Potatoes That Taste Better Than The Chicken

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
Fall is around the corner, my friends. The beginnings of fallish things are happening from the wonderful cooler temperatures and crisp mornings to the not-so-wonderful appearance of Christmas decorations ALREADY. I’m not one to start up the Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving and I’m not one to drink a pumpkin spiced latte until it can actually do its job of warming me up because I’m cold from natural causes (as in, I didn’t sit in my car with my AC on full blast to get the same effect. That’s cheating AND rushing the perfect moment, which I feel, should come about authentically.) My friend Libby is rolling her eyes at me because she LOVES rushing fall and pretending it’s cold outside. In fact, she already had a pumpkin spiced latte! ūüôā I’m fine with seasonal enthusiasts. Honestly – whatever makes you happy! But as for me and my household, we won’t decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving is over. ūüôā

Another thing that¬†makes me happy is starting to think about fall dinners. I love the braising and stewing and the simmering of heavy, warm spices on the stove. One meal that gets me to thinking about the warmth of the winter is this simple and yet divine dish: roasted chicken on top of potatoes. We made this recipe a loooong time ago by¬†Jean-Georges Vongerichten. His recipe was so delicious, we’ve done it a few dozen times since and have varied and simplified and it’s always delicious and always perfect. I never mess this recipe up and it’s always so amazingly delicious. And let’s not ignore why: the potatoes are cooked in schmaltz. You’d also be delicious if you were roasted in chicken fat.

I also love this recipe because it is one of those dishes that everyone can agree on. Add a salad or some braised greens and you’ve got yourself a complete meal!

Potatoes Cooked in Chicken Fat Chicken Potatoes

Potatoes Taste Better Than the Chicken*

1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
coarsely ground salt and pepper
butter to coat the pan and chicken
1 head of garlic, sliced in half
sprigs of thyme, rosemary, whatever you have

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a large cast iron skillet and place the cut potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Pat your chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Rub with butter and then stick the halved garlic head into the chicken cavity and add whatever herbs you like. Place the chicken on one of its sides on top of the potatoes.

Roast for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken onto its other side and roast another 20. Then, turn the chicken breast-side up and continue roasting until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer says at least 165F, about 15-20 minutes more. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and carve on top of the potatoes and serve them along with the chicken. Beautiful.

*adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Carrots and Celery: A Colorful Spin on Steak House Sides

Steak, Roasted Carrots and Celery Salad
Summer hasn’t felt very summery until these past¬†two weeks. The rains finally stopped and the heat finally reached into the upper 90’s and it’s starting to feel like Lubbock, again. We weren’t sure what to do with all that rain and all that…not watering our lawns, so¬†we sorta forgot how. I was so used to my garden looking like Swamp Thing that I honestly forgot to keep watering about a week after it quit raining so heavily. Then when things started to wilt, I realized that everything might be thirsty. So I’m back in the swing of watering every other day and I’m enjoying seeing things grow. However, if we had to survive off of what I have growing in my garden, we’d have all died a few weeks ago. I want to be better and grow enough to sustain us year round, but I’m not there, yet. I grew up in a family of farmers but I am not one of them.

We benefit from families of farmers in this town, however, and one of those families is Holy Cow Beef, a family that produces amazing beef products right here in Lubbock, TX. They run an honest, humane, grass-fed beef corporation and their products are extremely high-quality. We bought a New York strip from them, among other cuts, when they were at the Lubbock Downtown Farmer’s Market last weekend and happily made this weeknight meal for our family last week. Matt seared the steak in butter on the stove and finished it in the oven – a favorite and classic way we like to cook a steak. The three of us ate dinner from just one portion! ¬†I roasted orange and purple carrots along with parsnips and served that and the beef along with a blue cheese celery salad. Yes, this plate was served to our three-year-old (no short-order cooking around here) and here’s how it went:

“I only like the orange carrots.”
“I will only eat one celery.”
“More meat, please.”

So I’d highly recommend if you’re in this area, to stop by the farmer’s market on Saturdays and check out what Holy Cow Beef has to offer! We’ve been eating less meat in general, and so buying high quality products from local producers helps us value the days we do have meat a little more. Quality over quantity is a good idea, especially if you, like me, are a carnivore.

 

Blue Cheese Celery Salad
I wanted to share the recipe for the blue cheese and celery salad with you, today. It was so refreshing and different as a side for the steak. I think it would make an amazing topping for a burger, a different dish during football season, or as a side for BBQ!

