The Cheesecake Addiction

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Archive for the category “Chicken”

Pumpkin Cupcakes and Pot Roast Chicken

Hey guys,

I’m feeling like being pretty diligent about posting for a while, so I’m back again.

First, I’ll tell you about the pumpkin cupcakes.

My cousin eloped a few weeks ago, and I’ve been asked to cater the desserts that will feed 90 people. I decided that we’d need about 5 different things: vanilla cupcakes (my super fancy ones), pumpkin cupcakes, brownies, peanut butter cups, and cheesecake bites. The only thing I haven’t made before is pumpkin cupcakes so I did a bit of recipe testing. I’ve landed on the recipe by the Neely’s from the FoodNetwork.

The batter was ok, but it was really dense. I added 1/2 cup of milk to lighten it up (but made two cupcakes without to see the difference). The milk made a big difference. Without milk, it is a very dense texture and doesn’t crumble the way a cupcake should crumble. Enjoy the photo-demo:

Make the batter according to the recipe, but add 1/2 cup of milk. Fill your cupcake liners halfway.

Make the batter according to the recipe, but add 1/2 cup of milk. Fill your cupcake liners halfway.

Bake for 18 minutes at 350 and let cool.

Bake for 18 minutes at 350 and let cool.

I thought for a while about what to do with the topping. For my vanilla cupcakes, I usually use whipped cream, and so for these cupcakes I thought I’d try that out and garnish with crumbled graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon sprinkles.

Adorable, right? Pretend the liner was cuter.

Adorable, right? Pretend the liner was cuter.

Huh? Huh? Looks good, right?

Huh? Huh? Looks good, right?

So…how did the topping come out? I’m debating. I like the lightness of the whipped cream, but I think a pumpkin cupcake might need something a little sweeter and denser to stand up to it, so I might go with just a vanilla icing and add more crumbs and sprinkles. OR. I might just make a thicker, sweeter whipped cream. I’ll let you know.

And we move on to Halloween and our super spooky night…FIRST…we went to IKEA (screams and shrieks) and THEN…we locked the doors and made dinner (spookyspookyspooky!)…

Ok, so it was a low-key night. But tonight we’re going to a Harry Potter themed party and we’re going as Harry and Ginny…so… just be jealous.

Anyway. The chicken. We found the recipe in this handy dandy book called Herbs and Spices.

We got a four pound chicken (mom and dad joined us for our spooky Halloween night) and brought it home, cleaned it up, and got it ready to marinade for about 4 hours.

First you will need some garam masala (or make your own) and 2 TBS softened butter:

Our butter was super frozen, so I got crafty...

Our butter was super frozen, so I got crafty…


You’ll want to mix it up with fresh garlic and ginger.

So appetizing looking, right?

So appetizing looking, right?

Next you’ll have to violate the chicken, separating the skin from the flesh and rubbing the mixture under the skin.IMG_0793

You’ll want to truss the chicken by making a slit in the the skin of one leg, and then tucking the other leg into the slit.



Cover it up, put it in the refrigerator.


And then go to IKEA for curtain rods and stools to spruce up your digs.

Hi, CDR!

Hi, CDR!

And then try not to die of starvation in bumper to bumper traffic.IMG_0808Then come home and preheat your oven to 375 and on the stove heat up 3 TBS of ghee (clarified butter) or sunflower oil. Now, this will seem a little weird, but put the chicken in the pan on it’s side.


Cover, and bake 35 minutes. Then turn the chicken on to its other side and bake for another 35 minutes. Then turn the chicken breast-side up and bake uncovered for another 25-30 minutes.

Cover, and bake 35 minutes. Then turn the chicken on to its other side and bake for another 35 minutes. Then turn the chicken breast-side up and bake uncovered for another 25-30 minutes.

Carve and serve with rice, gravy, and greens! Mmm, good.

Yummy yummy in my tummy!

Yummy yummy in my tummy!

Whew! You made it through what was possibly my longest post EVER. Congratulations! Now, please enjoy the photos of our day in preparation for the Harry Potter party.

We went to Michaels and look what I saw! It's coming!

