Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What a Splendid Evening for Thighs!

Ah, so you want to make something with chicken bits, but you don't want to buy and truss a whole chicken? Well neither do I. However, if you don't mind dark meat, this recipe makes great chicken thighs to slice up for leftovers! Not to mention, it's real easy... though it does involve massaging some raw meat.

What you need:
a family pack of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (they usually come with nine, but I've seen twelve before)
3-4 cloves of garlic (or more for roasting)
a bit of olive oil
2 large lemons
three of your favourite herbs (I used rosemary, sage, and thyme)

First, rinse the chicken thighs and pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut off any unwanted fat as well.

Then, chop up your garlic as finely as you can. It's been recommended to me to use a mortar and pestle for this, in order to make some sort of garlic olive oil paste, but I find hand-minced garlic works just fine.

When it's all chopped, gather the garlic into a little pile and pour olive oil into the middle of it. I never measure, I just stop before the olive oil starts to run outside the pile. Sort of like making pasta dough...

I think this was about four or five cloves for nine chicken thighs. I had a bit left over. Next, mix the garlic and oil a little bit with your fingers, and proceed to rub it all over the thighs. Inside and out.

When they're all coated in garlic-oil, stick them in a bowl, cover it lightly (or with a clean dish towel) and let them sit in the fridge for at least two hours. Perfect amount of time to watch a movie and warm your hands up from all that cold chicken.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees whenever you, knowing your oven best, see fit to do so.

When the chicken's just about ready, you'll want to prepare the baking dish. Slice the lemons thinly but evenly, so that you can coat the bottom of a dish, as seen here! Pick the nine heftiest slices (or twelve, depending on how many thighs you have), and put a sprigs of your herbs on each one. If you want to roast some garlic along with this, simply place a full clove with your sprigs.

Place a thigh over each garnished lemon bone-side down, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Stick them in oven until they're golden brown and the juices run clear, about 45 minutes to an hour. Don't worry if the garlic bits burn a bit on top. That'll happen.

Because of the way the store packages herbs this time of year, you'll have a lot left over. Use the sage and thyme for omelettes (I love the look of fried sage leaves; they look like dinosaur skin), and your rosemary for some savoury baking. You'll see what I mean. Ohhhhh yes, you will.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Night Out!

So my intention had been to travel. To travel and to eat and to share. This would have been especially wonderful as I was to travel with my aunt Magda, who has been a culinary inspiration for my entire life. It could be because she always highlights the importance of aperitifs and digestifs, but it's more likely the fact that she can make the most beautiful gourmet meals from the sparest resources. My parents recently went on a boat tour with her, and she managed to feed four people like kings from a tiny galley, while helping to run the boat around Friesland. So I was excited.

But alas, the world decided to ash all over my plans, and I'm stuck in Halifax with nothing to do for the next two weeks. I won't get discouraged though, and I do plan to make the most of it. The first thing on the "sucks to your ashmar" list was oyster happy hour at the Little Fish! You can get very diverse oyster selections without being gouged from 4-6 every day. HOWEVER, when we walked in the door, the restaurant did not seem to exist anymore. Turns out they're undergoing renovations at the moment. We did get oysters though, as the hostesses from the 5 Fishermen swooped in to claim us. A bit pricey, but with the money back from the plane ticket, it was completely worth it. Also, I hate to be a stickler, but I would have liked to know where the oysters came from. The Little Fish is very adamant about letting you know exactly what farm they're from and how you can tell.

In addition to a dozen oysters I had Digby Scallops, which were pretty tasty, and came with a decent bed of veggies! No artichoke hearts in sight though, sadly. Possibly they were mashed into the mash, but they must have been mashed very well.

And Katherine, to the best of my knowledge, thoroughly enjoyed her leg of lamb on a bed of... something. Looked and tasted like homemade pasta with rosemary. Could have been something fancy I just don't know about. Oh, and we may have neglected to take advantage of the complimentary mussel bar. Next time, maybe.


Thursday, April 15, 2010


Yes, as is evident, exams and end of term paper season has been heavily upon us. Thus lack of creativity, lack of eating proper meals in general. Sophia and I have been nourishing ourselves between yesterday and today on her Half Baked Pot Brownies, courtesy of Pierre A. Lamielle's Kitchen Scraps cookbook. http://kitchenscraps.ca/

A very just buy, made my Sophia. Finished off last night with our usual stompin grounds, at Freeman's Little New York on Quinpool, yet again shout out to all ye locals. If you're wondering where they all be, there they be'th. Most likely no challenges will be had before we all part ways for the summer break. The peppers recipe that I challenged Sophia to was a dud. It required too many already prepped ingredients, one of those being peppers that are hard to find around these parts. All in all, it required little culinary skill or effort but rather a fat wallet. However, Sophia challenged me to this


which I find quite fitting because lasagne seems to have been the buzzword that I've been hearing everywhere over the last month. This is probably gonna be Sophia and my last weekend in Halifax before we head off. I plan on posting the lasagne challenge from my respective other home among others... Rumor has it that the follow up will be made by a guest challenger that will dare me to get whimsical with bacon.
Either way may or may not wrap up the semester with a good ol' batch of empanadas for the girls of the house. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I'm Alive, Again!

