Chicken



It has been 207 days since I last blogged.  It’s hard to explain really.  I can’t really  blame it on the fact that TB and I broke up, or that I didn’t have enough space in the kitchen anymore.  It was kind of like the spark had gone out of cooking or baking.  Once I got into it, I would enjoy it, but really, I could barely find a way to get into it.  Dinners for a while were…interesting.  Popcorn and an apple, anyone?  With the spark gone, and being incredibly busy with school and work, there wasn’t really anything to put up here.

But I’m trying.  I’m trying to make at least a few meals a week that are reminiscent of the old me.  The side benefit of this is that I actually have meals for lunch at work; their healthier and help with the much needed fiscal responsibility which is my renewed goal for 2011.  A few weeks back I made pulled pork that was versatile and delicious; and then there were carrot and pineapple muffins with a coconut cream cheese icing, treasure hunt muffins (chocolate chips, blueberries, banana and peach muffin – sounds like  lot, they were oddly good!) chicken, shrimp and sausage jambalaya, and then tonights meal of a simple honey glazed roasted chicken, and planning on chicken pot pies with the leftovers.  I am feeling moderately consistent.

The mains I have made lately thrive on slow cooking.  There is something satisfying about facing delayed gratification, waiting for the aromas wafting from the kitchen to reach an almost intolerable desire to want to go check on it, again. These meals have also been traditional and simple in their approaches.  Somehow, over the last few weeks of slow and steady I have convinced myself that if I can work threw some old standbys then I may be on the road back to the kitchen…I’ve kind of missed it.

Honey Glazed Roasted Lemon Chicken

1 – 5lb chicken
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon
1 head garlic
3-4 tbsp fresh parsley
2 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Honey Glaze

2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp chicken juices
2 tbsp hot water

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven at 425F
  2. Remove any giblets from the chicken
  3. Rinse and pat dry chicken
  4. Drizzle olive oil over, and inside chicken
  5. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper, inside and out
  6. Squeeze lemon juice into cavity of chicken, add parsley, garlic and lemon.
  7. Base chicken every 20 minutes
  8. Mix all glaze ingredients together.
  9. Approximately 5 minutes before the chicken is ready to come out of the oven, baste the glaze over the chicken.
  10. Remove from oven when bird at thickest point on thigh reaches 175F, it will reach 180F when you allow it to rest for ~5-10 minutes.

I’ve been trying to be better about using my leftovers.  I don’t know about you, but I can easily make a meal, have enough leftover for a few meals…but I get bored.  I have a hard time eating oh let’s say turkey three days in a row.  I mean there is only so many turkey sandwiches you can eat right?

Knowing that I should finish up the turkey my mom sent back with me when I last visited her.  I thought I would serve it up in a pretty different way (for me any ways).  I’ve never made taquitos before.  A favourite neighbourhood restaurant here in Vancouver is Las Margaritas. We love their taquitos.  So into the kitchen, rummaging into the cupboards and fridge looking to see what was on hand. It’s getting sparse since I am getting ready to head to Mexico for two weeks, so I wanted to make due with what I had…and I have to say, the result was tasty tasty!  A yummy dinner with a side of guacamole and some salad.

Ingredients:

2 -3 cups turkey shredded, obviously you could substitute with chicken
3 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp grated cheddar cheese
2-3 pinches Mexican chili powder
1 pinch cumin
salt and pepper
6 medium sized corn tortillas

vegetable or canola oil for frying (!)
6 toothpicks or small skewers.

