Friday, July 22, 2011
I've finally taken the plunge. I roasted a chicken. I realize my timing for this couldn't be worse, since - as my coworker described it - there's some sort of jello-mold type weather pattern of heat and humidity making the outside unbearable today. Probably not the type of weather you want to turn the oven on for, but you can just save this recipe for when the heat finally passes (it's going to pass right?).
In any event, before the heat really came, I roasted my first chicken. I'd make a turkey before, for a Thanksgiving feast at my apartment in college, and it actually came out really good. But roasting a chicken is..well it's just different. When I roasted a turkey, I used a turkey-bag to keep the moisture in...but that didn't seem necessary with the chicken. This was uncharted territory.
Now, of course there were some deals to be had. The organic chicken was on sale, so it actually cost less than the regular, Purdue chicken. $1.39/lb for organic chicken is a pretty good deal. Also, my store had local, organic rosemary for the same price as the imported, regular stuff, so I got that as well. I'd love to grow my own, but I haven't quite figured it out on my balcony. Finally, I had a $0.75 off coupon for turkey bacon, plus it was on sale 10 for $10 so I got the pack for $0.25. Too bad they didn't double my coupon or it would have been free!
Once I got my nice organic chicken home I discovered something... not so pleasant. When I made the turkey in college, the giblet and all of the organs were in a nice little bag. It was gross, but I could pull out the bag, dump it in the trash, and adios! But in this chicken, everything was just hanging out in the cavity. Not bagged. Which meant hands, pulling organs, out of a chicken's butt. Several times. Now I love chopped liver...but it doesn't look or feel like a liver...here I could see and feel every organ. I think the lungs were even in there. Nasty.
Once that little step was over, everything else went pretty swimmingly. I wanted to really have that rosemary taste in the potatoes, so I added dried crushed rosemary to the water I boiled them in. I figure, if I'm going to boil something, I better boil it in flavor. I feel that way about a lot of things (have you ever boiled your pasta in water mixed with red wine? mmmm!!)
Also, I kinda forgot to stab the lemon before I shoved it up the turkey's butt... I mean inserted it into the cavity. This wasn't a huge deal... we stabbed it after the first 45 minutes and I think it was still fine. I also decided to squeeze the lemon onto the potatoes at the end....it'd probably be wise to check the temperature of the lemon before you do this so that you don't get salmonella poisoning.
I tried to get a little pretty with the bacon (actually I thought this was how I remembered it in the picture... I was wrong). This meant that where the pieces all crossed, the lower pieces didn't get crispy. I just didn't use these sections when I added it back into the potatoes. Next time I'll use strips across the chicken so that they crisp up really nicely.
We really loved this recipe overall. It's a pretty easy thing to throw together... as long as you account for needing about 2 hours before you're ready to eat. The ingredients are fairly minimal... you may even have many of the ingredients in the house. The chicken was incredibly moist and the potatoes were tender and flavorful. Plus, since I met the Monkey Scientist, I rarely have leftovers from dinner to bring to work for lunch the next day...but with this I had lots! This recipe is definitely a go-to dinner. And if you wanted to have it for Friday night dinner, you can totally leave off the bacon (although that really would be a shame...). Bacon, YUM.
Roast Chicken with Lemon and Bacon-Rosemary Roast Potatoes
adapted from Ezra Pound Cake who adapted from Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Dinners
1 4- to 4 1/2 lb chicken (mine was about 4 3/4 lb)
salt (I used table, but next time I'll use sea salt)
freshly ground pepper
dried crushed rosemary (optional)
4 lb Yukon gold potatoes
1 large lemon
1 whole bulb of garlic, broken into cloves (I peeled them)
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, on the stem
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
a handful of fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
2 slices of pork bacon or 4 slices of turkey bacon
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Prep the chicken: Remove the giblets and liver from the chicken's cavity. Rinse the chicken under cold water, set it in the roasting pan, and dry it well with paper dowels, inside and out. Rub it inside and out with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Let the chicken rest in the roasting pan at room temperature while you prep the potatoes.
3. Prep the potatoes: Season a large pot or Dutch oven with salt and dried rosemary, if using, and bring to a boil. While you're waiting, peel the potatoes (if you haven't already) and cut them into golf ball-sized pieces. Put them into the boiling water, along with the whole lemon and the garlic cloves. Cook for 12 minutes (I cooked closer to 15 because it took a while to get the water back to boiling).
4. Drain, and return the potatoes, garlic and lemon to the pot to steam dry for 1 minute. Transfer the lemon and garlic to a small plate. Grab a wooden spoon, and toss the potatoes in the pot, so their outsides get a little wrecked and shaggy looking (and you can find all the garlic). This will make your potatoes nice and crispy later. Set aside.
5. Rub the chicken all over with olive oil. Stab the lemon about 10 times, and push it into the chicken's cavity, along with the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Add the potatoes and sliced onions to the pan, spreading them around the chicken. Cook for 45 min.
6. Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the chicken to a large plate, but leave the potatoes in the roasting pan. Add the rosemary leaves to the potatoes, and using a wooden spoon or spatula, toss the potatoes and rosemary with the chicken fat in the pan.