Don't worry my pretties, I just have to get this research paper to stop biting at my ankles and I'll stuff some peppers. I'll stuff some peppers real good.

And what's that you say? I haven't been showing my everyday cooking? Well you wouldn't be interested. It consists of everything bagels and cornflakes.

However! For ye locals, I had the best jerk chicken at this place. Admittedly my first time (for shame), but it was the best thing I've tasted in a while. And they deliver! How wonderful and dangerous!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

On the Up and Up!

Well I must say Sophia was right on the dot when she said that this soup was right up my alley. I really felt at home with this recipe so much that I felt that I made it my own. Although I could not find any apple cider available in the market as the recipe called for, I replaced it with apple juice and added a bit of orange juice to the squash puree. I roasted the squash with skin as recommended by the Ris Lacoste, (http://www.finecooking.com/articles/winter-squash-sweet-and-savory.aspx) to enhance flavor. I also failed to add lime juice and made up for it by running wild with the spices.
My additions included:
And bay leaves (do be careful to take out the bay leaves before pureeing soup in the blender or food processor).
I suggest excluding yogourt from this recipe as I found that it didn't add much in flavour and actually detracted from the smooth texture of the soup.

Overall, this soup has been by far the best one that I’ve made yet! Excellent choice of a challenge, Sophia!

Due to our recent slacker behavior and our lackluster flavor in our blog, Sophia and I have made the decision to include our day to day recipes that we cook to make it through the busy seasons. Here’s a quick recipe for a makeshift fried rice that makes perfect use of leftover rice. It’s kind of a spinoff of Sophia’s Indonesian nasi/bahmi.

I usually kind of throw together a mish mash of whatever I have available. Here are a few suggestions:
Soy sauce
Fish sauce (few shakes of it)
Red chilis/Finger hots/thai chilis or something like it
Rice vinegar
Sesame oil
Sautéed chicken, pork or beef in ginger
Scrambled egg
Shredded Bacon
onions (I prefer to use shallots and green onions)

I suggest sautéing onions with garlic and ginger and then adding vegetables according to what needs to be cooked for a longer time. I usually throw in the egg whenever, I made a little hollow to fry it in. One of the last steps is adding the rice and the strong flavors such as the soy sauce. And as Sophia always says, it’s the sambal that makes the nasi.

Sophia and I also decided to publicly declare our long term culinary suits. I’ve always admired the beauty and comfort of homemade pasta but have never successfully been able to pull it off. Thus my long term goal is to achieve the art of the ravioli. I will allow Sophia to disclose her own aspirations in her next entry.

On another note, Sophia has confirmed to me that she wanted her next challenge to involve peppers as she has some kicking around in the fridge. I dedicate this recipe to her for having introduced me to the wonders of goat cheese and all its wonderful uses. Here's the link to the original recipe: http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2009/05/black-olives-recipe-goat-cheese-and-olive-stuffed-peppers.html

(courtesy of perfectpantry.com)

What Happens When the Store Doesn't Have Fresh Vegetables?

You have an extra sausage with your beer!

The sauce? Mayo, Colman's mustard powder, and a few drops of Sriracha hot chili sauce! I'm sorry if you don't like mayonnaise as much as I do. You probably don't. It's awesome.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter, Have Some Banana Cake!

Finally, I got the pictures onto my computer. There's not much to say about this cake; I didn't really stray from the recipe Katherine gave me. But! I used yogourt instead of buttermilk, and added some chocolate chips because I had them, and because Katherine and Caroline insisted. I suppose I couldn't really eat them all myself, though I did try. I also baked it in a Bundt pan because I love Bundt cakes more than anything, and I still haven't forgiven myself for missing Bundt cake day last December. Or was it November? For shame!I'm not really into putting powdered sugar on things like this, because as nice as it looks, the process is just messy. Unfortunately, using a Bundt pan and a very old oven tends to make things cook in half the time, and even though I caught this just in time, it looked a little dark.

See? So I had to make it pretty, even if it meant covering the whole kitchen with a fine layer of powder.
Also, I unfortunately broke my orange zester, which meant that I had to grate the orange peel... which creates this mass of discoloured pulp. I recommend real zesters.

My favourite things about making this cake?

How hairy the zest made the beaters look:

And the mess:
This picture was also for Katherine, who complained that my hands have not once appeared in this blog.
And of course, the ingredients! Though you can't really taste the Grand Marnier. I will add more next time.