Archive for ‘in the Oven’

October 20, 2015

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

roast chicken 1

Very easy and surprisingly fast weeknight dinner! Feel free to mix and match herbs/seasonings and veggies to your preference. This is great for when you crave roasted chicken but don’t have enough people to feed to justify a full bird. I used 3 pieces of leg and 3 thighs. Dark meat is tastier. My baking pan also fits 6 pieces perfectly. Extra veggies can be spread on a second pan and placed on the top rack. Proportions don’t matter that much for this recipe.

This technique is HIGH HEAT AND FAST, not low and slow. Results in a crisp skin. Another reason why I prefer dark meat for roasting. Juicier. Doesn’t dry out.


  • chicken pieces (I prefer legs and thighs only)
  • assorted veggies, chopped into chunks
  • onions, sliced
  • garlic cloves, halved
  • fresh rosemary
  • paprika
  • garlic salt
  • olive oil
  • butter


  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Take chicken out of fridge to bring to room temp
  3. Rub chicken generously all over with garlic salt, sprinkle with paprika. Set aside.
  4. Chop veggies. Carrots take longer to get soft than sweet potatoes, so cut them smaller. Toss, with onion slices and garlic, in plenty of olive oil and garlic salt. Pour in aluminum lined baking pan.
  5. Scatter rosemary sprigs, breaking them up if needed.
  6. Place chicken over veggies, spacing them out evenly. Skin side up. (I lined up some extra rosemary sprigs directly under the chicken pieces). The edges of my pans tend to heat up more than the center, so I put thighs in the middle (thinner) and legs on the outside.
  7. Top chicken with a chunk of butter, about 1cm cubed, right in the middle of the skin.
  8. Place chicken on bottom rack (my oven heats from the bottom), and a pan of any extra veggies on the top rack. Roast 30 min or until veggies blacken on the edges and chicken skin begins to brown. Internal temp of chicken should be about 160F – make sure when you take the temperature the probe isn’t up against a bone, this will result in an artificially high temp. Just insert to center-most part of the meat. Juices will run clear when you remove the probe.
  9. Turn on broiler at the end to REALLY crisp up and brown the skin. It’ll blister and blacken a little. This is good. It only takes 5 min or so, so stay and keep watch. You may need to remove and plate the thighs first as the legs tend to take a bit longer.
  10. Mix veggies together (’cause the ones in the chicken pan will be yummier from the juices and butter), top with chicken and serve.

roast chicken 2

February 14, 2014

Whole Roasted Dorade + Fennel and Grapefruit Salad


Happy Valentine’s Day! (Is fish becoming a tradition for us now??)

roasted dorade

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 8.01.32 PM



  • 2 lb whole dorade, de-boned, head tail on (branzino works, too)
  • 1 large grapefruit, supreme
  • 2 small/1 large fennel bulb
  • 2 small meyer lemons, sliced thin
  • olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 4 small bay leaves
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • salt
  • black pepper



  1. Head medium frying pan over medium high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Swirl. Add lemon slices. Brown each side, 2-3 min. Salt. Set aside. *according to Gordan Ramsay, caramelizing the lemon before baking does something something. I don’t know, honestly. But it looks better, tastes good.
  2. Rinse fish and pat dry. Rub with olive oil inside and out. Salt/pepper generously inside and out. set aside.
  3. Cut off fronds of fennel. Slice bulb very thin (a mandolin is handy). Place in bowl and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Salt and toss.
  4. Take fronds and roughly chop stems into large 3-4 inch long pieces. May need to half lengthwise to flatten the thicker stems out. Grab a handful of the fronds and stuff fish. Take left overs and the stems and spread out over a greased aluminum lined baking pan.
  6. Supreme your grapefruit. Slice each wedge in half, long wise (making thinner slices). Add slices to fennel. Set salad aside.
  7. Scrape off remaining flesh/juice from peel over the insides of your fish.
  8. Roughly chop parsley, stuff a small handful into the fish along with the fennel fronds. Add the rest to the baking pan, spread evenly.
  9. Add one layer of caramelized lemon inside fish, add one layer of on top of the greens in the baking pan.
  10. Smash garlic cloves, peel, add 3-4 pieces inside fish, toss the rest on the greens in the baking pan. (you can halve the cloves if too thick)
  11. Drizzle baking pan greens with a bit more olive oil.
  12. Lay bay leaves inside the fish. Drizzle inside of fish with a bit more olive oil, salt, close up fish. Top fish with one more layer of lemon slices. Place fish in baking pan, right over the lemons.
  13. Put in middle rack of oven 25-30 minutes or until center flesh falls easily off the bone with a gentle prod of your fork.
  14. Serve with fennel/grapefruit salad.

