Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken

I probably make a roast chicken once a week: its easy, provides versatile leftovers, and is a lean healthy alternative (especially how I eat the rest of the week).  I'm always looking up new recipes to keep it "fresh and exciting".  I came across this recipe and may have found my preferred vehicle for roasting: a cast iron skillet.  The chicken sits on a bed of vegetables (so air circulates under it), it crisps up the vegetables, and lets them bathe in chicken dripping goodness.  I also like that the chicken is rubbed all over in butter....oh well, so much for a lean healthy alternative.


1 - Whole Chicken
1 - Package of Petite Potatoes
1 - Onion (peeled and quartered)
1 stick - Butter (softened)
4 sprigs - Rosemary
4 sprigs - Thyme
8 cloves - Garlic
Canola Oil
Kosher Salt 

1) Toss the potatoes and onion in canola oil, season with salt & pepper, and put them in the skillet.
2) Preheat the oven to 475 degrees
3) Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, season inside and out with salt & pepper, put the rosemary / thyme / garlic inside of the cavity, and rub the chicken all over with the stick of softened butter.  
4) Put the skiller in for 20 minutes at 475 degrees.
5) Lower the temperature to 425 and roast for another hour. 
6) Take the skillet out of the oven and rest the chicken on a plate for 10 minutes before carving (be careful of the chicken juices).
7) Serve the chicken / vegetables with drizzled pan drippings - enjoy!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Buttermilk Rosemary Cheddar Biscuits

What goes perfectly with sausage gravy?  What is the ideal base for an Eggs Benedict?   What is the scariest / traumatic Pillsbury product to open because it explodes when you open it? The correct answer to each is the ever versatile biscuit.  For years I have wanted to make biscuits from scratch, but never had buttermilk on hand.  It was so easy that I may never take the Pillsbury shortcut again.

2 cups - All-Purpose Flour, plus more as needed
1 tbsp - Baking powder
1 1/2 tsp - Kosher salt
12 tbsps - Cold unsalted butter (diced)
1/2 cup - Cold buttermilk
1 - Cold Extra-large egg
1 cup - Grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1 - Egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk
1 - Sprig of Rosemary (minced)

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I used a hand mixer - it will eventually clump in the mixing beater). With the mixer on low, add the butter, and mix until the butter is the size of peas.
2) Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. With the mixer still on low, quickly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix only until moistened. 
3) In a small bowl, mix the Cheddar and rosemary with small handful of flour and, with the mixer still on low, add the cheese to the dough. Mix only until roughly combined.
4) Dump out onto a well-floured board and knead lightly about 6 times. Using a rolling pin and biscuit cutter, divide the biscuits into uniform shapes.  
5) Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 20 minutes.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Carolina Wings

My absolute "go-to" dish when entertaining large groups of people (or a Super Bowl party) are these wings. The wings are made in the oven which makes them crispy, easy to make, easy to clean up, and healthier. My preference are wingettes over chicken wings (you can fit more on your baking sheet pan and they are easier to eat with one hand).  My typical rule of thumb is one pound (6 wingettes) per person. 


2 lbs - Chicken Wingettes
1/4 cup - Ketchup
Healthy Splash - Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 tsp - Red Chili Flakes
1 tbsp - Adobo Sauce (canned Chipotle Peppers are kept in Adobo Sauce)
1 tsp - Dry Mustard
2 tsp - Granulated Garlic
1 tsp - Sugar
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Season the wings on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken wings evenly on a baking sheet (with the skin side up) and cook them for 45 minutes.
2) Take the pan out of the oven, flip the wings over, and cook for another 25 minutes.  While the wings are cooking, mix up the ingredients for the sauce: ketchup, red wine vinegar, red chili flakes, adobo sauce, dry mustard, granulated garlic, and sugar.
3) Remove the wings from the oven to a bowl and toss them in the sauce (be sure to have a few napkins on stand by). 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Fettuccine with Cauliflower and Spicy Bread Crumbs

I have a confession: 10 years ago, my idea of pasta for dinner consisted of boiling dry pasta from a box and adding Prego.  My world opened up when I discovered a myriad of different sauces (brown butter sage, aglio e olio, etc) that are simple to make and well worth the effort.  I found this recipe in Food & Wine by my favorite Philadelphia chef, Marc Vetri (Osteria and Vetri). This recipe has layers of complex flavors (anchovies, garlic, onion), umami overload (anchovies and parmesan), and has nice added texture (toasted spicy bread crumbs).  


