Not Martha

daily photo: Feb. 28th

cookie dough scooped and ready to freeze

I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies from the NY Times recipe that everybody was going crazy over a few years ago, myself included. Despite weighing all the ingredients I appear to have halved the flour or doubled the butter or something because this batch spreads like crazy. Is there a way to add more flour to cookie dough once the chocolate chips are are mixed in? I’m assuming not since the new flour wouldn’t be coated in butter the way it’s supposed to, and there would be a lot of overmixing of the flour. Oh well, these are yummy but not very pretty. Here I’ve scooped them onto a cookie sheet to freeze individually so I can bake one or two at a time.

· comments [22] · 02-28-2011 · categories:dailyphoto · food · recipes ·

inexpert recipe: Double Coconut Chicken Breasts

[ coconut crusted chicken in a coconut sauce ]

It’s been so gloomy around here that last weekend Scott and I headed out to get tropical drinks at a Caribbean restaurant (Island Soul) in our neighborhood. Scott got a very respectable caipirinha and I got something that was neon blue and came with fruit on a sword. It inspired me to look up coconut recipes in How to Cook Everything and happily there was a recipe for Double Coconut Chicken Breasts. In his recipe Mark Bittman warns “ground coconut makes a flavorful and crunchy crust, but it burns easily, so be careful” so I changed the recipe to how we usually cook chicken breasts which uses a lower temperature than normal. It’s a technique I learned from How to Cook Moist and Tender Chicken Breasts over at The Kitchn. This is a nice, lazy and nearly foolproof method.

Pretty Easy Double Coconut Chicken Breasts

  • 1 cup (or just go ahead and use the whole can) canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric, or a few strands of saffron if you’re the sort to have a well stocked spice cabinet
  • about 1 1/2 cups dried unsweetened coconut
  • 2 (or 4) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • minced parsley for garnish
  • vegetable oil, salt and pepper
  1. If you’re serving this with rice hopefully you’ve already started cooking it, the chicken takes 20 minutes. If you have not started rice see the notes below.
  2. Warm the coconut milk and stir in the tumeric or saffron. Turn off the heat and let it cool. After a while the sauce turns a pretty yellow color, like magic. Or much needed sunlight.
  3. Whirl the coconut around in a food processor to break it down into the size of crumbs. (We used Bob’s Red Mill shredded coconut and I suspect it was small enough already. We’ll skip this step next time.) Put the coconut on a plate, ready for dredging.
  4. Heat oil or a combination of oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  5. Dredge the chicken breasts in the coconut and place in the skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Just let them get golden brown on both sides and then quickly cover the pan with a heavy lid and turn the heat to low. Let cook on low for 10 minutes.
  6. While you’re waiting right now is a good time to prepare your salad.
  7. After 10 minutes turn off the heat under the chicken or move the pan while keeping the lid on. Let the chicken sit for another 10 minutes. (If you’re cooking very thick chicken breasts you might consider checking for doneness, if they are still pink inside keep the pan over low heat for the next 10 minutes instead.)
  8. Heat some oil in a small pan and cook the minced shallot over medium heat, 3 or 4 minutes stirring occasionally until it softens. Add the coconut milk, turn the heat up and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir frequently until the sauce has thickened up a bit. Add a pinch of salt.
  9. At this point your chicken breasts, sauce and rice will hopefully be ready all at the same time. Flood the plate with the pretty sauce, garnish with parsley. And you’re done. Neon blue drink optional.

Notes: If you’ve forgotten to start the rice beforehand (every time!) I’ve taken a tip from an old Splendid Table program (the segment of which I cannot find) that mentions boiling it like pasta. Mine doesn’t not come out fluffy, rather it comes out looking wet and wrecked, but at least it’s cooked quickly.

Disclosure: The link to How To Cook Everything above is an affiliate link with Amazon, should you happen to buy the book after clicking on that link a small percentage comes to me. It’s not much but it helps me cover my hosting costs.