Blue Cheese Celery Salad*
serves 4

¬ľ cup mayonnaise
4 cups celery, cut into ‚Öõ-inch-thick half moons (about 8 stalks)
¬ľ cup fresh orange juice
1¬Ĺ teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons chile oil
¬ľ cup celery leaves
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
¬Ĺ cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

Spread the mayonnaise among 4 plates. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the celery with the orange juice and season generously with salt. Drizzle with the chile oil (you could also use olive oil and crushed red pepper), then toss in the celery leaves. Scatter the dressed celery on top of the mayonnaise, then top with the chives and lots of blue cheese, and serve.

*adapted from Tasting Table

 

Roasted Carrots
And instead of the classic fries or a baked potato that you typically see alongside a steak, I did a colorful trio of roasted carrots. I simply peeled and sliced three of each orange and purple carrots and parsnips and coated them in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and then roasted them at 400 until soft when pierced with a knife. Then I browned one tablespoon of butter and tossed them right before serving.

 

Blue Cheese Celery Salad with Seared Steak

Homemade Baby Food – but you’ll sneak a few tastes, too!

Parsnip and Golden Beets
I’ve worked this past week on compiling a baby food post for anyone seeking out ideas for making baby food at home. I don’t make baby food at home because I’m a store-bought skeptic. In fact, the last time I was at Target and looked at all the baby food options, I was a little bit blown away. It’s completely dizzying how much variety there is in stores these days. So I’m totally for buying baby food. But at .99 cents a pouch, I’ve still got the price beat by making it¬†at home. With a two dollar butternut squash, I can make almost a dozen jars! I also love cooking and tasting and seasoning food for my girls. I find myself sneaking a few bites of their food and I love knowing exactly what goes into¬†the stuff they eat.

Making baby food gets me into a zen-like state in the kitchen as well. I’m not exactly sure why, but I love the process. I love choosing ingredients, maybe even ingredients I don’t use very often, and making something tasty for my babies. I also love the complete blank slate that a six month old baby is in that high chair. They have never tried a single food and I get to show them everything I’ve ever tasted! Hey baby, this is guacamole – you can thank me later.

In this post I have a couple of techniques for you to apply to literally any fruit or vegetable you can find in the freezer aisle. Then I have a couple recipes from my favorite baby food book, Tyler Florence’s, Start Fresh, and then I have a couple original recipes based on what sounded good to me and what was on sale at the grocery store. You’ll soon see that I don’t exactly follow the “rules” of baby-feeding.¬†I find the rules restrictive, paranoid and somewhat unnecessary. You do not need to only introduce your baby to one food a week. ¬†If they have a reaction, it will most likely occur within 24 hours. ¬†It also makes no sense to me to start babies off on something that could be mistaken for wet cardboard in flavor and texture (rice cereal – have you tasted that stuff?!) ¬†It’s no wonder kids are expected to eat “kid food” when they are started off on bland carbs and not challenged very much in the variety category thereafter.¬†I started both my babies off with fruits and vegetables¬†and have alternated and given them something new nearly every day after we hit the solids stage. ¬†If you get in the habit of changing up what your baby eats from the very beginning, then variety will become the norm in your house and they’ll never know that most other kids only eat brown food. ¬†That’s another rant for another day.

Here’s some recipes for you new moms out there – send me any ideas you have, too! ¬†I love new ideas that help me get out of my cooking ruts!

Apricots and Maple

Roasted Maple Apricots with Mint
Roasted Apricots with Maple Syrup and Mint

8 apricots, split in half
3-4 TBS pure maple syrup (avoid honey until a year old!)
2 sprigs mint (I have a fun chocolate mint plant in my backyard that I used)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Arrange the split apricots on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with maple syrup. ¬†Sprinkle with cinnamon (if you wish) and roast for 20 minutes. ¬†Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. ¬†Add the mint leaves and pulse till combined. ¬†Thin out with water if it’s too chunky. ¬†I like to freeze baby food in muffin tins or ice cube trays and then once frozen, I store the cubes in a freezer bag for easy access. ¬†I just label the bags with what’s inside and when I made it!

Avocado Pineapple and Yogurt

Banana Avocado Pineapple Yogurt
Banana Avocado and Pineapple Yogurt*

1/2 avocado
1 small banana (or half a large)
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/4 cup whole fat, plain yogurt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. ¬†This doesn’t keep well the next day (it discolors – still tastes fine, but it turns a weird gray from the avocado) so best to keep the portions small. ¬†I cut this recipe in half and Ellie ate it over the course of two days.