We went to Michaels and look what I saw! It’s coming!

We sanded out wands! and look, my hair is straight! Everybody, freak out!!

We sanded out wands! and look, my hair is straight! Everybody, freak out!!

We used a wood burner to add depth and awesome decorations to our wands!

We used a wood burner to add depth and awesome decorations to our wands!

Have an awesome night, kids! Thanks for stopping by!


Appetizers, More Truffles, Parties, CHRISTMAS OH MY!!!

Greetings and a very Merry and Happy Holidays to you–

have you all also been hard at work shopping, baking, and cleaning? I have been absolutely swamped. BUT– I am done shopping and having made The Christmas Eve cheesecake just a few hours ago, I am done baking for a while too. I am so exhausted from the last few days, I don’t even have the energy to muse about the glory of the solstice and end of the Mayan calendar and all of the stuff I’d typically go wild about.

Two nights ago, the group FINALLY reunited for a holiday party a la casa de Anna. I made three appetizers and let the other kids handle the booze.

Advance apologies for a lack of photos.

I made some Asian BBQ chicken nuggets: marinate sliced boneless, skinless breasts in whatever you like (we stuck to Asian flavors: soy sauce, garlic, ginger, mustard, etc) for several hours. Mix up some flour and bread crumbs and some additional seasoning and coat the chicken pieces. Drizzle with cooking oil and Bake at 375 for 20 min or so, turning once half way. While it bakes, add some chicken stock to the marinade and bring to a boil. Pour it over the chicken when it comes out of the oven. De-fucking-licious!

I also made vegetarian pinwheels. Roll outa sheet of puff pastry just slightly. Smear with cream cheese, and top with a mushroom-shallot sauté, chopped asparagus, and red pepper (or any veggies you like). Roll it up, brush it with an egg wash, slice it into pinwheels, and bake at 375 for 8-10 min until golden brown. Also received rave reviews. I made something very similar here.

I also made a pizza. Easiest thing in the world. I bought a pizza dough (the cooked ones you find in a bakery) and covered it with sauce, garlic, mozzarella cheese, and lots of veggies. It baked 10 min at 400 degrees and came out crispy and perfect.

Remember a few weeks ago when I blogged about truffles? Well, since then I have made over 200 truffles in various flavors (mint, peanut butter, merlot, and Mexican spiced). What is so great about them is just how versatile they really are. You just make a basic chocolate ganache and stir in whatever combination of flavors you want. They’ve been given as gifts and have gotten great reviews. So many, in fact, that people have told me that I should be selling them. So, ladies and gentleman, I think I’ll give it a shot. More details coming, but basically, I now sell pint jars full of truffles and if you’re interested, you can hit me up. They make great gifts for friends and self!

What? You want a musing about the solstice? Really quick, though, ok? Because my hands kinda hurt from typing. Obviously, we all survived the apocalypse. But let us not forget these things: the end of the Mayan calendar coincided with the winter solstice (a time of rebirth and renewal) and that we are in an age of Aquarius. THAT’S magical. That’s something to consider. I believe that we are in a new age of humanity. A time of love. As previously stated: Peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars! This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius…

Peace out, kids. Have a wonderful, happy, and blessed few days.

Finger Food!

Hey Everyone. It seems I am up to my ears in applications. Trying to get some work for my new stint in the “real world.” And thanks so much to HG, by the way.

But anyway. I made lots of good food this week. I’ll start you off with this amazing cupcake! The recipe is from an old Joy of Cooking cookbook and is really special. It has sort of an angel-food texture, making it light, airy, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The trick is the whipped egg whites that are folded in to the batter. This time around, I actually over cooked them by about two minutes, so they weren’t as moist as they usually are, but they were definitely passable. CDR even said they the “best cupcakes [he] ever had.” 

