I wanted to give my friends a housewarming gift that would not add to the giant pile of things they just had to move into their new home, so I tried my hand at some rustic, thick crusty bread. I doubled the portions but the bread was a tiny bit wetter than I’d like so I didn’t adjust the portions below for the double portion.
WARNING: this is one of those crazy multi-day recipes. The trade-off with no knead is waiting for the air bubbles and yeast to develop. And no, this was not something I did last night, it’s from Sunday. You know, that day you have time to do crazy things like bake bread..
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I did a mix of dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots and golden raisins)
1/2 cup chopped almonds (I used toasted almond slices)
Zest from one orange (I used lemon rind, didn’t have an orange on hand)
1 1/2 cups water (water does not have to be warm)
I found this gluten-free chocolate cherry cake recipe and used it to make a raspberry chocolate cake in a dutch oven by campfire. Below are the basic steps re-written the way I did them. This was a good one to prep and fire up before dinner, and let sit and finish cooking while you eat the main meal.
I was inspired by a documentary and couldn’t shake my need to visit the General. Fairly quick, kinda tasty, really fried, and sweet. Je suis Tso.
1 pound of chicken (I prefer thighs)
Some mayonnaise for coating chicken*
Dry Coating (inspired/copied from Serious Eats):
½ cup of flour
½ cup of corn starch
½ teaspoon of baking powder
some salt/pepper to taste (I personally prefer it on the salty side)
1 bottle of general or orange chicken sauce
Orange zest to taste (less is better)
Lots of high heat safe oil
Cut your chicken into small little pieces and coat in mayonnaise. *Mayonnaise was my egg bath substitute due to my lack of eggs in the fridge and worked well. Good thing because I don’t support abortion.
Combine the dry coating ingredients in a separate bowl.
Place coated chicken in dry bath and toss like a deflated football.
Fill a pot with oil, you don’t need as much as you think and heat to 350 degrees. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Try to maintain oil temperature at 350 degrees (ie you need to increase heat after you add the chicken).
Remove chicken and place in a pan.
Add General sauce and toss at mediumish heat and add orange zest to taste.
I’m too poor to have a wok, but my non-stick pan worked OK. I went easy on the sauce, but add as much as you like.
Heat until your desired caramelization.
And there you have it.
Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 3 of 5 stars. Likelihood of Repeat: 100% (still have most of the bottle left and chicken is cheap) Lesson Learned: Don’t listen to spouse when she insists on adding more and more orange zest.
So first I must say I first had this from my sis Y_________. It was so good when she made it twice for me. So I had to ask her for the recipe because I needed a good main dish for a dinner/date I was making. Need something good to impress lol. The Parmesan Crusted Chicken was the main. Then Oven-Roasted Asparagus and just a normal salad on the side and Riesling for drinks.
Parmesan Crusted Chicken
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves –if from frozen, try and cut thinner so the chicken is not too thick to cook in 30 minutes (shouldn’t be more than two finger-widths thick).
4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs + dry herbs), or however much you need to cover one side of chicken
optional: a little salt & pepper
Combine mayo and cheese. Spread on chicken, then sprinkle with bread crumbs, salt & pepper. Bake at 425 degrees (F), 20-35 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, usually 30 minutes, at least. Safe temp for chicken to be cooked to is 160F.
For reheating: bake at 425 degrees for about 5-8 minutes until you know it’s heated through, then broil on high for 1 minute to obtain slightly crispy exterior.
Can also freeze raw and bake 20-27 minutes plus broil.
Trying to impress I decided to prep some of the ingredients before I headed over to her place to make the food. Also she is a bit of a health food person so I decided to use light hellman’s mayo and just let her know it was a white sauce. Also I was able to pick the chicken from Whole Foods, some free range chicken from the meats section.
Being the person I am I happen to forget the dry bread crumbs. So I decided to improvise and use her Italian seasoning and rosemary. Lots of rosemary, ’cause I just love that spice and just bit of sea salt and pepper.
She had a gas oven and it only took 15 mins to cook. It was not raw but cooked enough and just juicy and good.
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.
I did not do much making the asparagus. This was her side. We were able to just put it in when the chicken was still cooking because it was the same temp.
The salad -nothing really to it. I kind of just picked random ingredients and put them in the salad. Also I just put the walnuts on the stove top and put them on top of the salad. The balsamic was a good choice, surprisingly. I don’t really know much about salads but we both liked it.
Overall this meal was great. It did impress. So MISSION ACCOMPLISHED lol. Also forgot we had a Riesling for drinks. This is something that I would repeat for sure. Easy, fast and good. Would maybe pick another random side to mix it up though. Keep in mind the chicken says to use 4 breasts. It was too much for 2 people but leftovers for lunch, so, not that bad.
