Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shrimp Stir Fry

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, stir frys are awesome. They're fast, they're easy, and they're pretty much the most versatile thing one can cook. Throw in what you have and voila, you have an instant stir fry. I love this version a lot because it's very fresh with the crisp vegetables, and the sauce just pulls everything together. Thanks to the folks over at Aggie's Kitchen for this great recipe that I tweaked just a tad.


1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 broccoli head, chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup snap peas
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons chili garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon fish sauce

Combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, chili paste, cornstarch, fish sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl until well incorporated.

Heat a skillet under medium to high heat. Add the oil, garlic, and shrimp. Saute until shrimp are just pink, about 3 minutes. Take shrimp out of pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add onion and broccoli to wok. Cook for about 2 minutes. Then add water chestnuts and snap peas. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add shrimp back in and stir in sauce. Let sauce thicken and mix well, maybe 5 more minutes. Really just cook it until the vegetables are to your desired doneness. Some like them crispy, some like them mushy. I like them somewhere in between. You can serve with rice or eat by itself. Enjoy!

This was absolutely great. Whipped up in minutes. It probably took more time prepping the vegetables and the shrimp and it did to actually have everything cooked and ready. Definitely a keeper recipe!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chipotle Pork & Cheddar Quiche

This was my first time making a quiche, and considering it went over very well, it won't be my last. This was extraordinarily simple and delicious. Andy seemed to love it, seeing as he ate it for lunch the next day. This is unusual because he's an avid believer of not eating the same thing twice in a row (which I don't understand why you can't have things two days in a row, but to each his own). This was inspired by these mini quichelettes over at La Fuji Mama blog.


1 & 1/4 cup flour
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt, divided in half
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon minced chives
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

This crust was simple, but full of flavor. Just mix flour, butter, 1 egg, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in bowl until mixture forms clumps. Then gather into a firm ball.

Line a greased pie dish with the crust mixture and press down until whole pan is covered. You should have just enough to cover the whole dish and the sides.

Heat a large skillet under medium high heat and cook your pork until no longer pink. Season with the chipotle chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Take off heat and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining two eggs, heavy whipping cream, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Beat by hand until well combined.

To assemble quiche, line bottom layer with ground pork (I had a good amount left over, but Andy used it as a garnish for his quiche pieces so it didn't go to waste). Then top with cheddar cheese and chives. And finally fill rest of quiche with the egg/cream mixture (you should have just enough to perfectly fill the dish).

Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until your crust is golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve topped with extra cheese or leftover ground pork.

This was a great weeknight meal. I loved how every bite was simple and delicious. The quiche was creamy inside, but not runny. The pork just added a nice subtle depth of flavor and the crust was simple to die for. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Garlic Noodles w/ Chicken

All I can say is yum! These were perfectly done garlic noodles and thanks to White on Rice Couple for posting this recipe which they got from Steamy Kitchen's cookbook (there's a link on their page for the book, which I think I'm going to invest in soon!)


1 box spaghetti noodles
2 large chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons butter
6 leaves fresh basil, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add noodles. Cook until about al dente, roughly 7-9 minutes for spaghetti noodles. Strain the noodles and add back into pot. In a separate large skillet, melt butter under medium heat and add garlic. Saute garlic until fragrant, about a minute. Then add chicken and cook until white throughout. Remove chicken with slotted spoon and set aside.

Add brown sugar, soy sauce, and oyster sauce to skillet. Stir until brown sugar dissolves and then add chicken and noodles. Make sure to coat everything evenly with the sauce.

Remove from heat and stir in basil. Serve and eat up!

