Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chicken & Noodles

What a day! I got up, went to work, blinked, and it was 4:15. And while it was a pretty nice day when I woke up, it got pretty gross by early afternoon (which seems to be par for the course this month), and all I could think about was coming home and making some comfort food. And I did. And it was delicious.

You will need:
One whole cut up fryer, or some breasts.
Two whole carrots, diced
One onion, diced
Two celery stalks, diced (my supermarket didn't have celery, so we went without)
Half a teaspoon turmeric
Half a teaspoon white pepper
Half a teaspoon ground thyme
Two teaspoons dried parsley flakes
Frozen egg noodles, or whatever noodles you like
Three tablespoons all-purpose flour

Dice your vegetables.

Cover the chicken in water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred the meat. If you have bones, return them to the pot and simmer, covered, for another 45 minutes or so. If you're just using breasts, shred them and toss them back in the pot with a teaspoon or so of chicken boullion.

(If you have bones, remove them now!) Add the vegetables and herbs to the pot, stir, and simmer for about ten minutes.

Increase the heat to offset the frozen noodles, and dump them in. Cook for ten minutes.

Mix the flour with a little water to make a paste. It should be thick, but not doughy, and smooth, but not runny. Dump it in the pot, stir, and simmer for another couple minutes. Add more flour if you need to.

Remove it from heat, and let it stand a few minutes, stirring occasionally. It'll thicken and get delicious and tasty.

And hey, on a day like this, doesn't that just sound delicious?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Oven Braised Short RIbs

This extra special recipe is going out to an extra special pair of cousins of mine who are having an anniversary today! Happy anniversary, Angie and Lewis! May you have many, many more. And may you spend some of them hanging out with ME!

First things first! Dice a couple of carrots and your onion. Set aside. Salt and pepper the ribs, dredge in flour, and set aside. Pour out your wine and stock so that they're ready to go when you need them. Slice your pancetta.

NOW--in a dutch oven, cook the pancetta over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until most of the fat has been rendered. Confession: I love pancetta, and I may or may not have swiped a couple pieces out of the pot as soon as they were crispy enough to eat. Yum. Once all the fat has been rendered (and it might not be very much, as pancetta seems to have less fat than bacon), remove to a plate and set aside.

Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pot, and brown the ribs on all sides, about 30 seconds each side. Remove, and set aside. (This is about the point I set off the smoke detector, freaked out my cat, and alarmed my husband--be careful, use your exhaust vent, and try not to burn your house down!)

Dump in the carrots and onions, and cook for about two minutes, until soft.

Pour in the wine and use a whisk to scrape all the yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and cook two minutes.

Add in the broth, season with salt and pepper, and submerge your sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Put the ribs and the pancetta back in the pot, put the lid on, and stick in a 350F oven for two hours. After two hours, turn the heat down to 325F and cook for another half hour. Skim the fat off the top, serve, and enjoy! I was planning to have potatoes with this, but I forgot that I'd bought corn on Sunday, and it needed to be eaten before it decided to go bad.

And oh man, how delicious this was. Seriously. Soak it up.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ginger-Marinated Flank Steak

Have I mentioned that I love Pioneer Woman? Because I totally do. Worship her, maybe. I'd planned to go see her when she came through Portland on her book tour this week, but the stars did not align, and I took a bath instead. Either way, I call it a win.

So anyway, here's another one of her super easy, totally delicious recipes.

You will need:
Half a cup of soy sauce
Half a cup of cooking sherry
Three tablespoons honey
Two tablespoons sesame oil
Red pepper flakes
Fresh ginger
Flank steak (they come in big slabs, usually about two pounds)

(I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of the prep; I threw it all together in the 10 minutes before I left for work this morning.)

In a large dish, combine the soy sauce, cooking sherry, honey, and sesame oil. Peel and chop the garlic and ginger, and toss that in, too. (I used about 5 cloves of garlic, and maybe two tablespoons of minced fresh ginger? It was about half the small root I picked up at the store.) Shake in some pepper flakes (as many as you can handle), stir it all around with a fork, and submerge your beef. If you're able to turn it a few times throughout the day, great. If not, don't sweat it. Babysit your meat for about two minutes at the outset and turn it over every 20 seconds or so to get it nice and coated in the marinade. Chuck it in the fridge, and walk away.

When you're ready to cook the meat, heat your grill or broiler. (I broiled, because I don't have a grill pan yet.) Scrape off the excess garlic and ginger, because that stuff will burn and not taste yummy.

Cook it for about three minutes on each side for medium-rare. I did mine for three minutes on each side, then two minutes on each side, then one additional minute, and got medium-well.


