Friday, May 27, 2011

Somewhat Asian Chicken

Another super easy chicken recipe. Now that Colin and I have a freezer again, I've been stockpiling chicken recipes to match the stockpile of frozen chicken we keep on hand. Not sure how authentically "Asian" this one is, but it's tasty and I've made it four or five times this year. It does take a little bit of planning, since you have to let the chicken marinate for a bit. But after that step, it's easy peasy. Plus, I bet you have all the ingredients in your kitchen right this second.

Thai Honey Peanut Chicken
from Tasty Kitchen

1 lb chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
¼ cups soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp garlic (minced)
1 tbsp peanut butter (or go crazy and put in two or three)
½ tsp curry powder
1 tsp hot sauce (optional)

1. Mix ingredients and marinate chicken for 2-3 hours. I just toss everything in a gallon ziploc bag and put it in the fridge.
2. Pour the whole thing into a pan and cook it, over medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes or until chicken is done.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lazy Chicken

This is one of the easiest dishes I have ever made. All you need is chicken (you don't even have to thaw it!) and whatever spices you have in your kitchen. Prep time is practically nil, and then you just let the chicken hang out in the oven for an hour.

It's the same idea as jerk chicken. Mix a bunch of spices together, apply like a dry rub, and bake. 

Lazy Chicken

2 pounds chicken (frozen, thawed, fresh, what-have-you)
6 tbsp assorted spices and/or herbs (I used chili powder, garlic powder, lemon-garlic chicken seasoning, ground ginger, oregano, salt, pepper... and probably a few other things)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line broiler pan with aluminum foil, and cut slits to allow fat to drain.
3. Place chicken on pan, and top with spices and/or herbs. Pat it down like a dry rub.
4. Bake for an hour, until cooked. THAT'S IT!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pineapple Habanero Birthday Sorbet

You may have noticed the radio silence around here for the past three months. That is because, until yesterday, we had no refrigerator.

Right before Christmas, we woke up to room-temperature milk and OJ. The fridge was on, but not cold. We were getting ready to go out of town for ten days, and our budget was already blown on travel and Christmas presents, so we said "Screw it, we don't need a new fridge until January." The weekend after our trip, we did a little online window shopping and decided to get a new stove as well; it'd be nice to be able to cook something without the smoke detectors going off. The cost of a new stove and a new fridge meant we had to save up a bit before we could buy, because we didn't want to put it on credit. It was about 15 degrees outside, so we just put our milk, eggs, OJ, and beer in a cooler and put it out on the fire escape.

All was well and good, until it started getting up to 30, then 45 degrees. On the first day it actually hit 60, we knew it was seriously time to go get the fridge. After four weeks of back-order purgatory, our new appliances arrived!

Here they are, already broken-in with finger smudges, magnets, and bacon-grease.

The first thing I made in the new oven? My birthday cake! The first thing I made with the help of the fridge? Pineapple Habanero Sorbet.

Pineapple Habanero Sorbet

3 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
1/2 habanero pepper, de-seeded and roughly chopped
1/3 cups water
1/3 cups light rum
3/4 cups sugar

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Put in the ice cream maker your boyfriend's mom gave you for Christmas, but that you haven't been able to use for three months because you didn't have a freezer. Let sit for four hours.

Yields 1 quart.

Recipe from Thursday Night Smackdown.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wacky Depression Cake

Notice anything missing from the ingredients I used to make a Chocolate Wacky Depression Cake? There's no eggs, no milk, and no butter! And yet, this is the moistest (most moist?) cake I have ever made. It keeps for days, and is not too sweet while still being chocolate-y. And yes, it calls for vinegar. Trust me, it all works out in the oven.

Chocolate Wacky Depression Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together by hand. Add all the wet ingredients until well combined.
3. Pour into a 8×8 pan which has been prepared with non- stick spray.
4. Bake for 30 minutes until done.  Allow to completely cool before serving. Top with frosting, a little powdered sugar, or leave plain. It's all good!

Recipe from Savory Sweet Life.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Colin's Sunday Night Special: She-Crab Soup

Colin has started a habit of cooking on Sunday nights. Sticking with the soup theme, a few weeks ago he picked a She-Crab Soup recipe out of JoC. She-Crab Soup always makes us think of our second-favorite restaurant in Columbia: the Blue Marlin. After eating this soup, we decided to plan a day trip over Christmas just to go there for lunch (and also to see our friend Jackie of course!).