*from Start Fresh

Carrot Apple and Mango Puree
Carrot, Mango and Apple Puree

I made this and loved the flavors! ¬†I think it needs longer than 25 minutes roasting – maybe because my oven is on the cool side. ¬†But I think roasting mango alongside carrots doesn’t quite work because carrots and apple take way longer than a mango to roast and then your mango loses a lot of its water. ¬†So, in my opinion, I would roast the carrots and apples together and then add in the mango at the end, or just when you blend. ¬†Make sure you line your pan with foil. ¬†The sugars in the mango will glue themselves to your pan if you don’t! – from Start Fresh

Frozen Peach
Frozen Fruit Baby Food

I love making baby food from frozen fruits and vegetables! There’s always an organic option if that’s important to you, and fruits and veggies are often flash frozen at the peak of freshness. ¬†The only fruit I’ve encountered that isn’t so great frozen is mango. Everything else seems really ripe and awesome. ¬†Here’s what I do:

1 bag frozen fruit – 8 oz (in the pic above it was a bag of peaches)
1 TBS unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla or cinnamon or any spice you want to experiment with!

In a large saucepan, add the frozen fruit and butter and a splash of water.  Cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble and the fruit thaws.  Stir in your vanilla or cinnamon and let it simmer for a bit longer, smashing up chunks of the fruit.  Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth!

Frozen Spinach
Frozen Vegetable Baby Food

8 oz frozen vegetables – in the pic above, I used frozen spinach
2 TBS butter
a pinch of salt
a splash (1/4 cup) of water)

In a large pan, add the vegetables and a splash of water and bring to a simmer. If you’re using spinach, you won’t need that water. Most other veggies could use a little moisture, and if you’re using peas, add enough to where they boil in the water because you’ll just strain the peas out when you puree and add water to thin out the consistency. Add the butter and salt and stir until melted and then blend until smooth.

Parsnip and Golden Beets
Parsnip and Golden Beet Mash

3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
4 small golden beets, peeled and chopped
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
1/2 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable stock

Heat your oven to 375 and toss the beets and parsnips with oil and roast until softened and slightly browned, about 25 minutes. ¬†Transfer to a food processor and add a tablespoon of butter and the chicken or vegetable stock and process until smooth. ¬†You may need to add a bit more stock to get a smoother texture, but if you’re baby can handle chunky stuff, go for it. ¬†This has a FABULOUS flavor. ¬†There’s something magical about parsnips and butter, so I definitely don’t skip out on adding the butter. ¬†Fat is good for baby’s brain development. ¬†Don’t hold back! This is the puree you’ll want to eat, too. ¬†It’d be a great substitute for mashed potatoes at a family dinner!

There you are, my friends. ¬†I hope some of these recipes help you explore and try new things in your own kitchen! ¬†Most all of these recipes can be altered to fit any combination of ingredients, so be creative! Add fresh herbs and onion or experiment with various seasonings like curry. ¬†Have fun! That’s the whole point!

Roasted Green Chile and Caramelized Onion Dip

Green Chili and Caramelized Onion Dip
Here in the West Texas/Eastern New Mexico region, we have a summertime tradition. ¬†We wait all year for it and when the weekend comes, we can smell it in the air. ¬†On every supermarket corner, there they are: green chiles, rotating in a huge, iron roaster over a fire, filling the air with the sweet and savory charred smell of heaven on earth. ¬†A couple weekends ago, it was Chile Roasting¬†Day. ¬†It only happens for a couple weekends at the end of the summer or the beginning of the fall season, so there’s a sense of urgency to buy as many bags as we can before they’re gone. ¬†There’s just one problem: letting them go to waste (they’ll mold within a couple weeks in your fridge) or freezing them, which takes away some of their magic, if you ask me.

