Monday, September 16, 2013

Tiny Roast Chickens Wrapped in Serrano Ham

Now that this Bake-Off Contest has me obsessively monitoring my facebook page I thought I might as well start blogging again too.

Thing is, I never stopped taking pictures- because lord knows the one thing this world needs is more pictures of food-but I quit writing about it.  But if I make it to Vegas (vote now, tell your friends!) I want to go with some momentum and good cooking mojo behind me so consider me resolutioned up and ready to go.

Roast chicken is my go to dinner. It works for all weather except those blistering hot days where cooking anything isn’t really an option. If you follow me on instagram you probably see a lot of chicken pictures, in fact, a tad too many for my vegetarian friends.

The fryer chickens at New Seasons (our local fancy food chain, though they also have things like Pop Tarts and Pillsbury Crescent Rolls) are smaller than your average “I bought it because it was on sale” chicken- which is fine by me because now that there are three of us in the house, who all like dark meat, roasting up two birds stops the squabbles over who gets the leg.

I suppose I could buy only legs but then what would I make sandwiches with later? And the stock and the sandwiches are how I justify the extra cost of buying ‘happy’ chickens, but can I really put a price on happiness?

Anyway, lest I continue to digress.
Tiny Chickens Wrapped in Serrano Ham
 Tiny Roast Chickens Wrapped in Serrano Ham

Recipe Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s “poussin wrapped with streaky bacon and stuffed with potatoes and sage”

2 small chickens (about 3 pounds each)
Enough Serrano (or bacon or proscuitto or other cured salty meat) to wrap the chickens
1 lb. Yukon gold or red potatoes
Handful fresh rosemary or handful fresh thyme
12 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 cups white wine
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Remove any fat from inside the chicken cavity
Slice potatoes thickly, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add your freshly torn herbs and enough olive oil just to coat.
Stuff chickens with the potatoes. (I can’t remember whether or not I roasted the potatoes in or out of the bird, I really should have written this down sooner… or taken more pictures, Jamie Oliver has you pre-cook the potatoes which I know I did not do but my birds were bigger and so I knew I was upping the cook time)
Place the chicken and potatoes into the tray with about 12 cloves of garlic and cook for 45 minutes, the skin should be crisp and golden.
At this point, lay your cured salty meat over the breast meat and drumsticks and add a 1/2 cup of wine to the pan. Cook for another 15 minutes (being careful not to overcook the Serrano) or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

Remove the chickens from the oven. Take them out of the tray and allow them to rest for 5 minutes while you make the gravy.
Remove as much fat as possible from the tray before placing on gentle heat.
Add the remaining 1 cup of white wine into the tray and deglaze. Allow to boil up and scrape away all the goodness from the sides of the tray.
Simmer this for a couple of minutes.  It's really not a gravy but more of a sauce.

Serve with sautéed kale or other garden greens and the potatoes pulled out from the chickens.

Tiny Chickens Wrapped in Serrano Ham with potatoes and kale

Friday, September 13, 2013

Can Kale get me to Vegas?

I'm a Pillsbury Bake-Off Semi-Finalist! Vote for Feta and Kale Stuffed Breakfast Waffles

VOTE NOW! Voting is open until Noon CST on September 26th
I need you
Update: I did not make it to Vegas. But I did remember that I sorta like doing this.

Feta and Kale Stuffed Breakfast Waffles
Feta and Kale Stuffed Breakfast Waffles 

I love my leafy greens, it runs in the family: sometimes at my brother's house there is a squabble over who gets the last of the swiss chard- really! It's happened more than once.

I love my leafy greens so much that I'll still buy them/grow them throughout the spring and summer even though they are about the only thing that you can get fresh and local throughout the winter here in Portland.

I also really love waffles. It is our Sunday tradition, and the only meal out of the week that I don't make. The Mr. is in charge of waffles. His waffles are delicious but there is nothing quick or rise and shine about them.

So back in August when I realized I had ONE DAY to come up with a recipe for the final open category in the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest I had to go with what I love and what I had on hand. And it had to be a breakfast item, and it had to be quick, and it had to have less than seven ingredients. Whew.

Flash forward an hour and I had it. I had the recipe and I had a delicious breakfast AND I remembered how awesome it is to every once in awhile let someone else (like the Mr. or Pillsbury) make the dough.

Here is the demo waffle, the second one was better- perhaps someday this waffle iron will be as famous as the one that started Nike.

You can link to the official recipe here.

Sunday, March 31, 2013


Which hot sauce? I love hot sauce. Not the take it on a dare sort but the kind you can actually taste. Different hot sauces for different needs. Every time I make a Bloody Mary I'm faced with a choice. The slightly sweet tang of Sriracha? Something clean and not too hot like Crystal? The depth charge thrill of Brother Bru Bru? It's up to you.
bloody mary ingredients
All the fixings


2 oz. chilled vodka
1 tablespoon lime juice (less if you're not into tang)
1 teaspoon horseradish (I like Bubby's, but any non-oily horseradish will work.)
6 shakes Worcestershire sauce 
¼ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
4 shakes of Brother Bru Bru's Jamaican hot sauce if you like 'em spicy.
6 ounces chilled tomato or vegetable juice (I like Trader Joe's Low Sodium Vegetable Patch)


Lemon or lime wedges, olives, scallions, celery, green beans (pickled or fresh). I like something citrus, something spicy, and something to stir with.