This was such a quick meal to prepare and tasted really like authentic garlic noodles. I highly recommend the cookbook it came from and will be snagging up a copy of my own soon! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bangers N Beans

When I gave Andy his choices of what I was to make this past Sunday, he didn't sound thrilled with any of the choices whatsoever. I was for certain he was going to pick the ribs, but no ribs. I guess he didn't like the last time I made ribs (too much fennel in the rub overpowered the ribs, my own fault of course). So he reluctantly said the sausages and beans. I find myself using Cannelini beans a lot lately, and why not? They're full of nutrients and way cheap. Bon Appetit featured this recipe in it's October 2009 issue in a series of 10 rustic Italian recipes using the beans.

adapted from Sausages w/ White Beans in Tomato Sauce from Bon Appetit Oct 2009

2 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4-5 hot Italian sausages, cut in half
2 15 oz cans Cannelini beans
1 cup plus more of chicken stock
2-4 fresh sage leaves
1 15 oz. can whole tomatoes plus juice
1 cup elbow macaroni
salt and pepper to taste

The original recipe said to use whole dry beans and cook them in this flavorful broth. One problem... I couldn't find dry cannelini/kidney beans for the life of me. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, but I made do with what I COULD find and used the canned beans and made my own little simmering broth.

Combine the beans, chicken stock, 1 sage leave, and 1 crushed garlic clove (or more if you want). You want to make sure the stock covers the beans by at least 2/3. Then let that come to a boil and simmer on the stove for about 10-15 minutes. The longer you let it sit, the more the flavor will penetrate the beans, but if you let it sit too long, you end up with little or no liquid, so just watch it carefully and you be the judge.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet and over medium heat add the garlic. Saute until slightly brown, about 1-2 minutes. Add the sausages and cook until browned, 5 minutes or so. Add 1/2 cup of the bean cooking liquid (or water), tomatoes, and the rest of the sage to the pan. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the beans, along with the rest of the liquid (should be about a cup or so). Cover the pan with aluminum foil or a lid and let simmer under medium heat for about 30 minutes. About halfway through, about 15 minutes, add the elbow macaroni and cover again to resume simmering.

After the 30 minutes, uncover and you can keep simmering if you want the sauce to slightly thicken, or you can serve right away after adding salt and pepper to taste. I didn't simmer for any longer because I found that the macaroni absorbed a lot of liquid and in itself somewhat thickened the mixture.

Serve while hot and garnish with either sage leaves or parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

And once again, I prove Andy wrong. He found that the beans were quite flavorful and actually enjoyed the meal! What can I say...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spice-Rubbed Duck W/ Roasted Grapes & Kale

I love me some duck. It's absolutely amazing to be how people can say that it's too fatty or game-y. The fat is where the flavor is people! Stop counting calories and taste the flavor!! That's what food is all about right??? Adapted this from a recipe I found in the Oct. 2009 issue of Bon Appetit.


1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon fennel
3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 whole duck (or 4 small duck breasts)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
1 bunch kale, thick center stems removed, and leaves roughly chopped
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 lb. red seedless grapes, stemmed

Now I didn't get off work in time to make it to the butcher's to get pre-cut duck breasts, so I had to buy a whole duckling from the grocery store. This was actually more cost efficient to me, as it was only $12 for the whole duck, as opposed to the $20 something I would pay for 4 nicely cut breasts. Yeah, I would only get 2 breasts out of the duckling, but I couldn't let the rest of that meat go to waste so I used both thighs and legs also. And it was my first time ever cutting a whole duck. It was kind of something amazing, but that's for another day, let's get to cooking...

Grind the first 5 ingredients in a coffee grinder or spice mill. I don't see the sense in buying an extra appliance when 1 appliance doubles as two, so I love my coffee grinder for that.

Score your duck, skin only of course, in a diamond pattern. Sprinkle spice blend all over duck and massage into the meat and skin, but not too rough. You're supposed to cover and chill overnight, but I did it in the morning and cooked the duck later in the evening, so I'd say as long as you give it about 5-8 hours, it's sufficient. Make sure you let the duck sit at room temperature for 1 hour before you start cooking though.

Place 1 rack of your oven in the top third and 1 rack in the bottom third. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add your garlic and saute until starting to slightly brown, about 3 minutes or so. Add your kale, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let it wilt a bit. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce your heat to low and cover. Cook until the kale is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Then uncover your pot and increase the heat to high and cook until most of broth is evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Watch it carefully though because my kale almost burnt, but I keenly heard the first sizzle and quickly took it off the heat and added a tad bit of broth to save the day. Set the kale aside.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add duck breasts, skin side down, and cook until skin is brown and fat is rendered, about 8 minutes. Then place duck, skin side up, on baking sheet and place in oven. For medium rare, roast about 8 to 10 minutes. If you want it more done, then cook longer. Tent the duck with foil after taking it out of the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

In same skillet you used to brown duck, pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat and add grapes. Roast in the oven until the skin starts to split, about 15 minutes.

