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Tomato-Basil Chicken and Rice

14 Oct

Tomatoes this past summer were SO delicious!  One great thing about the Indian summer we had this year (and seemingly every year in LA lately) is the bounty of sweet tomatoes it’s brought us.

Gorgeous Summer Tomatoes

I saw this recipe on Kitchn a few weeks ago and was looking forward to giving it a whirl.  Instead of regular tomatoes, I used baby tomatoes since they are firmer and sweeter.  Here’s the recipe!

DIRECTIONS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed chopped fresh basil leaves

INGREDIENTS:

  • Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and sauté for 1 minute more. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

    Tomato Rice Mixture

  • Transfer the rice mixture to the prepared baking dish. Pour the broth evenly over the rice. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides and place them skin-side up on the rice.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake 1 hour. Uncover and bake until the rice absorbs all of the liquid and the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, 30 to 40 minutes more.

    Bubbling Out of the Oven

NOTE: Kitchn says that leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  While this is true from a food spoilage standpoint, I would argue that this recipe is best eaten the day you make it.  The rice will be fine, but the chicken skin will not stay crispy in the fridge and we ended up just pulling it off when we ate the leftovers.

Tomato Basil Chicken and Rice

I served this dish up with a bit of broccolini roasted at 400°F for 15 minutes, adding a sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper and sea salt and a squeeze of lemon once out of the oven.

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Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken

9 Oct

I’ve been seeing Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken recipe floating around the internet for ages now, and I finally got around to giving it a try.  The original recipe calls for white wine for part of the marinade, and with no egg involved, I couldn’t see how the bread crumb coating would stick to the chicken.  Since I haven’t been drinking lately and Kevin isn’t much of a white wine drinker, I also didn’t want to buy a bottle of white wine just for this recipe either.  Luckily, I came across Alexandra’s Kitchen’s rendition of the recipe and really liked the fact that it used buttermilk in the marinade which would also tenderize the chicken.  I had also just bought a small carton of buttermilk to use in some breakfast muffins (recipes forthcoming!), so the timing was perfect.

Here’s the recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on thighs and 4 bone-in, skin-on drumsticks
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Small handful fresh thyme leaves (if the strands are soft, no need to strip the leaves)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (she uses fresh breadcrumbs; I used store-bought plain breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place oven rack in the middle of the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and buttermilk. Place the chicken in a large bowl and pour the mustard-buttermilk mixture overtop. Toss to coat.
  2. Place the garlic, thyme strands (stems, if they are soft, and all), lemon zest, 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt (use 1.5 tsp if you are sensitive to salt), and 1 teaspoon pepper (or a few large cracks on the grinder) in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the garlic is finely minced.

    Thyme, Lemon Zest, Garlic, Salt, Pepper

  3. Add the breadcrumbs and olive oil, and pulse a few times to moisten the breadcrumbs. Pour the mixture into a wide, shallow bowl or onto a large plate — something with sides is best.*

    Bread Crumb Coating

  4. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (for easy clean-up — this is not necessary, but I like using parchment.) Dip each piece of chicken skin-side down only into the crumb mixture, pressing gently to make the crumbs adhere. Place the chicken on the sheet pan crumb-side up. After one or two pieces have been dipped, the crumb mixture might not adhere to the chicken as well. Just use your hands to press the remaining crumbs onto the chicken pieces.

    Probably Could’ve Used Another 5 Minutes in the Oven to Brown Some More…

  5. Bake the chicken for 40 minutes. Check on the chicken. If necessary cook another five minutes or until the crumbs are browned. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

*NOTE:  The recipe makes way more bread crumb coating than you’ll need in my opinion.  I divided the bread crumb mixture in half and froze it for a later date.  What was left was plenty to coat the 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks.

The buttermilk and mustard really made a wonderful thick coating on the chicken for the crumb mixture to stick to, and the buttermilk did a great job of tenderizing the chicken too.  I was worried that the amount of mustard used was going to overpower the chicken, but it really didn’t.  I loved this recipe and look forward to using the other half of my bread crumb mixture on another batch of chicken!

Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken

Since we had quite a bit of thyme left over, I whipped up one of my favorite sides to go with the chicken- Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower.  YUM!

Chipotle Chilaquiles

27 Sep

Continuing the festivities during Kevin’s birthday celebration weekend, I wanted to make some sort of Mexican breakfast (his favorite).  If we are ever out to brunch and chilaquiles are on a menu, it’s a given that he will order it.  I wanted to make a different kind of chilaquiles dish to mix it up from what you’d find in a restaurant and came across this Rick Bayless recipe on Food and Wine Magazine.  I was drawn to the idea of a smoky chipotle chilaquiles dish, and I still had some chipotle chiles in the freezer from a previous recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

  1. In a blender, combine the tomatoes with their reserved 1/2 cup of liquid and the chipotles; blend until almost smooth.

    Pureed!

  2. In a very large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add two-thirds of the onion and cook over moderately high heat until browned around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the tomato puree and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock and boil the sauce over moderately high heat until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and remove from the heat.
  3. Gently stir the tortilla chips into the sauce, making sure they are well coated. Top with the remaining onion, the shredded chicken, cheese, and a fried egg and 1/4 avocado per serving. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately.

    Chipotle Chilaquiles

NOTE: The recipe makes 4 servings and can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat the chipotle-tomato sauce before proceeding.

