August 16, 2014
Who says weeknight chicken dinners have to be boring?
- 4 chicken thighs or breasts
- 3 tbs lime juice
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/8 tsp or 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and sliced
- ~1 tsp salt
- 2 tbs oil
Combine in a ziplock bag and marinate overnight. Skin off is healthier, but skin on is yummmier. I am partial to skin off chicken thighs. So much more flavor than blah breast meat. Really not that much more unhealthy, especially sans skin. I keep several packs of it in my freezer at all times.
- 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
- 1/2 large bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups quinoa
- 3 tbs tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 cans 15 oz chicken broth*
- 1 tsp dried parsley or fresh cilantro, minced
- fresh tomatoes on the vine, rinsed and patted dry
Ratio for quinoa:water is 1:2. Add less at first because you can always add more. Difficult to remove liquid from a soupy mess.
- QUINOA: In a dutch oven or 3qt pot, heat over medium high heat, ~5 min. Add 1 tbs cooking oil and heat until shimmering, 1 min. Add onions and bell pepper. Sauté until just soft and translucent: 3 minutes. Salt generously.
- Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 min. (You never want to burn garlic. So I add it later on. Burnt garlic is bitter.)
- Add quinoa, tomato paste, bay leaf, and parsley/cilantro. Slowly add chicken broth and stir to incorporate tomato paste evenly. Add the rest of the broth and <1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until quinoa is soft and fluffy. Add more water and stir if it appears to be drying out. Cover and set aside.
- TOMATOES: Over an aluminum foil lined hot grill (of course I use my handy dandy cast iron stovetop grill), drizzle plenty of cooking oil. Rub oil over tomatoes. Place tomatoes directly on the grill. Flip tomatoes after 10 minutes or so if they’re super big, and let it grill another 5 minutes. If they are small vine tomatoes, keep them on the vine! No need to flip or rotate. Just let them sit on the grill for 10 minutes, vine and all.
- CHICKEN: With tongs, lay chicken out evenly over the unused portion of the grill, don’t crowd. (if you have skin, cook skin side down first.) Grill 3 minutes or until the opaque/cooked line rises about half way up the thickness of the meat. Rotate 45 degrees and cook another minute or two. Flip and repeat. Juices from the center should not be pink. Meat thermometer should read 185F when done. **timing all depends on the thickness of the meat! Watch it carefully. You know what cooked chicken looks like.
- Remove and rest meat.
- Slice on the diagonal, against the grain of the meat.
Voila! Plate quinoa, tomato, and lay chicken on top. Sprinkle with some parsley or cilantro.
I actually ate the grilled tomato with some leftover mozzarella in the fridge. Didn’t add it to the recipe ’cause I don’t think it really goes togehter, but I just wanted some cheese. Can you blame me?
Notes on CARNE:
- When grilling/cooking other meats, I usually let it sit at room temperature so that I do not over cook the outside and undercook the inside. But chicken is thin. And covered in salmonella. So skip that step and leave it in the fridge ’til you need it. I DO, however, let meat rest AFTER I remove it from the grill/pan. Internal heat is still redistributing and so are the juices. It’s still cookin’! Let it rest. 5 minutes. I’m sure there’s plenty to clean up while you wait.
- I use the “line of opaque cooked meat” for fish too. Flip fish when the line is 2/3 up the thickness of the meat. Why 2/3rds? ‘Cause with the other side, you simply let it “kiss” the pan. Aka: You do not spend the same amount of time cooking the other side.
- Presentation side down first. Always. That means skin if it’s got it.
- As with fish, flipping too early results in tearing/sticking of the meat. Be patient. Watch that opaque line!
- Meat thermometer is your friend. Especially when just learning to cook and it’s too difficult to eyeball when the meat is done.
- Pork end point: 135F, chicken: 185F
- Brining and marinating is your friend. I never spontaneously cook pork or chicken. It always takes some prep the day before. That being said, prepping a brine or marinade only takes 5-10 minutes. And I also always keep the ziplock bag of meat juice in a deep bowl or dish. Too many experiences with leaky meat bags getting all over my fridge and contaminating everything.
March 9, 2014
I’m in the mood for something summery..
