Archive | June, 2010

Roast Chicken Deliciousness

24 Jun

So I just got finished reading Anthony Bourdain’s sequel to Kitchen ConfidentialMedium Raw. Let’s get something straight here. I freaking *LOVE* Anthony Bourdain. I want to *BE* him. I want *MY* job to be jaunting around the world, eating anything and everything, and then documenting it on TV. And get paid to be kind of an a$$hole in the process.

But I can’t, and I’m not, so I just have to live vicariously through him by reading his books, watching his TV show, and maybe going to his former restaurant Les Halles (Yes, I’ve been there. And I saw Carlos. And I might have been a little giddy about it. Shaddup.)

But I digress. Before Bourdain became a hot shot round-the-world traveler, he was a chef for a very very long time. He talks about how people have forgotten how to cook the basics, and that basically every man, woman and child should at least have some rudimentary skills in the kitchen. At one point, he quotes:

“Everyone should be able to roast a chicken. And they should be able to do it well.”

I think I’ve done good by Anthony, if I do say so myself. Although to be honest, I first became enamored with roast chicken when I saw Ina Garten do it on Barefoot Contessa (Another person I am obsessed with, but let’s leave that for another post shall we?) Roast chicken is great because you can do it a million different ways. Here’s mine

Roast Chicken with Vegetables

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken

  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 3 lbs of red bliss potatoes
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 yellow squash
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

First up: Veggies – Cut and chop all your veggies and place in roasting pan. Place a couple of sprigs of dill in the pan as well. Toss liberally with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Mmmmmm, veggies.

Next, the chicken – Remove all the nasty bits inside and wash the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Cut the garlic clove in half as well as the lemon. Shove it all inside the chicken along with another handful of the dill sprigs. Fold it up nicely and tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string and tuck the wings underneath. Take your melted butter and a brush and go to town on the chicken, because that is what gives you the awesomeness that is crunchy skin. Place the chicken (breast side up people!) on top of the veggies, and stick it in the oven for 1.5 hours, or until the juices run clean when you slice into it.

Chicken – Sliced                                  Vegetables – Diced

Once the chicken is finished, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes, covering it with aluminum foil. Then, chop it all up and serve!

Now if only Anthony Bourdain would read this and take me on as his assistant. A girl can dream, right?

Cookies for Brunch

21 Jun

I was recently invited to an engagement party that was simultaneously being taken place in Boca Raton, FL. The maid of honor, who is a very good friend of mine, was not able to make it to the party, so she decided to have her own party and Skyped into the party taking place in Florida. Confused yet? I think it was just an excuse for people to come over to her house and make delicious food, but I digress.

Anyway, the party was the perfect opportunity for me to make a batch of cookies that I was absolutely dying to make ever since I saw them on the blog: Fresh New England. As I was brainstorming ideas on what to bring to the party some of the mainstays came to mind, by that I mean eggs, bread, and quiche (when else do you get to eat quiche?). No, I wanted something sweet and slightly crunchy.

Let me tell you, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla bean cookies were the answer. My husband freaked out a bit when I told him how much the vanilla bean cost, but it was totally worth it. Especially when he ate 2 or 3 cookies after I made them. It was a little tricky trying to convert the grams into cups, but the extra brain power I used was worth it in the end and for us silly Americans I’ve converted it into cups for you.

I can’t wait for the opportunity to make again because they were that delicious. And they were a hit at the party, which always makes me feel good.

Brown Sugar, Cinammon, & Vanilla Bean Cookies

Recipe From Fresh New England

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter brought to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2  cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean with contents scraped out and set aside
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tbs. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In separate bowl mix flour, baking soda and nutmeg. Set aside. Cream butter. Blend in sugar, vanilla extract and vanilla bean contents. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add flour and mix until just combined. Do not over mix, in fact, under mix, and then maybe mix 3 or 4 times by hand. Place dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl mix sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. Scoop out a table spoon size portion and roll into ball (you can use a scooper or just do it by hand, like I did. It’s more fun that way). Roll ball of cookie dough into the sugar / cinnamon mixture. Place ball of dough on cookie sheet and press gently with palm of hand to flatten a bit. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies at least an inch apart. Bake at 350 degree for 10-12 minutes, until lightly brown at edges.