And last night, we decided to nom on some wings (courtesy of me) and some…well it’s hard to name. We’ll call them “Bun-less Sliders” (courtesy of CDR). Now, I’m not one to brag…but these wings (or drumettes) were off the wow charts. And I wasn’t even expecting them to be. First, I trimmed up the little chicken pieces and threw them in a BBQ marinade (honey, Worcestershire sauce, 5-spice, smoked Spanish paprika, cayenne, brown sugar, a little olive oil, ketchup, chipotle powder and oregano) for two or three hours. Then I just coated them lightly in a flour, salt, and chili powder mixture. Bake those babies at 425 for about 30 minutes, turning and basting once. And put the marinade into a saucepan and bring to a boil to create a delicious sauce. Garnish with parsley and basil.

Also Boyfriend-Approved.

Now, CDR’s bun-less sliders were just as delicious. He just seared some hamburger patties on the grill (seasoned with 5-spice, salt, and pepper) and then skewered them with some frizzled hard chorizo and cherry tomato. He baked them in a bed of red onion and tomato sauce. Out came perfection!

I am a very lucky lady, because he also made a fennel and red onion slaw. See his step-by-step guide here, but basically he just threw some fennel on the grill then chopped it up with some thinly sliced red onion and dressed it with lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper and served over mixed greens.

And here was the dinner plate.

You know you want it!

We topped it all of with a new red wine I found at Trader Joe’s. It’s called Dearly Beloved. It was actually pretty perfect for our dinner. It had notes of cinnamon and a hint of pepper. Warm, sweet, and jam-y (or “jammy” to appease CDR, who is obnoxiously reading over my shoulder as I type this…love you). At first taste, I wasn’t in love. It was delicious on the sip, but it didn’t finish very nicely. But when paired with the meal…damn good wine. And it was even better today.

Dearly Beloved, we gather to say our goodbyes…

Dessert? Ice cream sandwiches!! I took some cookies that I made earlier and spread the bottoms with a bit of nutella and put a scoop of ice cream (or in this case–soy ice cream) between the cookies. Um. So good. Probably had something to do with the fact that these cookies were chocolate with mint chips. Holler.

open wide…

That’s all folks! Food you can eat with your hands (mostly) never tasted so good! See you back here tomorrow.

Recaps, Plans, and Bus Rides

Four. That’s how many Starbuck’s there are in the O’Hare American Airline terminal. Four. Just saying.

I’m writing this from the Peter Pan bus line, on my way to Woods Hole on Cape Cod. The flight passed without much incident, except for the bro-iest take-off ever and the bickering flight attendants. Already, as I settle into the familiar bus seats, I’m feeling a sense of ease wash over me. Going home (or at least one of my homes).

So, there quite a bit of food to recap. Earlier In the week, I made a huge pot of white bean and chicken soup with kale. See the process below. Start with onions, shallots, garlic and celery sautéing over medium-high heat in olive oil and butter. Also, add some fresh thyme and bay leaf to the mix. Salt and pepper as you go along. Add potatoes and the chicken (I let the chicken marinate in salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and some cream for several hours). Next, to thicken I added about 1/4 cup of flour, stirred it in, and cooked it for a few minutes before deglazing the pan with some white wine. Add a can of crushed tomatoes and enough chicken stock to cover all the vegetables. Cook for about half an hour (until potatoes are cooked through). In the last ten minutes, add the white beans (2 cans) and some kale. Serve with delicious garlic, parm crostini. Yum.

CDR and I also made a home made pizza a few nights ago. We used one of those prepared store-bought crusts (whole wheat, thin crust). I doctored up some jarred red sauce with wine, chili pepper, and garlic. We spread the red sauce on the crust, leaving an acceptable border. Then we topped the red sauce with garlic, green peppers, broccoli (extra broccoli, extra good), and lots of fresh basil. Then came the cheese: mozzarella, Romano, and Parmesan. Sliced white onion, pepperoni, and even more fresh basil on top of that. Bake at 450 for about twelve minutes…and of course, garnish with basil.

For Saturday’s block party–CDR made bratwursts. He simmered them first in beer, peppers, and onions before I tossed them on the grill. We toasted up buns and served with some mustard seed cheddar cheese (find it at Trader Joe’s) and the peppers and onions. Pictures coming.

We also tried a wine called Vinho Verde at the request of thewinegetter. Thanks so much for that rec. It went very well with cheese and crackers. It also had a very nice effervescent quality, which typically I don’t like. But I liked it here…maybe because the wine wasn’t very sweet.

