Everything came out purple

Yep, it is still a bit damp and cool out here so why not bake chicken in summer? Our Le Creuset French Oven is so perfect in every way and it is just right for cooking up a couple chicken breasts. During the winter we were making something like this about once a week. Since its summer, kind of, that meant some different veggies which was fun – I tossed in some tomatoes, fennel and purple cabbage. Yep, that purplefied the rice, which Addie was pretty excited about. But then again, she likes to say ‘ooooh, aaaaahhh,’ pretty much anytime a pot is brought to the table covered and then the lid removed. I should do that more. Its really cute. And gratifying. Anyway, toss in however much rice you and yours typically eat, but perhaps a bit less water than usual as the chicken and veggies will help juicify that rice too. I rubbed the chicken with a little salt and stuffed it with lemon slices and the fennel fronds. Is that the right word, fronds? These were pretty big breasts so I baked at 350 for about an hour then turned it up to 375 and cooked without the lid for about half an hour until the skin got nice and crispy. The fennel on top dried out a little bit, so I should probably try to tuck it in a bit better next time. Next time.

On the side are some fresh boiled beets. Addie downs beets like candy these days, though she was really upset when I cut one on her plate and then she wouldn’t touch it. To boil them just cut the leaves near the head, but don’t cut off their little tail or cut below the stem or tons of juice will leak out when cooking. Don’t worry about pealing them either. When they are done cooking – it really depends on their size, poke them with a fork to check if they are tender – just rinse them in cold water and pull off the skins and stem with your fingers along with the tails if they gross you out, or leave them on if they are pretty. Hey, some folks think they are pretty.

I also cooked up the beet greens, which I don’t usually do, but these greens looked really nice, so I figured I should. I blanched them then placed in an ice bath, chopped really finely and sauteed in some garlic. Oh wait, I know, Martha Shulman has a perfect, simple recipe on her NYTimes blog Recipes for Health.

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