Run a wedge of lime along the rim of a pint glass, dip into either plain kosher salt or celery salt to coat the rim of the glass. Next, combine vodka and next five ingredients. Stir well. 

I know ingredients first, then ice seems so unbartenderly but, trust me,  it's less messy and easier to control .

Add vegetable juice and stir again. Top with ice and a twist of fresh ground black pepper, add garnish of choice, and enjoy.

Makes one sixteen ounce Bloody Mary.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Slowed Cooked Teriyaki Pork and Shiitake Mushroom Sweet Red Pepper Risotto

I haven’t penned a recipe in ages so forgive me if this is a little herky-jerky.

Let me just say at the onset that I love the country rib cut of pork. Sure it’s a little fatty but slow cooked it is always tender and delicious- and since I vowed to only buy ‘happy’ meat it is also one of the more economical cuts I can get from my pig guy at the farmers market.

The Ribs

4 boneless country style ribs
½ cup teriyaki sauce (I used the Mezzetta Island Teriyaki left over from my unsuccessful bid to build an award winning sandwich)

Bake at 250 covered for 1½ hours, uncovered for one hour. The ribs will get pretty saucy so I flipped them midway through the uncovered baking period to brown them evenly and help caramelize the glaze.

The Rissotto

1 cup Arborio rice

1 quart chicken broth
½ tsp powdered ginger
¼ tsp cayenne powder
½-1 tsp soy sauce
½ cup dried sliced shiitake mushrooms (or one cup fresh)

½ yellow onion chopped
1 TBS olive oil

½ cup thinly sliced kale
1 sweet red pepper julienned (I used a combo of red and yellow)-divided

¼ cup sake

Put chicken broth in medium sized pot and bring to simmer adding ginger, cayenne powder, and soy sauce. At this point I put the dried mushrooms in the broth and allowed them to plump up (10-15 minutes?). When mushrooms are plump and soft remove from broth and chop- removing any tough stems-set aside. Keep brth on heat.

Heat a large pot over medium heat sauté chopped onions in olive oil about three minutes, add mushrooms and kale and sauté a few minutes more until kale and mushrooms have given off some moisture. Add rice and cook until rice is coated with oil and just a tiny bit translucent around the edges. Add sake and cook, stirring almost constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Then add hot broth- about ¾ cup at a time- stir and allow the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next batch. The risotto should be slightly firm and cream, not mushy. I like my peppers crisp so I added half to the risotto along with the last bit of liquid and then garnished with the rest.

Remove from heat and allow to rest, covered, while you pull the pork out of the oven

By this time the pork should be tender and swimming in a richly favored broth. There is usually a pretty thick layer of oil/fat on the top of the broth. Skim as much of that off as you can and then serve with the risotto, drizzling a few table spoon of the broth over the pork once plated.

slow cooked teriyaki pork with shiitake risotto
 I garnished with parsley because that's what I had on hand but cilantro would probably be better.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Honey Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

A few weeks ago a generous neighbor gave me her Kitchenaid Ice Cream maker attachment and a copy of  Sweet Scoops. I've been lusting over ice cream makers for years, ever since I bought one as a gift for someone else, but it seemed so frivolous- especially when money's tight. Plus, to really put the thing to use I have to give up precious freezer space so the bowl is always ready to go. Right now, one week into our first extended stretch of summer, it is worth it. 

I started out making Vanilla for the 4th of July. YUM- perhaps a little sweeter that I might like but still delicious and a great way t test out both the recipe book and the ice cream maker. A few days later we had guests over to grill up some lamb kebobs. Yogurt and lamb go together in my mind so a batch of frozen yogurt seemed to fit the bill. Sweet Scoops has a honey-poppyseed frozen yogurt recipe that I loosely followed. You can pretty pictures and the original recipe here.

honey-raspberry frozen yogurt w/poppy seeds

  1. 3 cups honey low fat or whole milk yogurt (I used Nancy's honey yogurt which wasn't nearly as sweet as I expected)
  1. 1 cup heavy cream
  1. 1/4-1/2 cup wildflower honey (We always buy local honey-  it's supposed to help with allergies and well I like knowing the people that  produce the food I eat- I've never met the bees though)
  1. 1/2 cup fresh raspberries pressed through a strainer to keep out the seeds
  1. 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  1.  pinch of salt
     In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until smooth in texture. 

