Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quickest Chicken Stock p. 157

I just love having homemade stock on hand. Its so flavorful and simple. I've officially been turned into a believer now. Gone are the days when I would pick up some stock at the grocery.

For this stock, unlike my last foray into stock making, I just used what I had on hand. The remnants of an onion, several carrots, part of a celery stick, and fresh parsley.

While I haven't actually tried it yet, the smell alone was enough to justify how amazing it is. In fact, I recommend realtors to make chicken stock to entice buyers when looking at a house.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baked Tortilla Chips p. 97

These are one of those things that make me feel like super woman. Yeah, who makes their own chips. Ridiculous.

I was wanting to feel ridiculous and super woman, so I made a big batch recently. I had read several different versions in various places and decided to experiment with both corn and flour tortillas. I cut each into 6 triangles. Brush them on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings.

Now Mark Bittman recommends adding your salt and seasonings after baking, but when I did this to the first batch, most of it fell off. I wanted highly seasoned chips, so with the next batch I rubbed the seasoning (I mixed up some Mexican seasonings.) in after add the oil. This worked out nicely. But I think my favorite way of seasoning was to mix the oil and seasonings and brush it on simultaneously.

In the end the flour tortillas were our favorite. Bryan loves them and insists that I make them again. And to be honest, they really aren't that much trouble.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Arroz con Pollo p. 653

Ingredients: chicken, EVOO, onion, rice, stock, parsley, lemon.

I had never attempted a dish like this, but knew Bryan would love it.

Start by cooking your onions in oil until they are softened and clear. Then toss in your rice to coat with the oil. After that you add your chicken pieces and stock. Let it bubble and then cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the chicken and rice are both cooked.

I tossed in some frozen peas the last couple of minutes to add some color. Garnish with parsley and lemon juice.

We both liked the dish, but I thought it could use more flavor. Next time I'll probably stick a bay leaf or other seasonings in as it cooks to infuse it with more flavor. But in the end it was a delicious, weeknight dish.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Stir-Fried Pork with Spinach p. 748

Ingredients: pork, spinach, peanut oil, garlic, soy sauce, lime, stock.

I marinated the pork after I chopped them with soy sauce and white wine vinegar while I did other stuff. I can't testify that it was a huge improvement, but I always enjoy marinated meat and it probably did contribute to the end flavor.

Mark Bittman suggests getting all your ingredients ready before beginning any cooking as stir-frying can go pretty fast. No time in between steps to mince your garlic or juice your lime.

Start by cooking your pork until they lose their pink color. This should only take a couple of minutes. Remove from pan when done.

Next cook your garlic for a few seconds. I tossed in some hot pepper sauce during this step. Bryan likes things spicy. After about 30 seconds add in your spinach to let it wilt. Once it is all wilted add in the pork for a minute or so and remove from heat.

Serve over rice.

Bryan and I enjoyed this dish, but both thought that adding chopped peanuts would really kick it up a notch.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Sorry I've been out of it this week. I didn't do much cooking last week and I just cooked something yesterday. BUT... We are getting internet at the house tomorrow and I'll be able to post easier! Whooo! I'm pretty excited about. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette p. 201

Ingredients: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey.

Combine all ingredients in the blender. Serve.
I just love homemade dressings. It makes me feel oh so talented and put together. I don’t know why. Maybe its because my mother never did it, and I just love out doing my mother. Sorry, Mom.

We had roasted garlic on hand from a Pioneer Woman recipe and as I was forbidden from ever eating roasted garlic on its own ever again (apparently it causes bad breathe and when consumed in large portions causes other digestive issues). So I decided I’d go ahead and make the vinaigrette to go with my chicken escabeche. It was delicious and easy and I had all the ingredients on hand, which really makes me happy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Broiled Boneless Chicken Escabeche p. 669

Ingredients: chicken, vinaigrette.

I was amazed at how easy and fast this recipe was. Faster than the 20 minutes Mark Bittman estimated. I like to buy the big packages of frozen chicken breasts from Sam’s. They are so handy to have around. I pulled out some breasts to defrost and started looking for an easy recipe. This has to be the easiest.

I rinsed off my chicken breasts from their defrosting juices and dried them. Then rub them with a little olive oil and broil 3-4 minutes per side until cooked. Then take your prepared vinaigrette, whether is store bought, the Roasted Garlic Vinaigarette as suggested, or another dressing of your choosing, and cover the chicken.

You can serve immediately, or let it sit in the vinaigrette for a few hours or days in the fridge. I served almost immediately (well, they sat for about 10 minutes while I roasted my asparagus) and then served. Total preparation time, under 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Braised Pork with Red Wine p. 757

Ingredients: pork shoulder, red wine, stock, carrots, garlic, butter.

Mark Bittman suggested cooking this dish in a crock pot. Well, maybe suggested isn’t the right choice of words, but it was an option. And I just love the idea of crock pots. Fixing it and forgetting it. So handy.