· comments [21] · 02-7-2011 · categories:food · recipes ·

buckwheat pancakes at The Kitchn

I’m late to mention this! My usual weekend breakfast of half-pancake-mix buckwheat pancakes is up over at The Kitchn (thanks guys and gals!). I even talk about my technique of prepping bacon to always have it in the freezer so we never have to go to the store on a Saturday morning. And since I didn’t actually give a recipe I pointed those who are more awake in the mornings towards Tea & Cookies recipe for Lemon Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes, which they adapted a bit. There you, lots to try out.

· comments [9] · 01-21-2011 · categories:food · recipes ·

the accidentally perfect egg

a soft boiled, er, steamed egg

Scott cooked breakfast the other day and accidentally found the way to the perfect soft boiled (well, steamed) egg. Here is what he did: Place a little water and steamer and eggs in a saucepan, cover with a lid, turn on heat, set timer for 11 minutes. The eggs come out with cooked whites and still soft yolks that are just starting to firm up. (The original instructions were to steam the eggs for 11 minutes, which produce a nearly solid yolk, like this one.)

Why steamed eggs instead of boiled? This was originally something I saw on Alton Brown’s Good Eats. On a practical level it takes less time to heat up the water to steam a pot as opposed to boil enough water to cover eggs. On a subjective level I think the whites turn out more tender when steamed, though this could just be the power of suggestion. In any case it’s officially a lazy persons approved method, at least from this household.

Let’s hear it for sweeties who make breakfast and stumble upon perfection!

· comments [29] · 09-15-2010 · categories:food · recipes ·

Creme Caramel

[light shining off my most glorious creme caramel, all hail sugar, milk and eggs]

This is my test Creme Caramel, I’ll be making another for an upcoming Cookbook Club. You wish you were here for lunch today.

[light shining off my most glorious creme caramel, all hail sugar, milk and eggs]

Creme Caramel

From Falling Cloudberries, slight change and notes by Megan Reardon (www.notmartha.org).

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups milk (I went ahead and used whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • insides from one vanilla bean (this is my addition, you can leave this out)
  • 6 eggs

You’ll want enough time to let this cool in the fridge overnight, or at least a few hours.

You’ll also need a roasting pan large enough to hold your cake pan and tall enough to allow for a water bath. I keep a large disposable aluminum roasting pan in my house for this purpose since I have no place to keep a serious roasting pan, the aluminum one can be shoved on it’s side in the back of a lesser used cupboard.

You can also divide this among ramekins for individual desserts, but in this case I think the whole custard is a glorious sight. I would not use jars for this, I think they would crack when you pour in the caramel.

Preheat the oven to 310 degrees.

Make the caramel
Get a large bowl of ice water and set it on the counter. Hot sugar burns, if you get some on your hands plunge them into this water. Put one cup of the sugar into a large (I used a 4-quart) saucepan, add about 1/4 cup water and turn the heat on medium-high. Don’t leave, watch this pot. Mix just so that the sugar is dissolved then let it bubble. When it starts to brown swirl the pan to distribute the heat. It will brown very quickly at this point, once it’s a a nice golden brown pour it directly into an angel food cake pan. Swirl the pan, you might need potholders as my cake pan heated up quickly from the sugar, so that the caramel coats the bottom and a little way up the sides.

At this point my caramel cooled, and actually turned hard, then cracked! I was certain I’d heated it too long and I would end up with a custard topped by hard candy, but when the whole thing was turned out I did indeed have a lovely caramel sauce. So, don’t worry if you have ended up making hard candy, apparently it softens.

Make the custard
Start some water boiling, you’ll want enough to create a water bath (this is one of those moments I love my electric kettle). Mix together the eggs, vanilla extract and the remaining one cup of sugar in a large bowl. Heat the milk and the vanilla bean insides in a saucepan until it almost boils, then take it off the heat. Add a ladle of the hot milk to the sugar and egg mixture and stir it in to temper the eggs and make sure they don’t cook. Add a few more ladlefuls, whisking lightly between each addition, and slowly add the rest of the milk. You don’t want the mixture to get frothy though. Strain the custard into a pitcher or large pour-able bowl. I used a regular gauge strainer and it caught some blobs of egg yolk, I think that’s all you want to catch. Pour this mixture into your cake pan.