*I decided to make my own baked tortilla chips instead of using store-bought chips or deep-frying.  I highly recommend baking tortillas to make chips vs anything else, since you can slightly over-bake them to dry them out a bit more.  That way, they won’t get too soggy in the chilaquiles sauce!  I used a Food Network recipe and baked for 2 minutes longer than recommended.

Baked Tortilla Chips

**I highly recommend keeping a batch of shredded chicken on hand for any occasion.  You can easily thaw and use it in salads, sandwiches, enchiladas (recipe forthcoming!), and of course, chipotle chilaquiles.  The Kitchn’s instructions for making shredded chicken in a slow cooker is my favorite – it’s easy and you don’t lose any of the nutrients by boiling the chicken, nor moisture by using the oven.  I strain the fat out of the stock after and use it for other things too!

Nordstrom Lime Cilantro Salad Dressing

23 Sep

One of the jobs I had prior to graduating college was working in the Lingerie Department at Nordstrom slanging bras and panties to women (and the occasional man) of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  I learned the art of the hustle since my paychecks were based on commission, and I also frequented the Cafe inside the store I worked at.  I fell in love with their Lime and Cilantro Chicken Salad Dressing, among other dishes I could use my discount on.  After I stopped working there, I found myself missing it and thankfully Nordstrom published a cookbook a few years later.  Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy!

Nordstrom Lime and Cilantro Salad Dressing

Is it the prettiest dressing you ever did see?  Perhaps not, but it’s delicious and it’s packed with flavor so a little bit goes a long way.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1cup lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 3cup canola oil
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Puree chipotle chilies in food processor.
  2. Add all ingredients except oil and cilantro to processor and blend.
  3. Slowly add stream of oil to form emulsion.
  4. Add cilantro to processor and pulse to combine.

    Add Cilantro Last

The salad that Nordstrom used the dressing on had baby greens, corn, chicken breasts, plum tomatoes, jack cheese, roasted red pepper, and toasted pumpkin seeds.  It goes great as a thin sandwich spread, dipping veggie sticks, everything you’d use a vinaigrette on really!

NOTE: A small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce will give you way more than you need for this recipe.  You can easily just freeze leftover peppers in a small plastic dressing container.  About two peppers fit per container, and it’ll thaw overnight.  I love the smoky flavor it adds to dishes and will share another recipe featuring chipotle peppers soon!

Bulgogi (Grilled Korean Beef)

19 Aug

I’ve made this recipe a few times but have never written about it – I figure it’s time to finally share!  While bulgogi isn’t something I normally order at a Korean restaurant, I do love making it at home.  It’s also an easy crowd-pleaser when you have people over.  The marinade can handle more meat than the recipe calls for, so if say you wanted to make two pounds of bulgogi, just multiple the marinade ingredients by 1.5x!  Here is the original recipe from New York Times:

INGREDIENTS:

  • pound well-marbled, boneless sirloin, tenderloin or skirt steak
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped ripe Asian or Bosc pear  (I’ve also used an apple in a pinch!)
  • ¾ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 TSBP soy sauce
  • 1 TSBP roasted sesame oil
  • 1 TSBP light brown sugar or honey
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ sliced white onion and 5 white mushrooms (optional)
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wrap beef in plastic wrap or butcher paper and place in freezer for 1 to 2 hours to firm up.
  2. Cut beef across the grain into thin slices. If cooking in a skillet, slices should be less than 1/8 inch thick; do not worry if they are a bit ragged. If cooking on the grill, uniform slices, 1/8-inch thick, are best.  As an alternative, you can purchase pre-sliced meat from the Japanese or Korean market.  For this particular post, I used some beautifully marbled thinly sliced Prime Beef Shabu-Shabu Style Chuckroll from Mitsuwa and it worked perfectly after a couple of trims (they come in long thin strips).

    With Sliced Prime Beef Chuckroll

  3. In a food processor, combine garlic, pear, onion and ginger and process until very smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

    Bulgogi Marinade

  4. In a bowl or sealable plastic bag, combine steak, marinade, scallion, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and pepper and mix well. Cover or seal, then refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  5. If using a cast-iron grill pan or large skillet, heat over high heat. Add all the meat and its juices to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until most (but not all) of the liquid has evaporated and the meat begins to brown around the edges.

    Added Sliced Onions and Mushrooms

TO SERVE:

  •  Whole, fluffy lettuce leaves for wrapping, such as green leaf, oak leaf or romaine; and whole perilla leaves (optional)
  •  Any or all of the following: hot cooked short-grain rice; long green hot peppers, sliced crosswise into 1-inch chunks; small peeled garlic cloves; carrot and cucumber spears or sticks, 1 to 2 inches long
  •  Korean Barbecue Sauce (Ssamjang, see recipe)

The great thing about this recipe is that you still get the sweet-and-savory flavor of bulgogi without added sugar.  We served this with sprouted brown rice (only 1/3 cup per meal, thanks to the GD), kale sauteed with garlic and sesame, steamed broccoli, and plenty of MSG-free kimchi.

Bulgogi (Grilled Korean Beef)

I haven’t made panchan (Korean side dishes) from scratch before, but there are SO many of them and one recipe makes far too much to eat for just one meal (or a couple meals if there are leftovers).  I learned my lesson from the batch of Pickled Daikon and Carrot which we STILL are trying to get through.  The thought of driving to Koreatown just to pick-up some sides was too much to bear, but luckily Lissette had tipped me off last month about a little Korean market hidden in the valley.  I picked up japchae and a plethora of mixed panchan to top off our meal.  Thanks again for the tip, LG!

Bulgogi (Grilled Korean Beef)