And breathe. There’s the food recap. I want to take a moment now to thank all my readers and followers (whether you’ve been here from day one or are a new follower). This blog has helped keep me sane. And I know that in the grand scheme of things, this summer is but a rough moment…but damn, it’s been a ROUGH. So thanks for coming back. You’re awesome. And please, follow in Mr. Winegetter’s footsteps and offer your culinary suggestions. I’d love to hear your thoughts and favorites.

I have a long bus ride ahead (not quite long enough to do any emotional damage), but with each passing mile, I’m getting closer to some peace of mind and an ocean. Thanks for stopping by.









Summer Salad, Risotto, and Chicken!

Well, I guess I should play a little catch-up, huh?

When last we met, I had mentioned that I was FINALLY going to get around to fulfilling a New Year’s resolution. Roasted Chicken. And ladies and gentleman, it was finally successful. Granted, CDR made it. I only helped a little. But I watched closely. And I think I learned where I’ve gone wrong. First and foremost…I think I haven’t been cooking thoroughly thawed chicken. I think I’ve been putting it in the oven when the cavity is still partially frozen. Secondly…I think it’s just a lack of patience that I’m dealing with.

Anywho, the cavity of this four pound chicken was stuffed with lemon slices and parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Then, under the skin went a mixture of honey, melted butter, salt, pepper, and paprika. On top…more melted butter, and then a dry rub that had chipotle, paprika, turmeric, and some other stuff. A Be Your Own Chef moment. We roasted potatoes and carrots underneath. The photo below is before it was even finished (we actually ate it so fast that we forgot ?to take fully-cooked photos…but doesn’t it look delicious?)

It baked for about 2 hours at 450 (knock it back to 350 after about an hour). Note the trussing method! We cut slits in the skin and stuck the legs through. Be sure to cover the breast meat with foil while it bakes (you can take it off for the last 45 min).

We also threw some aromatics (cinnamon stick included…on a personal mission to use up all my cinnamon sticks by January and there’s A LOT to use up) into a crock pot with the chicken carcass…sorry for that visual and made an amazing stock out of it. It just cooked on low for ten hours. Strain it, jar it, and fridge it. That picture is coming soon, but here’s one of the aromatics.

Celery, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Onions, Garlic, Carrots

Other culinary adventures? CDR and I went to Hopleaf Bar in Andersonville and had mussels for two! Amazeballs.

Last night, I made some mushroom risotto using the chicken stock that we made. That was pretty fantastic, although I would have like to use a few different kinds of mushrooms–but I was lazy and in a hurry. I used a sweet white wine as well and some thyme, sage, garlic, and shallots for additional flavoring. Salt and pepper, too, of course.

For lunch today, I sliced up 5 strawberries, 1 roma tomato, and a few sprigs of rosemary and drizzled it with the tiniest bit of olive oil and balsamic. S&P as well. It was delicious, though it could have used a little something extra. Maybe garlic or mint?

Don’t let those summer berries go to waste!

Life continues to go on. A series of DIY projects are taking over my room and garage and that keeps me a little busy (despite the rest of my crazy schedule). Off to the Cape in a week, where I’m sure the real healing will begin.

If you’re lost and alone Or you’re sinking like a stone…Carry On. May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground. Carry On.

And so I do.

Thai Red Curry and Tech

I promise that a recipe is coming. You just gotta stick it out for a few paragraphs.

God Mic in hand, I spoke to my crew and ASMs on the stage. “When the lights go down, that’s your cue.”

We were running the scene shifts for the last hour of tech last night. We were on our fifth transition, and everyone was beginning to lose patience.

“We’re just a little confused, because we usually take our shifts off of an actor’s line,” Paul hollered up to the booth.

“Yeah, but the lights will go down anyway, so the lights are your cue, too.”

“But we don’t really pay attention to the lights. We’re paying attention to the actors.”

Harshly, I snapped back, “What if the actor drops his line, Paul? Are you going to know what to do?!”

He stammered, “Well, we’re not taking our shifts off of the lights…”



“Great! Let’s set up for the next scene.”