Thinly slice your duck breasts, garnish with grapes, and serve alongside kale.

I made this duck the same day that we had out crazy cookoff with a bunch of our friends. We were still stuffed from lunch, but the duck was so worth it to eat, even when we really weren't that hungry. It left us feeling great inside and the duck was perfectly cooked. The grapes were a wonderful accompaniment and when you took a bite of the duck and the grapes at the same time, it was like a party in my mouth. Definitely a must try recipe for all the duck lovers out there! Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Links 10-23-09

This week has been great. 6 course birthday dinner on tuesday was amazing. I couldn't ask for a better birthday. And... Andy got me an Immersion Blender which I've been wanting for FOREVER! I can't wait to use it. I'll probably make a soup or something here in the next few days so look out... Anyway, yeah, I said 6 course birthday dinner along with wine pairings. It was as follows:

1st course
Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc
Chilled Crab and Shrimp filled Crepe with a Blood Orange Gastrique Garnished with Crushed Macadamia Nuts

Second Course
Freemark Abby Napa Chardonnay
Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque topped with Mascarpone Cream


Third Course
La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir
Fresh Baby Arugula tossed with Strawberries, Spiced Almonds and Roquefort Cheese Drizzled with a Strawberry Vinaigrette

Fourth Course
Matanzas Creek Bennett Valley Merlot
Roasted Quail served with Pancetta Fried Brussel Sprouts Finished with a Quince and Pomegranate Chutney

Fifth Course
Stonestreet Fifth Ridge
Peppercorn Encrusted Boneless Wagyu Short Rib served with Potato Hash, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Topped with a Béarnaise Sauce

Sixth Course
Cambria Tepusquet Syrah
Chocolate Filled Donut with Blackberry Jam served with Coffee Ice Cream

Yeah, reason #34597 why Varanese is THE best restaurant in Louisville, in my personal opinion.

Anyway, on to the links...

Mike's Amazing Cakes - Ok... this guy has a chicken cake. Not a cake with chickens on it... but an actual chicken, as a cake. Ace of Cakes has nothing on this guy...

Chocolate Chip Cookies - How do you like your cookies? Thin and crispy? Light and fluffy? This page has the perfect cookie for you because all the types are listed on one convenient page!

Chicken Parmesan
- Very great pictures and how-to on how to make an italian classic

Upside Down Apple Pie
- This seriously has to be the best looking apple pie ever. I love this blog.

- I heart Falafels. These look delicious.

Alright well that wraps it up. I'm off all weekend, so it's going to be spent studying. Yay... and still waiting to hear back from my pharmacy school applications, although for some reason they didn't receive some things so I had to send them again... keeping the fingers crossed!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Soy-Spiced Braised Pork Ribs

I have a confession. I was oh so excited about these ribs. It was a night where I had to work and I was just gonna let these babies braise in the slow-cooker all day and just be tender and fall off the bone meat. So didn't happen. I made the mistake of setting the temperature too low and it was like they sat in luke warm water all day. The flavor was there, the meat was cooked, it just wasn't what I had envisioned... but so it goes... as adapted from Foodies' Kitchen


1/2 teaspoon star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sake
1/4 cup sherry wine
1/4 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
1 lb. pork ribs
1 to 2 cups water

Alright, I've got to start out by saying that the ribs were probably the meatiest ribs I've ever bought. I've never seen ribs with so much meat to bone ratio. With that said, let's get on with it...

Combine all ingredients, except ribs and water in slow cooker. Stir to dissolve sugar.

Add the ribs and add water until ribs are about 2/3 covered.

Crank slow cooker to high until mixture comes to a boil. Then simmer down at low for 8-9 hours. Don't make it too low like I did, or you'll just have lukewarm liquid around the ribs and they won't get tenderized properly.