Place your roasting pan (or whatever you’re using for your water bath) in the center of the oven, put down the cake pan, then pour just boiled water into the roasting pan, enough so that it is half way up the side of the cake pan. I’ve also seen Martha Stewart also place a folded kitchen towel beneath the cake pan to keep it from sliding around in the water bath.

Bake for 50 or 60 minutes. Falling Cloudberries says “until the top is golden in parts, quite set but still a little wobbly”. Mine didn’t turn golden in spots, it was an even color, but it was both set and wobbly and turned out great. Cover with plastic and put it in the fridge, preferably overnight but at least a few hours.

To serve
Loosen the edges, either with a knife (I have a nylon spreader I use for this) or by tugging the top with your fingers or a spoon. Turn it onto a large serving dish that will contain the caramel sauce, and there will be lots of it. In my experience, as shown above, you’ll need something larger than a dinner plate. Your best bet here is to put the plate on top of the cake pan, get a firm hold and flip them both at the same time. Spoon the caramel over the slices you’ll serve. Mmm.

See also/instead: Julia Child’s recipe for Creme Caramel at Whisk.

· comments [15] · 05-11-2010 · categories:food · recipes ·

Bend the Rules with Fabric

Bend the Rules with Fabric

Yay, Amy Karol’s second book, Bend the Rules with Fabric, is officially out. I have a copy and I really like it.

Bend the Rules with Fabric

The book talks about all the things you can do to decorate and personalize fabric for purposes of clothing, accessories and toys. The beginning of the book talks about supplies and techniques, and I was especially pleased to find that none of them require you to buy a huge amount of expensive equipment.

Bend the Rules with Fabric

She covers things from dying fabric to printing on fabric using your home computer printer. One of my favorites is using freezer paper to put silk screen like effects on fabric. I like these sheets:

Bend the Rules with Fabric

The book is full of simple but stunning ideas for decorating everyday things including undies:

Bend the Rules with Fabric

and shoes:

Bend the Rules with Fabric

and some simple stitching to make a plain shirt into something that looks very nice indeed:

Bend the Rules with Fabric

I’ve focused on the projects that appeal immediately to me, but the book is full of projects for kids and ones you can do with kids, including transferring drawn images onto clothing and making custom printed dolls.

Amy Karol’s blog is Angry Chicken where she documents life and gives instruction all sorts of great projects. Her first book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing, is equally as awesome. I talk about more here.

· comments [8] · 08-28-2009 · categories:books · craft · recipes ·

how to blanch and freeze kale

kale in orange bowls, ready to blanch

Here is another thing I make in bulk and freeze so I can have something very nearly ready to go at dinnertime. By the end of the day I have no imagination left for dinner so often our nutrition suffers (Annie’s mac and cheese again? yay!). But, I can be virtuous and lazy if I have kale in my freezer.

If you would have told me two years ago that I would fall deeply in love with kale I wouldn’t have believed you. I only tried in initially because I felt guilted into eating better (see: Annie’s mac and cheese). However, preparing it for dinner can seem like it would just take too much effort what with all the washing and chopping. It took me way too long to realize that I could blanch it to freeze and have ready to go. One note: I did find bags of frozen kale for sale at Amazon Fresh but they are cut the same way that cut frozen spinach comes, roughly and too small, and I find it rather unpleasant to eat.

Below is step by step instructions on how I get it ready. I put it here because I figure I cannot be the only person who has no idea how to do this. I used the instructions from Pick Your Own, and these here are what I’ve figured out in order to do a lot of kale in batches as efficiently as possible.

blanched kale on a kitchen towel ready to be squeezed out

If you just freeze greens they get bitter, but if you dunk them in boiling water for a few minutes, then stop the cooking abruptly you kill of the enzymes that create the bitter flavor. This is called blanching and except for watching Martha Stewart do it to green beans years ago I never knew much about it.