Wish I took more pictures but didn’t want to seem to be that person yet.
Another time for me to cook to impress. Instead of going out to brunch we decided to make food instead. I was able to find a there Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes that just sounded great to make. For sides we decided to have some cut oranges, bacon and orange mango juice.
Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes
1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons dry milk powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 banana, mashed
Place the rolled oats into the jar of a blender and blend until the texture resembles coarse flour. Whisk together the blended oats, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, dry milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside.
Whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Stir in the mashed banana. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle, and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Flip, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.
First off when we walked over to Wedge, my phone died and I had to go off memory what we needed. I had to alter the recipe a bit. I didn’t add the dry milk powder and switch the whole wheat flour with just all-purpose flour. Also we added 2 ripe bananas instead of just one. Made it so much better.
After getting the batter prepared I do wish I read the other comments because we could have just mixed everything in the blender instead of using so many bowls that needed to be cleaned. Also this makes a ton of pancakes. We only made 4 pancakes and half the batter was still left.
What I do love about the recipe is that you mash the bananas in the mix and you can taste gooey banana parts in some bites of the pancakes. Also used real maple syrup. Makes it just so much better
Bacon was just fried and dried to crisp and we just cut up oranges.
Again this meal did impress yet again. MISSON SUCCESS!!
I would like to do these pancakes again but in a blender. I bet it would be a lot faster and easier. Also maybe with eggs and bacon and fruit. Good stuff.
That’s it for now. Thanks, Alex! Stay tuned for another recipe from another J_____ brother, coming soon!
P.S. This parmesan-crusted chicken recipe was originally from my friend good Jennifer from grad school, who got it off a *gasp* Hellman’s Mayo jar. Thanks, Jennifer!
P.P.S. Bonus points to Alex for cooking the other dish at the same time due to same temp requirements.
As a child growing up in the Midwest with home-cooked Chinese food for dinner, microwave dinners were some kind of marvelous space food I’d get to eat on special occasions (see: babysitter). Among those dinners, the best option often seemed to be the chicken pot pie, which could be easily popped in the toaster oven for a satisfying belly-sticking meal in a tin pan. Years later I picked up a recipe magazine based purely on the delectable-looking chicken pot pie on the front. I think it was a Reader’s Digest. Anyway, it seemed like such a novel and miraculous opportunity to learn to make pot pie, it has found an honored place in my recipe Dropbox files, usually only brought out to make something even better out of Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.
Fast forward to Labor Day weekend, and some old friends are in town and have made a special request for chicken pot pie. When good friends you haven’t seen in a years ask for pot pie, then you make pot pie.
Good thing I ended up with three great sous chefs to keep things rolling that Sunday..
Chicken Pot Pie
Based originally on ..a Reader’s Digest recipe
Serves 4 Prep time: 50 min Total time: ~.5 hrs prep + 1.5 hr + chilling (approx. 35 min chilling 2x)
4 Tbs unsalted butter
1 medium onion, cut into medium dice
2-3 large carrots, cut into medium dice
1/2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface (whole wheat flour works fine too)
coarse salt & pepper
4 c low-sodium chicken broth (or veggie stock)
3 c cooked chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 lb total)
1 c frozen peas
1.5 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves (or .75 tsp dried thyme)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg yolk
Optional: garlic powder, random italian seasonings
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add onion and carrot and cook until onion softens, about 6 minutes. Add flour and 1/2 tsp salt; cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden, has a slightly nutty aroma, and is the texture of cooked oatmeal, about 5 minutes.
2. Whisking constantly, add broth. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Stir in chicken, peas and thyme; season with salt and pepper (optional: garlic powder and italian seasoning). Divide mixture among four 12-ounce baking dishes; refrigerate until room temperature, about 20 minutes. Try to fill the dishes as full as possible to help support the dough on time so it gets a chance to rise. In the case of this last time I made pot pie, the baking dishes with filling were put in a cooler with ice and transported for the ~30 minutes to a friend’s house before continuing to the next step.
2.5 Optional step: get to your friend’s house and realize you forgot the puff pastry, half the group heads to the store to buy some more. :p
3. Preheat oven to 375 F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll pastry to an 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 4 equal squares, 1 inch larger than dishes; with the tip of a sharp knife, cut vents into pastry. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolk with 1 tsp water; top potpies with pastry and brush with egg wash.
4. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
5. Bake until pastry is deep golden and juices are bubbling, about 35-45 minutes. It can be useful to put a wide dish underneath to catch any accidental overflow.
