Tag Archives: Chicken

How we danced

I’m writing this all down before I forget.

I didn’t take many photos this past weekend. Or, none that were food related, anyway. Or of myself or my friends who were in town for that matter. For the most part, I was too busy simply enjoying the rightinfrontofme.

Instead took photos like this one:

Spotted on a quiet street in Brooklyn, which lead to a debate of who actually wrote it. (I’ll spare you the suspense: it was Alexander Hamilton.)

And this:

Look closely and you can see Jane’s Carousel in the distance. It’s a venue so secure in its own permanence that it has a plinth announcing “Since 2011″—I laughed when I first saw it, but on second thought, I like the brashness of it, the implied staying power. Something from another time, made modern by the architecture.

Naturally, the kids waiting in line don’t think about these things. They’re just happy for the chance to ride one of the hand carved horses. Or, if they’re really lucky, to get a chance to share one of the chariots with a friend. I thought about doing just that.

Then, surrounded by the children and their parents, I got bashful.

I’d like to say that’s unlike me, although that might be a stretch. It’s of no consequence. I knew that had I asked, my friend Ben would have done so—after all, in the first weeks of our friendship we had tangoed across the floors of the Tate Modern. It was closing time soon, so the docent let us be. I’d like to think that he also felt the Rothko room needed a little less red and a little more life in it.

At the present moment, there were places to go and sites undiscovered as of yet.

Including Cindy Sherman (the exhibit and the artist. Or, at least some of us thought).

And, then it was time for us to say goodbye. That’s the thing about having dear friends or family in different cities, you’re often saying goodbye or attempting to share experiences from afar.

It’s easy, if you have someone to show you the way.

In this case, while we can’t share meals, we can share recipes. This, then, is a variation on Ben’s Thai Green Curry.

brookyln bridge

Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Eggplant

1 bunch cilantro
2 limes, zested and juice
1 small knob fresh Galangal (appox. 1 TBS), peeled
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2-3 sprigs scallions—the white part should be roughly chopped and the green parts should be chiffonaded and set aside
5 garlic cloves, peeled roughly chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped
5-6 bird’s dried eye chilies
2 TBS peanut oil
12 ounces coconut milk
6 ounces water
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 eggplant, roughly diced
fish sauce (approx 2 tsps)
soy sauce

garnish: scallions

Using a food processor, combine the cilantro, Galangal, garlic, dried bird’s eye chilies, onions, white portion of the scallions, and lemongrass stalks and pulse until the mixture becomes a thick paste. Add water if you are having difficulty getting into combine.

Heat a heavy bottomed pot over a high flame. Add in the peanut oil and allow to heat, approximately 1 minute. Add in the cilantro paste and heat approximately 5-10 minutes, until the paste become aromatic. Reduce the heat to medium low, and add in the coconut milk and water. Stir and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add in the chicken and stir. Cover the pot with a lid and allow to simmer 10 minutes. Add in the eggplant, mix together and simmer for another 20-30 minutes, until the eggplant has become soft.

Season to taste using fish sauce (approx. 2 tsps, depending on how salty you like your curry) and soy sauce. Garnish with the green part of the scallions and serve with white rice.

Serves 4 as a main dish

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I cannot make it cohere*

If you were to go through the archives, I suspect I would find easily ten different posts all about how my intentions were good and the follow-though, well, lacking.

I can’t help myself.

February didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts for various reasons, including, but not limited to being seriously sick, and who wants to hear about that? Two weeks ago, I got into work only to turn around two hours later—just enough time to get everything in order so that I could work from my apartment. I was back in the office the next day out of necessity, and the long days that followed didn’t help much either. I made power points and pretty things, I wrote pitches. But, each time that I started to write something here, it didn’t quite gel.

The thing is, things are busy, and they’re not likely to change any time soon. I’m searching for a connection here. Maybe it’s my need to present things in a cohesive narrative. What can I say? I’ve been busy. Here are some recipes?

That hardly seems inspiring.

I’ve been cooking a lot—over the weekend, a friend came over for a long over due catch-up. Dinner consisted of red wine, salted caramel ice cream and home made hot fudge. Before then, there was a dinner party for another friend’s birthday. I didn’t get pictures there, although, let’s be honest, my photography skills still need some work. I want to tell you about all of these things. And, the stew that’s currently bubbling away on the stove as I get ready to tackle a shortened work-week.

I’ll get to them in due time. Just bear with me.

Until then, I’ve been busy. Here are some recipes.

Chicken Tacos
Half recipe of Roasted Tomato-Chile de arbol salsa (recipe follows)
1 roasting chicken, 5-6 lbs
1 TBS kosher salt
1 TBS freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and pat the chicken dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower the heat to 350 and roast for another hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes.