And that's pretty much it. I did make a quick sauce out of the braising liquid though.

Take 1 cup of liquid and heat in small saucepan under high heat. Mix 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 1 tablespoon cold water. Add to saucepan and stir until thickened. Take off heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the ribs.

Andy said the best part of the meal was the mac n cheese. It was the Annie's Mac N Cheese, which I personally think is the best boxed kind you can get. He said the ribs were good, he didn't care for the cinnamon spice in there, but he said they weren't bad. That's a nice way of him telling me I shouldn't make that again for a long time. But anyway... you win some and you lose some. And if you guys haven't signed up yet, sign up for the next Foodie Fights, where i'll be the judge since I won this last competition with cumin/pecan. Thanks to all that voted! Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Foodie Fights Battle #14: Pecans & Cumin; Cumin-Carrot Cake Cupcakes w/ Cumin Maple Cream Cheese Frosting & Candied Pecans

This weekend has definitely been a weekend of food. Had a blast doing an all day cook-off for a friend's birthday. We had the lunch meal and needless to say, it was amazing. The secret ingredient was pistachios and the highlight of our meal probably was our Mango-Pistachio Milkshake... that we turned into a beer float. Yes... beer float. BBC Bourbon Barrel Stout beer float I might add. Yum!

But we're not here to talk about that, we're here to talk about Cumin and Pecans. At first I was a little hesitant on what to do. I thought maybe a cumin pecan breading on some sort of protein would work out, but then I thought about it, and the past couple of challenges I used a protein and it seemed like the protein had the highlight, and not the main ingredients. So I did a little bit of research on the cumin because I thought that was the hardest ingredient to really incorporate. After looking a little bit, I saw that cumin actually brings out the sweetness in things, despite it's somewhat smoky flavor. So I wanted to play on that and do a sort of savory dessert. Then I thought of carrot cake. And carrot cake turned into cupcake. And voila, my final product... Cumin Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cumin Maple Cream Cheese Frosting & Candied Pecans. That's a mouthful, eh? In more ways than one, of course...

Ingredients for Cumin Carrot Cake Cupcakes:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 cup finely grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix up first 6 ingredients.

In a separate large bowl, mix together the sugar and the canola oil. Whisk in your eggs, one at a time.

Add in the flour mixture until well blended. Then add in your carrots.

Divide batter among the cupcake molds, filling each about 1/2 way. Bake for about 20 minutes, when you can stick a toothpick in them and it comes out clean. Let cool on a baking rack before icing.

While you're waiting for the cupcakes to cool, you can whip up this amazing frosting...

Ingredients for Cumin-Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin

In a small bowl, beat all ingredients with a hand blender until mixture is smooth and fluffy. Chill for about 10 minutes so it is easier to ice cupcakes.

Now you can candy your pecans...

Ingredients for Candied Pecans:

1 package pecans
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the brown sugar and mix well until smooth. Make sure the sugar "soaks" up the butter, it should be a sort of "creamy" consistency. Add the cream and it should lighten up the color a little bit. Then toss in your pecans and coat evenly. Take off heat and let cool.

Now to put your cupcakes together...

I found that the cupcakes were really airy and almost sunk in a little bit at the top, so to fill that void, I placed some pecans on the center of each cupcake like so...

Then top each cupcake with some frosting...

The top with even more pecans...

And then you can split in half to share or just gobble them all up yourself...

I thought this was really fun. I don't do many dessert posts and I was definitely scared to try this, but it turned out really well. I know this because Andy has been religiously eating them for breakfast in the morning ever since I made them the other night. And don't forget to vote for the best recipe (hopefully you think it's mine, but my competition is stiff!) at FoodieFights on Tuesday and Wednesday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spinach Pesto Pasta

Talk about easy. This was incredibly tasty and the difficulty level was -3. My dogs could even probably make this. It whips up in a matter of minutes, basically just the amount of time it takes your pasta to cook! And I've been working with the white balance measurements on my camera, and I think my pictures are steadily improving, right? Right.


