Monday, August 7, 2017

The Bookshelf

My cookbooks (and core gaming books)

Broiled Tarragon Chicken with White Wine

So I have a completely unrealistic goal! Want to hear? Sure you do! If you are actually reading this that is and not just skipping straight to the recipe below that is. I am going to attempt to blog something from every single cookbook I own.


Step One of Fifty-Five and Counting

I estimate that given my blogging output and the age of my child, this will take my approximately ten years! It is good to have goals right? So today we start with the first cookbook on my shelf alphabetically: 365 Easy Low Calorie Recipes. Why alphabetically? Because otherwise I will cherry pick and stop this process long before I am done.

So I bought this cookbook at a Half Priced Books clearance event at the local conventions center about three years ago. I am fairly confident it has only collected dust since then! Flipping through it, it seems to be a pretty standard "diet" cookbook: low calorie meals, low calorie alternatives, low calorie variations on classics, super basic recipes. Let us take a shot at that last one.

Resources:
2 tablespoons dry white wine (I used a pinot grigio)
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
3/8 teaspoons tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast slice thick-wise

Method:
In a medium bowl combine everything but the chicken. Mix well. Coat chicken and let marinate one hour at room temperature.

Set oven rack about six inches from broiler. Preheat broiler. 

Broil chicken (in a broiler safe tray or pan, duh) about six minutes each side or until cooked through. 

Commentary:
I almost made the low calorie Hollandaise sauce. Then I thought to myself, I cannot think of the last time I made a Hollandaise sauce. I feel like I must have at some point right? I mean it is a classic. Hell, Wikipedia says the following: Hollandaise is one of the five sauces in the French haute cuisine mother sauce repertoire. Surely I have made it at some point right? Right... So I couldn't bring myself to go there. Luckily a bottle of wine and this was otherwise stocked in the house.

Oh and in case it is not obvious by the "eighths" ingredients, I halved the original. Also it was implied that they were using bone-in breast, so I cut the cooking times appropriately.


Aside: I think I really like tarragon. 

Anyway, two tablespoons of wine is a nice excuse to buy a bottle of Pinot right? I will be trying this one again with a bottle of "cooking white wine" and without the salt. I will also try leaving it in the fridge over night. Because if it is nearly as good that way, this might get regular rotation in the house. Preheat and twelve minutes cooking? Yeah: fingers crossed. 

One for the chicken... twenty five for me!

Conclusion:
Oh my! Oh goodness! I need more of this in my life!!! YES, yes please.

Or should I say: I liked it.

Mark's Thighs



[insert product placement here]

We are living dangerously (again)! Today's recipe is a Archduke Domestic ORIGINAL. That is right folks prepare yourselves to be wowed with an entirely unoriginal original recipe that I, your humble guide, wrote!

So what inspired this risqué move? Well let us put on our memory caps folks! Remember my Pressure Cooker Sauerbraten (which I really need to make again come to think of it) post from a while back? That was fun and all, but it was not exactly something I was going to make on any regularity. On top of that, I had been looking to break out my chicken breast rut (as you might have noticed by my two chicken thigh recipes earlier this year). So that led me down a path of quick easy and minimal special ingredients.

Resources:
4 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
(1) 14 1/2 ounce can chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (fresh or Kraft)
1 teaspoon-ish season salt (see commentary)

Method:
Mix the chicken broth, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper in the pressure cooker. Add chicken thighs.

Bring to pressure and cook 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. 

While cooking mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and season salt in a bowl.

Safely release pressure. Line a broiler safe pan or tray with foil. Roll each chicken thigh in the bread crumb mix. Place skin up on the pan. 

Turn on the broiler of your oven (do not preheat). Broil thighs until lightly browned (to taste).

Commentary:
This is about five minutes of active cooking and another twenty-five of passive. Other than having to remember to buy/thaw chicken thighs ahead of time, I have everything in my house. This is the penultimate weeknight recipe (nothing will ever surpass the ease and speed of chicken and cheese quesadillas). Any given Tuesday or Wednesday you can expect this to be made in the ol' Sutcliffe household.

This also comes out pretty salty if I use a full teaspoon. But I like it that way. So I would not begrudge anyone for using less.

Conclusion:
This is "not wow the boss convincing him to give you that much deserved raise" recipe... That raise you need to buy that amazing investment property that is not on the market yet. That you have an inside track on, you just need the money. If get the raise, you get the property, and you would be set. One simple raise and it is smooth sailing from then on. Why cannot he see you deserve it more than that jackass Jenkins. He is nothing but a talentless brown noser who just happened to have gone to the same alma mater as the boss. Why cannot he see it!!! WHY???

Er... excuse me. I mean this is a lovely and simple recipe for a quick and pleasant dinner, but not exactly haute cuisine.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Georgia Caviar

Behold the glory! Seriously, this is just pretty.

This tastes good and all. I really to do enjoy eating it. But way more importantly it has single handled justified my purchase of a mandolin last year! Want a mandolin? Make this a few times without, you will feel totally justified!

So this summer and last I made this a couple times. It is a great little make ahead picnicy side dish.

Resources:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup oil
3 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 can niblet corn, such as Green Giant Mexicorn, drained and rinsed
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped

Method:
In a small pot, heat the sugar and vinegar. Once the sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and add the oil. Mix well.