So this year, we bought two bags like this:
bag of roasted green chilies
…and we promised we wouldn’t let them go to waste OR freeze them. ¬†Maybe we should store up for winter, but there’s something pretty special about waiting all year for something. ¬†Like a summer tomato. ¬†It’s worth the wait and any other time of the year, it just isn’t the same. (blog post coming soon…)

So all week, I’m going to be posting green chile recipes! ¬†If you happen to live in this region, go stock up because I fear this weekend will be the last. ¬†If you don’t live in this region, I’m sorry. ¬†It’s really the only thing we have on you because we have to deal with dirt storms for a third of our year and 100 degree heat for another third. ¬†Let us revel in this, our only leg up on the competition. ¬†(mostly kidding – I’d send you a bag, but I don’t want to freeze them). ūüôā

Today your recipe is a roasted green chile dip with caramelized onions.  I posted about a caramelized onion dip last summer and I thought it would be the perfect base for adding some green chile magic.  So here you go, my friends.  Enjoy the first green chile recipe of the best week of the summer.

Roasted Green Chili Dip
Roasted Green Chile and Caramelized Onion Dip

makes about two cups

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 TBS unsalted butter
2 large, yellow onions, sliced thin
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
7-10 roasted, mild green chiles, seeded or not, it’s up to you.
1 TBS red wine vinegar
kosher salt to taste – I used about 2 teaspoons

In a large, deep sided skillet, add the oil and butter over medium-medium high heat until the butter starts to bubble.  Add the sliced onions and spread out into one layer and let them sizzle for about 5 minutes until they start to color.  Stir them around and repeat this process, not stirring too much to let them caramelize.  This process takes about 30 minutes and you want to err on the side of too caramelized than not enough.  Mine looked like this:
Caramelized Onions
Meanwhile, in a food processor, add the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo and vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. ¬†Pulse until blended. ¬†When the onions are done, scoop them into the food processor and add the green chiles. ¬†I added just three at first, two seeded and peeled, and one whole, minus the stem. ¬†It wasn’t enough green chile flavor for me, so I just kept adding them. ¬†There are LOTS of amazing flavors in the roasted skins and since you are blending them up, it’s completely recommended to not peel the skins from your chiles when you add them. ¬†So! ¬†Add a few, pulse, and see how you like it. ¬†Add some salt, pulse some more. ¬†Add a few more chiles. ¬†Really, it’s up to your taste and what you like. ¬†We ended up adding 7 green chiles, 3 peeled and seeded and 4 whole (minus stem). ¬†It was a perfect heat level for us AND we were using mild chiles, so obviously, with the hot variety, you might want to seed all of them. ¬†I bought mild because I wanted LOTS AND LOTS of flavor without killer heat. ¬†This is a fun game of taste testing, so have some chips ready. ¬†Enjoy!

 

Buffalo Burgers with Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetables

Buffalo Burgers
Get your grill heated up this weekend – it’s supposed to be beautiful! ¬†I actually don’t know that for sure, but I’m trying to stay positive. ¬†I made these burgers for us this week after seeing a recipe for lamb burgers. ¬†I couldn’t find ground lamb here and didn’t really want to pay to have some lamb loin ground up so I figured I’d go with something just as lean (the appeal of a lamb burger) and go with buffalo! ¬†We have a very small section in our local grocery store and they have a few pounds of ground buffalo always available. ¬†I know it’s really, really lean, so it can dry out really easily. ¬†The trick is cooking it low and slow, so I’d suggest if you’re grilling, to keep it off the direct flame and give it some extra time. ¬†I love chopped onion in my burgers, so I added some to these and also a little bit of grated Swiss cheese and a couple tablespoons of water – a trick I learned in making the best meatballs ever, that gives the meat that extra tender-juiciness without adding a bunch of fat. ¬†We topped these burgers with sliced avocado, baby bell peppers, pickles and extra cheese – they were really wonderful and still juicy!

I served the burgers with some roasted carrots and potatoes. ¬†I love roasting vegetables with rosemary and just a touch of olive oil, and had I had more root vegetables, I’d have added them right in! ¬†I’ve done this before with beets, turnips and parsnips and I’ve loved them all!

roasted root vegetables

Buffalo Burgers with Roasted Root Vegetables

1 lb ground buffalo
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
2 TBS water

In a large bowl, mix the buffalo and all the other ingredients until well incorporated and form into loose patties.  Salt and pepper both sides and cook on the stovetop over medium heat, or on the grill off direct heat for about 5 minutes per side, or until desired doneness is achieved.  I cooked mine until they were about 135F inside and that gave us a tiny bit of pink in the middle.  I served our burgers on toasted buns with mayo, sliced avocado, sliced baby bell peppers, sliced baby kosher pickles and extra Swiss cheese.  Top however you like!