3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1-3 cloves garlic
1 & 1/2 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/4 t0 1/2 cup olive oil
1 box spaghetti/fettuccine noodles

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon or so of salt. Then cook noodles until al dente, 6-8 minutes.

While noodles are cooking, combine remaining ingredients in food processor. You may have to do the spinach in batches because it's so bulky at first. I'd save the olive oil for last too because you don't want too much olive oil, just enough to get a good consistency out of the rest of the ingredients. Blend until you reach that desired texture.

Drain noodles and return to pot. Mix in pesto or serve pesto on top of noodles. I chose to mix it in because you get those beautifully colored noodles! I served it with some toasted french loaf that I rubbed some fresh garlic on. Yummy! Enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rustic Italian Soup

With the cold weather starting to stroll on in, hearty soups are where it's at. Of course you can make a bowl of chili and call it a night, but why not be different? Cannelini beans have been showing up everywhere, from soups to side dishes, so I saw this recipe over at Shutterbean and knew I had to make it, especially since Andy said he wanted me to make a soup for one of this week's meals.


3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery root, chopped
4 oz. pancetta, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
15 oz. canned whole peeled tomatoes
3 15 oz. canned cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
1 sprig rosemary
1 bunch kale, chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
grated parmesan
1 cup elbow macaroni

To make this recipe even simpler, I brought out the trusty crock pot. That way, I could just sit back while amazing-ness was-a-brewin' in the pot.

First, in a medium skillet, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil under medium to high heat. Saute onion, garlic, pancetta, carrots, and celery until translucent and soft, maybe about 5 minutes. Then dump that mixture in crock pot. My crock pot only has three settings, high, low, and warm. So I started it off at high so it could get going.

Then add the beans, tomatoes, rosemary, and chicken broth to the party. Mix everything well, cover, and let the flavors mingle for about an hour or so. The beans will start to break apart and thicken up the mixture.

After about an hour, throw in your kale. I had to do this in a couple batches because my crock pot wasn't big enough, but the kale shrinks once it hits the liquid so nothing a few stirs shouldn't fix. Stir in the bread crumbs.

Serve it hot in bowls and top with olive oil and parmesan cheese.

This was definitely easy and great, mainly because, besides the chopping of the vegetables, it's really a dump and go recipe. You dump the ingredients all together, wait, and you have a great hearty soup in the end! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Moroccan Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

There's just something about autumn/fall that screams "EAT SQUASH!" I mean, it's readily available, it's cheap, so why not? Acorn squash is good because it doubles as a serving bowl and it goes great with brown sugar and butter. That was Andy's one requirement in me making this dish. The squash HAD to have butter and brown sugar in the cavity while it was baking. And don't tell him this, but it was pretty good idea. Adapted this recipe from The Bitten Word.


2 acorn squashes, halved and seeded
3/4 lb. ground beef
ground cinnamon and nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 cups water
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pats
4 tablespoons brown sugar, or more if you'd like
1 cup beef stock/broth
parmesan cheese to top

You definitely want to start cooking the rice first, unless you have a quick rice like basmati or something. But for me, the brown rice takes about 45 minutes to develop a good texture. Bring the beef stock and rice to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes, covered.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay out squash halves on baking sheet. You may have to cut the bottoms just a tad so they lay flat. Add 1 pat of butter and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to each half. You can add more brown sugar if you'd like, but I found this was good. Bake squash for about 40 minutes, or until tender.

While squash and rice are cooking, you can make your filling. In a large skillet, heat oil under medium high heat. Add ground beef, pinch or two of cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt to taste. Cook until beef is brown, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a separate bowl and tent with foil to keep warm. Try to reserve as much oil and juice in the pan as possible.

Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, less than a minute. Add salt to taste and fold in rice. Mix well. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes, still leaving it covered. Fluff the rice with a fork and add back in the beef, and mix in the raisins, parsley, and pine nuts.

Scrape out the squash into the beef mixture, leaving enough squash to make a sturdy bowl. Fill each squash shell to your liking, top with parmesan cheese, and bake for about 12-15 minutes longer. Serve hot and enjoy!

