Archive for February, 2011

February 21, 2011

Roasted Chicken with Rice, Apple, and Cilantro Stuffing

A whole roasted chicken. A whole one. Yeah. Just look.

This particular bird is 5.38 pounds. And it was delicious. Just giving you both facts and something to look forward to.

Rice, Apple, and Cilantro Stuffing

1 3/4 c cooked rice (brown, white, or a mixture)
1/2 diced apple
1/2 diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c celery, chopped
1 T cilantro paste, or 2 T fresh cilantro, or 1 T cilantro, dried
1/2 lime, cut into rounds
1/2 T cumin
2 t Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Salt

Cook the rice. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

After cooking rice per instructions (If using both brown and white rice, cook separately as they require different cooking times.), chop vegetables and fruit. I used a honeycrisp apple.

Mince garlic.

Then chop celery and slice lime. Compile and add to rice.

Add cilantro and spices. Mix together.

No, it doesn’t look all that pretty here. But set it aside. We’ll come back to it.

Let’s get back to that whole chicken. You’ll want to take out the neck and giblets. Yuck. Grossest phrase on this whole website. Every time I touch raw chicken, I wash my hands. I encourage proper hygiene when handling raw poultry. Pat chicken dry with paper towel then place into a roasting pan. Ask it if it’s comfortable. Make sure it is.

It is not easy to illustrate raw chicken without grossing yourself out. I hope you’re not experiencing similar reactions. So, see that loose skin there? I did that. It’s very easy, but you’ll use that as access to the breasts and drumsticks. This is your butter and spice portal. Take a pat of butter, softened, and rub over breasts under the skin.

There’s my pat. That and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and cumin went under the skin, over the breasts, and around to the drumstick.

Now is the time to stuff the bird.

You might want to tie its legs together with twine. I had no twine. Therefore, this chicken is a little loosey goosey but not worse for the wear.

Roasted Chicken
5 lbs whole chicken
1 T butter, softened
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 c vegetable broth

Place stuffed chicken (in roasting pan) in preheated oven. Pour vegetable broth over chicken. Leave it be for 40 minutes. Maybe baste it once with the vegetable broth.

Turn temperature up to 450 degrees F and bake for 25 more minutes, or until meat thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh reads 170 degrees F. With five minutes to go, you can dab butter over the chicken and stuffing. Careful not to burn yourself. (I burnt my thumb.)

Before taking the chicken out of the roasting pan, it’ll do you good to note that the roasting pan is incredibly hot. Very hot. It just came out of an awfully hot oven. Don’t touch the handles with your bare hand. Even if you’re just trying to turn the pan. Don’t touch it. It’ll result in painful, terrible burns. (Other thumb and index finger. Aloe and bagged frozen vegetables are my friends.)

Carve chicken with a chef’s knife if you don’t have a carving knife and serve with stuffing. Pick out the large bits of lime and squeeze over the stuffing and/or chicken, and discard the lime.

Wasn’t that worth all the gross and all the raw chicken and all the number of times you washed your hands? (And the burns. For me. Hopefully you’ll learn from my pain.)

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February 19, 2011

White Bean & Dark Green Stew

What can I say? I’m smitten. That Deb over at SmittenKitchen.com (right here) is brilliant and fun and funny and a great, wonderful inspiration to an aspiring homecook extraordinaire.

Don’t over do a serving on this stew. It is hearty. Don’t, for example, try to test its temperature by serving yourself a bowl, thinking you’ll heat it up in the microwave, forget to heat it up in the microwave, then be forced to serve yourself another bowl and top it up correctly.

Here’s my first bowl::

I didn’t even give myself time to take a picture of it before I had mostly devoured it. Please take the time to savor your stew.

White Bean & Dark Green Stew
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen

1 lb turnip greens, stems chopped off and leaves cleaned
2 c spinach
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 c carrots, chopped
1 c celery, chopped
1 large shallot (Use your judgement here. You can definitely use more. I just had one on hand.)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 c white wine, dry
4 c white beans (If using canned, use about 2 15-oz cans. Drain and rinse them.)
2 1/2 c vegetable broth
1 28-oz can tomatoes, crushed
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Thyme
Bay leaf

If you’re using dried white beans, pour beans into a crock pot. Pour 2 and a half inches of water over the beans. Cook on low over night.

In a medium pot, boil salted water.

Once the water boils, add turnips and let boil for one minute.

Drain and squeeze precooked turnips. Coarsely chop. Set aside.

Drain.

Then, chop.

Meanwhile, pour out the water, wipe dry, and add 3 T extra virgin olive oil to the pot.

Peel the carrots.

Then, chop them.

Add to the olive oil.

Chop the celery. Add to the olive oil and carrot.

Peel the shallot(s).

Chop the shallots.

Smash the garlic.

!!

Peel the skins off the cloves then chop nicely. Then add to stove.

 

Scrape down those sides!!

After fifteen minutes, add 1/2 c white wine and 1/2 c vegetable broth. Cook that down until it’s reduced by three-fourths.