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 8.02.09 PM




October 20, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

I received my KitchenAid stand mixer as a birthday present last year around this time.

After much fear and trepidation, I am just now beginning to tackle this cake baking business. My original hesitations were due to all the rules and precision that comes with baking that you just don’t have to worry about with other types of cooking. As anyone in my life who knows me but at ALL will tell you, I do not follow rules well. I distrust what others tell me and no matter how much the instructions make sense, I just have to do it on my own and learn it the hard way. My fear of baking also stems from the fact that I SUCKED in chemistry lab. Like, 5% yield sucked. But hey, if I can learn, so can you.

I find that the best way to approach learning to bake is this: Follow the $#%@ing instructions. To the T. After a few successful attempts, you gain the confidence to fiddle with the recipe. But before you go making big changes, RESEARCH. What does “Creaming the butter” mean? Is sugar considered a dry or a wet ingredient? What’s the difference between baking powder and baking soda? What is the purpose of each and every ingredient used in baking? Tedious? Maybe. But if you’re a nerd like me, you relish in knowing and understanding every step in the process. If you are NOT like me, go follow a recipe. Here’s one to start you off:


  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (kosher)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs, medium size
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt (HEAPING cup)
  • 3 tbs Meyer lemon zest (worth it.)
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs poppy seeds


  • stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • large mixing bowl
  • zester
  • 1 loaf pan
  • silicone spatula for batter
  • whisk
  • measuring cups/spoons

TIP: when juicing the lemon, juice it over the zester to strain out lemon seeds. no extra tools to wash, and no bitter seeds to bite into when you eat the cake later…


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place rack in center of the oven (if it’s too low, it’ll bake too quickly)
  2. Line loaf pan with parchment paper (cut to fit, it’ll hang over the two long sides) and butter generously. You can clip down the sides with binder clips.
  3. Zest lemon. Mix zest and juice with yogurt and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Whisk to combine.
  5. Cream Butter: Cut butter up into small chunks ~ 1 inch cubes. Put in stand mixer bowl and beat on high, with paddle attachment, until soft and creamy. Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar slowly and continue beating until well incorporated. Should look fluffy, like airy sand. Mix in vanilla.
  6. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.
  7. Still on medium speed, slowly add in part of the dry mixture, then some yogurt mixture, then some dry mixture, etc, until fully incorporated. Add poppy seeds. Increase speed to high for a few seconds to fluff up batter.
  8. Pour batter into loaf pan and spread evenly. Place in center of oven and bake ~ 1 hour. At the 40 min mark, open oven door and QUICKLY cut a line down the center of the loaf and cover the top with a sheet of aluminum foil to prevent burning. No need to crimp, just cover. The cut down the middle is what creates that pretty split in the crust.
  9. Set loaf aside and let cool, 10 min.
  10. Optional Glaze: In stand mixer with whisk attachment, mix 2 tbs lemon juice and 1/2 cup+ powdered sugar on high speed until it reaches the consistency you like. Opaque and not too runny. Glaze cake after cooling for 20 min or so.


