rhubarb

roasted chicken with smashed peas, rhubarb and aleppo honey

roasted chicken with smashed peas, rhubarb and aleppo honey on millys-kitchen.com
roasted chicken with smashed peas, rhubarb and aleppo honey on millys-kitchen.com

As promised, this week I have a fantastic recipe for you from my friend Kyle. For those of you who don't know him, Kyle currently runs the kitchen at The London Plane and has honed his skills cooking at Sitka & Spruce, The Corson Building and Le Pichet. He's the real deal: a first-rate chef, a teller of cheesy jokes, a connoisseur of dope sneakers. In short, an all-around a cool guy. 

roasted chicken with smashed peas, rhubarb and aleppo honey on millys-kitchen.com

He came over last week and cooked this Roasted Chicken with Smashed Peas, Rhubarb and Aleppo Honey. And holy crap was it good. I never get that excited about roasted chicken. Because how sexy can chicken be, right? Well I’m here to tell you this is one sexy bird.

roasted chicken with smashed peas, rhubarb and aleppo honey on millys-kitchen.com
roasted chicken with smashed peas, rhubarb and aleppo honey on millys-kitchen.com

Kyle roasted our chicken to golden perfection, perched it atop a pile of tender English peas smashed with crème fraîche and garnished it with tart roasted rhubarb and spicy-sweet aleppo honey. Gorgeous? Yes. Delicious? Yup. Easy? It came together in under an hour start-to-finish. 

So this weekend, I urge you to go forth and roast up this chicken while there’s still some rhubarb kicking around at the market. (If there’s no more rhubarb where you live, I’m thinking some tart cherries would be brilliant, too.)

roasted chicken with smashed peas, rhubarb and aleppo honey on millys-kitchen.com

And for all my Seattle-area people, Kyle and I are hosting an al fresco pop-up dinner on August 6th! We’ll be preparing a seasonal, family-style meal and serving it to you under the summer stars. So gather up your people and come sit at our table for a leisurely evening of food, wine and new friends! 

Menu, details and registration are here. I hope to see some of your lovely faces there!

xo,

Olaiya


Roasted Chicken with Smashed Peas, Roasted Rhubarb and Aleppo Honey

  • 1 whole chicken, halved or butterflied
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 12 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
  • 2 lbs. English peas, shelled
  • ½ cup crème fraîche (or heavy cream in a pinch)
  • 1 ½ lbs. rhubarb, trimmed
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper (or other chili flake)
roasted chicken with smashed peas, rhubarb and aleppo honey on millys-kitchen.com

Roast the chicken: Liberally season your chicken with salt on all sides. There shouldn't be any bare spaces nor any sections with clumps of salt. Let your chicken sit out at room temperature until your oven is preheated. This gives the salt a little bit of time to permeate the meat. Alternately, you can salt your chicken up to 12 hours in advance. Store it in the fridge until about an hour before you plan to cook it.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If possible set up the rack roughly 4-6 inches below the top of the oven. (Heat rises, so keeping it this close to the top will help your bird get that golden, crispy skin you are looking for.)

Once the oven is preheated, line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Cut your garlic heads in half crosswise to expose all the cloves on both cut sides. Set the garlic cut-side-up and half of the thyme in the center of the sheet pan. Coat your chicken with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and rest it on top of the garlic and thyme. 

roasted chicken with smashed peas, rhubarb and aleppo honey on millys-kitchen.com

Roast for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of your bird. The skin should be lightly golden brown and crispy. If you feel worried about the doneness cut into the skin between the leg and the breast; the juices that come out should run clear. If there is a tiny pink hue, don't worry--the chicken will continue to cook as it rests. Let your chicken rest for at least 5 minutes. Don’t cheat and cut into the meat early as you will loose all your delicious juices! Reserve any drippings on the sheet pan to add to your honey later.

While the chicken is roasting, prepare your peas: Fill a large saucepan about ¾ full with water. Place over high heat and season the water so it taste salty like the sea. (They key to proper blanching of vegetables is having a good size pot, well seasoned water, and a rolling boil when you drop your veg in.)

When the water comes to a boil, set up a medium bowl with ice water so when your peas are done they can go immediately into the cold water. This shocks them and keeps them from overcooking. Drop your peas into the boiling water and cook for roughly 4-6 minutes. Your peas should be bright green and just tender. Pull them from the water and transfer to the ice bath. Once cooled, strain your peas. Reserve about ¼ cup for garnish and place the rest in a medium bowl with the crème fraîche. Mash them with a potato masher or a large wooden spoon. Add another pinch of salt if needed. Set aside.

roasted chicken with smashed peas, rhubarb and aleppo honey on millys-kitchen.com

Roast the the rhubarb: Cut the stalks on the bias into 2-inch pieces. Toss with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and a light pinch of salt then spread out on a parchment-lined sheet pan. When the chicken is almost done roasting, place the rhubarb in the oven. Roast until it’s lightly caramelized, but still holds it’s shape, about 10 minutes. Take care not to overcook the rhubarb or it will turn to mush.