I’m sorry I snapped, Paul. While the actual tech hasn’t been that terribly stressful, it has been a rough process. I have stage managed more than twenty shows and my confidence in my abilities has never really wavered that much (patience, sure–but not confidence). But this show is my first one post-graduation, and my usual support system can’t help me now. It feels a little like being thrown to the wolves–although that’s not exactly the right simile. Last night had some hard moments, and I thought so much about calling for help–but no. I’m a big girl now. And you acted like an ass-hat. A very, very nice ass-hat…but still an ass-hat.

I was talking to my mom this morning and she said something so insightful. “You know, Anna–theater just sounds terrible sometimes. But somehow, no matter what…you all get dressed up for opening night.” So true, right? We sit and stew in tech because of this or that…but for whatever reason, we put it away and put on our dresses and suits for opening night. And just wait, guys. I’ve got a good one for Friday. What to do until then? I could sit in my bed, and read old letters over and over until there’s nothing left and let tech fall apart. OR. I can kick ass, take names, and make you proud.

Pre-Coconut Milk Curry

And obviously…make Thai Red Curry.

I’ve got it going right now in the crock pot and it smells so good! Too busy today to stay hunched over a pot, so I figured I could just toss it in the crock pot and come back at 4:30 and go to town.

Easy enough. I just put in a Trader Joe’s veggie mix of mushrooms, red onions, and asparagus. Then I added some diced yellow onion (maybe 1/2 of a large onion), some baby broccoli, two thickly diced red peppers, and 1 1/2 pounds of chopped chicken (skinless, boneless breasts). Top it off with salt, pepper, garlic (three cloves), and 1/4 cup or (3 tablespoons if 1/4 cup is too much) of red curry paste. Add a box of vegetable broth, 3 tablespoons of fish sauce, and a can of coconut milk. Stir and let it go for several hours. I plan to top it off with some chopped basil, and serve it over rice. The house already smells so good!


Tech Week Comfort Food

Upwards and on-wards, right? I’ll let you know how it turns out.  Have a good one, readers.

Cathartic Cooking

Hello Everyone!

I had the privilege of coming home early today (walked in the door at 3:30) and decided to take some time for some cathartic cooking. Yes, obviously, I’m in a much happier state than I’ve been in a long time, but with all of my extra-curriculars, it’s only natural that tension will build. So, I thought I’d help set the tone.

I’ve been listening to this song lately (about seven times today). It is the Walk Off The Earth cover of “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Kudoes MB and Biebs for the introduction. Now, the music has a soft “I Don’t Give a Shit” island vibe, but the words are so intentional…and kind of angry…in a very beautiful way. SO, I made a sort of Cuban/Caribbean inspired stew tonight with a side of coconut rice. It was very tasty…and had a sort of island vibe. In all honesty, I think it was inspired by the song.

Let’s all put our pretentious film student hats on, and try to visualize the scene that took place in my kitchen around 3:30pm. Click on the link, open in a separate tab, let it load all the way (NO BUFFERING), hit play, and then come back to me. My computer won’t let me upload a song to the actual post.

Listening? Feeling islandy? Try to imagine all the chopping (there wasn’t much) as graceful, swift, intentional, angry movements. It might help. The scene didn’t actually start this way, but I think if you imagined me pouring a glass of red wine, and zoomed in on the glass half full part—well, I think that would just be dandy.

I needed to use a lot of things in the fridge, so I pulled out two orange peppers, the leftovers of a red onion (about half of a large one), two shallots, and five cloves of garlic. They all got a pretty rough, rustic chop. This is an “I Don’t Give a Shit” meal, after all. In my dutch oven (or other oven-safe pot), I heated over a medium flame about three tablespoons of coconut oil and a tablespoon of butter. When it was sizzle-ready, I actually added some spices first. Some chili powder, smoked Spanish paprika, and thyme leaves all went in. Maybe about half a teaspoon of each. Toast the spices until they are fragrant. Add the veggies. And three bay leaves. The smell should be intoxicating. (That was love and an ache I still remember…)

