Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Thawing Chicken

 It's been a minute since I've posted anything here. But I just made my grandmother's roasted red peppers, couldn't remember if she added oregano or not, and did a quick search of my site to check and see what she had told me. 

That's the beauty of having a blog like this, the ability to hold a little wisdom for later. I've been inspired to write, post, create, and cook all over again. So let's get to know one another again, shall we? 

A lot has happened over the past few years; I've gone to and graduated from law school and am currently in the grueling process of preparing for the Bar exam. Which, to be honest, feels a bit like thawing chicken. 

Bear with me as I explain. 

When you are figuring out what you want to make for dinner, inspiration strikes, and you do a quick mental inventory of what you currently have in your fridge/freezer. 

"I have chicken!" 

You bustle over to your freezer, take out the chicken--so excited you don't have to run to the store--and then it hits you. This sucker is frozen solid. 

If you're impatient like me, you can't help the immediate despair that hits you. THIS IS GOING TO TAKE FOREVER. 

Then comes the bargaining, "Well, maybe I go buy chicken and put this away for a different day..." Then you're brutally honest internal monologue pipes up "...but that's how I ended up with three packages of chicken in the freezer in the first place!" 

What do you do? 

So begins the cold water thaw. Chicken, when defrosting at room temperature, can take 12-24 hours to totally defrost. How can you speed that up? Leaving the chicken in its packaging, you submerge it in cold water. Every thirty minutes, you change the water to prevent the chicken from getting too warm and allowing bacterial growth. One to three hours later, you have your chicken which is ready to go. 

So too, the Bar. 

Technically I have all the knowledge I need to pass this exam tucked away somewhere in my brain. But, like the cold water. I need to refresh it often, change it out, and continually expose myself to the thousands of rules that need to be committed to memory before the end of July. 

I cannot wait for my chicken to thaw, and I cannot wait for this exam to be over. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Baked Apple Breakfast

The instructions are both in the body of the post and consolidated at the bottom for ease of reference when making. Good luck and enjoy!

These apples are glorious. 

They can be served with greek yogurt for breakfast or a "smart" dessert.

If you are feeling particularly decadent, then you should pair a warm apple with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Preheat your oven to 350°F

9 Honeycrisp Apples - cored
1 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract 
Juice of 1 Lemon 
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
Brewed Chai Tea
Butter at room temperature

Mix together the oats, Truvia, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and almond extract. Combine them until they become a crumbly mixture.

Core the apples. 
I decided to cut away parts of the tops with a pairing knife to better hold the filling.

Fill the apples with your dry oat mixture. 

Pour about 1/2 inch of chai tea into the bottom of the baking dish. 

Don't be bothered by any fallout from the apples. The oats in the chai will cook while in the oven to become a delicious oatmealish sauce. 

Top each apple with a pat of butter.

Use the rest of your oat mixture on top of the butter. 

Tent your baking dish with Aluminum Foil this will help to steam the apples.

Place your baking dish in the oven for 35 minutes. 
Remove the foil and allow them to cook for another 10 minutes uncovered. 

Take your apples out of the oven. While it may be tempting to dig into them right away, don't. 
A scalding apple cannot be enjoyed.  Let them sit for 5-10 minutes. 

Plate with some of the sauce from the bottom of the pan.

9 Honeycrisp Apples - cored
1 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract 
Juice of 1 Lemon 
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
Brewed Chai Tea
Butter at room temperature

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
  2. Mix together the oats, Truvia, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and almond extract. 
  3. Core the apples. Optional, carve the tops into cups. 
  4. Fill the apples with your dry oat mixture. 
  5. Pour about 1/2 inch of chai tea into the bottom of the baking dish. 
  6. Top each apple with a pat of butter.
  7. Top the pat of butter with any remaining mixture.
  8. Tent your baking dish with Aluminum Foil this will help to steam the apples.
  9. Bake--covered--for 35 minutes. 
  10. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered. 
  11. Take your apples out of the oven.  Let them sit for 5-10 minutes. 
  12. Enjoy!

Last Minute Mini-Thanksgiving Pantry Check

No matter how different this year's Thanksgiving celebrations are it is a good idea to double-check your pantry and kitchen supplies so that you are not left unprepared.

Arguably, given the imminence of future shutdowns and stricter distancing measures an inventory of your kitchen materials maybe even more important this year. 

