Apricot-Rosemary Chicken ThighsKey words for the “Apricot-Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Roasted Almond Couscous,” from the September 2014 issue of Cooking Light: “easy and nice.” How’s that? First, couscous always feels like a cheating way to cook dinner. It cooks itself, just sitting in a pot of hot water. And couscous is delightful with almonds.

Next, it’s easy to microwave the sauce here: salt, apricot preserves, vinegar, rosemary, DONE.

And then, it’s too easy to cook the boneless thighs in a grill pan on the stove top. I “grilled” in two batches, eyeballing the salt, pepper, and sauce. I brushed sauce on the thighs both before and after I cooked them.

The rosemary flavor was evident and nice. So, there you have it. Enjoy this one.

Vegetable-Miso SoupI’ve been a friend of miso for a long time. Fermented soybeans, salty and tangy, make the best base for soup. The October / November 2014 issue of Fine Cooking includes a piece on miso and dashi and a few recipes, so I gladly put together the “Vegetable-Miso Soup,” which showcases red miso. Typically, we enjoy sparse miso soups, so I was challenged by this recipe which heaps in carrot and sweet potato and kale.

What a thrill it is to make a kombu dashi. It’s simply a dried kelp broth that smells like the ocean as it simmers on your stove. The beach! And the result is this clear water. But wow.

This soup gave me what I wanted: all the therapeutic qualities of a traditional miso soup, but packed full of kale and vegetables. It’s an easy sell.

Boneless Chicken Thighs (1.5 lbs.) = $6.39
Leeks (2) = .32¢
Sweet Potato (1) = $1.31

PREP TIMES: eat chicken after 30 minutes of prep and cooking; soup needs that much time too
almonds and couscous are the perfect couple, while sweet apricot preserves and rosemary decorate chicken; vegetable soup that floats in ocean water is glorious with tangy miso

Next time, I want to tackle a cooking stunt that involves instant yeast and paper-towel tubes. I want to make the “Chimney Cakes,” from Korena In The Kitchen, just to prove that I can. Get ready. Come back to my site next week, to witness my feat.