Let that go a while, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Approximately seven minutes—veggies should be starting to caramelize. Guess what I added next…go on…guess. A splash of Mount Gay Rum of course. Just a quarter cup (sorry, Mom). Let the rum cook out and then add a small can of tomato paste. Work that around, and then add a cup of water. Stir, add some salt and pepper and go ahead and prepare two chicken breasts. Now, that may just mean rinsing and trimming some boneless skinless breasts, but since all I had on hand were skin-on, bone-in I had to do some extra trimming. By the time you are done trimming up your chicken, the sauce in the pot should have thickened. Drop the chicken breasts in (pretentious filmies—imagine that I did that in a very dancer-y fashion—in only the most appealing attire), add a few pinches of the previously added spices, and a few more cups of water. Stir. Cover. Turn the heat down to low. Let it go.

But you didn’t have to cut me off…No you didn’t have stoop so low…and now you’re just somebody that I USED TO KNOW…

After about an hour of cooking time, put your pot in a 275 degree oven and let it go for another hour and half. Pull it out, taste it…it may need some more love. Mine did. So, I added some smoky sausage. Mine was already fully cooked, I just needed to chop it up and heat it through. I just sliced two sausages and tossed them in, and added about a cup of frozen corn. Oh, and a cinnamon stick for good measure. My house smelled like fall AND summer at the same time! Back in the oven to heat the sausage through. Work on your coconut rice.

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over, But had me believing it was always something that I’d done, But I don’t wanna live that way…

Heat two tablespoons of coconut oil and one tablespoon of butter in a small pot. When it’s hot, add one cup of white rice (or more if you need more). Toast it a few minutes before added two and a half cups of water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cover. Let it go for fifteen minutes. When the rice is done cooking, you can take your stew out of the oven. Get yourself a bowl, and spoon the stew over some rice. You got yourself a pretty tasty meal.


And now you’re just somebody that I used to know…

Cathartic cooking. My style. All in all, it was an excellent night. Stay tuned, because TOMORROW, I’ll be making the turducken of cupcakes. Will explain later.


Dinner for 3

BBQ Chipotle and Pumpkin Chicken

Yup. That’s what I ate for dinner tonight. Mom and Dad were coming home late and we each have had a stressful few days, so I thought, “Why not cook again?” So I did.

I got home at 2:30 and immediately went for the crock-pot. I chopped half an onion, two garlic cloves, and the rest of the carrots from last night–3 of them. I put a package of boneless skinless chicken tenderloin in and covered it with a cup and a half of vegetable stock and half a bottle of a hickory smoke BBQ sauce. Salt, pepper, and about half a teaspoon of chipotle powder. I set the pot for 4 hrs, gave it a stir, and let it go.

Meanwhile, I was checking the pantry for something to nice to make for dessert that would go well with these flavors. I found pumpkin puree. Okay. Pumpkin cookies. I found a recipe on the foodnetwork website and went to work. Then I really started thinking.

To me, pumpkin in baked goods never really packs a punch of flavor. It’s a much more delicate taste and we use cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves to beef it up. Well, all of those flavors were in the recipe and the first batch came out beautifully. Moist. Then I thought about my Christmas sugar cookies and how for my “flair factor” I add rosemary. Rosemary and squash go wonderfully together, don’t they? They sure do! Now, I only had dry rosemary on hand and it worked out nicely. But I’d prefer it to be fresh.

Pumpkin Rosemary Cookies

Now, in between batches of cookies, I was keeping an eye on that chicken, stirring it now and then. I had half a can of pureed pumpkin left! Should I freeze it? Noooooo. Put it in the crock-pot? YES. In went in and then I added a cinnamon stick for good measure! I let it go for about two more hours before shredding the chicken and adding some black beans (again, yesterday’s leftovers). I served it on a sweet Hawaiian roll with a simple salad.

I re-learned something in the past two days. I’ve been so busy pursuing my other passion–theater–that I’d forgotten about my other–food. I forced myself to slow down, calm down, and take pride in my food. I’m so glad I did!










Spring, is that you?

Wow. Hello everyone. It’s been a while, huh? I finished another show, so again, that’s my excuse.