While the chicken is resting, prepare the honey sauce: Place the honey, aleppo, remaining 6 sprigs thyme and any juices from the cooked chicken in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes to bring the flavors together.

To serve: Cut the chicken into quarters. Divide the smashed peas between 4 plates, top with the chicken, roasted rhubarb and reserved whole peas. Drizzle with aleppo honey and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings
Recipe by Kyle Wisner

roasted chicken with smashed peas, rhubarb and aleppo honey on millys-kitchen.com

roasted rhubarb parfaits with coconut yogurt and cacao nibs

roasted rhubarb parfaits with coconut yogurt and cacao nibs via millys-kitchen.com

A few days ago, while sitting around the table at my favorite Parisian restaurant with a group of talented creative types from around the globe, I was overcome with the urge to reach under the table and pinch myself. Nothing dramatic. Just a small gesture to ensure I wasn’t at home in my bed dreaming this whole scenario into reality. 

Lately, I find it hard to believe that my life is my life. I’m not saying I don’t have days where I gnash my teeth in frustration with the world. Or feel completely uninspired. Or disappointed with myself. Or angry at the flabbiness of my upper arms. (On my worst days, I feel all of these things simultaneously.)

But on this particular day, in this particular restaurant, in front of the most ethereal lemon tart I’ve ever tasted, I felt a rush of pleasure and satisfaction wash over me. Followed by a wave of incredulity that my life includes things like trips to Paris and creative collaborations with people whose work I admire and light-as-air lemon tarts.

roasted rhubarb parfaits with coconut yogurt and cacao nibs via millys-kitchen.com

Three years ago, when I decided to leave a business venture I’d poured myself into, I cried every day for a month. My business partner and I, to put it mildly, did not see eye to eye. After months of stress and conflict and feeling like I couldn’t be myself at work, it was time to bow out. 

When I wasn’t crying, I was filled with anger and resentment. And fear. How would I earn a living? What would I do next? Would I be able to re-invent myself or would I end up a crazy cat lady living with my mom until I was old and grey? To open that business had been my dream for years and it had utterly imploded. These were some dark days. 

roasted rhubarb parfaits with coconut yogurt and cacao nibs via millys-kitchen.com

But somewhere in the middle of the anger and hurt and sadness and fear, a tiny seed took root. A vision for the future and what sort of work I could find fulfilling began to take shape. I started teaching cooking classes again to regain a sense of connection with my community. I bought a camera and learned to use it. I started this blog. Finally, I worked up the courage to pursue another dream of mine--leading culinary tours abroad to share my favorite cities with others. Along the way, I’ve gotten married, bought a house in a vibrant neighborhood I love and forged new friendships. 

Sitting at that table in Paris, I couldn’t help thinking this was the sort of lemons-into-lemonade moment that makes life a wonderment. I wouldn’t have found myself at that table without the soul-bruising experience of leaving my last business. I’d likely still be working long days and trying to be someone I’m not, instead of traveling and discovering my love of photography and meeting inspiring humans all over the world. (I certainly wouldn’t be drinking nearly as much amazing French wine!)

roasted rhubarb parfaits with coconut yogurt and cacao nibs via millys-kitchen.com

In the spirit of turning lemons into lemonade, I give you this roasted rhubarb parfait. After a cake recipe I was working on turned out to be a total failure, I took the leftover roasted rhubarb and swirled it into some yogurt, then scattered cocoa nibs over the top for crunch. It was infinitely better than that cake.

This version also has coconut, vanilla and honey for depth of flavor. For those of you facing uncertainty, self-doubt or fear of what the future holds, I hope it serves as a little reminder that we never really know what lies ahead. And that often the lemons (or crappy cakes or career setbacks) life sends our way lead to something far more rewarding than we ever could have imagined.

roasted rhubarb parfaits with coconut yogurt and cacao nibs via millys-kitchen.com

roasted rhubarb parfaits with coconut yogurt and cacao nibs via millys-kitchen.com

Roasted Rhubarb Parfaits with Coconut Yogurt and Cacoa Nibs

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 lb rhubarb (about 6 medium stalks), trimmed, halved lengthwise if thick, and sliced about ⅓-inch thick
  • 8 oz (1 pint) strawberries, tops removed and diced about ⅓-inch thick
  • 6 tablespoons honey, plus an additional to taste
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt (I used Ellenos yogurt)
  • ½ cup coconut cream (I used one 5.4 fluid oz/160 mL can from Native Forest)
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 6 tablespoons cacao nibs (I like Theo cacao nibs best)

*Notes: For a vegan version, use plain greek style coconut yogurt. If using coconut yogurt, you can omit or cut back on the coconut cream.

- If you can’t find coconut cream, buy a can of coconut milk and place it in your fridge until cold. Open it, pour off the liquid (reserve for another use) and use the thick coconut cream that remains. 

- These parfaits can be made in advance and stored, covered, in the fridge for a couple days. When I did this, mine set up and had an almost cheesecake-like consistency, which was delicious! If you go this route, I recommend adding the top layer of coconut and cacao nibs just before serving to add a little extra crunch.

roasted rhubarb parfaits with coconut yogurt and cacao nibs via millys-kitchen.com

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a paring knife. Place the seeds in a medium bowl along with the rhubarb, strawberries, 6 tablespoons of honey and a pinch of salt. Stir gently to combine and set aside for 20 minutes. While the fruit is macerating, preheat the oven to 400 F. 

