Sunday, November 30, 2014

Milk Braised Chicken

I first saw the recipe for this milk chicken on pinterest. The idea sounded strange, but I opted to give it a shot. The lemon zest causes the milk to separate into curds and whey, creating this delicious sauce for your chicken. The chicken comes out very moist and goes perfectly with sauteed greens and roasted or mashed potatoes.

We made this recipe for some friends who bought us our new dutch oven as a wedding present. Everyone was so happy with it that I thought I would share the recipe with you. This recipe is closer to a roast than a braise, but it's still delicious.

Make sure you use an enameled pot like a dutch oven because it is so much easier to clean than if you were to use a regular pan. Additionally, try to use a good quality organic chicken if possible. I've tried with a non-organic chicken as well and the skin tears too easily and the meat drys out. 

Look at that delicious delicious burnt saucy stuff on the bottom of the pan. Yum

Milk Braised/Roasted Chicken

  • 1 chicken (5 lbs or so)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • handful of fresh sage leaves
  • half cinnamon stick
  • 20 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 3 cups milk
  • zest of two lemons
  • olive oil

  1. Directions
  2. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper inside and out.
  3. Heat a dutch oven on the stovetop with olive oil and brown chicken well on all side. Remove chicken from the pot and drain off the excess oil.
  4. Deglaze the pan with milk. Add the rest of your ingredients and scrape up anything on the bottom of the pot.
  5. Put chicken back in the pot and place pot in a preheated 375 degree oven. Cook about an hour or until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
  6. Serve with a generous amount of the curds/whey sauce and spread the softened garlic over crusty french bread.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Coq au Vin

Coq Au Vin is one of those amazingly easy and cheap dinners that are perfect for the winter. It is so rich, hearty and warming from the inside out. It is a great way to use up red wine that has sat open a little too long (that should never be a problem, but it does happen sometimes).

My husband and I never by pieces of chicken. We only ever buy whole chickens because they are so much cheaper and then I break them down into their respective parts. This is the perfect kind of dish for that.

I used to make coq au vin and it would always turn out this weird purple color. I've discovered that you can get a rich brown if you make sure to brown it in a pot that is NOT nonstick so you can get all the brown stuff. It also helps if you use tomato paste to thicken the sauce because that will help with the color also

I sort have a recipe, but not really. I just throw things in a pot and see what happens (in terms of the amount of liquid). Edit this recipe as necessary.

Coq au Vin
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 1 cup quartered mushrooms
  • 1 chicken, cut into either quarters or 8 way.
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • thyme sprig and bay leaves
  • half a bottle red wine....maybe a little more
  • 1 large tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or so)
  • flour
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for browning chicken
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Coat with flour and brown on all sides in a dutch oven or wide bottom heavy pot on the stove.
  2. Remove chicken and add vegetables, scraping up the delicious brown stuff on the bottom. Add a big spoon of tomato paste, stirring to coat vegetables.
  3. Add wine (half bottle or a little more) and let reduce by half.
  4. Add chicken stock and put the chicken pieces back in the pot (they should not be submerged, but halfway covered in liquid)
  5. Cover pot and simmer gently until done (half hour?). Remove lid or cover loosely if you desire a more reduced sauce, though the flour and tomato paste should thicken it enough
Make sure to eat this with some crusty bread to soak up all that delicious sauce. Yum!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again.

For those of you not in the know, SRC is a collection of bloggers who make each other's recipes (in secret, of course) and reveal them on a given date. Every Monday, about 30-50 people reveal the recipe they have been assigned for that month. Everyone gets to see all the delicious recipes other folks have made and you get to fill your to do list with plenty of delicious things.

This month, I was assigned Melissa's blog, BKLYN Locavore. Melissa works in marketing by day but on the weekends she is an avid blogger and foodie who is super involved in the Park Slope food co-op. She started Brooklyn Locavore in order experiment with eating locally through the food co-op and her CSA shares.

This experiment in eating locally really spoke to me. When I first moved to the East Coast from California, I was most distraught by the food prices and the lack of local markets. In California, I only went to my local market where it was impossible to find asparagus or strawberries any time other than their short seasons. It was the kind of market where you could go to the mushy vegetables section and buy 10 lbs of ginger for $4 or 5 lbs of eggplant for $3 just because they were a little past their prime. It forced you to make ginger beer or a giant pan of eggplant and it was amazing.

I miss it. I miss hating grapefruit because that's the only fruit you got all winter. I miss being excited about artichokes coming into season

Melissa had so many great recipes on her blog, but I really took her challenge to heart when choosing my recipe this month. As great as her Horseradish Crusted Prime Rib or her Beer Braised Shortribs looked, I just had to go with her healthy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. After all, I had half a pumpkin leftover from my CSA box.

