Monthly Archives: October 2010

Your Best Recipe – October Edition

Ladies and Gentlemen!  It is with great excitement that I present to you my submission for this month’s “Your Best Recipe!”

This roundup is Nancy’s (from Spicie Foodie) brain child and was created to collect the most delicious recipes contributed from foodies all around the world.  Each month she will post the submissions on her site so that we can all enjoy each other’s favorite recipes.  It is such a wonderful idea, and such a great way to be exposed to so many talented cooks/bloggers out there.  (It’s also a daunting reminder of how much I have yet to learn!)

Click on the image below to head over to Nancy’s site and see all of the delectable recipes collected for this month!

 

Balsamic Chicken

Dear Vegetarian Viewers: Be warned… there are some graphic chicken photos within this post!

When it comes to chicken, a boneless chicken breast is my cut of choice.  It’s easy to cook and requires minimal prep work.  You know what doesn’t require minimal prep work?  Chicken drums.  That’s why I’ve never made them!!  Also… call me lazy if you will… but I don’t like eating them either.  You know why?  Because it takes too much work.  I don’t eat chicken drums with my hands, and it’s too much work for too little of a reward.

It now occurs to me that I have never shared this sentiment with my husband.  I suppose I thought that since I had never made them, it would be obvious that I didn’t enjoy them.  What is it that they say about “assuming?”  Oh yeah… they say that not explicitly telling your husband about your preference leads to him picking up a HUGE pack of drums because they’re on sale.

*sigh

Now came the issue of what to do with these things…  Enter trusty Food Network with a potential recipe!  I didn’t have rosemary sprigs or fresh flat leaf parsley on hand, so I figured I would substitute with dry spices.  (Right… like I know what I’m doing substituting stuff… *rolls eyes.)

Now comes the gross part:  Prepping the drums.

I only knew to do this because I had some vague recollection of watching my mom go through this process.  I also seem to remember her making this look easy.  She’d swiftly grab, pull, rip, and trim.  My process was not so swift.  This was the longest part of the prep (sans the marinating time)!  Blah.  It was enough to make me want to stop and not cook.  Just in case you don’t know, here is what it looks like before, and what it’s supposed to look like after:

After you’re done reminding yourself that you are handling a carcass (appetizing, no?), throw the drums in a ziplock bag.  Add the marinade to the plastic bag.

TIP:  This is one of those things you learn ONCE.  Only once…  When marinating something like this in a plastic bag, please do yourself a favor and place it in a pyrex before you stick it in the fridge.  Coming back to a leaked plastic bag in your fridge S.U.C.K.S.!

The recipe says to let the drums marinate for two hours.  I prepped the chicken in the morning and left it all day.  Come super time, I preheated the oven and arranged the drums on a baking sheet.  During the 35 minutes they were cooking in the oven, I heated the marinade, made some Near East rice pilaf, and reheated some squash and chickpeas.

Dinner was served.

Before I tell you what I thought, please remember I’m biased against chicken drums.  It might be good to know that Ian really enjoyed the chicken.

As for me?  I wasn’t super impressed.  The chicken was moist and well marinated, but I couldn’t help but think that it could be better.  If I try this recipe again, I’m going to change two things to see if it improves the dish:

1)  I’m going to use chicken breasts!

2)  I’m going to try it with fresh herbs.

Apple Gingerbread Cake

I am not an adventurous baker (yet).  Before I started this blog last month, I had 2 baked goods in my repertoire:  a chocolate chip cake recipe, and a chocolate chip cookie recipe (taken from the back of the Nestle package).  I’m just not that into sweets.

Wait!  Did I just read that right?  Did she just say she’s not into sweets?!

Yes.  You did.  It’s strange.  I know.

Almost as strange as the fact that I don’t eat cheese or peanut butter… but that’s for a different day.

That being said, I really do enjoy subtle desserts.  I especially enjoy the bread-like variety (i.e. pumpkin bread, applesauce cake) but I just haven’t tried to make one again since my last flop.  As I mentioned yesterday, I recently acquired a cookbook titled 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes.  I found this recipe and decided I wanted to try it out.

After glancing through the ingredients, I wondered about the lack of milk.  I always thought it was necessary to bake with milk…but apparently I’m wrong!!  I had all of the ingredients on hand except for the whole wheat flour (which I have never baked with before) and the yogurt.  I stopped by the store this morning to pick them up and by this afternoon, I set out to BAKE!

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease one 8 inch square baking pan.
  2. Peel and dice apples.
  3. In one bowl, mix: flours, ginger, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
  4. In a second bowl, mix: oil and egg.  Then add sugar and molasses and mix.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mix and the yogurt slowly to the second bowl.
  6. Stir in apples.
  7. Bake for 40 min.

40 minutes later, I pulled out the pan and let it cool.  The last touch was a simple sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar over the cake with a small mesh strainer.

The cake turned out surprisingly delicious.  (I don’t know why it’s surprising, but after having as many kitchen related FAILS as I do, I am always apprehensive.)  It’s another recipe for the binder!  This now makes 2 successful recipes from my new cookbook!  Hurray!

Very easy and very tasty.  It will go beautifully with my afternoon cup of tea tomorrow 🙂

Squash and Chickpeas

I have this idea about what a dinner plate should look like.  It goes something like this:

Veggie + Grain + Protein = Complete Meal

We keep the protein pretty varied based on what is on sale at the grocery store.  Sometimes fish, sometimes poultry, sometimes meat is served as the main attraction of the meal.  The veggies are usually steamed and the grain is either rice, couscous, or (most recently added to the line up) quinoa.  Well… steamed vegetables get old and we need to be eating more veggies…enter the 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes cookbook by Carol Gelles!

I get why vegetarianism is so hip and healthy.  I do.  I just have two “but”s: 1) I always worry I’m going to miss the protein too much and 2) I have absolutely no vegetarian recipes in my binder.  I can get over the first hurdle every once in a while – no problem.  To get over the second hurdle, I ordered the cookbook to test drive some recipes.

Given that squash is in season (and on sale at Kroger this week) and given that I always have cans of chickpeas in the pantry (you never know when you’ll need to bust out some humus!), I decided to have this recipe start the kick-off.

The prep work is really easy and doesn’t require anything fancy, just a cutting board, a knife and a bowl or plate.  Mince the garlic, dice the zucchini and squash, and chop up herbs to start off.

I prepped two pots for this next part.  I wanted to spoon the final product over rice, so I started some rice in a smaller pot.  For the squash and chickpeas, I pulled out a large pot.  After warming the olive oil, I added the garlic for a minute before adding the can of tomatoes (with juice and all!).

As the directions stated, I crushed the tomatoes against the side of the pot to break them down.  I then added the rest of the ingredients to the pot and brought it to a boil.  As soon as it hit a gentle boil, I turned it down to low, half covered it with the lid, and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Before serving the stew-like dish onto the rice, I realized that something was missing.  It was delicious, but it was like having the 1st and 3rd of a chord and missing the 5th to complete the sound.  It needed a kick, so I grabbed the paprika and shook some into the pot.

We each had two helpings of this dish!  It was delicious and sooooooooooooooo easy.  Totally a keeper.  Thank you Ms. Gelles!

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