I had a lot of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture left over. Save for when you make these cookies again or toast up an english muffin, slather in butter, pour a heavy hand of your left over mixture, stick it into the toaster oven on low for a couple of minutes, then enjoy. Yeah, you’re welcome.


A Whole Lotta Falafel

18 Jun

I’m pretty sure falafel runs through my veins (I should probably get that checked). My Mom makes some awesome Lebanese food (And she’s not even Lebanese!) so I’m hoping to follow in her footsteps. I’ve been playing around with this falafel recipe for a long time now, and I think I’ve finally got it right this time. My husband told me it was the best falafel I’d made so far. Now THAT’S saying something. I think the reason why it came out so good this time around is thanks to both the flavors, but also the fact that I made them into tiny balls, rather than the patties I had made prior.

Mix up some Tahini sauce, cut up some cucumbers and tomatoes (I forgot the cucumbers this time around) and if you are feeling up to it, whip up some hummus, slap it all together in a pita and there you are!

Baked Falafel

Amount varied

  • 29oz chickpeas, drained (I used a large Goya can)
  • 1tbsp parsley, dried
  • 2tsp cumin
  • 1/4tsp red pepper
  • 1/4tsp coriander
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2tsp onion powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • squeeze of lemon

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all ingredients in food processor (if you like your falafel chunkier, use a potato masher).

Before Mashing:

After Mashing:

Using a 1.5″ scooper, roll falafel mixture into balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool.

Next up, make the tahini sauce. What’s great about the tahini sauce is that you can tailor it to your liking by adding more garlic, lemon juice or tahini (I personally like more tahini). I used regular fat free yogurt for this recipe, but next time I’m going to try Greek Yogurt since it’s a lot thicker.

Tahini Sauce

  • 6oz plain fat free yogurt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2tbsp tahini

Combine all ingredients and voila, amazing tahini sauce.

Next up assemble your sandwiches. Cut up a few tomatoes and cucumbers to add to your sandwich. I recommend using some thick pita bread, otherwise you risk your sandwich falling apart, like you can see in my finished product. I have a recipe for homemade pita bread that I’m dying to try so we shall see.

And there you have it! Delicious (and nutritious) falafel. Enjoy!

What do you think YOU’RE doing?

15 Jun

Well, I’ve finally done it. I’ve decided to join the masses and start a food blog. Am I crazy? Probably. But now that I’m good and married, I need to occupy my time somehow since I’m no longer planning a wedding. So, who am I? What am I doing starting a food blog? Can I even cook? Bake?

We shall see. We shall see.

For now, I answer some questions for you.

Who?

Who am I? Well, my name is Amanda for those of you that don’t know. I recently married my high school sweetheart on April 3rd. I graduated from Northeastern University in 2009 with my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice. When I’m not attempting to blow up my kitchen….err…I mean cooking and/or baking, I enjoy running, reading, knitting, crocheting, and doing other fun stuff. I’m a claims adjuster for an auto insurance company in my spare time.

What?

What will you get out of this blog? I have to say, I follow A LOT of bloggers and I am always finding new and interesting recipes. Occasionally, I’m even smart enough to come up with my own recipe, and I hope as this blog grows and matures, I’ll be able to share more of my own recipes with all of you!

Where?

Husband and I currently live in Brighton, MA and we love it! Boston and the surrounding areas have such a dynamic mix of restaurants, and they are definitely inspiration for creating some awesome dishes.

When?

2010, that’s when

Why?

Why did i start this blog? Well, I briefly alluded to the reason at the beginning of this post, but allow me to elaborate. I’ve always loved to cook but I never thought I was really good at it until I started to experiment in my kitchen. I feel like I’ve come a long way from where I started, but I know I still have a lot to learn. I’m an extremely novice baker, so I’m hoping to gain some insight from my fellow readers, as well as discovering along the way.

How?

I’ll be using some of my favorite recipes from the internet, cooking/baking books, family recipes and maybe even some of my own creation. I’ve contracted my husband to be my photographer, but you may occasionally see some of my own pictures. Please don’t laugh.

So there you have it. Come along for the ride, and don’t forget to wear your seat belt.

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