She-Crab Soup based on the recipe from Joy of Cooking

2 tbsp butter *see notes
2 tbsp flour
3 cups whole milk
1 lb lump crabmeat (picked over for shells)
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp hot sauce (to taste)
1/8 tsp ground mace *see notes

Not enough! This version made about three small bowls; maybe about 3 cups worth.

1. Start with a white roux: Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Slowly mix in the flour, whisking constantly. Whisk and cook until the roux smells toasted but is not yet brown. You really can tell by smell when it's ready. You have to watch it and whisk all the time! As Paula Deen says, if the Publishers Clearinghouse knocks on your door, you holler at them to hold on a minute because you're in the middle of making a roux!
2. Remove the pan from heat and slowly whisk in the milk. Return to heat, bring to a simmer, and cook and whisk until thickened and smooth,.
3. Reduce heat to low and stir in the remaining ingredients. Heat gently and season to taste.
4. Garnish with chopped scallions if you're feeling fancy.

Colin's notes:
  • Make sure to use high quality butter. We have a favorite Irish butter that we use on special occasions, and she-crab soup qualifies as special.
  • You can also use a mix of cinnamon and nutmeg if you don't have mace (which is what we did).
  • Be careful with your non-white ingredients. Don't go overboard on the Worcestershire sauce or you'll discolor the soup.
  • Stick with lump crabmeat.
  • Next time, we're going to triple the amount of milk and also add an additional 6 oz. can of crabmeat, in order to increase the yield.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quick & Easy: Gnocchi with Alfredo Sauce

I've never been a pasta person. I skip spaghetti, pass on the lasagna, ignore ravioli... I don't even partake of macaroni and cheese. I'm a texture eater: I don't like anything too squishy, or slimy, or chewy, or grainy, or chunky. Something about pasta has always turned me off. And not only the texture of pasta, but the tomato sauce. In high school, on a school trip to Europe that included Spain, France, and Italy, I lied on my permission slip and wrote that I was allergic to tomatoes. So for the entire trip, while my classmates enjoyed authentic Italian pasta that was probably more delicious than anything I'll ever eat again, I was served white pizza. As my French teacher told a waiter when I tried to order grilled cheese off the kids' menu, "Elle est tres difficile."

I like to think I've grown out of my picky-ness, at least somewhat. At my friend Rachel's house last summer, I actually put some of the gnocchi and red sauce on my plate. Just a little bit, and I made sure to cover it with a pound of parmesan cheese. To my surprise, I liked it! Squishy little potato balls, and I went back for seconds.

So now gnocchi is the one pasta I know how to make. And it's incredibly easy: add the gnocchi to a pot of salted, boiling water. When they start to float, they're done. The end! Even I can do it. I can even open a jar of pasta sauce to eat it with. Unless, when I go to the fridge to grab the jar, it turns out the jar expired in April 2010. So what do you do when you have cooked gnocchi and no pasta sauce? Make alfredo! We had on hand some heavy cream, some butter, garlic, and of course the parmesean cheese. That's basically all alfredo sauce is. Combine the ingredients until it tastes good, then eat. Yum!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Soup Season

It's cold. And we're the kind of people the hold out as long as possible to turn the heat on; not because we're of sturdy Norse stock or because of some perverse pride, but for the oh-so-humble reason of: we're cheap.

So what does one do when sticking to a budget but trying to stay warm? Soup! We've been on a soup kick for about a month now. It started on our vacation to Cape Cod back in October. We love the Cape in the fall. The scenery is beautiful, and there's hardly anybody around to spoil it. Even though we were on a vacation, we were still watching our wallets and trying to balance going out to eat with cooking at home. Enter this Garlic Soup recipe from Tasty Kitchen.

In the end, it tasted more like a slightly-garlicky, blended version of French Onion soup. It was tasty, but next time we'll be doubling the garlic. Colin and I are lucky to have each other, because it's important in a relationship to have equal levels of garlic tolerance. And ours are high :).

Garlic Soup


1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup Onions, Thinly Sliced
12 cloves Peeled Garlic, Smashed
1 cup Dry White Wine
1 quart Chicken Stock
1 leaf Bay
2 cups French Bread, Torn Into Pieces*
¾ cups Heavy Cream
½ cups Shredded Gruyere (or sharp white cheddar, if you're on a budget like us)
    *note - the color of your bread will determine the color of your soup. French bread is not required. I used some homemade Sally Lunn bread so my soup came out medium brown rather than a lighter tan.
4 servings

1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 10 -12 minutes; the onion and garlic will begin to caramelize. 