I usually buy four bunches of kale, which is a lot of kale. First, start boiling water in a huge stockpot. (My electric kettle gets a lot of work here.) Put a large bowl in your sink and fill it with water. Dunk the kale around to wash it. If you bought it from your local organic market look closely for little buggies. Sometimes they just hug the stem and you can get rid of them in the next step. I usually don’t find bugs but there was this one time when I just re-fused to throw out four whole bunches of kale and had to work carefully.

dunking the kale

Next, trimming. The easiest way to trim out the stem is to fold the kale leaf in half lengthwise with the stem facing away from you. Run the tip of a knife along the stem to separate it. (I learned this in Everyday Food, I think.)

trimming the stem

Then you can leave the kale where it is and quickly chop it. Now move that into a bowl and do the next one. If you develop an assembly line rhythm at this point you can get through all your kale pretty quickly.

(Let’s talk briefly about knives. I have an expensive 8″ chefs knife, but I nearly always reach for my Oxo Santoku Knife, which is $20. Just saying. Good stuff.)

quickly chopping

Now get the following things ready: a huge pot of boiling water with a lid, a huge bowl of ice water, a strainer you can use to move the kale from the boiling water to the ice water, a salad spinner, a large kitchen towel laid out flat on your counter and a kitchen timer set to two minutes.

pot of boiling water, bowl of ice water, two minutes on the timer

When the water is boiling dump a bunch of the kale in it, put on the lid (the steam helps cook the bits bobbing on top) and let it cook for two minutes. I usually just stir it once.

When the time is up quickly lift the kale from the pot of water into the ice bath. You’ll reuse the boiling water for the next batch. The water turns progressively darker green with each batch but I cannot imagine that would hurt anything. Bet it would be great for making vegetable stock. Someday I’ll make stock of some sort.

kale in ice bath

Now we need to get it dry. I spin it in a salad spinner. (The OXO Salad Spinner still totally rules. I have the little one and it works fine for two people.)

kale in the salad spinner

Then I lay it flat on a kitchen towel. When all the batches of kale are done I roll the towel up…

kale being rolled in kitchen towl

and squeeze.

kitchen towel looking like a kale-filled burriot

Then I lay the kale out on a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet. Pop that in the freezer and in about 30 minutes it will be frozen enough for you to shake into your airtight container of choice.

kale spread in single layer on a cookie sheet

And there you are, it’s all ready to pull out of the freezer, saute in olive oil with a little minced garlic (I’m not ashamed to love my garlic press) just until it’s hot, shake a bit of crushed red pepper and salt on top and, ta da!, excellent leafy green side dish that allow you to be smug about your eating habits and level of cleverness for the next 24 hours.

· comments [120] · 06-12-2009 · categories:recipes ·

Bolognese Sauce

bolognese sauce at about hour 2 of simmering

This is another in the series of foods I make in bulk and freeze. This recipe came from Oprah Magazine (I have lost track of which issue), and while there are a gazillion bolognese recipes out there this is the one that ended up in my routine. I have altered the instructions a bit. Note: It takes a few hours of simmering so make it on a day when you want to be hanging out at home.

Bolognese Sauce

  • 1 medium onion [for some reason I find the gnarly yellow onions sold at my nearby hippie market to make the best sauce]
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots
  • 2 to 3 stalks celery
  • 1 pound ground beef (not lean)
  • 1 ounce pancetta, very finely chopped [I freeze it a bit first, helps to keep it from sliding around as it's chopped]
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch allspice
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup dry white wine [I always end up with Hogue Fume Blanc, probably because it's the only one at the hippie market that clearly states "dry white wine" on the label]
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juice [I usually use the fake San Marzano kind with the pretty label even though Cook's Illustrated proved they actually don't taste the best.]
  • 1 pound pasta, such as rigatoni [I like the oversized chiocciole made by Bionaturae]
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for grating

1. Finely chop onion, carrot and celery. [Right, I did that the first time, now I just run each through my food processor.] In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over low heat, cook pancetta until all fat it rendered and pancetta is just beginning to brown. Add chopped vegetables, raise heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and soft.