7. Return the chicken to the center of the pan. If you're adding the bacon, lay the slices over the chicken breast, and roast for another 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F. If you're not using a thermometer, look for the thigh meat to pull away from the bone easily and the juices to run clear.
8. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the bacon slices from the chicken, and crumble the bacon over the potatoes.
9. Remove the lemon, rosemary, and garlic from the inside of the chicken. Squeeze the lemon over your potatoes and crush the garlic into your potatoes. Toss the rosemary sprigs.
10. Carve the chicken and serve with potatoes.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
|photo by Amanda Farr|
I've been busy going to happy hours and Red Sox/Orioles games, so I haven't been cooking too much this week. However, I couldn't leave you hungry. I'm going to welcome back my coworker, Amanda, who tested this recipe and took some photos to share with you today.
|photo by Amanda Farr|
Massaman Curry is my absolute favorite dish to get at a Thai restaurant... the only thing I probably order more often is Pad Thai. We usually order beef, but lately I've been wanting to cut down on my red meat intake. Massaman Curry is complemented by sweet and delicious coconut milk. You can't go wrong with coconut milk.
|photo by Amanda Farr|
There definitely are some unusual ingredients here so you may need to take a trip to the Asian market. If you're buying fish sauce, BUY SQUID BRAND. It's the best I've ever used, and I have most frequently bought it at Asian markets. I have to admit though, Amanda used some really good looking brand, so that might be better. Either way, don't sniff the fish sauce... it smells terrible but it blends with all of the other ingredients to create the most amazing flavors.
|photo by Amanda Farr|
Amanda did make some adjustments from the original recipe. I know when I make this, I'll probably use ground cardamom out of laziness. If you use whole, and for the star anise, make sure you take them out when you're done making it. Amanda almost broke a tooth at lunch the other day when there was a star anise left in the curry.
|Photo by Amanda Farr|
I really want to try this one myself. Amanda really enjoyed it, and it looked scrumptious. You can serve it up with a big side of jasmine or sticky rice... perfection.
|Photo by Amanda Farr|
adapted from the very hungry cook
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 tbsp massaman curry paste
8 whole cardamom seeds, crushed with the side of a knife and your palm
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 star anise
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
3-4 tbsp roasted, unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp peanut oil
1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces
2. Add 1 tbsp of oil and the massaman curry paste to the chicken. Mix well, set aside to marinate.
3. Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Once the oil is hot, fry the cinnamon, cardamom and star anise for 30 seconds. Add the onion and fry until golden brown.
4. Add the chicken and turn to low. Let cook 3-5 min.
5. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, water, potatoes and peanuts. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 min or until potatoes and chicken are cooked through. If needed, remove the lid and cook until the curry reaches desired thickness. Check seasoning and then remove the pan from the flame.
6. Stir in the tamarind paste and brown sugar. Serve hot with jasmine rice.
Monday, July 18, 2011
I finally did it! I've been talking about making ice cream for well over a year now, and finally I made the move. Despite the fact this is not a cost saving way of eating, I don't think I can ever buy ice cream in a carton again.
I stole my ice cream maker from my parents house when they moved up to the lake. They bought it at a yard sale from our old neighbors when they moved from their house. It had never been used until I made this ice cream, but it's far from new. It's even hand crank...but honestly it wasn't as big of a deal as I thought it'd be.
I saw this recipe a while back and it definitely peaked my interest. Have I mentioned my love of white chocolate? Strawberry ice cream is pretty suburb as well. The Monkey Scientist encouraged me to finally go ahead and make this, and even lent me a helping hand. It took a long time, but none of the steps were really that difficult.
The ice cream was really amazing. The base was so silky and sweet. The strawberries got a little bit icy, but I think if we chopped them a little bit smaller they may have been fine. My new ice cream scoop, on the other hand didn't quite make it. It wasn't fancy ($1 at CVS) but I figured it'd least give me one scoop before it snapped....not so much.
I'm totally hooked on homemade ice cream...what kind should I make next?
White Chocolate Strawberry Chunk Ice Cream
from day dreamer desserts
1 lb finely diced strawberries
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 c heavy whipping cream
1 c whole milk
6-7 tbsp white chocolate hot cocoa powder (I used World Market Dulce de Leche White Hot Chocolate + 1 tbsp malted milk powder)
3/4 c granulated sugar
pinch of salt
5 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3.5 oz high quality white chocolate, chopped
1. Place diced strawberries into a medium bowl. Spring 2 tbsp sugar over strawberries and toss to coat. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, pour 1 c of heavy cream, and place a large strainer on top.
3. In a medium saucepan warm remaining 1 c of the heavy cream, milk, white chocolate hot cocoa powder, sugar, and pinch of salt.
4. Crack eggs into a small bowl and whisk lightly. Temper the eggs by slowly pourinng about half of the heavy cream mixture in a thin stream into the egg yolks while whisking constantly to warm the egg yolks. Then return the egg yolks back into the sauce pan. Over medium heat, stir the ice cream base with a wooden spoon making sure you scrape the bottom of the pan while you stir until the ice cream base thickens and coats the back side of the wooden spoon.