Once the chicken has cooled slightly, remove the skin and, using two forks or your hands, pull the meat from the bones. Save the carcass for stock.

Combine the pulled chicken with the roasted tomato salsa. Serve with salsa cruda (recipe follows), guacamole

Roasted Tomato Salsa
Recipe courtesy of Simple Food, Big Flavor

4 plum tomatoes
3-6 chiles de arbol (vary to suit your taste)
2 TBS olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your broiler.

Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and cook them, about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are charred. Set the tomatoes aside to cool. Once the tomatoes have cooled, slip off the skins and remove the cores. Place the tomatoes and all of the juice into a large bowl and roughly chop them.

While the tomatoes are cooling, in a separate dry skillet, heat the chiles de arbol, toasting them until they begin to smoke, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan, setting it over medium heat and stirring until the onion is soft. This should take approximately 7 minutes. Add the chiles, tomatoes, and water, bringing it to a simmer. Cook for 12 minutes, then let it cool.

When the mixture is room temperature, add it to a blender, along with the cilantro, salt, and pepper. Puree it until the mixture is smooth. Then, run it through a fine mesh strainer so that it is smooth. Serve it at room temperature.

Salsa Cruda
Use this recipe as a guideline, altering ingredients to your taste

1 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cilantro, minced

Mix all ingredients together and allow to sit 30 minutes prior to serving, allowing all flavors to meld.

*with apologies to Ezra Pound

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Stormy Weather

Bear with me—this is going to be another one of those posts where I talk about the weather.

But, well. Irene.

When all’s said and done a few days later, I fared incredibly well, with just a few downed branches on the street around my apartment building. But, I got off easy, and when the news reports started picking up on Thursday evening, things seemed a lot more ominous.

Mind you, I still had big weekend plans, including a trip up to Connecticut, foolishly thinking that I could simply beat the storm back.

Then there was an announcement that all public transportation would be suspended starting out noon on Saturday. A friend got evacuated from Battery Park City, and ended up in my apartment. Running errands with a friend on Friday, we discovered that there wasn’t a single flashlight to be had on the entire Upper East Side.

More signs to take note.

Then my friends from abroad were emailing to make sure that things were okay.

This was starting to get serious.

If you know me at all, you know that, on a good day, I’m a worrier.

So, I did what I always do in situations like this: I cooked and, in this case chicken pot pie seemed perfect.

First, because of I had all of the ingredients on hand and in my, admittedly flawed, logic I thought that in the event of a power outage the food would all be cooked so might last longer. And, secondly because it’s the perfect mix of baking, which requires just the right amount precision to ensure that I couldn’t give my full attention to the news and cooking—when it came to the filling, I could still adapt as I went along, allowing me to sort of listen to the news. By the end of the day, I must have watched about fourteen hours. A somewhat embarrassing admission until I read this. Turns out I’m not alone.

There’s also this: to me, chicken pot pie is one of those classic comfort foods, perhaps because so after so many family holiday meals, I’ve found myself in my mother’s kitchen making chicken stock and using the left over chicken from the night before to make pot pies.

It’s hearty, sustaining.

Just the thing for an unexpected dark, stormy day. Or, for the cold fall nights that coming far sooner that I care to admit.

Chicken Pot Pie

Fair warning: this recipe makes far more filling than you’ll need to fill your pot pie. You can halve it, but it freezes well, and if you’re going to go through all of the effort, then it’s nice to have the extra for a rainy day. And, in the spirit of planning ahead, if you have left over chicken or turkey, this would be a fine way to use it up.

For the Filling:
4 chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
6 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup olive oil, divided in half
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1″ pieces
1 TBS herbes de provence
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 TBS corn starch (Optional, you may need this to thicken your filling)

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
10 TBS butter
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 egg, beaten and divided

To Make the Filling:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with 3 TBS olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast the chicken for 35-45 minutes, until it is full cooked. Set aside, allowing to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard the bones from the chicken. Cut the breast meat into a large dice. You should have approximately 4 cups of cubed chicken. Set it aside.

While the chicken is cooking, warm the stock, and in a separate pot, boil the potatoes in well salted water, approximately 10 minutes, until they are slightly under cooked. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

In a large dutch oven, add the rest of the olive oil, and saute the onions over medium low heat, until they are translucent, about ten minutes. Add the herbes de provence, carrots, celery, a pinch of salt, and pepper and saute another five minutes. Add the flour and cook at low heat, stirring constantly for at 2 minutes. You don’t want the mixture to brown, but you do want to get the raw flour taste out of our mixture. Simmer over low heat for another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring until thick. Add the milk, mixing well. If the soup isn’t thick enough for your linking, make a slurry, mixing 1 TBS cornstarch with 1 TBS water, until the cornstarch is dissolved and add it to the stock mixture. Stir to combine.