2. [Don't forget to crack open some windows in the house, this is going to be simmering all day the smell, as good as it will be, will be strange when it's lingering in the tv room. Good job, why not crack open that wine and have a glass now that all the bits of cooking that involve sharp knives are done with?]

3. Add ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon, 1/4 tsp. (to start) salt, plus pepper and allspice. Cook until meat is brown. [Experience has proven to me that I don't need to obsessively break the meat into smaller and smaller pieces, though I do run a knife through it crosswise before it goes into the pot.]

4. Add milk. When it begins to simmer, reduce heat to low and cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally until milk has mostly boiled away, about 30 minutes. [Experience has told me to add about 15 minutes to this and the next step. Am I not simmering the same way everybody else is?] Add white wine [you still have enough, right?] and cook as with milk, until it has mostly boiled away. Add tomatoes and juice, bring to a simmer. [I obsessively crush the tomato bits in the pot at this point, I bet it would be fine if you don't do that.] Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and allow sauce to cook very gently at barest simmer, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. [I swear there is a point where you check the sauce and suddenly it just tastes like everything came together, it's magical.] Season to taste with remaining salt.

5. Just before sauce is done, bring a pot of water to boil, salt it generously, and boil pasta according to package directions. Drain, mix with a third of sauce, then serve with remaining sauce on top with lots of grated Parmigiano cheese.

Makes 4 cups sauce. [Unless you double or triple the recipe. I cannot quite fit a tripled recipe into my 4 1/2 quart Dutch oven, clearly I need to buy a larger one.]

Chicciole pasta, look like freaked out little men wearing goggles

I allow the sauce to cool, then spoon into freezer bags, squeeze them flat, and freeze them on a cookie sheet until they are solid enough to be stacked on their own. When you are ready to eat you can pull one out of the freezer and run the bag under hot water to thaw. This is the easiest way to do it when you, like me, don’t own a microwave.

sauce flat in bags, ready to freeze

· comments [29] · 06-10-2009 · categories:recipes ·

Susie’s Green-Curry Chicken

Susie's Green-Curry Chicken

There are a few standard meals I like to make in bulk and freeze. I can get three or four meals out of each pot so between the times I make it I file the recipe away, uh, somewhere and often find myself searching through piles of paper looking for it. I’ve been meaning to put the recipes here so I can find them, and first up is a thai-ish green curry made using the meat from a grocery store rotissery chicken (shut up, you know it’s darn convenient).

This is a slightly altered version of Susie’s Green-Curry Shrimp from Posie Gets Cozy.

ingredients for green curry chicken

Susie’s Green-Curry Chicken

  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced or sliced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 head broccoli florets
  • 1 rotissery chicken
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced then cut into quarters
  • 2 cans light coconut milk
  • 1 T. green curry paste
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 1 small can bamboo shoots (julienned)

note: If you are making this to divide and freeze without eating any right away just barely cook everything, the rest of the cooking will take place when you thaw and heat it up.

Shred chicken and set aside for the moment. Saute shallot and onion in equal parts butter and oil (enough to coat bottom of your pan) until translucent. Add garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add about a teaspoon of salt and enough pepper so that you can see it freckling the onion-y stuff. Add broccoli florets, eggplant and red pepper and cook for a brief moment. Add curry paste and stir until everything is coated, then add coconut milk and stir until combined. If your green curry paste doesn’t have enough heat, stir in some crushed red pepper. Don’t boil, just simmer until broccoli are getting brighter green (just a couple of minutes at most). Add chicken, peas and bamboo shoots and heat through. Serve over brown basmati rice (I like the kind from Trader Joe’s), or cool and and divide to freeze. I like to freeze flat in gallon freezer zip top bags, it’s easier to thaw for reheating later on. We can get three or four meals out of this.

See also Thai Green Curry Chicken, also at Posie Gets Cozy. What would I do for curry recipes without Alicia?