Directions:

  1. Mix turkey, water, cheese, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper together.
  2. Take 6 corn tortillas and wrap them in a tea towel, place in microwave for 45 seconds to soften them for rolling.  (NB if you don’t do this step, like I forgot to do the first time, you crack your tortillas and they don’t stay rolled up.)
  3. Place2-3 tablespoons of the mixture and place about an inch or two from the edge in a straight line.
  4. Roll into the shape of a cigar, secure into place with a tooth pick.
  5. In a large dutch oven, cover the bottom of the pot with about 1/2 inch canola oil – I couldn’t find my thermometer, so I heated for about 5 minutes on medium-high/high and then put a little piece of tortilla in the hot oil to see at what point it would be ready. To know, it will have browned.
  6. With metal tongs, place 3 tortillas across the bottom of the pan, rotate/roll them over, allowing 2 minutes per side.  Watch it carefully you don’t want the oil to smoke and burn it.
  7. Remove taquitos after 4-6 minutes to a plate covered with a paper towel or two.
  8. Season taquito with a little chili powder and salt (optional, but if you choose to do this be sure to do it when fresh out of the oil)
  9. Allow oil to return to temperature, and repeat process with remaining 3 taquitos.
  10. Serve with fresh guacamole.

Serves 2-3.


We have had a spectacular summer.  Basically from mid-May through to the early part of August we have had mostly clear and wonderfully warm days.  Yes there have been a few days of rain, and a few days of scorching heat, But really, so much better than last year’s two days of sun.

This morning as I stepped out of the shower, I looked through the bathroom window and noticed the first leaves of fall.  Bright vibrant orangey red leaves on what has been a beautifully leafy green tree.  It’s about to turn, and with that I am excited: the fantastically vibrant colours, warm autumnal winds, cozy sweaters and tea on the balcony wrapped in a blanket.  At the same time morn the splendor that is a wonderful West coast summer.

Thursday rained.  And rained.  And rained.  And then the sun came out.  The air was fresh but chilled.  It was decidedly a soup night.  Warm delicious crusty bread with a chipotle chicken chowder.  Cornmeal back bacon, roasted chicken, red, chipotle and jalapeno  peppers and roast corn come together to warm you through.  I really enjoyed this and will be making variations on it with whatever is in the fridge I am sure over the colder months to come.  For now, let’s hope for the sun again and ice cream worthy evenings!

southwest chowder

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 chipotle peppers, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, peeled
2 corns on the cob, BBQ’d and then kernels removed
1 bakers potato, diced finely
1/2 lb smoked cornmeal back bacon, cubed
6 oz chicken, shredded
4 L chicken stock
1 cup cream
3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp water
salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large dutch oven pot, sautee bacon on medium heat until fully cooked.  The bacon I used was more like ham, so this was really just to remove some of the fat to add more flavour to the chowder.
  2. Remove bacon, and reserve the fat.  Depending on how much fat is left in the pan, add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Add onions and sautee until translucent.
  4. Add to the pot: roasted red pepper finely chopped, jalapeno, garlic and corn.  Allow to cook through and soften – about 5 minutes.
  5. Add potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer.
  6. When potatoes are soft, with an immersion blender, or by carefully transferring the soup into a blender puree. (I pureed it about 85% – i like it a little chunkier)
  7. Add chicken and bacon to the pot and allow to simmer.
  8. Taste, add chipotle peppers, start with one and test.  We used two, but everyone’s heat levels are different.
  9. In a small bowl, make a slurry with the flour and water.
  10. Add cream to the pot, bring to a slow simmer, stirring gently.
  11. Add flour slurry -allow to cook out and thicken for at least 1 or 2 minutes.  The slurry will thicken soup -, it isn’t needed for anything other than the aesthetics of thickening – if you don’t mind it runny – leave it out.
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste – enjoy!

I have a bit of a food crush on Tyler Florence.  I have enjoyed watching him in his kitchen for years…shortly behind Tyler is Jamie Oliver.  The idea of a man in the kitchen is very attractive to me.  Don’t get me wrong I love to cook, take great pleasure in being creative in the kitchen and cooking or baking for those that I care about, however a handsome guy, cooking me dinner… I know, total cliche.