Difficulty: 1
Feeds 4-6
Takes 15 minutes of actual work, plus as much marinating time as you can give it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Heaven on a Fork

In case you're wondering, yes, I did just have one of the most amazing meals of my life. And in case you hadn't heard, Julia Child is a genius, a God-send, an angel, and my new hero.

Poulet Sauté aux Herbes de Provence and Pommes de Terre Sauté
(Chicken Sautéed with Herbs and Sauteed Potatoes)
Adapted from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking

So, here's what you need:
A large skillet
A medium-large bowl
A whisk
Half a stick of butter
Thin-sliced chicken breasts, dried with a paper towel
One teaspoon thyme
One teaspoon basil (I used dried herbs, and totally forgot to add the basil--just thyme for me!)
Salt & pepper
Three cloves minced garlic
Half a cup of chicken broth
Two egg yolks
One tablespoon lemon juice
One tablespoon chicken broth

Another large skillet with a lid
One potato (Yukon Gold is my preferred variety)
Two tablespoons butter
One tablespoon olive oil

*Note: this is an adaptation of the original recipe. If you want the real directions, go get yourself a copy of the book. The recipes are on pages 257 and 527. =)

So, dry your chicken in paper towels, and peel and slice your potato. The slices should be less than half an inch thick. I used my mandoline to get them 3/8 thick, and I think I should have gone with 1/4 inch thick. While you're at it, pat the potato dry with a paper towel.

In your skillet, melt half a stick of butter over medium heat. When it starts foaming, add the chicken. Do not let it brown! Turn the chicken constantly for about 5 minutes, until it's cooked on the outside, but no deeper in color than yellow. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Reduce the heat to low, and cook gently for about 7 more minutes, turning occasionally, until done. Remove to a warm platter and keep warm in the oven (at 200F) until ready to serve.

In your other skillet, melt the remaining butter and olive oil. Add the potato slices in a single layer, browning each side about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes, until tender, shaking the pan occasionally so the potatoes don't stick.

While the potatoes are working, make the sauce. In your chicken skillet, add three cloves of minced garlic and half a cup of chicken broth. Boil down by half.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until thick and creamy. Add in the lemon juice and remaining broth, and whisk till foamy. Whisk in the hot chicken broth (from the skillet) verrrrrrrry slooooooowly. Seriously. Add about a tablespoon at a time, otherwise you'll cook the eggs too fast and the sauce will be less a sauce and more a bowl of scrambled eggs.

Pour the sauce back into the pan and cook on low heat, stirring constantly for a minute or two. Turn the heat off, add the chicken back into the pan, turn to coat, and serve.

I was ambivalent about the potatoes (but I'm ambivalent about potatoes anyway, unless they're really exceptional), but the sauce? Ohhhhh, the sauce. Rich. Creamy. Warm. Tasted like cheese. I'm a happy girl. It was so good that I ate all the leftover sauce on toast. Holy yum, Batman.

Julia Child, I know you're dead, but will you marry me, please, and come make this sauce for me every dang day?

Takes about forty minutes, although if you're not making potatoes with it, it could probably go a little quicker.
Feeds four.
Difficulty: 3.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Baked Chicken Strips

At long last, my return to the food blogosphere! My apologies for the long hiatus; our move-in date kept getting pushed back, but my kitchen was already packed. At any rate, we are now in the new house, and I've made my first new recipe. Enjoy!

You will need:
Chicken pieces (I used tenders, but you can use legs, thighs, wings, whatever)
Six pieces of your favorite bread
Salt & pepper
One whole clove of garlic
Olive oil

In a large bowl, toss your chicken with the salt and pepper and about half a pint of buttermilk. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes to half an hour while you get everything else ready.

Preheat your oven to 425F. (I left my bread out all day to get a little stale, but you definitely don't have to. It's all about preference.) Tear your bread into manageable sized pieces, and toss into a food processor with the clove of garlic. Pulse until you get crumbs. Easy!

Dump the crumbs onto a baking sheet and use your fingers to toss with about three tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 8-12 minutes until toasty and delicious, tossing twice. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl.

Place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Working quickly, let the excess buttermilk drip off the chicken, and dredge in the bread crumbs, pressing firmly to adhere. Bake the chicken for 20-40 minutes (depending on if you have bones or not) until golden brown and oh-so good. We had it with sliced veggies and it was delicious. Of course, I liked it more than Tim did, but he's a stinky boy and always likes things better when they're doused in fat.


Takes about an hour, start to finish.
Feeds four.
Difficulty: 2.