- green plantains (firm or tostones will be mushy and fall apart)
- frying oil (peanut, avocado, high smoke pt oil)
- garlic, minced
- olive oil for dipping
Garlic and Lime Dipping Sauce: Mix minced garlic, olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice, and a generous pinch of salt. Can be made ahead of time to let garlic flavor infuse the oil.
- Peel and cut plantain in 2 inch thick pieces.
- Heat sauce pan on medium high. Add oil until ~ 2 cm deep, heat until shimmering. Test by dipping a corner of a plantain in the oil. It should immediately start bubbling. If not, the oil’s too cold. If the oil is smoking, it’s too hot. When you swirl the pan, the oil should seem less viscous than when it was cold, almost a water-like consistency.
- Reduce heat to medium.
- Add plantains one by one and avoid crowding. Fry in batches. Flip when underside is golden brown ~ 3-5 min each side. Adjust heat as needed. If the oil is no longer bubbling rapidly, increase heat. If the oil is bubbling too fiercely, slowly add more oil, introducing it into the side of the pot and not directly over the plantains.
- Remove when golden brown, one by one. Place on paper towel lined cutting board so that the plantain is standing upright. With flat side of a large butcher knife or chef’s knife, pound until evenly thin (I prefer 0.5cm thickness). The back of a baking pan will do in a pinch for pounding. Just place the flat surface on top face of the plantain, and with your palm or underside of your fist, pound.
- Once all plantains are fried and pounded, reheat oil as in step 2. Return flattened plantains to oil, one by one and quickly fry each side until deep golden brown. ~ 1 min each side.
- Set aside and drain.
December 3, 2013
I have recently discovered monkfish. White, tender flesh. Almost lobster-like. Versatile and mild flavor. It is a very ugly fish, but damn, it tastes good.
PAN SEARED FISH à la Meunière
- 6 oz monkish fillets
- clarified butter*
- unsalted butter (always buy unsalted)
*over low heat, melt butter (cut in 1 inch blocks) until fully melted. Stir. Continue heating until it begins to bubble and foam. Once it stops foaming, turn off heat and strain over cheesecloth. Do this in bulk. Keep left overs in fridge for several months!
- Trim off any grey/ugly membranes from fish. Slice filets into even size pieces to allow for even cooking. 5×3, and about 2 inches thick is good.
- Optional: soak fish in milk ~ 30 min. Helps the browning process.
- Pat fish dry. Salt generously. Dredge fish in thin coat of flour.
- Heat frying pan over medium high heat, add a few tablespoons of clarified butter. Pan fry fish until brown on one side (white/cooked portion will creep up to past halfway the thickness). DO NOT push/nudge/peek under fish until it’s half way cooked! Once ready, it WILL release from the pan.
- Flip and brown other side for a few minutes until cooked through. Remember: cooked fish flakes. If it’s transparent and chewy, it’s still raw. (which is OK in some cases, like for salmon it is ok to have a slightly pink center.)
- IF YOU HAVE A PARTICULARLY THICK CUT: after the first side is done (white/cooked portion creeped up past half way the thickness of the fish), place in a 400F oven until no longer transparent. THEN pull the pan back out and flip the fish over to let it “kiss” the other side. once that browns, serve. MAKE SURE you have an OVEN PROOF pan before trying this.
- Set fish aside. Add another pat of regular unsalted butter (mmmm butter) and some fresh herbs of your choice, then a squeeze of lemon. Once melted, pour over fish.
CELERY ROOT MASH
- 1 part celery root, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 parts russet potatoes (for a creamier mash) cut in 1 inch pieces
- herbs: chive, or parsley, or rosemary, what have you.
Put celery root pieces in a large pot. Bring to a boil, let it boil for about 5 minutes. Add potatoes. Boil another 20 minutes or until fork tender. Turn off heat. Strain. Put potatoes back in pot and turn heat back on medium. Let the liquid dry up. Mash. Add butter and milk to taste/consistency of preference. Salt and season. You will always need more salt than you think… Potatoes always take a lot of salting.