I couldn’t find the exact cut of meat suggested and honestly, have no idea what I bought and used. But that was a mistake you should learn from. Neither Bryan and I really liked this dish and we chalked that up to the meat. It was an alright stew-type dish, perfect for winter. But we just weren’t crazy about it. Perhaps the correct choice of pork would have suited it better, I don’t know.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fish steamed over Summer Vegetables p.587

Ingredients: garlic, onion, zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, tomatoes, thyme, fish fillets (I used Tilapia), fresh basil.

I just love summer vegetables and as it is slowly becoming fall, I decided to have one last hurrah with summer veggies before they leave.

Simply chop up your veggies and cook. I think the suggested cooking time was a bit much as many of the veggies were basically mush at the end of the cooking. After your veggies are almost fully cooked add your fish on top, cover and let the fish steam for a few minutes.

Bryan ate the fish, but not the vegetables as he finds all summer vegetables disgusting. Oh well. More for me.

Mark Bittman offers a chart on page 588 with more vegetable and pairing suggestions. Bryan will probably love the potatoes with beer and chives. I’ll have to try that next.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Real Beef Stroganoff p. 739

Ingredients: butter, onion, mushrooms, sirloin, Dijon mustard, tomato sauce, stock, sour cream.

I don’t know the difference between this and “Fake” beef stroganoff… but this is a good dish. I know my mom made beef stroganoff a couple of times while I was growing up and I think it had ground beef, but I can’t be too sure. Maybe a can of mushroom soup.

This dish involved browning onions and mushrooms (Bryan was not a huge fan.) And then your beef. After a few minutes add in your mustard, stock, and tomato sauce. After cooking stir in some sour cream and serve over egg noodles.

Real Beef Stroganoff is a hearty dish. I know I would make more of it if Bryan wasn’t so opposed to onions and mushrooms.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Roasted Asparagus p. 258

Ingredients: asparagus, oil, salt, lemon

I’ve roasted asparagus since I started cooking. Asparagus is my favorite vegetable. I say it frequently. When friends and family east asparagus they think of me. True story. Its healthy and delicious, never mind what happens after you digest it. That’s just a freaky coincidence.

To roast asparagus, put your trimmed vegetable on a roasting pan or cookie sheet, drizzle some olive oil on top and stir it around so it gets good and coated. Then sprinkle with salt. I used kosher salt this round and it was delicious. Once its prepped pop the pan in your preheated oven (450 degrees) and cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Once you are ready to stir, garnish with some fresh lemon juice. Mark Bittman offers a nice list of classic ways to serve your roasted asparagus. I opted for hard boiled eggs this time. It was nice, but didn’t really add anything special to the asparagus. But I would recommend adding a classic garlic if you are entertaining. It really ups the ante. On their own, though, roasted asparagus is the best, most tender and delicious vegetable you can put in your mouth.

Served with Chicken Braised in soy sauce and lemon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chicken Braised in Soy Sauce and Lemon p. 646

Ingredients: oil, chicken, garlic, lemon, cayenne, soy sauce, sugar.

This was a very easy dish to prepare and dirtied very little dishes, which made Bryan really happy.

First brown your chicken, but you don’t have to. I did this time and will probably skip it next time. Then soften your garlic, and add in the other ingredients including the chicken. Cook over medium to low for about 20 minutes.

Take out the chicken, add in lemon juice and serve over rice. Simple and delicious.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beef Stew p. 724

Ingredients: oil, garlic, beef, onions, flour, stock, bay leaf, thyme, potatoes, carrots, peas, parsley.

Bryan was sick with a cold last weekend and I offered to make him some chicken noodle soup. He didn’t want that… he thought stew would make him feel better. So I set out to make a stew.

I don’t really want to go into the how with this post. It’s a basic stew, but cooked over the stove. I must have let mine cook a little bit long because the potatoes were a bit mushy. But all in all it had a nice flavor and was very hearty, as a good stew should be. Bryan loved it, but it did not have magical powers to cure him of his cold. Oh well. That’s probably expecting too much.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stir Fried Broccoli p. 267

Ingredients: oil, broccoli, salt, sugar, stock, soy sauce.

This dish is easy to prepare and also delicious. We love fresh broccoli and this is a recipe I will add to the weekly rotation. More flavorful than steamed broccoli and moister than roasted broccoli.

First you heat the oil in the pan and then add your chopped up broccoli. I wasn’t not sure how small or large to leave my pieces, so I did a variety of sizes. What I found that worked best was about bite-size. That way you don’t have to cut it later when its on your plate.

After a few minutes in the oil add your salt, sugar, and stock and let it simmer until most of the liquid is gone. This is where the broccoli picks up the flavor of your rich stock. Do not skimp here. Its much better when you use a hearty stock… preferably homemade. Water would be a big disappointment in taste.

Once its finished cooking, add a little soy sauce in there and serve.