This was a great recipe. Full of flavor in every bite, took a little bit of time, but definitely worth it. Great for leftovers for lunch the next day! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Roasted Chicken w/ Fingerling Potatoes & Garlic-Parsley Jus

I'm disappointed in myself. I burnt the broccoli. It was supposed to be broccoli and potatoes, but the potatoes were the only vegetable to survive the high heat of the oven. And even the potatoes I thought were a tad overdone, but Andy said the slight crunchy-ness of the potatoes went well with the juicy soft chicken. So I guess not all is lost, because this chicken was off the chain! And on a side note, for all you football fans, welcome back Donovan McNabb!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit October 2009 issue

4-4 & 1/2 lb whole chicken, heart and gizzards reserved
kosher salt
few parsley sprigs
1 lemon, halved
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb gold fingerling potatoes, cut into rounds
1 lb broccolini (just be careful, they cook fast)
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup beef stock (I used this on accident, but turned out pretty tasty)
1/4 cup white wine (I used a chardonnay)
1/3 cup parsley, chopped

You want to start this a day ahead so make sure you plan for it. Sprinkle the chicken all over with salt. Then sit chicken in a roasting rack and pan, breast side up, in the fridge and leave it uncovered overnight.

Next day when you're ready to cook, place the parsley springs and 1/2 of the lemon inside the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs together to close it up. Place the heart and gizzards underneath the rack, along with the garlic. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of oil on the chicken. I rubbed mine in also to get the bird all lubed up, but I don't think it's required. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Make sure 1 oven rack is in the bottom third and 1 rack is in the center of the oven. Preheat your oven to 400 degress.

Place potatoes in large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup oil and toss. Spread potatoes out on baking sheet in an even layer. Set aside.

Roast the chicken on the center rack for about 25 minutes. Then add 1 cup chicken stock to roasting pan. Place potatoes on bottom rack under chicken. You can add more stock if the pan gets dry. This is where I accidentally added 1/4 cup of beef stock, but it turned out pretty good, so I kept it in there. Roast for about 45-55 minutes longer. You might want to watch the potatoes, depending on their size, they might be done after about 30 minutes or so. Unless you like them a little crispy on the edges, then you can leave them in for the 45 minutes, but I'd suggest just watching them closely.

Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes after coming out of the oven.

Season potatoes with salt and pepper, if needed. Tent with foil to keep them warm.

Tilt the chicken so the juices from the cavity spill out into the roasting pan. Throw out the heart and the gizzards. Take chicken and rack and let sit on cutting board, or flat surface. Then strain out the juices from the roasting pan into a medium saucepan. This might be a two-man job, because it's tricky to the hot pan tilted into the strainer, but if you can one-man it, then more power to ya. Press on the solids to let the roasted garlic press through the strainer and into the liquid.

On medium-high to high heat, heat liquid for about 5 minutes to reduce just a little bit and add wine. Squeeze juice from other lemon half into mixture and stir in chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Carve the chicken and serve alongside potatoes. Spoon jus over chicken and eat!

The chicken was succulent and juicy. I'm a big fan of chicken and this was a keeper. Long process time, but it was well worth the end result. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

NY Strip Roast & Root Vegetables

Everything about this meal was amazingly good. It definitely was a good fall starter meal. It takes some patience, but the reward is quite worth it. Recipe is from Bon Appetit's October 2009 issue.


1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
juice from 1 lemon
salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temp
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 & 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
3 lb. boneless NY Strip roast
1 lb. variety of mushrooms
1 lb. turnips, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
6 medium sized carrots, cut into rounds
1 celery root, cut into 1/4 inch strips
5 shallots, sliced
5 tablespoons olive oil

First you'll want to make a cream sauce for the steak. It's pretty simple. Combine sour cream, mustard, and lemon juice in small bowl. Salt to taste. Whoa... done. Told you it was quite simple. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve.

For the roast itself, combine butter, garlic, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl. Putting beef fat side up, spread mixture on top of roast.

Allow the beef to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before cooking.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place 1 rack in top 3rd of oven and another rack in bottom 3rd of oven.

For the vegetables, combine mushrooms, turnips, carrots, celery, shallots, oil, and rosemary in a large bowl. Toss to coat well with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss one more time. Spread the vegetables on a large baking sheet in an even layer.