Here is a list of items to get you started on your own checklists: 

Aluminum Foil: Aluminum Foil is the Swiss Army Knife of my kitchen. Not only can it tent your turkey, but it protects pie crusts from burning, helps to scrub dishes if your steel wool is no longer doing the trick, helps to move heavy furniture to make space for games (nope not kidding, look it up), and in lieu of a chisel or hammer, soften up that brick of sugar that's been hiding out in your pantry since last Thanksgiving.* 

Garbage Bags: Check your supplies. Aside from the obvious, I've also used garbage bags as a tarp for easy crafts cleanup. Consider adding to your Thanksgiving traditions with some crafting activities.

Kitchen Timers: That's right timerS plural! If you're cooking different parts of your meal at the same time, it is even MORE important to keep track of your individual components. As the self-proclaimed queen of "crispy not charred" dinners I declare it absolutely essential that you invest in at least two kitchen timers. 

Paper Towels: Because sometimes spills are guaranteed... 

Meat Thermometer: Helps to make sure that you cook your turkey thoroughly while keeping it juicy and not dry. 

Food Processor: Chop. Slice. Mix. Blend. This machine is your best friend and secret weapon to speeding up your meal prep. 

Placecards: Accent your table with personalized place cards. For fun you can write one thing you are thankful for/that you admire about the person assigned the card on the inside fold. 

Oven Mitts: I'm often tempted to just use a dish towel, but I am tired of getting burn marks on the back of my hands. 

Spirits: Make sure your cabinet is well stocked with spirits, mixers, and whatever you may need to fix a festive quarantini. Some ideas: 

*Orange Bitters for Old Fashions 

Harney's Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea  one of my FAVORITE teas, I use this as the base of my hot toddy's

Simple Syrup a staple in many cocktails, it is fairly easy to make your own. A premade simple syrup is nice to have but not need to have.

Fever Tree Light Tonic Water: as someone who likes a G&T I find other tonic waters a bit heavy, Fever Tree's Light Tonic Water is much more pleasant. They also have it in cans which you can finde here. 

Fresh Lime Juice : I use this in pretty much everything. You can't beat fresh squeezed lime juice. 

Bar Tools: Specifically, a zester/channel knife helps to dress up your holiday spirits. 

Candles: Recently I've really been into beeswax candles--there is something so calming about the flickering of the candlelight. 

Hopefully, this list helps you think about your own holiday checklist and reminds you to order anything that you may need in time for the holiday. 

*Sweet Tip: Take the brick of sugar, wrap in aluminum foil and toss it in the oven (set at 350 degrees F) for 3-5 minutes. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Zucchini Fritters

While perusing recipes and trying to find new ways to cope with the seasonal zucchini overabundance from my mom's garden  I came across this recipe for Zucchini Fritters from Once Upon a Chef, to see the original post, click here. 

 Few notes on the ingredients: I used one SUPER sized zucchini after halving it and scooping out the seeds and overly pithy center. I also used cornstarch instead of flour. I also was VERY generous in my usage of dill and scallion and it didn't take away anything from the fritter, so feel free to be generous in your usage.

They are incredible and are definitely going to be an August staple in my kitchen

2. medium zucchini shredded
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2 large scallions
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 med. garlic clove, minced or finely chopped
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup cornstarch (or flour)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus some more if needed

Shred your zucchini (I used my food processor to expedite) mix with salt and transfer to a fine-mesh strainer to drain. Allow the zucchini to sit for at least ten minutes. 

I then took the zucchini and wrung it out in a paper towel, the volume of the zucchini shrunk by half after I got all of the water out. 

Beat the eggs, mix in the zucchini, scallions, dill, feta, garlic, and black pepper. 
Add the corn starch (or flour) and baking powder and mix until it is incorporated. 

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Be sure to watch that the oil doesn't become too hot. Drop 2 tablespoon-sized portions into the pan and gently press down into fritters. 

Pan fry until golden brown about 3 minutes per side. 

Transfer the fritters to a paper towel-lined plate. 

Note that your fritters, once cooked may still be "bendy" when you transfer them to the plate. Allowing the fritters to rest for at least a minute or two will help them to firm up before serving. 

I served ours with store-bought tzatziki sauce on the side. 

If anyone knows a good tzatziki recipe, please send it my way I've been on the hunt for a good homemade option. 


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Hulk Salad Transforms into a Satiating Veggie Burrito

One night I was sitting around trying to figure out what to do for dinner so I texted my fiance (aka fancy-boyfriend) and I asked him, "What do you wanna have for dinner?" 


~Gulp air quickly, silently panic, and puzzle over the question that immediately popped into my head~ 

How do I make edamame into a meal?  

While they are one of my favorite things to snack on whenever I get the chance, it isn't something I often think about as the mainstay of a meal. 
I asked myself, 'How do I make those little beans into more?'  and I started thinking about it as a combination element in a vegetable-based salad. 