2. Add the wine, cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock and bay leaf.
3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the bread and allow the soup to sit without heat for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
4. In batches, pour the soup into the blender and puree until smooth. Add the cream and salt and pepper to taste. As each batch is pureed, pour into another pot. (Or, if you're lucky, use your immersion blender). Keep warm over low heat. Garnish with the cheese (if desired).

Serving alternative: Colin Version
Colin like chunky soups. So, I didn't blend the entire batch. He go half blended, half un-blended, topped with extra bread.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Lots. of. apples.

Colin and I participated in the fall tradition of apple-picking this year, and came home with 72 apples.

What does one do with 72 apples? Have an apple-themed dinner party of course! On the menu: apple cider (natch), alcoholic and non-, provided by our friend Stefanie; apple and bacon polenta; apple crisp (made by Colin from his mother's recipe); and fried chicken made by Sean and salad made by his girlfriend Laura.

Baked Polenta with Apples, Gruyere, and Bacon

6 cups chicken stock
1 1/3 cups uncooked polenta
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
4 slices thick cut bacon
1 tablespoon butter
2 large Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound), cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

A baking-dish full, easily 8+ servings
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Bring the 6 cups of chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the polenta is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and add in the thyme.

3. In a second pan, cook the bacon until desired texture is reached. Remove from the pan, pat dry of excess grease, and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the butter to the pan over medium high heat until it begins to brown. Add the apples and saute until tender, about 9 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT cheese; stir to blend.

4. Add apple mixture, the bacon and one cup of the cheese to the polenta. Stir until well combined. Transfer mixture to a 13×9x2 inch oval dish (or something of similar capacity) that has been greased or coated with cooking spray. Top mixture with remaining cheese.

5. Bake until cheese is golden, about 30 minutes.

recipe from The Pink Apron

And what do you do when, even after all that, you still have 50 apples left? Apple butter! Apple butter is so simple, especially when using a crock pot. All it is is cooked-down applesauce. And all applesauce is is cooked down apples! Maybe add a little brown sugar or cinnamon, if that's your thing.

Just let it cook, stirring occasionally, until a wooden spoon can stand up on its own.

Then spread on homemade bread and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Apple Sage Pork Chops

I never knew I was a pork girl until I looked at my bookmarked recipes and saw that I had more pork tags than beef or chicken! This was pretty easy to make, though it does require a little pan shuffle. 


1 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon thyme 
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 pork chops, about 1-inch thick (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 red apple, thinly sliced
1 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1. In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, salt and the McCormick spices. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the flour-spice mixture in a separate bowl - you'll use this in the sauce later. Pat each pork chop in the flour mixture on both sides. Discard the rest of the flour-spice mixture.

2. Heat a larget skillet over high heat with just 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When hot, add the pork chops and cook until browned on both sides. Remove the pork chops (they'll come back into the pan later for additional cooking). Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.

3. Heat the same skillet over medium heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When hot, cook the onions for 3 minutes. Add the apples and cook an additional 2 minutes. Push the apple/onions towards the outside of the pan, leaving an empty space in middle of pan. In the middle of pan, add apple juice, brown sugar and reserved flour-spice mixture. Whisk or stir until flour has disappeared.

4. Return the pork chops back into the pan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until pork chops just cooked through. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Corn on the Cob

Due to a picky-eater based childhood, I was never really into corn. Something about this summer (and the farmers' markets) has flipped the switch, and now, bam: I love corn on the cob. Here's how I make it, courtesy of In Praise of Leftovers:
Plain Jane Corn
So silly I’m telling you this, but somewhere along the line, I learned to cook corn this way, and nothing beats it. Put big old pot of water on the stove. Shuck your ears (or have your seven-year-old do it). Cut them in half if they won’t fit in the pot. Drop them in, and get the water to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn the water off, cover your pot, and let the corn sit for 10 minutes. Now it’s ready to eat, and not even a tad overcooked. Nothing worse than mushy corn. And if you have a grill going, you can throw it on there for a quick second for some smoke and grill marks. Oh–one more thing. Let your children completely annihilate whatever cube of butter happens to be in the butter dish. No sense trying to protect it. Slathering corn is its highest use, anyway.