Put vegetables on bottom rack in oven, and the roast on the top rack. Roast for about 20 minutes. Toss the vegetables and turn oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to roast beef and vegetables for about 30-35 more minutes for a good medium rare-medium.

Let meat rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Transfer vegetables to a serving bowl and drizzle with any leftover juices from meat from pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.

Cut the roast to desired thickness and serve on top of vegetables. Serve with the mustard cream sauce on the side. Enjoy!

The vegetable mixture was a perfect accompaniment to the meat which was tender and juicy. I will definitely keep this one in the back of my pocket. It's an impressive meal!

Friday, October 9, 2009


This has been a pretty crazy week. Pharmacy school application is in the mail, now it's just a waiting game. I'll pretty much be stressed out to the core until I hear something. Cooking is the only thing to keep me sane right now, I suppose. Here's the links for this week....

Conversion Tables
- I printed this out this week because I think it's a handy reference tool. There's a lot of recipes online that use the metric system as opposed to our customary U.S. system and I always end up having to Google the conversions because for some reason they don't stick in my head. So this table comes in pretty handy!

Stir Fry Sauces
- The title says it all. This shows 6 different stir fry sauce styles, that are pretty versatile for any bunch of ingredients. Especially since stir fry is one of those quick and easy meals, it's good to spice it up a bit... I definitely recommend the Lobster sauce!!!

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- It's October and pumpkin is pretty much a main stay! So why not make these delicious looking cupcakes! I'm sure the frosting is something you'd want to eat all by itself but remember to but it on the cupcakes!!

Cook's Illustrated - Definitely a great resource for anything in the kitchen. Keep the food publications alive! Subscribe to your favorite magazine today, regardless of what it may be!

Cheesecake With Whiskey Butter Sauce - cheesecake? whiskey? Who ever thought of putting the two together? Two great indulgences wrapped into one package!

Alright well that wraps it up... enjoy the weekend and hopefully you're somewhere sunny because here in the midwest it's pretty crappy and rainy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Garlic Shrimp

Simple. Quick. My two favorite words on the weeknight. And adding a third word... Delicious... Makes for a successful evening. If I were gonna do this again, I'd strip these big guys of their skin and eat them naked. Not that the flavor didn't penetrate the skin... I just didn't have the time to work for my food by peeling it off! Okay, maybe I had time, I was just lazy. Okay?! I said it, I'm lazy... just that one time anyway. Found this recipe over at Rasa Malysia. On a different note... pharmacy school application has been sent!! Crossing fingers that I get an interview!!!


15 Jumbo Shrimp, or a bunch of little suckers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sake, more for drinking
chopped scallions

Make sure you shrimp are rinsed with some cold water. Not hot because you'll obviously cook the little guys, or big guys in my case, prematurely. Dry the shrimp off with a paper towel.

Heat a medium skillet under medium high heat and melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, just a minute or two.

Add the shrimp and toss to coat in the butter and garlic. Add sugar, salt, and sake. Toss again. Cover the skillet and let shrimp steam for about a minute. They'll be bright pink. They've got built in thermometers that tell you when you're allowed to eat them.

Serve with some brown rice (I've been on a rice kick... and hey, how can you blame me... Asian's love rice). And top with the chopped scallions.

See, what did I say. Quick. Simple. And you'll soon find out... Delicious!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Honey-Lime Glazed Salmon W/ Broccolini and Rice

First of all, seriously... Gourmet magazine shutting down? This is a travesty! I just hope the other great magazines, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Cook's Illustrated etc. are not soon to follow. I think that would be the death of me, and frankly, I'm too young to die. Anyway, I found this recipe in October's Bon Appetit and just HAD to try it, considering I just got a new fry pan and have been longing to stick it in my oven! (I know, waaaaay nerdy)


Juice from 1 lime
Zest from 1 lime
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium shallots, sliced
3/4 cup short grain brown rice, or any rice for that matter
1 & 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 6 oz. salmon fillets
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine lime juice, zest, honey, and soy sauce. Set aside.