Add beans, tomatoes, the rest of the vegetable broth, a few pinches of salt, freshly ground black pepper, thyme, and bay leaf and bring to boil.

Crushed tomatoes, added. Next…

…The beans.

Then the vegetable broth. Reduce heat to medium-low for 20 minutes. Add turnip greens and spinach and cook for 5 minutes longer. Make sure you give spinach and turnips a proper introduction. Spinach, this is Turnips. Turnips, Spinach.

Turn heat off. Put  a lid on the dutch oven. Go get your haircut. Come back. Enjoy!!! Okay, the haircut part isn’t completely necessary. That’s just what happened for me.

Serve with toasted bread and monter (heh humm, Muenster) cheese.

 

February 17, 2011

Pear Bread

Pear bread. Pear cake. It’s in the shape of a bundt cake, but if the food doesn’t have a coffee in front of it, I don’t think we’re allowed to eat it for breakfast. Hence, bread. Also, it’s very, very similar to banana bread.

I have a feeling I should keep playing around with this recipe a bit. But it was fun making it the first time. So, allow me to tell you about it.

Pear Bread
inspired by Smitten Kitchen

3 c A-P flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 T ground cinnamon
3/4 c butter, softened
3 eggs
2 c sugar
3 pears, firm
2 t vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon).

Cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.

Peel and grate the pears.

Add eggs, grated pears, and vanilla to the creamed butter and sugar. Once completely combined together, mix into the flour mixture.

Butter the bundt pan.

And pour batter in evenly.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.

Cool bread in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. The cool it completely on a plate. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Slice. Enjoy.

Advisory:: Be aware. Cutting yourself a slice of this bread even after a week, topping it with a tablespoon of honey, heating it up in the microwave for 22 seconds, then topping that with French Vanilla organic yogurt is INCREDIBLE!!! It’ll make you sing, make you feel giddy, and make you want at least one more slice.

February 12, 2011

Picture of the Week

Oh, look!! A picture for this week::

Sometimes food can sound like it has a negative self-image: steamed, poached, beaten, whipped, creamed, pulsed. But most of the time the words are actually delicious in a food context. I present: Steamed and poached. Both make for an excellent dinner. I loved this meal. I cooked it for just me, which is a miracle in and of itself. You see, usually when it’s just me for dinner, dinner looks like “Hm, cereal. No, tortilla chips. And hummus. Or just chocolate chips. No. Cereal. Okay. Now tortilla chips. And a carrot.” So snacky. This was a meal. And one I could be proud of.

February 9, 2011

Gingery Molasses Cookies

These ginger cookies are incredible!!! Yes, I must be in the cookie spirit, because I can’t turn down a good cookie recipe right now. I’m not sure what it is– random cravings, the time of year, butter, sweet, delicious, soft, chewy, warm out of the oven, magnificent. I love cookies lately. And not all, mind you. I’ve still retained my sense of standard and decorum. I don’t jump onto every cookie I see. I consider it carefully before I tell the good ones how much I love them.

These are some mighty good ones. Let me tell you. Actually, allow me to show you. And encourage you to make these right this very moment. Yes. Now.

Gingery Molasses Cookies
Inspired by Rosie at Sweetapolita

2 1/4 c unbleached white-wheat flour
1/2 t ground ginger
1 t cinnamon
2 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c molasses
1 large egg
1 pkg crystalized ginger
Demerara sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sift all dry ingredients together. Set bowl aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy and much lighter. At least beat for 2 minutes. Add egg, mix; add molasses, mix for another minute.

Blend. Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Chop up crystalized ginger.

Add and mix in on low.

Make balls of dough then roll in demerara sugar to completely coat. Place on Silpated cookie sheet.

Lightly flatten cookie. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or as soon as cookies begin to crack. Let cookies cool on sheet then on a cooling rack.

These are incredibly chewy and absolutely perfect.

February 6, 2011

Mozzarella Bruschetta

Isn’t it just the greatest when a food is both delicious AND simple??

This is the best of all those worlds. Easy. Simple. Fast. Delectable. Incredible. Delicious. Warm. Crunchy. Cheesy. Flavorful. Awesome.

Mozzarella Bruschetta

1 baguette
1 medium-sized tomato (or 2 Roma tomatoes)
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 T Balsamic vinegar
2 t (or more to taste) fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin by slicing the baguette.

Use your discretion when deciding what to do with the end pieces. I recommend using them as snackrels. However, just about anything will work. You want to slice the baguette on the diagonal to give yourself a little bit more surface area for delicious ports.

Once you slice the baguette, place the slices on a cookie sheet. Spread minced garlic over each slice, top with sliced fresh mozzarella. Then bake for about 7 minutes, or until cheese is melty.

While toasting up and melting down, you can prepare the tomato mixture. Dice the tomato into little squares. Place in bowl. Pour in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt, pepper, and basil to taste.

Take baguette out of the oven and top with tomato mixture, pouring a little bit of the oil and vinegar from the bowl over the bread.