Tonight I had a chance to cook with the cast-iron grill pan; it’s been a while since the weather has been pleasant enough to make it seem sensible. So I decided to grill chicken thighs, which I rubbed with a mixture of spices: ground ginger, turmeric, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and paprika, plus some lemon zest. I can’t tell you the amounts; I just fiddled with quantities until it smelled right and I had enough in the bowl to coat all six pieces. I also did corn on the cob–the ears came pre-shucked at the produce stand or I’d have done them in the husk.
I also made a side dish of soba with kale. You start by boiling some soba noodles until they’re almost done (you could use udon too) and then draining them and setting them aside. Rinse and stem the kale, and chop it into modestly sized pieces; some of the water should cling to the pieces, or you can tip the water from the cutting board into the bowl. Not a lot, just maybe a tablespoon’s worth.
Heat a skilled with some toasted sesame oil; when it’s fairly hot, add a couple of minced cloves of garlic and roughly half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and saute for a few minutes until the garlic starts to look a bit toasty. (I would say until it smells good, but seriously once you open the bottle of sesame oil you’re already at that point.) Then add the kale–carefully, getting a fair number of pieces into the pan first before any water can hit the hot oil. If the kale is overloading the pan, let some wilt a bit before adding more pieces, which won’t take long. Toss the kale with the garlic and red pepper, then cover the pan, lower the heat and let steam for about 5 minutes. Then add the soba and toss it together so the kale, garlic and red pepper flakes are well distributed among the noodles; use two forks if necessary to get the noodles separated. Keep on the heat for a minute or two more, then serve.