  1. Always level the ingredients after measuring: Scoop the ingredient into the measuring utensil, then with the flat edge of a knife, smooth off the top. Spooning it in slowly will give you less than the recipe calls for, unless the recipe specifically says to.
  2. Butter doesn’t have to be room temperature and softened. Wastes time. Just cut it up and beat it on high in your stand mixture. This softens it. Technology is wonderful. Use it. Same goes with eggs. Use them fresh out of the fridge. No one needs salmonella.
  3. If you’re messing with a recipe:
    1. Eggs are emulsifiers and binders. They hold the cake together.
    2. Baking soda is a base and needs an acid to neutralize it or you’ll get a bitter yucky taste. Brown sugar is considered a neutralizing agent for baking soda. Do not substitute brown sugar for white in a recipe that has baking soda. Unless you swap BS out for BP (Baking powder). And even then it’s not an exact substitute…still figuring this one out.
    3. AP flour =/= cake flour =/= self rising crap. Use what the recipe calls for, or use this substitution: 1 cup cake flour = 1 cup AP flour minus 2 tablespoons. some people say replace those two tablespoons with equal amounts of corn starch. I’ve yet to try this.
    4. Sugar is a wet ingredient. Don’t mix it in with the flour at the beginning. Typical progression of cake baking goes like this: soften butter, cream butter with sugar, beat in eggs, add extracts and flavors, add dry ingredients then add ons (nuts, chocolate chips, what have you).
    5. Last but not least, read lots and lots of recipes. Look at the ratios. What ingredients where different? How do you think that affected texture, density, crumb, flavor, etc? Then create your own combination and WRITE IT OUT. Follow your new recipe exactly so you can compare the results to what you did. If you’re making adjustments as you go, you’ll never know how to recreate it exactly. It’s just bad science.
    6. Find friends who’ll be your guinea pigs. (: Good luck!

This cake turned out REALLY well. Dense, moist, not too sweet. I was afraid that cake flour would make it too cake-y and not compact enough like I like my pound cakes, and the AP flour I used here worked out superbly well. VERY happy.

September 10, 2012

Crunchy Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders – Fast Dinner

Fast weeknight dinner! Very tender, very flavorful. Kind of healthy? (: I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed kale. Make extra ’cause this microwaves rather well for lunch the next day.

Recipe adapted from:


  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I used my food processor)
  • 1 tsp paprika (sweet, not smoked)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Creole seasoning
  • 2 lbs chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • Olive Oil

*I used 1/2 cup milk and added the 1.5 tbs buttermilk powder to the dry ingredients. I keep powdered buttermilk in my freezer at all times!


  1. OPTIONAL PREP: Brine chicken to make it super soft and tender and evenly seasoned throughout. In a small sauce pan, heat 2-3 cups water with ~1/4 cup of kosher salt (less if using table salt). Once salt is melted, add ice cubes to cool down the water.  Put chicken in a large freezer bag. Add brine into bag and top off with water until chicken is completely submerged. Loosen up chicken so they’re not stuck together to increase surface area. Push out air and seal bag. Place bag in a large container to prevent dripping and put in freezer over night.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir well.  Dip chicken in buttermilk, dredge in pecan mixture.  Place chicken in an ungreased 9×13-inch pan.  Drizzle olive oil over chicken.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until chicken is done.

May 13, 2012

Butternut Squash and Apple Galette

Good weekend! Visited La Jolla, R won his tennis tournament, got 9+ hours of sleep each night, and most importantly, I got to cook a WHOLE LOT these past few days. Oh, and not to mention, kicked ass on National Boards. (:

Ive been meaning to make a gallete for the longest time now, but I keep coming up with excuses not to make my very first pastry dough. “I have no food processor.” “I have no time.” “It’s too humid today.” but really, the truth is “I’m scared to f*ck it up.” Anyway. I used all of the excuses in my arsenal today. Went ahead and made this recipe with store bought dough. Still good! Maybe next time I’ll make it all from scratch…

Adapted from Food Network:


  • 1 large apple, sliced
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium butternut squash (about 3/4 pound), halved, seeded
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 slice bacon, fried and diced
  • 1.5 tsp rosemary
  • 1.5 tsp thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 pie crusts, combined and rolled out

Preheat oven to 375F. Place halved butternut squash in a microwaveable plate and nuke for 4+ minutes or until just barely soft. Slice. Combine with sliced apples, red onions, butter, seasoning, salt and pepper, and bacon. Stack two pie crusts on top of each other and roll out into one large pie round (I like to roll some rosemary into the crust). In the center 9 inches or so, spread a layer of dijon. Add vegetable mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until pie crust just begins to brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle on goat cheese in center of gallete. Raise temperature to 400F and continue to bake, 10 minutes or so, until cheese melts and crust turns golden brown.  Slice with pizza cutter and serve!

May 2, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini, Take 2

Just arrived in southern California where I’ll be living for the next 4 months or so! First thing on my agenda? Groceries.