Spread the rhubarb and strawberries out on a parchment-lined sheet pan along with their juices. Roast until some of the rhubarb is falling apart and the juices have thickened to a syrup-like consistency, about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Place the yogurt in a medium bowl and add the coconut cream. Whisk to combine well. Whisk in honey to taste. (The amount will vary depending on how tangy your yogurt is--I used 2 tablespoons.) Place a couple tablespoons of the coconut yogurt in the bottom of 6 small (4- to 6-oz.) glasses. Spoon a tablespoon or so of the roasted rhubarb over the yogurt and top with some of the flaked coconut and cacao nibs. Repeat the layering process one more time, then serve.

Makes 6 servings.

roasted rhubarb parfaits with coconut yogurt and cacao nibs via millys-kitchen.com

the love list

the love list // millys-kitchen.com

Hello!

I’m writing you this from the comfort of my couch, where I intend to spend the majority of the next 48 hours. 

A nasty spring flu has been making the rounds here in Seattle. It knocked Beau out for most of last week, before moving on to our friends and neighbors. I escaped the worst of it somehow. Which seemed like a pretty big win until I realized that lethargically dragging my tired ass through the week while refusing to believe I was sick was not as huge a “win” as one might think.

So, in an effort to prioritize taking care of myself over conquering the week’s to-do list, I’ve decided to take the weekend off. Not the usual "off" where I may not be “working” but I’m certainly getting shit done. Nope. I mean truly and fully off. I’m going to lie on the couch with my cat and binge watch period films on Netflix (See you soon, Kiera Knightley!) until I feel better. I’m going to read and sleep and maybe--maybe--bake myself the almond cake I’ve been jonesing for all week. The end. 

But before I sign off and enter the blissed-out realm of couch-bound convalescence, I wanted to leave you with a Love List for the weekend. I couldn’t help myself. Plus, the list of things I wanted to share with you was starting to get a little unruly! So here you go:

 

- First up, Rhubarb! I'm working on a new recipe for a flourless rhubarb-almond cake, which means I've been all over the internet looking for inspiration. I've come across so many gorgeous desserts featuring my favorite spring flavor, I hardly know which one to try first. But my love of dense, unfussy tea cakes would put this beauty near the top of the list.

   Photo:  Thea Tillberg

 

Photo: Thea Tillberg

 

- If you've been following along on the blog for a while, you know Beau and I moved into our new house! You may also have noted that I spent a ridiculous amount of time obsessing about how to decorate the house (as a means of coping with home-buying stress, I think). I'm happy to report, I've managed to back away from round-the-clock interior design related pinning. (High five!) Aaaaand, I've also implemented a few Pinterest-inspired design ideas. Starting with these floating cabinets.

the love list // millys-kitchen.com

These, my friends, are Ikea Besta cabinets, mounted to float about 6 inches off the floor. Our 1948 bungalow is diminutive with fairly low ceilings, so I was looking for a storage solution that would keep things neat without taking up too much space. I had originally intended to top these with a salvaged wood top. But I was so happy with the clean lines of the white cabinets against the white wall, I’ve decided to leave them as-is for now. What do you think?

 

- I loved this essay by David Brooks on how the appreciation of beauty is the path to a rich inner life as well as nobility of spirit and is more crucial now than ever. 

 

- As long as we're talking about beauty, I have some homework for you this week: I want you to buy or pick yourself a bouquet of fresh flowers. It's one of the best mood lifters around. A few days ago I discovered that the unremarkable bush lurking in the corner of our front yard is actually a mature lilac, which has now burst into bloom. Today, I picked an armload of fragrant purple flowers for the house. I often forget what a difference such a simple gesture can make. How taking a few minutes to slow down and contemplate natural beauty puts you fully in touch with your senses. And I had certainly forgotten how a bouquet of lilacs can transform your entire house with its delicate, old-fashioned scent. So, you've got your assignment. I want to see flowers in your house by Monday!

the love list // millys-kitchen.com

 

- For those of you looking for some weekend cookbook inspiration, I highly recommend Tara O'Brady's gorgeous Seven Spoons. As usual, I'm late to the party. The food cognoscenti have been swooning over this book since it came out last year. My self-imposed cookbook moratorium meant that I couldn't join in on the swooning. But having fallen in love with Tara's blog, I broke down and got it last week. I don't know how I'm going to shove it onto the shelf with the other cookbooks, but I do know I can't wait to make everything in here! Starting with this beautiful Fattoush with Fava Beans and Labneh. I'll be reporting in on this one soon!

 

- Because it wouldn't be the weekend (or a Love List) without a cocktail, here's a recipe for Orange Spiced Iced Coffee, which I intend to spike with a little rum and drink all summer long.

 

Wishing you a Happy Weekend--whether on or off the couch!

xo,

Olaiya