Labor Day is a busy foodie day! There are so many classic labor day dishes that it’s hard for foodies to pick which to cook!
At noon, I attended the Slow Foods USA Time for Lunch rally in Argenta. This event, one of hundreds held across the country, was to raise awareness about “slow food” (put simply, the opposite of “fast food”) and to support measures to bring fresh, local foods into school lunchrooms nationwide. It was a potluck, and folks were encouraged to bring dishes highlighting our local bounty of said slow foods.
Later this week I’ll post my photos and videos from this event, as I played the intrepid reporter. But for now, I’ll just show you what I made:
- 1 honey-molasses wheat baguette
- 4 T. olive oil, divided
- 3/4 c. shredded raw milk cheddar cheese (white, yellow or mix)
- 3 large roasted marconi peppers (may use red bells), roughly chopped
- 10 large kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 3-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped, or 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1 T. balsamic vinegar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Slice the baguette into thin rounds with a serrated knife, about 1/4″ thick. Brush with 3 T. olive oil and place on baking stone (preferred) or baking sheet at 400 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes, or until just crisp on tops and browning on edges.
Remove from heat and sprinkle cheese on each round. Return to oven for one minute or until cheese is just melted. Mix final 1 T. olive oil with remaining ingredients and season to taste. (I used much less salt than normal because of the briny olives.) Spoon a small amount of topping onto each round and serve immediately.
I know, I’ve only been doing this blog for a little while, and I’ve already got bruschetta twice. But this bread was so perfect for making little toasty rounds, it had to be done!
After the potluck, I quickly ran to the next event, a cookout with friends at their house. I wanted to take some chicken breasts to this event to put on their huge, competition-BBQ style smoker. But I also wanted them to be full of flavor and character. So, last night, I put this recipe together using the smoked peppers I wrote about earlier:
Smoked Cayenne Chicken
- 3-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1 hickory smoked cayenne pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 T. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Place olive oil in a zip-top plastic bag or glass container, and use scissors to snip the pepper into very small pieces into the oil. (To reduce the heat level, you may shake seeds out of the opened pepper and/or use less than a whole pepper.) Leave the pepper to reconstitute in the oil for at least five minutes.
Put garlic through a garlic press and add to oil. Add remaining ingredients to the oil besides the chicken and shake or stir to mix. Add the chicken and, if using a bag, reseal while removing as much air as possible. Move chicken within bag or dish so that the mixture is evenly distributed, then place in refrigerator overnight.
Cook on grill for 10-15 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reads 180 degrees with a meat thermometer.
The chicken, I must say, was INCREDIBLE! It was juicy and flavorful with just a little smoky, spicy kick. Kudos to our buddy T. for cooking the chicken for me on his smoker grill. Would that make it Double-Smoked Cayenne Chicken?
Tonight, after eating so much all day, I just wanted a light, easy dinner. I mixed some leftover marconi topping with some leftover plain pasta, adding a dash more salt, pepper, basil and balsamic vinegar. I diced a half-piece of the smoked cayenne chicken that was left and mixed it in, and I had (actually, finished while writing this) a yummy, light meal.
More to come, Fancy Pantsers. Leave me a comment and let me know what you made for Labor Day!