For the root veggies:

A mix of carrots, potatoes, beets, turnips, etc (about 2-3 each)
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS chopped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 400F.  On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss the chopped vegetables with the olive oil and rosemary and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the veggies start to get a little crispy along the edges.

Buffalo Burgers with Avocado and Swiss

Happy Thanksgiving!

Santa's Little Helper2

This is the Super Bowl of a cook’s world. ¬†I love this holiday and I certainly don’t want to skip over it in a rush to get to Christmas! ¬†Since Matt and I began developing our love of cooking almost 10 years ago, we have looked forward to Thanksgiving a little more each year. ¬†I think, in a way, we are trying to create our own family traditions this year, with a little family of our own. ¬†We realized with a hint of despair the other day that we may not get to host our own family Thanksgiving until our children are in college! ¬†So we decided that along with trying out new recipes each year and saving some old favorites, we’d have our own Thanksgiving at our home, before heading out of town to spend time with our extended families.

This was our Pre-Thanksgiving! ¬†I printed off each recipe and kept the stack on our counter to refer to as I did my prep. ¬†I couldn’t sleep Monday morning, so I got up around 5 and started chopping leeks, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. ¬†We had a few friends over who each brought an amazing pie and some blue ribbon biscuits from our friend, Rod, who still won’t share that recipe, almost 20 years later. ¬†ūüôā I didn’t get pictures of everything, nor was I trying to do a post on any one particular recipe. ¬†I just took some pics that I could and let the rest go – this was about having a great time with friends and not about styling a plate of food. However, I did get links to the recipes for everything we did. ¬†Everything turned out really fantastic – loved the Brussels Sprouts and the Cheesy Squash Cassrole and that cocktail made everything just a little more sparkly. ūüėČ

brussels sprouts with blue cheese and bacon
Brussels Sprouts with Blue Cheese and Bacon

cranberry orange relish
Cranberry Orange Relish
pimento cheese twice baked potatoes
Twice Baked Pimento Cheese Potatoes

Santa's Little Helper
The cocktail of the evening that made EVERYONE happy – Santa’s Little Helper. ¬†This will be making a repeat appearance. turkey porcetta
Turkey Porcetta

Dishes I made but failed to get a photo of:
Mushroom and Bacon Stuffing
Cheesy Squash Casserole

Again, everything was wonderful and we had a great time with our friends! ¬†Happy Thanksgiving to everyone – have safe travels and we’ll see you back here next week with a report on all the goodies we make at my parents’ house in New Mexico. ¬†There’s a S’mores pie I’ve been wanting to create…

 

Beautiful Beets and Second Chances

beets008

This is a perfect Monday post because no one really reads my Monday posts so I can be as nerdy as I want. ¬†Here it comes…

beets012 beets013 beets006

I took a lot of pictures of beets the other today. ¬†They’re beautiful. ¬†Why aren’t they more popular in this country? ¬†A PINK food? ¬†Come on! Kids should be all over these. ¬†They stain worse than food coloring. ¬†They roast up sweet and savory. ¬†I think a lot of people in this country have been scarred by canned or pickled beets. ¬†That’s the taste they have in their minds. ¬†I can understand why that wouldn’t be the most appealing taste memory. ¬†But think about this – what if someone decided a long time ago that the best way to eat a potato would be to brine it? ¬†Everyone would say, “Eww, potatoes.” ¬†THINK ABOUT THAT! ¬†So, my determination is to try previously unappealing foods in different ways than they are known for. ¬†Roasting is almost always the best way to cook a root vegetable. ¬†It works with just about anything from asparagus to parsnips to turnips. ¬†It’s good to give foods with a bad reputation a ¬†second chance. You never know if you’re one recipe away from your new favorite food.

This post is really just for showing the pics I took of beets.  And if you are curious, peel them, chop them into cubes, coat them in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast them for 30 minutes at 400F until tender.  No brainer.

beets002 beets003 beets004 beets007 beets001 beets015
Ready for roasting

My family looking at me as if I’d gone crazy while I took pictures of beets for 30 minutes.
beets014

 

Cajun Shrimp and Potato Bake

shrimp and potatoes002

This is a fantastically easy, hearty, well-rounded meal that is wonderful for the whole family. ¬†I love cutting corn cobs into sundials – it’s not only very pretty to look at, but it makes it very easy for little hands to pick up and dig in! ¬†I created this meal after determining we had nothing to eat ūüôā ¬†I had a few fingerling potatoes, 3 cobs of corn, and about 12 shrimp in the freezer. ¬†Oh, and a shallot. ¬†I had a shallot. ¬†It really is remarkable what you can create when your laziness for going to the store beats out your laziness for cooking. ¬†I chopped up everything, roasted them, and served it all in bowls with plenty of hot sauce!