There is a Whole Foods AND a Trader Joes, all within 1 mile of my apartment. I think I’m gonna like it here…

Here’s the original baked zucchini recipe. Although with this type of squash, the stuffing got a bit too runny. I think I may have to precook the shell and drain it before I stuff it.

January 25, 2012

Heath Toffee Cookies

THANK you, Simply Recipes, for putting this into the world. These cookies are amazing. They are thin, soft, slightly chewy, with crisp edges.  The rich, buttery toffee bits and that perfect crunch of the walnuts,…. totally gonna give me diabetes. I usually eat about 4 every time I walk past the kitchen. I highly suggest forming the dough balls and then freezing them. This recipe is perfect for baking quick, small batches in your toaster oven.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Heath Bar pieces (Eight 1.4 ounce bars)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine Heath Bar pieces and chopped walnuts. Set aside.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, and vanilla.
  3. Alternatively mix in the Heath Bar mixture and the flour mixture, a third at a time, until well blended. Chill cookie dough for at least 30 minutes (better an hour or longer).
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. On cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat, spoon out the cookie dough in small 1-inch diameter balls (size of a large marble). Place dough balls 3 inches away from each other on the cookie sheets. (Make sure there is plenty of room between the cookie balls, and that the cookie balls aren’t too big. These cookies spread!)
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Feel free to freeze extra dough!

November 4, 2011

Lebanese Style Stuffed Eggplant

Eggplant season is here! I visited Houston’s Bayou City Farmer’s Market for the first time last weekend, and the stands were all filled with beautiful shades of purple. I couldn’t help myself and bought way more than I knew what to do with… but that’s ok! ‘Cause I went on a google craze and this is the best eggplant recipe I’ve tried yet. And what is cooking without a little improvisation? (Yes. I am very type A and typically plan out my meals a week ahead…)

Some tips on eggplants: Unblemished eggplants with their skins perfectly intact will last on your counter for a couple of days. Best to store in the fridge, unwrapped, and in your veggie drawer because they go bad quickly! Oh, and smaller = less seeds = less biter.

Please excuse my craptacular camera:

Adapted from Gourmet


  • 6 mini eggplants
  • 0.75 lb lamb, ground
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • ½ cup cooked long grain or wild rice
  • ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1  large onion, diced finely
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 tbs parsley
  • salt
  • 1 15oz can diced tomato
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ~1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp+ coriander seeds

Saute onions and garlic in a large 5qt dutch oven or pot. Add parsley and ~1 tbs+ kosher salt. Remove HALF of the onions and set aside to cool. In remaining onions, add 1 can of tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Season with sugar, comin, and coriander seeds. Salt to taste. Cover and leave on a simmer while you prepare everything else.

Cut off tops of eggplants and with a melon baller, scoop out the insides of the eggplant, leaving about 1/2 cm thickness all the way around. Make sure to take out all the seeds. I did this with a spoon. It hurt my wrists. Please get a melon baller. Add cooled onions to a large mixing bowl. Add all spice, pine nuts, rice, and meat. Mix until just combined. Stuff eggplants with meat.

Preheat oven to 375F. Rub olive oil over eggplants and place on aluminum lined baking pan. Bake for 20 min, then add to sauce and simmer, covered, for 20 min.

Squeeze lemon over eggplants and top with parsley before serving.

To be honest I’m not sure if baking them first makes any difference, but the reasons why I added that step are

  1. I wanted to get rid of some of the liquid from the eggplants and not have it all run out into the sauce
  2. When baking, some of the fat drains out.
  3. I didn’t want soggy eggplants and I figure baking might leave them firmer than if I plopped them in liquid for an hour.
I’ll continue to experiment next time I try this!
October 19, 2011

Lemon Thyme Meatballs

I LOVE the citrus-y kick in these meatballs! Cuts through the heaviness of the pork. This wonderful recipe was adapted from the kitchn.