· comments [5] · 06-8-2009 · categories:recipes ·

trial: no-knead whole wheat bread

no-knead whole wheat bread

I ended up with a bag of vital wheat gluten. It says on the bag: “Added to bread dough, it helps retain the gas and steam from baking and gives more volume to the baked bread. It can be especially helpful for baking breads made with coarse, whole grain flours.” So I decided to use it to make an entirely whole wheat no-knead bread, which is currently doing it’s long rise on the top of my refrigerator. I used the tips from Cook’s Illustrated No-Knead Bread 2.0, and here is the recipe I’m using:

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (I used Stone-Buhr).
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant (aka Rapid Rise, QuickRise, Instant Active Dry, Perfect Rise, or Bread Machine Yeast) yeast
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten (a recipe on the bag called for 2 T. for a loaf using 4 1/2 C flour so I guessed on my amount)
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons beer (an American style lager is best, say Bud Light, though all I could find was Fosters at our local market)

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add wet ingredients and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. (I needed to add a teeny bit more water.) Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. I put it on top of my fridge, today it’s supposed to be in the 80s here so I’ll probably move it to the landing on the stairs.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Put down a square of parchment paper and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. I lift it into a mixing bowl, cover with a cotton towel or plastic wrap again and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 4 to 6 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. I put in the lid as well, but next to the pot instead of on the pot. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Lift the parchment with the dough on it from the mixing bowl into the hot pot, be careful. Shake pot once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 [10 or 15] minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

· comments [15] · 06-2-2009 · categories:food · recipes ·

links: food

Two salads from Smitten Kitchen endive and celery salad with fennel vinaigrette and broccoli slaw.

What is your favourite curry house on Brick Lane? at Ask Metafilter. Friends who live in the UK were telling me about Brick Lane and I’m determined to visit it myself someday.

Why doesn’t Hazelnut/Almond flavoring taste like their namesakes? at Ask Metafilter.

New tricks for your coffee at Brownie Points.

Pizza Porn at Splatgirl Creates.

Table Salt Cones at Instructables.

Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes at Joy the Baker.

Pasta? Cake? Pastacake at Edible Crafts.

I’d like to somehow caffeinate the cookies I bake. at Ask Metafilter.

· comments [5] · 05-18-2009 · categories:food · recipes ·

Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella

This is yummy, easy to make and well worth the leftovers since it tastes even better after a day in the fridge. I first had it as part of a frozen foods swap (like a soup swap but with dinners) and have been meaning to make it ever since. The recipe is from The Silver Palate Cookbook. You cook it in a little white wine, leaving you with the rest of the bottle to sip while it’s in the oven. I think I need to make a collection of recipes that involve a bit of leftover wine and a good long cooking time.

Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella

This was the first main-course dish to be offered at The Silver Palate shop, and the distinctive colors and flavors of the prunes, olives, and capers have kept it a favorite for years. It’s good hot or at room temperature. When prepared with small drumsticks and wings, it makes a delicious appetizer.

The overnight marination is essential to the moistness of the finished product: The chicken keeps and even improves over several days of refrigeration; it travels well and makes excellent picnic fare.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely puréed
1/4 cup dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 chickens (2 1/2 pounds each), quartered
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

3. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.

4. Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the thigh pieces yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice when pricked with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley or cilantro. Pass the remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

16 pieces, 10 or more portions

Note: To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in the cooking juices before transferring the pieces to a serving platter. If the chicken has been covered and refrigerated, reheat it in the juices, then allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the chicken.

(From The Silver Palate Cookbook. Prettier picture and oh so much more at Simply Recipes.)

· comments [19] · 05-7-2009 · categories:food · recipes ·

cranky night pasta

pasta with cooked kale

This pasta is my go to dinner for nights when I’m feeling lazy but I still sort of want to cook but I can’t really decide just what I want and what’s the point anyhow. I first got the recipe from Shelterrific, pasta with broccoli rabe, and have made just a few changes to make it have a bit less fat in it (I know, I know, but it’s still good, promise).