I don’t have an excuse for a lack of pictures for what I made last night. Last night, I made a Mexican birthday feast for Jack, who turned 21. It was alcohol free, as I cooked for the rest of his family, and I have yet to turn the legal age. But anyway, I made my usual white rice that’s flavored with garlic, cilantro and lemon juice (usually I use lime juice which I think is better, but I was saving my limes). I made black beans (by “make” of course I mean I drained two cans of black beans and put them in a sauce pan) flavored with cilantro and lemon juice (again, usually use lime juice). I made a mild salsa that consisted of one red onion, minced, two cloves of minced garlic, 4 (or maybe 5) diced tomatoes, about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, almost a whole jalapeno pepper (it was a big one), salt, pepper, and the juice of two limes. I pan-fried some salt-pepper-cumin spiced chicken and had Jack shred it. PB, Jack’s brother, made a bowl of guac–and some awesome cookie bars (which I’ll have to get the recipe for before sharing it). The night was a total success.

But here’s a few pictures of some things I made in the last few weeks. Excuse the paper plates. The first was a pulled pork sandwich with broccoli cole slaw on the side, served with homemade corn bread. The corn bread had a cup of white sharp cheddar and chopped jalapeno in it. Delish. The second, I baked chicken breasts with a spinach tomato sauce on top. It was really good! On the side, I served a caprese salad.

On another note, have you all felt the call of Spring. I think she’s on her way. We’ve had some lovely warm days in the middle of these “not as cold as it’s been” days. I think the days of citrus and fish and mint and basil and pasta salads are returning, and I couldn’t be more happy. Here comes the sun.

Roasted Chicken Attempt 1…

Greetings Foodies (or friends and family)!

I actually attempted my first Roasted Chicken of 2011 a week ago (Sunday), but haven’t had a chance to sit down and write about it. First thoughts: It was fine, not stellar. My biggest challenge with chicken is figuring out when its done. Yes, I have a thermometer, and I know we’re supposed to cook it to 165 degrees, but where in the hell are you actually supposed to test it. Some websites say in the leg (which I tried this time) and some say in the breast. The problem is it’s rarely 165 all in the same place. Is that how it’s supposed go? I’m starting to strongly dislike poultry anyway. I need some serious chicken tips.

But anyway, I got two 3 1/2 pound chickens and decided to cook both of them so that we could have leftovers for sandwiches or chicken salad. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and basil. In the cavity, I put a few garlic cloves and lemon wedges. I took a recipe from Bobby Flay, and though I used different seasoning, I used his cooking technique, believing I was in good hands. I placed them on a rack (which sat on top of a roasting pan) and into the oven at 400 degrees for twenty minutes, and then knocked the heat back down to 350 for approximately two hours. When the thermometer read (in the leg) 165, I transferred them to a regular baking dish as all cutting boards were in use. The result–well, here’s a less than stellar picture.

They LOOKED delicious.

After letting them rest about five minutes, I found that one wasn’t completely done, so I put it back in the oven for another fifteen minutes (that one made excellent chicken salad the next night), while we carved the other chicken. Okay, carved is the wrong word. See, in theory I know how to carve a bird. I’ve watched Alton Brown do it plenty of times. But in practice, it doesn’t work too well. It tasted ok. It was fully cooked and the flavors of garlic and lemon were present, but I thought the texture was a little off. But by the time it was done, the thought of chicken was repulsive, so maybe I was just grossed out. So, I wouldn’t call Attempt 1 a success. Maybe we’ll have better luck with Attempt 2.

In other food news, that same night I was making a salad to go on the side. It was here that while I began cutting up a large red pepper, I found a tiny green pepper inside it!

Daddy Pepper and Baby Pepper

I’m about to make a large batch of dressed up orzo pasta to serve as my lunch for the next few days. I’m going to use spring flavors, because I’m DONEZO with winter. But dedicated readers know how I feel about winter. The ice and snow are only cute until New Years, then my California Girl gets unleashed and I get terribly homesick. Time to use lemons and oranges.

Last note: Big Love made its return to HBO last night. Fantastic. Glad to have you back, Love.



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