These chicken wings I have had in the cue to make for a long time.   I think I was flipping through the channels one day and Tyler was making these (don’t you love how I refer to him like we know each other?).  I loved the idea of the lime, honey and cilantro together.  I did tweak his original recipe, with the changes reflected below.  I added a little ginger and garlic to the wings as they baked, as well as a little Mexican Chili Powder.  I also think that these would taste great with a little peanut butter and rice wine vinegar added to the sauce to give it a little Thai twist. But let me assure you, these are finger licking good…don’t miss out on the lime or the drizzle of honey at the end, the flavours balance so well together!

I’ve made these both in the oven and on the BBQ.  These were made in the oven.  I found that placing them on a cooling rack over a rimmed cookie sheet was ideal.  The little bit of oil, and the high heat without soaking in lots of fat.  Turning a few times and it’s like rotisserie chicken.  When BBQ’ing chicken wings, it’s best to cook at a medium indirect heat.

chili lime butter wings_2

Ingredients

1 pounds chicken wings
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 lime, halved
Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
1 Tbsp honey, slightly warmed (makes it easier to drizzle)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the wings under cool water and pat dry.
  3. Put them in a bowl, drizzle with olive and sesame oils and season well with ginger, garlic, salt, black and chili pepper. Toss to coat with the seasoning.
  4. Then spread the wings out on a cooling rack, placed on a baking sheet and roast about 45 minutes until the skin gets crisp and brown, and the meat is tender.
  5. You will need to turn them a few times, maybe four, ensuring an even browning.
  6. While you wait, throw the butter, red curry paste honey, second amount of garlic and soy sauce into a blender. Season with salt and puree. Scrape into a big bowl.
  7. When the wings come out of the oven put add to the bowl with the curry butter.
  8. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the wings. Give it a toss and you’re done.
  9. Drizzle with honey, and garnish with cilantro – might be even nice with some sesame seeds.  Be sure to grab lots of napkins and just dive right in!

Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence’s Crisp Chicken Wings with Chili-lime Butter


There’s no doubt that we eat out, and eat out too much. One of the places we used to love to go for dinner on occasion was Fet‘s, we haven’t been there in ages, but that doesn’t mean dinner can’t be inspired from there. Sadly we just learned they have taken this off the menu…too bad, at least we have something close at home!

TB loves cashews. Loves them. We could go to Costco and get one of those massive peanut butter sized containers full of cashews and they would be gone in a weekend. Combine the salty and richness of cashews with a spicy, somewhat sweet and rich Asian fusion sauce to top a noodle pasta and you have a great dinner…

cashew-chicken

Ingredients
2 chicken breasts, cut up into bite sized pieces
2 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper

2 cups uncooked pasta
– in this case we used our homemade fettuccine, I will never buy it again, this was too good! –

6 cups salted water

1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
2 Tbsp hoison sauce
2 Tbsp chili garlic sambal sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp honey
2 garlic cloves minced

1 green onion, chopped
1/8 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup halved cashews

Directions:

  1. Bring pasta water to a boil. Cook pasta as per directions.
  2. Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper
  3. Heat sesame oil to pan, over medium to medium-high heat, cook chicken.
  4. Once cooked, remove from heat and cover.
  5. In the same pan you cooked the chicken, add all the sauce components allow to come together and bring to a simmer.
  6. Mix in pasta with sauce. Divide and serve in shallow bowls.
  7. Slice rested chicken and top onto pasta dish.
  8. Finally, top the dishes with chopped green onions, cheese and cashews.

Also great to serve a crusty bread with the meal… I know, I know, carb central! But it allows you to sop up all the rich and savoury sauce.

Serves two.


With the crazy winter weather Vancouver has experienced in the last few weeks, specifically this past holiday week. Tasterboy (hereafter known as TB) and I thought we should have a back up holiday plan if we were marooned at home, unable to visit family and friends. I opted for a Cornish Game Hen – perfectly sized for a dinner for two.