This meal was made possible by the previously stated freezer staple, frozen shrimp, and a strong desire to stay home and out of the heat. ¬†We had leftovers for a few days from this, and for what was probably $5 total, I’d consider that a success.

shrimp and potatoes004

Cajun Shrimp and Potato Bake
serves 4

1 lb fingerling potatoes, or small, new potatoes, chopped into 1″ pieces
3 cobs of corn, cut into 1″ cross-sections
1 large shallot, or 1/2 a medium onion, cut into thin half-moons
1/2 lb peeled, deveined, frozen shrimp (about 6-8 per person, if they are big)
1 tsp Cajun seasoning (or Old Bay would work great)
Olive oil (about 3-4 tablespoons total)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 375. Run cold water over the frozen shrimp to thaw and leave it in the colander while you cut up the vegetables.  Toss the potatoes, corn and onion with about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle well with salt and pepper.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, until corn turns golden and potatoes are tender, stirring once or twice during cooking time.  While the vegetables are roasting, rinse the shrimp again and then lay them out on paper towels, blot dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper and Cajun seasoning on both sides.

When the vegetables are almost done, take the tray out and lay the shrimp on top of the vegetables and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.  Toss everything together in a big bowl and serve with hot sauce of choice!

Coriander Crusted Chicken

Corriander Chicken004

 

This Monday meal is a really unique spin on some old standards. ¬†We all get tired of chicken because it’s nearly always in the weekly rotation. ¬†Adding a spice you may not be used to is the best way to make something boring like chicken seem new, again! ¬†This week that spice is coriander. ¬†The seed of the cilantro plant, it has a tutti-fruity flavor and is commonly used in Indian cuisine. ¬†It’s got a wonderful sweet/spicy appeal that makes it ideal for roasted chicken. ¬†We first ran across this spice mix from acclaimed chef, Michael Symon, who combined coriander, cinnamon, cumin and Srirracha for the most unbelievable wings you’ll ever taste. ¬†We’ve ¬†brought those chicken wings to football parties, church potlucks and small get-togethers with friends and they are always gone first.

For this simple meal, I took a few of the spices from Symon’s original wing recipe and tossed the chicken legs in with them, plus some olive oil and roasted it. ¬†Perfection! ¬†They’d be even better if you put them in the rub the night before you were going to cook them. ¬†We simply served the chicken with a side of Srirracha for a dipping sauce instead of making the wing sauce recipe.

Corriander Chicken005

For the side, I did a simple roasted green bean/potato dish tossed with diced, caramelized purple onions. ¬†Such a simple addition and it made the vegetables totally awesome. ¬†Oh, and for my gluten/dairy avoiding friends, this meal is entirely safe for you! ¬†FYI, just to keep things honest, Olive only ate the potatoes out of this dish. ¬†She’s decided this week and last to boycott meats and most vegetables. ¬†It’s been super fun…

Corriander Chicken007

 

Coriander Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
serves 4

1 lb chicken legs, thighs, wings – just make sure they’re still on the bone. ¬†Yes, this can be done with boneless, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time
2 tbs coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

For the vegetables:
2 medium sized potatoes
1/2 lb fresh green beans, ends snipped
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 red onion, diced
3 tbs olive oil

For the chicken: Preheat your oven to 450F.  Combine the coriander seeds, cumin, cinnamon, salt and olive oil in a gallon sized Ziploc bag.  Add the chicken legs and smush and toss and move them around inside the bag to coat all the pieces evenly.  Sometimes I open up the bag and have to move some of the top pieces down to the bottom cause the bottom pieces are spice-hogs.  Leave the bag in the fridge for 30 minutes while you prep all the rest of the vegetables for the meal.

Wash and cube up the potatoes into about 1/2″ cubes. ¬†Snap the ends off your green beans and wash them and pat them dry. ¬†Toss the potatoes and green beans together with the 2 tbs of olive oil and spread them out on a greased, rimmed baking sheet. ¬†Season with a good sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and set pan aside. ¬†Take your chicken out of the fridge and arrange the pieces on a greased, foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. ¬†Place the chicken in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. ¬†Put the potatoes and green beans in the oven on the lower rack beneath the chicken and get on with your onions. ¬†In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 3 tbs of olive oil over medium heat and cook the onions till they are golden, usually 10-15 minutes.

