blender until smooth, about 3 minutes. With machine running, gradually add oil. Season with salt.

Farro with Acorn Squash and Kale

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small acorn squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2" cubes
kosher salt, ground pepper
1/2 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves torn
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup farro
1/4 diced white onion
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups vegetable stock mixed with 2 cups water, warmed
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375°. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan. Add squash, season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning squash every 10 minutes, until tender, 30-35 minutes.

Cook kale in a large pot of boiling salted water until wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain.  Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add farro; toss to coat. Roast in oven until toasted, stirring once, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; wipe out skillet.