In a large bowl, mix the black-eyed peas, corn, green bell peppers, onions and red bell peppers and toss with the dressing. Place in the fridge until ready to eat (preferably at least overnight).

Commentary:
This tastes good, but I love the look of this. If you make a solid effort to chop the ingredients to roughly the size of the beans: perfection.

It is even pretty in process.
The question is do you serve with a slotted spoon or regular? I like things saucy, the wifey does not. It is best to have both on hand IMHO.

In fact the wifey likes it as a chip dip. Weirdo.

Conclusion:
I have a new summer pot luck / picnic / get-together go to.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken with Apricots, Olives, and Almonds

Sometimes you have to take risks in life. Some men quit their jobs to start their own companies. Some climb the highest peaks or ride the rapidest rivers. I choose to serve dinner with ingredients the wifey and I dislike. 

Dinner is served.

Resources:
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 onion, trimmed, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds in a spice bag
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons low-sodium chicken broth
(1) 7 3/4 ounce can chickpeas, drained
8 large green olives (condition to be debated in commentary)
1/4 cup dried apricots (condition to be debated in commentary)
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Method:
If necessary, remove skin and bones from chicken thighs.

In a the slow cooker, toss the chicken thighs with the onion, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and chicken broth, cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir in the chickpeas, olives and apricots, cover and cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the apricots are plump, about 1 hour. Remove the bay leaf and season the juices with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the almonds in a pie plate and toast for about 7 minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden.

Spoon the chicken and juices into shallow bowls, sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.

Commentary:
Check your nuts! Seriously. Testicular cancer is nothing to laugh at. Also check you nuts as you toast them. I checked them. They seemed almost done. I went pee. I get back and they are burnt and smoky. Luckily I had bought a half cup bag of almond slices!

None of my regular readers will be surprised to learn this is a Food & Wine recipe. The only meaningful chance I made from the original was halving the recipe. Two adults and a toddler, although we are all big eaters, probably should not polish off three pounds of chicken thighs in one sitting.


Hmm. Well that will not do!

Speaking of halving the recipe 1/4 cup of jumbo green olives is literally four olives. I doubled that somewhat arbitrarily. 

My one regret was I did not cut the apricots and olives. The tastes did not blend because of it. You tasted all chicken. Then all olive. If I revisit I will halve the apricots and quarter the olives (remember I used large olives, so if you are using smaller olives I would half).

Conclusion:
Slice & dice and this is all good.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken

Well hello there! Long time no see. <insert obligatory President Trump jokeHow are the kids? Oh Susie got the lead in the school play? Well that is just fantastic. Good for her. I am sure it will be the best Annie Get Your Gun the high school theater has ever done!

Aside: are high schools even allowed to do Annie Get Your Gun these days? I mean it is a classic, but guns are bad m'kay.

Anyway, now that we have caught up after my long absence, let us dive into a recipe that I had pretty mixed feelings about. (I really know how to make a come back!)


My mom says I have INNER beauty, which she says is the best type of beauty.

So today we have a bit of an odd ball. The recipe below is how I made it. But I have noted how I will make it next time (and there may or may not be a next time). And if you have far too much free time I linked the slightly different original.

I got this recipe from the New York Times at some point. Probably from their daily briefings emails. Maybe I should ask those guys if the local high school theater can do Annie...

Resources:
5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of 2 lemons (or 1 if following my commentary)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste
2 tablespoons minced dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, more to taste
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (delete if following my commentary)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Method:
Combine chicken with all but 1 teaspoon of the grated garlic (save that teaspoon for the yogurt sauce), the zest and juice of 1 lemon, oil, parsley, thyme, oregano, the salt, and the sesame seeds. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat the broiler. Arrange a rack 3 to 4 inches from the heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spread chicken out in a single layer. Broil chicken, turning halfway through cooking, until well colored and charred in spots, 4 to 7 minutes per side. Be careful that it doesn’t burn, but is cooked through.

While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Stir in the reserved grated garlic and lemon zest and season to taste with salt. (Or, you know, do not. Whatever works for you.)

Serve the chicken drizzled to taste with olive oil, remaining lemon juice to taste, black pepper, and sesame seeds with the yogurt alongside for dipping.

Commentary:
In short: SKIP THE SAUCE. The yogurt sauce was terrible. It was nothing but a overpowering lemon flavor. Seriously even using the sauce extremely sparingly it was too much. The wifey scraped what little she used of it off (luckily I served it separate). I made repeated disappointing attempts to use it in smaller and smaller quantities. Just ditch it. When you do that, you have a pretty solid recipe.

Now that I have said this, there may have been a chance I messed up the sauce (I think the juice of lemon #2 was in the yogurt). Still the chicken was great, so stop arguing with me and just make the chicken darn it!


It looks pretty while marinading. Just not so much in it's final form.

My grocery did not have boneless skinless chicken thighs that I could find and I was too lazy to ask. So I bought bone-in thighs complete with skin. With patience and a good knife, it was not too bad to convert the desired condition myself. That said I feel like the net effort of not asking, then de-boning was a loss.

Conclusion:
Chicken: awesome. Sauce: <gag>.