ROASTED BABY CARROTS
Preheat oven to 420 F. Shave off skin of carrots, if you have little baby carrots, roast them whole. If you have larger ones, cut them in long diagonals. Toss in olive oil, salt, black pepper. Optional: a bit of curry powder, or a pinch of brown sugar, whatever you’d like to mix it up. Spread out on lined and greased baking pan. Roast for 20 minutes or until just charring at the ends.
July 12, 2012
Definitely making this again. Careful with the salmon! I purchased a very thin, very expensive, tail-end filet of sockeye salmon today and over cooked it at 10 minutes. ): Always adjust recipes depending on the cut of fish you have. Other than being slightly dry, flavor was great. Thank you, Epicurious.
Oh, and I’m actually rather proud of my wasabi lime concoction. Only reason why that made it to the table today is ’cause I had a craving for a spicy tuna roll while shopping at Whole Foods. It came with little packets of wasabi. And seeing as spicy tuna rolls are spicy as is, I had a bunch of left over wasabi. Annnnd because I try to keep white potatoes out of my kitchen, I only make sweet potato mash these days. Sweet, spicy, tangy. Can’t go wrong.
SESAME GLAZED SALMON
adapted from epicurious.
- 1 lb salmon fillets(4 filets)
- 3 tbs soy sauce
- 3 tbs lime juice
- 3 tbs honey/agave nector
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbs butter
- ~1 tsp corn starch, dissolved in water
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 325F
- Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Add garlic and rep pepper flakes, saute until fragrant.
- Add sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice, and honey. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium high.
- Add corn starch mixture and stir. Continue to reduce glaze until it reaches the consistency of honey. ~10 min.
- Lay filets on greased aluminum foil. Brush on thin layer of glaze. Bake 5-10 min, depending on thickness of filet.
- Brush on more glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve over garlic-y saute spinach.
WASABI LIME MASHED POTATOES
- 1 large white sweet potato
- 1 tsp wasabi paste or to taste
- juice of 1/2 small lime
- 1 pinch ginger, powder
- 1-2 tbs butter
- 1/3+ cup milk
- salt to taste
Dice potatoes into small cubes. Cover with wet paper towels. Microwave 5 min. Mash in butter, milk, seasonings to consistency of preference.
May 20, 2012
What’s better than Sloppy Joes? Sloppy Joes while watching zombies. Mmmm….braaains…
Finally catching up on Walking Dead. An unintentional combination. Really. I totally forgot about the second half of this season, which started in February when I was preparing for national board exams. I think it was the mound of ground beef sitting on my kitchen counter after grocery shopping today that reminded me I had many episodes of brain noshing excitement to catch up on. How appetizing.
Adapted from this recipe.
- 2 lbs extra lean ground beef*
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 – 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1.5 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp oregano
- 3/4 tbs salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 8 hamburger buns (I like potato bread)
*feel free to use imitation meat. I actually had about half a package of Upton Natural’s ground seitan left over in my fridge and mixed that in with my 1.75lb of beef.
In a large skillet, brown meat over high heat. When the pink of the ground meat is almost gone, add onions, garlic, and bell peppers and saute on high until just soft. Add tomato paste, vinegar, chicken stock, and seasonings. Mix well and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes to let flavors meld. Uncover and let thicken for ~5 minutes or so, while you toast buns. Top buns with meat and serve.
Buttery Chive Mashed Potatoes:
Cut up potato into small cubes. Place in bowl, cover with wet paper towel, and nuke ~5 minutes or until fork tender. Mash. Add 1 tbs of butter per potato used, and stir in milk (warm) until you reach the consistency you prefer. Salt to taste and mix in chives.
May 13, 2012
Kind of a mix of genres here: Mediterranean lamb kabobs and Indian chutney. MMmmmm… my first attempt at chutney. Success! Sweet, tart, spicy… what’s not to like? As for the genre mix, I could probably use more classic Indian spices for the kabobs, but I had some leftover greek salad and tzatziki sauce from last night’s dinner, so I kept to the original recipe for the most part.
LAMB KABOBS: (6 or so kabobs)
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds, crushed
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing on grill
- 24 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes (optional)
In a large mixing bowl.,, lightly combine lamb with garlic and seasonings. Do not over work or you’ll get tough kabobs. Set aside in fridge while you make the chutney. If you don’t have a grill or skewers, form short sausage-like links with the lamb and in a hot skillet (or griddle) coated in oil, “grill” kabobs until just slightly pink in the center. Make sure to rotate often to insure even browning.