I had a week where the idea of using a little pasta water slapped me upside the head. I read How Much Water Does Pasta Really Need? in the New York Times where Harold McGee talks about the extra starchy water created after boiling pasta in a smaller amount of water. (He reminded me of the description of restaurant pasta water in Bill Buford’s book Heat.) That same week I listened to the February 7th episode of Splendid Table where the tables are turned and Lynne Rossetto Kasper talks about the importance of adding pasta water. And then Shelterrific took Harold McGee’s recipe into their test kitchen.

cranky night pasta with kale

Boil some water, a bit less than you think you’ll need. Figure out if you have some blanched kale in the freezer, if not chop some fresh kale. (Sigh deeply at how much work this is.) Mince a few cloves of garlic. (A garlic press is totally acceptable here.) Dig the crushed red pepper flakes out of your mess of a spice drawer.

Put the pasta in the boiling water and set a timer. Get out a large frying pan and pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil in the center. When the pasta has about four minutes left dump the kale into the pot (two minutes if you’re using frozen). Turn on the heat under the olive oil. Just about when the pasta is going to be ready to come out add the garlic to the olive oil pan and cook until it’s just, barely, almost starting to turn golden.

Use a large strainer or slotted spoon or something to move the pasta and kale over from the pot of water into the frying pan. Add a little ladle of the pasta water. Move around so the garlic is mixed in well. Add salt and pepper and, just before moving it to bowls, a few shakes of red pepper flakes. Ta da!

If we’re really hungry I also make this chicken breast recipe (technique?) that I first found at The Kitchen.

surprisingly moist boneless skinless chicken breasts

Heat a bit of butter and olive oil in a pan. Dredge some chicken breasts through salted and peppered flour (add chopped herbs if you have any). Put the chicken in the pan and just cook it so that each side is turning golden. Put a heavy lid on the pan, turn the heat down to low and set the timer for 10 minutes. Walk away and don’t lift the lid. After ten minutes take the pan off the heat, lid still on!, and let it sit for another ten minutes. You’re done.

· comments [14] · 03-31-2009 · categories:food · recipes ·

links: food

Your Morning Pizza, Mark Bittman on savory breakfasts

Savory Oatmeal at Tea and Food

Help me transition to a healthy, low fat/low calorie breakfast that is more “salty” than “sweet”… at Ask Metafilter

OH MY GOODNESS! Donut Pies! at Cakespy, Genius.

Big Shott’s Edible Shooters at Uncrate

LJC’s most amaing tube Pyrex bread baker, I really want one of these

Eating Cleveland declares the Death of Bacon, but at least my bacon cups are called a good idea

Creme Fraiche Quiche at Joy the Baker

Carri Lambert’s amazingly cute heart crackers

· comments [9] · 03-11-2009 · categories:food · recipes ·

links: food

Best Food Finds at Costco and Tastiest Canned Tomatoes at Chow

cocktail apps for the iPhone, at the WSJ, via The Food Section

Beaba Multiportion Freezer Tray at Mighty Haus

Tea Spot on non-digital ways of checking water temperature for your tea: “my method is usually a finger in the water: If it’s too hot for me to do that, it’s too hot for green tea.”

best-ever roasted kale at Tuesday Recipe via Hogwash, who also points us towards her Caramelized Onion and Shallot Dip at the Edible Seattle website. Yum.

Brussels Sprout Salad Recipe at 101 Cookbooks

Hooker’s Delight, a hook for the olives in your martini, at Shelterrific

Overlap between Mark Bittman’s cookbooks? at Ask Metafilter

These were the pot pie recipes recommended to me, we ended up making the Martha Stewart Double Crust Chicken and Mushroom Pie because at the last second I decided a pie shaped pot pie would be fun. But, the recipe makes enough filling for three big pie dishes. Half way through cooking I had to break out my other very large skillet and divide the ingredients between them. Too much pot pie is hardly a problem but the recipe makes way more that the single pie it claims.

Ina Garten’s Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken and Fall Vegetable Pot Pie from Bon Appetit

Umble Pie’s chicken pot pie, from Cover and Bake

chicken pot pies with herbed crust, at Sunday Baker

and I got two separate recommendations for Alton Brown’s Curry Chicken Pot Pie, which I must try soon

· comments [14] · 02-18-2009 · categories:food · recipes ·