My husband and I both LOVED this macaroni and cheese recipe. It is creamy, cheesy and doesn't taste like the vegetables that are hiding inside. It doesn't have the super creamy texture of boxed mac and cheese or frozen mac and cheese, but it is so much better for you and better tasting. We really loved this recipe and will absolutely add it to our regular rotation.

Melissa says her recipe serves 8 so we cut it in half. We still had a great amount that is easily 6 side dish portions or 4 main dish portions. 

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
  • 1/2 lb pasta (penne, elbows, etc)
  • 1 cup pureed roasted pumpkin (or butternut, or acorn squash)
  • 1 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 cup mixed cheeses (I used a combo of cheddar and jack, but aged gouda or fontina would be excellent as well)
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp breadcrumbs (panko, preferably)
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • parmesean cheese and parsley if desired
  1. Cook pasta according to directions, drain in a colander and set aside
  2. Whisk together milk and pumpkin puree until it comes to a low simmer.
  3. Add cheese, salt, mustard, cayenne and chili powder and whisk until smooth
  4. Remove from heat and add pasta. Stir until well coated
  5. Pour pasta into baking dish and top with bread crumbs, olive oil and parmesean cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Eat immediately

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Peach Sorbet

Summer is over, so I really shouldn't be posting any more frozen dessert recipes. I shouldn't but I keep making them. It was 40 degrees outside today, but for me it's never too cold for ice cream/sorbet.

We also needed to make room in our freezer, so we took out one bag of leftover diced peaches from the summer to make sorbet. We got some wonderful peaches in our CSA box this year, but since we get about a half dozen per week, it's impossible to eat that many before they get overripe and mushy. We peel and freeze them as we go through the summer, but you could also use fresh overripe fruit for this recipe or frozen fruit.

This was also the recipe that taught me how to make really amazing sorbet if you're just guessing at a recipe. The basics for a whole fruit sorbet are a 1:1 ratio of simple syrup to fruit puree. That's it. It's so easy.

You have to double check for things that are just juice or recipes that are more sour. Sugar levels as well as alcohol inhibit freezing, so I will usually add a splash of whatever booze works in order to keep my sorbet at a scoop-able consistency as opposed to rock solid.

Give this easy recipe a try. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Peach Sorbet
  • 2 cups diced frozen or fresh peaches (about 1 1/4 cup of strained peach puree)
  • 1 1/4 cup one to one simple syrup, cooled 
  • splash of peach schnapps
  1. Puree your peaches in a food processor for a couple minutes or until totally smooth. Press your peach puree through a fine mesh strainer. The liquid should still be thick, but all fibrous parts should be removed.
  2. Mix together equal parts peach puree and chilled simple syrup in a bowl with a splash of peach schnapps. Chill for a couple hours until ready to make sorbet.
  3. Churn according to your ice cream maker directions. Put in an airtight container in the freezer. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ebelskiver with Apple compote

We got a takoyaki pan as a wedding present.

If you've never tried takoyaki, you are missing out. Basically, they are Japanese octopus pancake balls topped with mayonaise and sauce and fish flakes and served mouth searingly hot. They are basically the best thing to order at an izakaya, especially at 2am.

Unfortunately, I have yet to make real takoyaki. It still seems intimidating and I wanted to try out my technique with cheaper ingredients.

Ebelskiver, or Aebleskiver, is a danish dessert served during the holidays. They are round pancakes served with powdered sugar and jam. They can have filling in them or not. Either way they are delicious.

The wells of a normal Aebleskive pan are much larger than a takoyaki pan. Aebleskives are usually an inch and a half to two inches in diameter while takoyaki are about 1 inch in diameter and perfectly bite sized. They cook very quickly, so the key to takoyaki is speed. I use chopsticks to turn mine but they sell tools for that as well.

We made ours for breakfast with apple compote to use up some extra apples. Just sauteed until tender with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and dark rum. For the aebleskiver, I used the recipe provided by the blog Sweet, Sour, Savory. We divided this recipe by 4 to have breakfast for 2 people, but half would also have been appropriate for plenty of snack leftovers.

  • 250 grams all purpose flour
  • 125 grams salted, melted butter
  • 375 mL milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom (optional. I put less because I don't really like the flavor)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Powdered sugar, lingonberry jam, etc for serving
  1. Separate the eggs and beat the whites to stiff peaks. Set aside.
  2. Mix flour, cardamom, baking powder salt. Mix milk with egg yolks, lemon zest, and melted butter. 
  3. Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Fold in egg whites.
  4. Heat the pan over medium heat and spray well with cooking spray. Pour batter into wells until 3/4 full. Begin turning the balls as soon as the edges start to bubble (for an aebleskiver pan) or immediately for a takoyaki pan. If desired, you can fill the insides with fruit, chocolate chips, etc just before turning.
  5. Keep turning the balls until browned on all sides and rounded. This will take practice. 
  6. Eat immediately with powdered sugar and desired topping.

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