MANGO CHUTNEY (makes ~1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 red onion, diced finely
- 1 small jalapeno, seeds discarded and finely diced
- 1 large mango, diced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine diced mango, jalapeno, sugar, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. In a small saucepan, heat a bit of oil until hot. Add onions and saute 3 minutes or until soft. Add mango mixture. Reduce heat to a medium simmer (low bubbling). Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Chutney should be thick and almost jam-like. Set aside to cool while you grill your kabobs.
Serve kabobs with tzatziki sauce if desired, and warm pitas.
May 4, 2012
Adapted from my hero, Alton Brown.
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 whole pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 tsp adobo sauce from the can
- ~1 cup milk or cream
- 1 tsp+ dried chives (if using fresh, use 2 tsp)
- 1/4 cup+ grated Parmesan
- Dice sweet potato uniformly into 1 inch cubes. Place in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with wet paper towels. Microwave for 6+ minutes or until fork tender.
- In a large mixing bowl, add potatoes, minced pepper, adobo sauce, and butter. Add milk bit by bit as you mash, adding more until you reach the consistency of mash potato that you prefer.
- Fold in cheese and chives. Salt to taste.
Note: for some reason the potatoes I bought today had white flesh, not orange like your typical sweet potato o_O… had the texture of sweet potato, but it wasn’t nearly as pretty.
Served with sautéed spinach and pan seared scallops:
For a How-To on scallops, feel free to review my previous post!
March 27, 2012
is so good. and so good FOR you. substitute for mash potatoes for a low carb side. (:
Cut into individual florets, steam, then mash and season. I added garlic, salt, and buttermilk to mine. Fancy it up as you please.
January 5, 2012
I found my new go-to salad recipe! Who would’ve thought raw kale could taste so good…I had a similar salad at Brooklyn Winery during my winter vacation in New York this December (awesome place, btw. we won trivia night last week!), and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
Solution? Some reverse engineering. Ok, so BKWinery’s salad still has some magical touch that makes it taste beyond amazing, but this recipe has passed my live-in New Yorker’s taste test, and he’s OK-ed it for our dinner rotation.
- 1 batch of kale
- 1/2 small butternut squash
- 1/2 cup hulled barley or farro, cooked in chicken stock
- 1/2 small apple, sliced
- 1 cup candied walnuts* (adapted from SimplyRecipes)
- ~1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinaigrette**
- Soak barley over night or for several hours. Rinse and drain. Add to a small sauce pan with 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until barley is cooked through. Stir when needed to prevent sticking. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Wash kale thoroughly. Pull stems off leaves and discard. Stack a few leaves on top of each other and roll like a cigarette. Slice from one end to the other. (aka chiffonade) This prevents bruising of the leaves. And it’s less messy and produces more uniform results than hacking at the leaves. Set aside in colander to drain.
- Peel skin off squash with a vegetable peeler. Dice into small cubes. Line a baking pan in aluminum foil. Add cubed squash and drizzle with olive oil. Toss. Spread out evenly across the pan, and bake on 400F until soft. ~2o min.
- Add kale into a large mixing bowl with the vinaigrette. With your hands, massage the kale until it soaks up the vinaigrette and softens a bit.
- Add apples, squash, grains, and nuts. Mix and serve! (I served it with a spicy pan seared white fish.)
Toast 3/4 cups of crushed walnuts in toaster oven on 350F, for about 5 minutes. In a small sauce pan, heat 2+ tbs brown sugar until it just begins to darken and caramelize. Add a pinch of salt. Toss in walnuts, stir, turn off heat, and continue to stir, on and off the hot stovetop until walnuts are well coated and not sticking together. Spread out on a flat surface and let it cool. I like my walnuts to have little grains of crunchy sugar, so I dont wait for all of the sugar to melt. You can do that instead if you want glossy coated walnuts.
**Apple Cider Vinaigrette (adapted from Martha Stewart)
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4+ cup olive oil
- salt/black pepper