Which ended up as a challenge to myself, can I do this whole thing purely using plant-based ingredients? 

The answer: yes, and hell yes. 

After quickly raiding our freezer and fridge I cobbled together the following ingredients: 

1 steamer bag of broccoli and cauliflower
1 bag frozen edamame 
1 ripe avocado 

First thing I did was to pop the steamer bag of broccoli and cauliflower into the microwave. I wanted the veggies to have some time to cool down before I added them into the salad. 

Then I flash boiled the edamame, quickly putting them into an ice bath and salting them so I could snack as I pulled everything else together. 

I took the broccoli and cauliflower and using my new favorite tool, my mezzaluna salad chopper, made everything into bite-sized pieces.

I set that aside, took my avocado removed the flesh and mashed it thoroughly until its consistency was similar to that of mayo, I added a little squeeze of lime juice to keep the color vibrant (whoever wanted to eat a brown salad? No one that's who). 

Added a little salt and pepper to my 'avo-mayo' and mixed in the edamame and the broccoli and cauliflower. 

It was delicious on a couple of GG Fiber crackers and then I rolled some of it into a burrito for my fancy-boyfriend and added a little bit of cheddar cheese. 

If you would like more crunch, I recommend roasting the broccoli and cauliflower and I personally LOVE adding cilantro to the avocado for a little bit more flavor. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken "Pot" Pie with Buttermilk Biscuit Topper

One of the beautiful things about cast iron skillets is their ability to go straight from the stove top into the oven. Initially, I had been very intimidated by cast iron skillets because I didn't know how to care for them. It wasn't until I went to Cape Cod for Memorial Day a few years ago and was made one of the most delicious breakfasts I've ever had did I begin to reconsider.
Two of my best friends picked up on this, somehow read my mind, and gave me mine as a Christmas gift last year (xox thanks D&K).
I am now completely obsessed.

What you'll need: 

  • Frozen buttermilk biscuits 
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken stock 
  • 1 c. whole milk 
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. adobo seasoning 
  • 1 chopped large onion - I prefer the Spanish onions 
  • 2 c. frozen veggies (corn, green beans, carrots, peas, whatever your pleasure) 
  • 3 tbsp. butter 
  • 2 c. shredded chicken (already cooked) You can use rotisserie or leftover roasted chicken 
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • Salt to taste

What you'll do: 

  1. Shred your chicken, set aside 
  2. Preheat your oven according to the directions on your packaged biscuits, for me, this meant 400 degrees. 
  3. Place your burner on medium heat. 
  4. Add the butter to your skillet and once it begins to bubble/froth, but before it browns, add your onions. 
  5. Cook your onions until they begin to turn translucent and then add the rest of your frozen vegetables. I also added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. 
  6. Allow your vegetables to cook until the onions caramelize, and your vegetables soften, this should take about 2-4 minutes depending on the strength of your burner. 
  7. While the veggies are on the stove top, whisk together your chicken stock, milk, flour, and adobo seasoning. 
  8. Once your vegetables have softened slowly and gently stir in liquid mixture. 
  9. You're going to want to bring your pan to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture begins to thicken, which should take about 7 minutes. 
  10. Once your pan begins to reduce, add your shredded chicken and fresh parsley, allow this to cook for about 5 minutes. 
  11. Then add your uncooked biscuits to the top of your pan and pop your skillet into the oven on the middle rack. 
  12. Cook the biscuits according to their package directions, mine took about 12 minutes watching them so that they won't brown too much. 
Remove from the oven and relish in this comfy, cozy, dinner that only takes a little over a half an hour to pull together.

[Serves about 4-5 people]

If you're terrified of owning a cast iron skillet because you also don't know how to care for it, I would check out this great article from Serious Eats that dispels a lot of the myths surrounding Cast Iron skillets: https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/11/the-truth-about-cast-iron.html

It's totally worth the little bit of extra effort it takes to upkeep it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dragon Tongue Bean Stir Fry

Crunched for time? Try this recipe. 

I kept my stir fry VERY simple with three principle ingredients, Dragon Tongue beans, Mung bean sprouts and Garlic Chives.

Dragon Tongue beans are pretty long beans, so I cut mine into 1 inch pieces. 

Turn your stove to high heat. Add 1-1 1/2 teaspoons of grape seed oil to your pan. 
Allow it to heat. Add the Dragon Tongue beans. 

Get a good sear on the beans, you'll notice that where visible, the beans will change color to a more vibrant green, this only took me a little over two minutes.  Quickly add the sprouts, sauté for maybe one more minute, add the chives, some salt and pepper, and  you're ready to serve!