I like to leave the skin on my salmon, so I chose to buy fillets with the skin still on, but the recipe called for skinless. So you can go either way. If you go the skin way, then turn your fillets skin-side up on a cutting board and cut 3 or 4 slits diagonally on the skin and season both sides with salt and pepper. I learned this trick from Gordon Ramsey, of all people. It creates less surface area on the skin and crisps it up faster. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in medium to large skillet under high heat. Place salmon, skin side down, and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until your skin is nice and crispy. Set salmon aside.

In the same fry pan, lower heat to medium and saute the shallots until they become soft and start turning brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining olive oil, rice, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover with lid and bake in oven for about 20 minutes. Depending on the type of rice you use, in my case, short grain brown rice, the cooking time may vary. Brown rice takes a little bit to entirely cook, so if you want something a little faster you might try a white rice like basmati.

Remove skillet from oven and season rice with salt, if needed. Add salmon fillets on top of rice, skin side up so it can continue to crisp in oven because it will lose some of the crisp in the waiting time. Top salmon fillets with honey-lime-soy mixture and arrange broccolini around fish, and you can even anchor them in the rice. Cover tightly with lid and return to oven to cook for about 10 minutes, or until salmon is nice and done.

Serve with extra sauce on the side and enjoy!

This was both delicious and it didn't make me feel like I was gourging! Yes, the rice took quite a bit longer than I anticipated, but it was amazing. The flavors all blended together and the broccolini was crisp and refreshing. The salmon was moist and tasty!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Homemade Hot Pockets

All I have to say is 2 sticks of butter. Paula Dean would love this recipe just based on that. This was pretty tasty, and definitely more rewarding than the $2 things you get wrapped in plastic in your grocery's freezer aisle. Pictures were kinda of blah, but taste was great. Dough and recipe was inspired by these little guys at Eat My Cake Now. While pufflets are cute, I've always gone by the slogan, go big or go home, so that's exactly what I did.


2 sticks of butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 & 2/3 cups flour
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
3/4 cup cottage cheese - yeah, i'm kind of grossed out by cottage cheese by itself, but in this, you couldn't really tell it was in there, so i survived.

This is basically for the dough. You can really stuff these babies with whatever you want, I opted for the ham, turkey, and cheddar cheese. Yum.

In a medium bowl, beat your butter and cottage cheese. Heart attack in a bowl, right? Right. Paula Dean is still alive, so this should be no worries.

In another medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and parmesan cheese.

Add the flour mixture, in batches, to butter and cottage cheese mixture. You'll form a sticky ball of goodness. Split the ball in two, flatten both halves into a square-like shape, and cover in plastic wrap. Throw those suckers in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

When the squares are nice and cold and somewhat hard, take them out of the fridge. Roll out the dough in between two pieces of plastic wrap. Cut dough in half again, and place fillings on one side of dough. Fold over and seal edges with a little bit of cold water.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake these babies for about 30 minutes, depending on how big you make them. They'll have a nice golden brown crust, and a pretty hot juicy center.

For being this easy, I don't know why I haven't tried making my own hot pockets before! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hot Caprese Pasta

Yes, I know the title is hypocrisy. Caprese is supposed to be cold. But I wanted a hot dinner. And so I give you, HOT Caprese Pasta, inspired by a COLD Caprese Pasta found over at Framed.


1/4 cup olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 medium sized tomatoes, diced
6 or 7 small balls of fresh mozzarella, diced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
1 lb. egg noodle pasta
5 or 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Combine everything but pasta and basil leaves in medium bowl. Mix to coat well. Set aside.

Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salt water until al dente, about 5 or 6 minutes. Time will vary depending on the type of pasta you use, so just watch it carefully.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium to high heat, add tomato mixture to skillet and saute down until kind of thick. The cheeses melted and created a thick tomato sauce that reminded Andy of "bruschetta".

When pasta is done, drain and add to tomato sauce. Stir in basil leaves.

Plate while it's hot and enjoy!

This was incredibly easy, and definitely tasty. It really is versatile. It could just as well be eaten as a cold pasta, as it was intended. Enjoy!