Honey-Raspberry Frozen Yogurt with Poppyseeds
makes about 1 quart

         Cover and refrigerate   for 2-24 hours.
Pour the cold yogurt mixture into your ice cream machine and freeze according to your   manufacturer’s instructions. 
Scrape the frozen yogurt into a freezer safe container (I used, suprise suprise, an empty Nancy's Yogurt bin), cover tightly, and freeze until firm.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Homemade Sourdough Baguettes

Homemade Wholewheat Sourdough Baguette

Equipment needed:

Kitchen scale with tare button (a must for consistent baking results at home)

Rounded bowl scraper/spatula (this is the bread making tool I value the most and it costs $2.00! Mine is a Fat Daddio's.

Medium size bowl

Parchment paper (I think this is the easiest way to bake these, I forget sometimes and have to pry these off the pan)and baking sheet

Squirt bottle with plain water or a couple of ice cubes

Total time about 8 hours, hands on time less than 20 minutes-depending on how good you are at shaping a baguette.

This is the recipe I use (with modifications I often make in parenthesis)- as you can see it isn’t very detailed.

3 ounces starter
11 ounces flour (I sometimes use AP, often I use about 3 ounces of whole wheat or spelt and 8 of bread flour)
¼ ounce salt
6.6 ounces water
                                    mix to shaggy
                                    rest 30 minutes
fold 4X @ 30 minute intervals
bulk ferment 1 ½ hours, fold
bulk ferment 2 hours, divide
preshape- let rest 15 minutes
proof 1 to 1 ½ hours
bake at 500 degrees with steam for 20 minutes

Additional thoughts and notes:

Our starter's hydration level varies. There are a lot of great threads over at The Fresh Loaf if you want to learn all about establishing and maintaining a starter. I'm pretty loosey-goosey about the whole thing, I feed the starter when I remember and usually throw it in the fridge if I'm not baking much and am feeding the starter less than once a day in warm weather or once every two days in cool weather. I made this starter six years ago and it is a tough kid, she can take some falls on the playground and get right back up again.

And about the timing on this recipe- I've followed it to the letter and I've also had a few of the 30 minute stretches go an hour or so. I've also had the first bulk ferment turn into an overnight in the refrigerator. (Actually the bread in the photos above sat for two days in the fridge, it was still quite good but I definitely pushed the boundaries.)I think the handling is key, using one of those spatula/scrapers is gluten forming magic. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grown Up Mac and Cheese with Blue Cheese and Swiss Chard

I made this bread video and I was going to post it on Thursday no Friday okay on Saturday, for sure on Saturday. And on Saturday I tried. Youtube and I are having some issues. And it’s not even that interesting, five minutes of bread making. But maybe I think that because I’ve seen it so many times I don’t need my recipe anymore. So that’s coming, I want to take some still shots so I need to bake some more bread. But in the meantime we still have to eat and I’m trying out a homemade lightbox in an attempt to up my game photo wise.

Blue CHeese Mac and Cheese with Garlic Swiss Chard
Tangy Grown Up Mac and Cheese with Swiss Chard and Spring Rabb
Ever since I baked that Spinach Tart I have been craving Macaroni and Cheese.  I resisted until I couldn’t resist anymore. This take has tons of veggies and was made with high fiber pasta. The Swiss chard tucked in the middle is a pleasant compliment to the tangy blue cheese. Served with spring rabb lightly sautéed in homemade chicken broth.

The recipe is a guess- based on recollection. I used ingredients in the fridge and pantry.

Blue Cheese Penne with Swiss Chard

Grown Up Mac and Cheese

2 ½ cups low fat milk
2 tsp butter
2 TBSP flour
1 heaping tsp country style Dijon mustard (a recipe for this will follow at some point)
About 1 cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup American cheese (the secret cheese at a restaurant I worked at where everybody raved about our Mac and Cheese, it adds a creamy consistency you just can get from ‘real’ cheese)
½ cup blue cheese crumbled.
Fresh ground pepper to taste

1 bundle Swiss chard including most of the stems, chopped up fine
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 TBS homemade chicken broth

14-ounce package of Trader Joe’s high fiber penne pasta, cooked a minute or two less than instructed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sautee garlic, chicken broth, and Swiss chard over a medium-low heat until chard is tender and most of the liquid evaporates- about 7 minutes. Set aside.

Melt butter, add flour and whisk until flour is completely coated. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly until smooth and sauce like. Add cheeses one at a time stirring until incorporated and creamy (reserving a little bit of blue cheese and mozzarella to sprinkle over the top) Salt and pepper to taste.

Add sauce to cooked pasta (I return the pasta to its cooking pot, you want a vessel large enough to stir it together easily)

Pour about ½ the coated pasta into a lightly oiled or non-stick 8X11 pan. Top with cooled Swiss chard mixture, then add the remaining pasta and any left over sauce.
Sprinkle the remaining blue cheese and mozzarella over the top and bake until bubbly and melty- usually about 15-20 minutes.

A layer of Swiss Chard adds color and tempers the bold flavor of the blue cheese.