Add the potatoes, peas and diced chicken to the pot and mix well. Take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool slightly.

To Make the Crust:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, pepper. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.

With the food processor running, add the ice water in a slow stream, pulsing until the dough holds together without being wet.

Divide the dough into two equal balls, flatting each one and wrapping it plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator.

To Assemble Your Pot Pie:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll out the first of the discs of dough and place it in a well greased 8″ pie dish. Puncture with a fork and brush with half of the egg mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until well cooked but not browned.

Allow to cool for approximately ten minutes, then fill the pie shell with the filling, using approximately 6 cups.

Roll out the second of the discs of dough, placing it on top of the filled pie shell. Crimp the edges together and cut vents into the top of the pie. Brush the pie dough with the rest of the beaten egg.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top crust is golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serves Six, with plenty of filling left over

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I Have No Story For You

As the lack of posts throughout August suggests, it’s been a busy month so far.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like things will abate any time soon.

So, I have no story for you today, just a simple weeknight dinner.

But it’s a easy and flavorful one. Did I mention that it’s quick? As in, cooks in twenty minutes? And uses pantry staples?

Hopefully that’s enough to get your attention.

I’ve been making a variation on this dish since it first took the blogosphere by storm, making tweaks along the way, kicking up the spice and simplifying it. I’ve switched out the protein—using chicken breast in place of shrimp—partially because I’m more likely have the former on hand but more because the cooking time for the chicken and broccoli is the same which means that you only need to stir the ingredients halfway, rather than add new things to the pan. After my recent work days, I’m not sure that I have the mental capacity to do more than that (although, rest assured, my weekends are still reserved for baking. And, have I got a tart for you…)

That said, the recipe is easy enough to adapt once you have the method down. Hopefully it’ll become a go-to weeknight recipe for you, too.

Roasted Chicken with Broccoli

2 pounds broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces (stems and florets)
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS ground coriander
1 TBS ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 pound large chicken breast, cubed
3 carrots, diced
1/2 large red onion, diced
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 TBS lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss broccoli, red onion, carrots, and chicken breast with oil, coriander, cumin, teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and paprika.

Spread vegetables and chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once chicken is fully cooked and broccoli is tender and golden around the edges, sprinkle with lemon zest and juice.

Serve with brown rice.

Serves Four

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The great cabinet cleanse of 2011

My friend Peggy is far more organized than I am. So, when I read this post of hers, I was inspired to go through my kitchen cabinets and take inventory, too.

This is where the fun begins.

And, by “fun”, I mean cursing.

Within minutes of the project I discovered a couple of things about myself—first, I’m never going to be the kind of person who enjoys projects. Second, that, as I’ve long suspected, my love of specialty markets has reached epic levels. Which would be fine, if not for my long held belief that part of the charm of a grocery store of any type is that no one leaves empty handed. Self fulfilling prophecy and all that.

This is all a very circular way of saying that my cabinets a filled to the brim with single recipe ingredients. Lots and lots of thems. After four years in the same apartment—a lifetime in New York—it happens.

Although I espouse a waste not, want not philosophy when it comes to cooking, and really try to live it, when it comes to nonperishable ingredients, the urgency just isn’t there.

This becomes a problem when I’m awkwardly maneuvering around stacks and stacks of the contents of my cabinets, wondering why I ever thought beef flavored ramen was something I’d eat. Or, thinking Rice vinegar? Seriously, who buys rice vinegar?* Or, for that matter, talking to myself (and not saying very nice things, at that).

Thankfully, I remembered purchasing the vinegar after reading a recipe on for Sweet and Sour Chicken on Amateur Gourmet years ago. His version relies on the original recipe, adapting it based on whatever ingredients he has on hand. Mine does, too—the noticeable difference is that my penchant for buying recipe specific ingredients meant that I had more to work with. Even if you don’t—perhaps because you have no problem simply buying tamari almonds, rather than insisting upon making them yourself—don’t let that discourage you. This recipe is easily adapted to what’s on hand and your own personal tastes. And, the flavor is completely unexpected. Where restaurant sweet and sour chicken is cloying and artificial tasting, this is far more nuanced, and balanced.

I can eat it for days on end.

So, cabinet cleaning accomplished.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but two days later, to celebrate that I had not only straightened out my kitchen cabinets but also used some of the ingredients contained within them, I rewarded myself with a trip to my favorite market. Naturally, I bought Mirin, just in case.

Clearly, I’ll never learn.