Check the potatoes and green beans when the timer for the chicken goes off. ¬†If they haven’t turned golden and slightly crispy, leave them in there. ¬†Check the temp of the chicken with a probe thermometer. ¬†If it’s 165, they are done and you can remove them from the oven. ¬†They may take longer depending on the size of chicken pieces you used and the temp of your oven (all ovens lie just a little bit). ¬†If your vegetables aren’t quite done when the chicken is, just tent the chicken with foil so they’ll keep warm. ¬†The beauty of the vegetables is that if they get done faster than the chicken, they can easily be warmed in the microwave. ¬†When the vegetables are done roasting, toss them in with the caramelized onions in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Corriander Chicken002

 

Asparagus Tart – Roasting is still the best way to eat vegetables

asparagus tart 3

I know I said I’d write about what got the most requests on my question last week, but I haven’t had time to do a good job with the requests I got, so that will come at a later post. ¬†The top requests were for kale. ¬†Honestly, I’m a bit stumped. ¬†What, exactly, is the mystery? ¬†Put it in stuff? ¬†Ha! ¬†That would be my suggestion. ¬†Stir it into soups, toss it in salads and wilt it a bit with warm roasted chicken or hot bacon. ¬†However, I don’t want to be flippant, so I will look up some good uses for kale, the sad-replacement-for-chips, and get back to you. ¬†The other suggestion that intrigued me was for proper hash browns. ¬†My friend, Maria, said that she had tried them several times and hadn’t gotten that good, diner-esque texture to them. ¬†Honestly, I haven’t, either. ¬†So I am interested to look up ways to cook hash browns well and that will most definitely be a post, as it will be a learning process for me, as well.

Today I wanted to simply give you an awesome recipe that we had last night for dinner, as our “starter” dish. ¬†A beautiful use of asparagus (hey, Tracey, you asked for asparagus recipes, too!) and a lovely and exciting way to serve them that feels indulgent (bet you’ve never used that word in association with asparagus) and fun for children, and even doable for one-year-olds learning to eat bigger chunks of food. ¬†Olive ate about 6 bits of this tart and then she was done. I consider that a success.

Having a box of frozen puff pastry in your freezer at all times is a good move.  This stuff can make you look like a fabulous cook in about 20 minutes.  You can top it with anything and bake and have great appetizers, desserts, or a crust for a savory tart, like this one.

Also, I wanted to mention my deep love and perhaps borderline obsession with using up leftovers. ¬†My goal at the end of most weeks is for my fridge to be empty, save condiments and milk. ¬†It’s good to think of ways to use up your leftovers and I know no better way than to use eggs to achieve almost-better-than-the original-meal leftovers. ¬†This morning, I took leftover pieces of the asparagus tart and fried an egg and put it on top. ¬†Lots of fresh ground pepper and a few drops of hot sauce. ¬†So good.

breakfast2

Asparagus Tart

serves 4

1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1 bundle of fresh asparagus, ends snipped and cut in half, length-wise (I found that this helped them cook faster than the original recipe)
Olive oil to coat the asparagus – 2 tbs
Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt
2 oz shredded Manchego cheese –¬†Parmesan¬†or¬†Swiss¬†would also work

Preheat the oven to 400F. ¬†On a greased, rimmed baking sheet, roll out your puff pastry to about 9×13″ rectangle. ¬†Poke all over the bottom with a fork and bake for 15 minutes, until golden. ¬†Toss your asparagus in olive oil. When the pastry comes out, it will have shrunk. ¬†It’s okay, I swear. ¬†Cover the tart in the shredded cheese and lay your¬†asparagus¬†spears side by side, touching, and alternating head to toe (this just makes more asparagus fit and it looks prettier.)

asparagus tart 1

 

Sprinkle the top of the tart with salt and pepper.  If you have leftover asparagus spears, just place them, cut side down, on the baking sheet around the tart.  They turned out to be gloriously crispy when they came out.  Bake for 25 minutes until the asparagus is nicely wilted and slightly browned.  Let cool slightly, cut with a sharp knife into squares and serve!

In the morning, heat leftovers in a 350F oven and fry an egg to place on top. ¬†Enjoy with a cup of coffee and try not to think about the fact that it’s only Wednesday.

asparagus tart 2

breakfast

*original recipe from Martha Stewart Living