12 oz - Fettuccine
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp - Extra-virgin Olive Oil  
12 oz - Cauliflower florets (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 - Yellow Onion (finely chopped)  
4 - Garlic Cloves (thinly sliced)
5 - Oil-packed Anchovy Fillets (minced)  
1/2 tsp - Crushed Red Pepper 
1 tsp - Rosemary (chopped)  
1 tsp - Thyme  (chopped)
1/2 cup - Panko Bread Crumbs  
1/2 cup - Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (plus more for serving)
1/2 inch - Chorizo (minced)
Kosher Salt
Ground Black Pepper 

1) In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. 
2) Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the oil. Add the cauliflower and season with salt and black pepper; cover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of oil to the skillet along with the onion, garlic, anchovies, crushed red pepper, rosemary and thyme; cook, stirring, until the onion is slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Cover and cook over low heat until the cauliflower is tender, about 3 minutes. Keep warm. 
3) In a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and chorizo and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and transfer to a bowl. 
4) Add the pasta and reserved cooking water to the vegetables and cook over moderate heat, tossing, until the water is nearly absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Serve the pasta in wide bowls, passing the bread crumbs and additional cheese at the table.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Almond Meal Flour Pancakes

I'm constantly tinkering with my Pancakes from Scratch recipe. A "Good Day" for me starts out with pancakes, crispy bacon, and a sunny side up egg (sorry Ice Cube, but I need some hog in the morning). I had some almond meal flour lying around (I've been planning to make macarons for years) and I played with the flour ratio of my recipe.  Enjoy the fruits of my experimenting....  

1 - Egg
3/4 cup - All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup - Almond Meal Flour
6oz - Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 tbsp -Sugar
2 tbsp - Canola Oil
1 tbsp - Baking Powder
1/2 tsp - Kosher Salt
1 Tsp - Vanilla Extract
Zest of 1/3 of an Orange
Coconut Oil (you can also use unsalted butter)

Serving: 3 People

1) Mix the ingredients in a bowl until the batter has no lumps.
2) Put coconut oil in a hot griddle or frying pan.
3) Use a laddle to put the batter in to get uniform sized pancakes (perfect for stacking). 
3) Flip the pancakes when they start to bubble in the middle and the edges appear cooked.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Guava Cheese Puffs AKA Pastelitos

Nothing made me happier than seeing my grandfather come in with a bag from the bakery.  Whether it was warm bread (AKA "pan del bakery"), flan in a blue coffee cup, or pastelitos (or pastelillos de guayaba), it was a good afternoon.  The pastelitos always came in a white box, they were covered in a layer of powdered sugar, and were always gone before sundown.  I found this easy recipe in Food & Wine and had to try it.

1 - Large Egg Yolk 
1 tbsp - Milk 
17.3 oz - Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets 
6 oz - Guava Paste (mashed) 
6 oz - Cream Cheese (cut into 6 pieces and chilled) 
All-purpose flour (for dusting)
Sugar (for sprinkling)

1) Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with the milk.
2) On a lightly floured work surface, unfold the puff pastry and cut it into 6 squares. Transfer the squares to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 
3) Cut the guava paste into 6 equal portions and spoon onto half of each pastry square. Top with the cream cheese. 
4) Brush the pastry edges with some of the egg wash. 
5) Fold the pastry over the filling to form rectangles and crimp the edges with a fork. Refrigerate for 15 minutes (until firm).
6) Brush the pastries with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. 
7) Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through, until the pastries are golden. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.