Unfortunately i seem to have misplaced my photos for this dish…


  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • ~1/3 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or other hard, sharp cheese
  • ~1 tsp dry sage
  • ~1 tsp dried thyme
  • ~1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 small lemon
  • salt/pepper
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock


  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Saute onions in a pat of butter over high heat. Add salt, 2 pinches of sage, 1 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp parsley. Saute until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix meat, panko, cheese, ~1.5-2 tsp kosher salt, black pepper, zest of one small lemon, and 1 beaten egg. Mix with hands until just combined. Roll into ping pong ball sized meatballs.
  4. In a large pan (NOT non stick), heat a pat of ghee or oil (preferably not olive oil, it smokes too quickly and isn’t good for frying), and roll meatballs around pan until browned evenly on all sides. Finish meatballs in oven on a greased aluminum lined pan and bake ~ 20min or until cooked through.
  5. Deglaze pan with white wine and chicken stock. Add a pinch more thyme and sage. Let liquid reduce over high heat until only 1/2 of it is left.
  6. Remove meatballs from oven and pour sauce over and serve.
October 12, 2011

Vegetable Pot Pie + Sweet Potato Cheddar Biscuits

Adapted from Food and Wine. A great recipe to try out new vegetables! I’ve never had celery root before, and after seeing the ugly things at the super market, I had my doubts. But it turned out to be my favorite veggie in the dish! It has the texture of a starchy tuber (kind of like yucca) but has all the lovely flavors of celery. (For how to prep celery root, watch this video on youtube.) I’ve also never had parsnips before. They look like pale carrots but have a nice sweet and spicy kick. Add some sage and nutmeg = a great earthy combo of flavors. Perfect for autumn (which does not exist in Texas, btw).

Note: I may leave out brussel sprouts in the future. I find they leave a slightly bitter aftertaste. Not a fan. Maybe regular cabbage? To be honest any vegetables would work in this recipe…


  • 1 lb parsnips, diced
  • 1 lb brussel sprouts, halved/quartered
  • 1 large celery root (1.5 lb), diced
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 tsp dried sage (very strong herb! don’t abuse)
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • pinch of sage
  • ~3 tbs white wine


  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Chop celery root, brussel sprouts, parsnips, cauliflower, and dice HALF the onions.
  3. Spread veggies on a LARGE baking pan, lined with aluminum foil. Coat generously with olive oil. Mix sage and thyme and salt/pepper.
  4. Roast veggies for ~40min or until veggies are cooked through and golden brown.
  1. Roughly chop remaining onion.
  2. In a small sauce pan, add milk, onion, a pinch more sage and thyme. Bring to a simmer on low heat. Cover and turn off heat and let it stand ~10-15 min. Strain milk and set aside.
  3. In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat until just bubbling and stir in flour slowly ~2 min.
  4. Whisk in milk slowly, a bit at a time, and let sauce thicken ~10 min. . Mix slowly to avoid lumps.
  5. Add a pinch of nutmeg. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Fold in veggies, or if sauce pan is not large enough, pour veggies into a large baking dish or individual ramekins, and mix in sauce.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste if needed.
  8. Top with unbaked biscuits (see below for recipe) and return to oven for 15min on 425F until golden brown and filling is bubbling.


  • 1 small sweet potato (3/4 cup mashed)
  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 1/3 cup grated sharp chedder
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 tbs cold unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 medium egg for egg wash

*I use powdered butter milk. I don’t really bake all that much, and I find fresh buttermilk always goes to waste.


  1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder/soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. (If using powdered buttermilk, add that here.)
  2. Cut 7 tbs butter into small pieces. Toss in a bit of flour mixture from first step to avoid sticking. Put in freezer.
  3. Dice sweet potato and cover with wet paper towel. Microwave for 4-5 min or until soft.
  4. Mash sweet potato and reserve 3/4 cups.
  5. Add cheese and butter milk (or if using powdered butter milk, add equivalent amount of plain water to potatoes). Mix well.  Set aside in refrigerator to cool.
  6. When potatoes are cool, take butter out of freezer and add to flour. Mix with hands or food processor until it resembles coarse sand. Do NOT over mix or butter will melt. Work fast!
  7. Fold in sweet potato mixture or pulse in food processor until dough just comes together.
  8. Lightly knead dough on heavily floured surface until just smooth. Roll out into 1/4inch thick sheet. Cut into small rounds (or squares to minimize scraps).
  9. Place on top of pot pies and apply egg wash. Bake ~15 min until filling is bubbling and biscuits are golden brown.