6. When serving, be sure to warn people the pot pie is very hot.
7. Take a food coma nap.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating: Novelty Rating: 1.5 of 5 stars.
As mentioned, I usually only make this about once a year after Thanksgiving, so on that note, it’s a bit novel. Likelihood of Repeat: 100%
It’s quite a bit of work, which is partly why I use pre-made puff pastry instead of dough from scratch. However, all that care and attention only makes it more worth eating.
Lesson Learned: You will never have leftovers from this, unless you keep the filling separate from the dough and don’t bake it. Also, you can make whatever design you want when cutting slits in the top of the dough. Exercising the patience for full refrigeration time is pretty key to making sure the crust doesn’t get soggy and collapse, and having moderately shallow baking dishes gives you a good crust-to-filling ratio. Don’t be afraid to use more vegetables.
A variant to try later: putting crust underneath the filling too, per my friend S____________’s requests. Comment here if you’ve done this!
I’ve been meaning to try making these for a while and finally got around to it (and editing the photos, and writing a post). Since I didn’t change a thing besides halving the recipe, I won’t list the steps here but just link to the kitchn’s recipe here.
1 cup (8 ounces) water
8 tablespoons (4 ounces/1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder (optional, I forgot to include this)
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup (6 ounces) grated cheese, like gruyère or cheddar (I opted for gruyere)
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 3 of 5 stars.
Completely new recipe, with cheeeeeese! Ding! Likelihood of Repeat: 60%
These were delicious. I thought making a dozen tiny ones would leave plenty of extra to bring to work, but then I ate them all during a Netflix marathon, with a bit of jam. I think this either means (a)I should never make them again, since they are not the healthiest food to eat, and/or (b)I should only make them when they are destined for other peoples’ houses, so I don’t eat them all. Next time I would definitely rather try baking dollops of dough rather than bothering with the weird-looking piping, and make a full portion so the water ratio is not off. Lesson Learned: Cheese + flour + butter = oops, ate them all. These were not as difficult for me to make as I imagined.
At my day job, it is the office tradition to bring in treats when it’s your birthday. I spent the first four years feeling indignant about this, and evading it since I’ve always been gone on my birthday. However, I have finally come around to it, figuring at least I am not forced to eat mediocre cake I don’t like on my birthday. I was quite late in the delivery too, but felt it an opportunity to take a stab at this hot chocolate cookies recipe I saved over the holidays. Like people who have a favorite animal, once friends and family find out I like hot chocolate, I was gifted enough hot chocolate to develop diabetes –which is where this recipe randomly found online comes in as another way to use it up.
makes 24 large cookies (I did a half portion of this, full portions for 24 cookies is listed below)
Ingredients 1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup hot chocolate mix
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 3/4 cup flour (i think I had a mix of whole wheat and white flour, or some miscellaneous powder found in my pantry..)
1 cup chopped milk chocolate chips
1 cup Marshmallow Bits (didn’t have those delightful dehydrated ones, just used chopped up regular marshmallows)
Preheat oven to 350
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cream butter and brown sugar together with whisk for about 1 minute until combined. Add in hot chocolate and continue mixing.
Add in eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated.
Add in salt, baking soda and flour. Mix until just combined.
Finally, add in milk chocolate and Marshmallow Bits, stirring until evenly mixed in.
Drop by heaping tablespoon onto lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, until edges are set and slightly golden. Top with marshmallow bits in last 2 minutes.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.
*Store airtight for up to 3 days.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the first time I tried this recipe, so besides it still having the basic steps of a chocolate chip cookie, it was quite novel indeed. The marshmallows were really entertaining to see in the oven too, since they got all puffed up. The end result made me sad since the marshmallow puffiness collapsed, and made the cookies appear quite messy, but it was still fun to have an outside addition that made it more ‘hot chocolatey’. Likelihood of Repeat: 65%
This is definitely worth trying again when I have dehydrated marshmallows in stock, although maybe by then I will no longer have these 4 canisters of hot chocolate powder to deal with. It also seems like a good seasonal recipe to ring in the Fall. I also tried being clever by encasing lumps of marshmallow inside the cookie dough for a marshmallow inner filling, but those did not turn out as well. I think they just ended up melting into their component sugar parts..
The original recipe also called for an electric mixer, which I thought was unnecessary, although it also had a recipe for delicious frosting, which others may want to try. I used to be fond of saying that chocolate chip cookies are the only cookies worth making, and I’m afraid some days I still feel that way (especially if you put walnuts in them). This was no exception, but then I was unable to explain why I couldn’t stop eating the cookies when they came out…
The office kitchen space rating is: yum. As in, it disappeared pretty fast –but that’s not such a high bar..
P.S. Thanks to my friends who have gifted me hot chocolate in the past. It is a good thing to never run out of something you love to drink.