This was moist, and delicious – though enjoyed in the days after Christmas. I particularly enjoyed the stuffing. Again the photo is brutal, but we haven’t recovered the camera yet from my mom’s house.

cornish-game-hen

Ingredients:

1 Cornish Game Hen
2 Tbsp butter
1/8 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

1/3 cup uncooked brown and wild rice
2/3 cup water
1 slice bacon
3 breakfast sausages cooked and diced up
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/2 apple cut in half, diced
4 mushrooms diced up
1 slice 12 grain bread diced
1/4 cup chicken or turkey broth
3/4 Tbsp ground mustard
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

3 large carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 medium squash, cubed
1 leek, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine water and rice in a small saucepan, bring to a quick boil over high heat. Cover with lid and reduce to low. Allow to cook for 20 minutes, until rice is tender.
  3. Sautee onion in a pan, with a quick spray of Pam.
  4. Once onions start to sweat, add bacon, mushrooms, garlic and apple.
  5. Allow to cook out and caramelize.
  6. Add ground mustard, maple syrup, 2 Tbsp tap water and reduce.
  7. Remove mixture from heat.
  8. In a bowl combine cooked rice, chopped up bread, diced up sausage, and broth.
  9. Prepare poultry: remove innards, rinse and pat dry. Pull skin from bird, spread butter and season with salt and pepper.
  10. In a small pan, (I used an 8 inch square cake pan), add carrots, squash, leek, 0live oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  11. Stuff bird with prepared stuffing – place bird on top of vegetables.
  12. In a small bowl, mix maple syrup and Dijon mustard. Pour over bird.
  13. Cover with tin foil, roast for 1 hour, remove foil after one hour and continue to roast for another 30 minutes or so. Test bird for doneness – 165°F.
  14. Serve with roasted vegetables, stuffing and rice (if making more than recipe called for, I did – two birds, one stone)
  15. Optional step – I made gravy with the drippings from the Hen and vegetables – sweet and savoury!

I have been making more of a concerted effort to plan our meals. It helps the whole not going out to eat thing. If the fridge is full and good food is only a half hour away i am less likely to call for take out, or tell Pete that we are definitely going out for dinner.

In the effort to meal plan I have also been looking at recipes that focus on balanced and healthy eating. One of the things I love about cooking is the creativity it allows. Sure I easily spend way too much time on the computer reading favourite food blogs. But most of the time, it isn’t to follow a recipe verbatim, it’s more to get inspired. Think about new combinations. Following a recipe to the ‘t’ is not my strong suit. But I was willing to try. Try I did for a two weeks, now I am starting to tweak. But tweak in the realm of adding more healthy items, and not the bad stuff.

This recipe I tried out a few weeks ago. The first time I made it way too hot, this time it was just right. Adding a few handfuls of sliced white button mushrooms was a nice touch, sops up the curry and infuses with flavour. YUM! Looking forward to lunch leftovers tomorrow!

chicken-curry1

Ingredients:
3 cups uncooked string beans, washed and well-drained
1 spray cooking spray
2 small jalapeno pepper(s), seeded and minced
3 medium garlic clove, diced
1 cup(s) light coconut milk, divided
2 tbsp green curry paste
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp lemon grass, minced
1 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp basil, fresh, minced (+4 leaves to top curry)
2 cups cooked wild + brown rice

Directions

  1. In a steam basket, over the cooking rice, steam green beans, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well; set aside.
  2. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat.
  3. Add jalapeño or chile and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, about 1 minute.
  4. Add 3/4 cup of coconut milk, curry paste, brown sugar, fish sauce and lemon grass; bring to a simmer.
  5. Add chicken and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add string beans and basil (mixture may separate).
  7. Add remaining 1/4 cup of coconut milk (sauce will be smooth again). Simmer until hot, about 1 minute more.Yield: 1 cup of chicken-string bean mixture and 1/2 cup of rice per serving

recipe adapted from Weight Watchers

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