I will, however, continue to cook, if only to use it all up.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Adapted from The Amateur Gourmet

12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons tamari
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/3 cup Homemade Chicken Broth
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 tablespoon siraccha
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 celery stalks, cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces
4 carrots, cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces
1 can bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained

In a medium bowl combine the chicken, garlic, 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, the rice wine, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cornstarch, the 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Toss well and set aside for at least ten minutes.

While the chicken is resting, combine the broth, tamari, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ketchup, and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Heat a wok, if you have one, or a non-stick skillet on a high heat for a minute or so, until you cannot hold your hand above the pan for more than 5 seconds. Swirl in the 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and add the chicken to the pan, spreading it evenly into one layer.

Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the chicken begin to brown. Then, stir, until the chicken has browned on all sides but is not cooked through. This should take about a minute. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.

Add the remaining vegetable oil into the pan. Then, add in the carrots, celery, and bamboo shoots, stirring for about 30 seconds to a minute. Add the sauce and stir everything well.

Return the chicken to the pan. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce has slightly thickened.

Serves 4

*evidently, I do.

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Bad Time Management [Redux]

Remember that long ago meal that I told you about?

Yeah, if I’m being completely honest, I’m not sure that I do, either.

But, it seems to me that it’s high time I got a roasted chicken recipe up here. I don’t make roast chicken as much as I used to—when you’re living alone it seems a bit excessive—but, it remains my go to when it comes to feeding a crowd.

It’s simple. But, in my mind, it manages to be elegant, too. In fact, when I was growing up, most Friday nights, we had a variation on this meal. The beauty here is that, if you plan it right, you can get the rest of the meal prepared while your chicken is cooking and then sit down and actually eat with your guests.

A fantastic way to end a week, if you ask me.

There’s this, too: if you plan it right and reserve the carcass, you have the tools for a lazy Saturday afternoon of making chicken stock.

If you’re so inclined, add more root vegetables to the pan, too. You’ll have plenty of leftovers that way. Just the thing after a busy week.

Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables
Adapted from Ina Garten

For the Chicken
1 roasting chicken, 5-6 pounds
1 TBS Kosher salt
1 TBS Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp herbes de provence
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, quartered

For the vegetables
3 sweet potatoes, diced
3 yukon gold potatoes, diced
3-4 parsnips, diced
3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, cut into eights
6 garlic cloves
1 tsp each salt and pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp herbes de provence
Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and pat the chicken dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity the lemon and onion.

Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and herbes de provence. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Place the root vegetables in a pan. Toss with salt, pepper, herbes de provence, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower the heat to 350 and roast for another hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

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Yankee Gumbo

Food has long been a source of nostalgia for me.

There’s something about the sensory experience that brings forth a powerful sense of time and place.

Of course, I’m not alone in this. I have my sundried tomato bread, among other things. Proust, famously, had his madelines. And, my friend Lauren who originally hails from New Orleans, has her gumbo.

Lucky for me, she decided to have some friends over for a huge pot, teaching us how to make it in the process. We helped in our own ways—in my case, making Pimm’s Cups, catching up until we we distracted by the smells coming from the kitchen. It’s safe to say that everyone there went back for a second helping when the gumbo was ready.

I left inspired, ready to tackle my own version. I incorporated andouille (made with chicken, no not quite authentic, I’m afraid) for added flavor and vinegar for an acidic punch at the end. Far from traditional, I’m sure, but filling and delicious all the same. Call it a Yankee version, if you will.

It’s funny, the way nostalgia works. As I started making the roux, I was suddenly back in my mother’s kitchen on a snowy day, much like the ones that seem to be happening so often this winter, alongside her while she made her potato soup. Her roux was blonder, and the soup was much lighter, but it was still the perfect thing for a cold day, much like this one.

Yankee Gumbo

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 chicken breasts, diced
1/2 cup flour
2 medium onions, diced
1/4 cup chopped leeks (white part only)
1 cup chopped celery
2 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 TSB paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 to 8 cups chicken stock (optional. water would work here, too)
1 can whole diced tomatoes, with their juice
1 TBS red wine vinegar
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the chicken with a tsp of flour, dash of paprika, salt and pepper.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil and all it to reach a high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and heat for 1 minute. Add the andouille sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and much of the fat is rendered. Add the chicken and sautee until the chicken has browned. Remove the sausage and chicken to a seperate dish with a slotted spoon. Set aside.

Add the remainder of the flour and paprika to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, in order to form a roux. Continue stirring until the roux is a dark golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Add the onions, celery, and leeks to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook about 2 minutes.

At this point, add your stock, bay leaves, diced tomatoes and accompanying juice. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken and sausage to the point, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered 25 to 30 minutes, until the soup has thickened and the chicken is fully cooked.

Add red wine vinegar and Tabasco and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice.

Serves 6-8

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