5. Pour ice cream base through the strainer and stir it into the large bowl with heavy cream. Add vanilla extract and diced strawberries. Stir well to combine. Cool ice cream base over an ice bath then finishing chilling in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours, preferably overnight.
6. Pour ice cream base into your ice cream maker and follow your manufacturer's instructions. About 5 min before the ice cream is done churning add in white chocolate chunks. Transfer ice cream into a sealable plastic container, cover and place in the freezer until thoroughly frozen approximately 4 hours.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Now that I'm back in the District, I can finally start cooking again! This week, I wanted to try something new and different. Last summer, several of our colleagues who work in our Chennai office were visiting for a couple of months. My office used this as an opportunity to get them to cook us an authentic Indian meal by holding an "International Potluck".
At the time, our colleagues were living in extended stay hotels, so they didn't exactly have world class kitchens. That did not stop them - the food they brought in was incredible! It has really encouraged me to want to try Indian cooking.
I briefly mentioned that I made Chicken Tikka Masala a few weeks ago and loved it. My coworker actually tried the same recipe this week, but didn't think it tasted authentic. Still, I enjoyed it. However, this time I wanted to step up the spice level. Vindaloo is supposed to be very spicy, and this recipe looked like it was going to meet our heat palates.
Unfortunately, and maybe it was the type of chiles that I used, this ended up looking a lot spicier than it tasted. The original recipe also called for WAY more cumin than it needed, so I cut it down in the recipe below. What was amazing about this recipe is that I felt like there was almost no liquid when I added the spices, yet a paste formed as the chicken cooked in the last step. It was pretty spectacular.
And, as long as we're talking spices, I (of course) have a money saving tip. I didn't have any cardamom and at my local grocery store a jar (whole or ground) was $14.99 (!!). Instead, I took a long walk to World Market, where it was only $2.99. Also, the original recipe calls for grinding your own spices, which I'm sure is great, but I just used the ground as noted below. For the chile paste, I ground it using my immersion blender, which worked but a food processor would have better.
If you enjoy Indian cuisine, definitely give this one a shot. For me, I'm going to try to go to an Indian grocery store next time to buy my spices, and maybe get some tips from my Chennai colleagues. This wasn't the best recipe I've ever made, but by adjusting the amount of cumin and using high quality spices, I think it could be a winner.
adjusted slightly from Steamy Kitchen
1 ½ lb chicken thighs (cut into cubes)
1 cup diced onions
4-5 whole red chilies
6-7 cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger
¼ cup white wine vinegar (add more if you like)
For dry spice mix:
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cinammon powder
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 cups diced potatoes (optional)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1) Soak whole chilies, garlic cloves and ginger in the white wine vinegar for about half an hour. Grind and make a paste of it.
2) Marinate chicken in the chili paste and let it sit in a refrigerator for at least an hour.
3) Mix cloves, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric and peppercorn. Set aside.
4) Heat oil in a thick bottom pan, add mustard seeds.
5) Once they start to pop, add onions and fry them in oil until they turn light golden brown.
6) Add marinated chicken with all the juices and stir fry for a few minutes.
7) Add dry spices along with salt, mix it all together and cover the pan with a lid.
8) Let it simmer and cook until the chicken is done and curry is thick (stirring in between from time to time).
9) Serve hot with rice or naan.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I know, it's been FOREVER. But I've been away! And I really didn't do a whole lot of cooking while I was on vacation. First, I was up at my parents house on the lake in NH with some friends, where we did things like grill and make lobsters. Not the most exciting food to blog, but it sure was delicious.
Then, I headed up to Chicago to visit the Monkey Scientist's family, as well as some of my closest friends. It was his mom's birthday, so I wanted to bring a little something special for her. She loves to bake, so I thought this recipe was a pretty and fun gift to bring her.
Well, it turns out, going through security, a mason jar looks a bit...suspicious. Fortunately, when my friendly TSA agent unwrapped the jar, he actually thought it was the smartest idea ever. Apparently, I was informed, you can't bring actual cookie dough on planes because it is unstable, but as long as you remove the liquids, you're good to go. I told him he should put this recipe up on the TSA website!
My little trip to the North was amazing - I saw so many great friends and family, and had a fantastic time jet skiing, swimming, kayaking, waterskiing, and then experiencing the "beach" in Chicago. The cookie mix jar went over great, and I definitely recommend it as a gift. Make sure you REALLY pack down each layer, as I had trouble stuffing in the last of the flour...and then the sugar, chocolate chips, and pecans got a little shaken up on the plane. I suggest using a wide mouth jar (not like the one I used) so it's easier to pack it in. I'll definitely perfect it by the holiday season!
Cowboy Cookies in a Jar
from all recipes
1 1/3 c rolled oats
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c chopped pecans
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1. Layer the ingredients in a 1 quart jar in the order given. Press each layer firmly in place before adding the next layer.
2. Include a card with the following instructions:
Cowboy Cookies Mix in a Jar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
- In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 c melted butter or margarine, 1 egg, and 1 tsp vanilla. Stir in the entire contents of the jar. You may need to use your hands to finish mixing. Shape into walnut-sized balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake for 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven. Transfer from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.