January – Spicy Thai Influenced Chicken Thighs

January – Spicy Thai Influenced Chicken Thighs

Spicy chicken thighs redolent with ginger, garlic, lime juice, chili paste and coconut milk. Oh my! These are fantastic. Use the leftovers in the can of coconut milk to make coconut rice, rice cooked in coconut milk and water. I cannot say enough about this combination, yummy.

Thai Inspired Roast Chicken

Thai Inspired Roast Chicken

 

Spicy Thai Influenced Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs trimmed of any excess fat or skin (you could also use breasts in this menu, bone-in and skin-on preferred)
  • 3″ piece of ginger, grated
  • 5 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3/4 cup of coconut milk, low or full fat
  • 1/4 cup of hot chili paste, use less depending on heat and sensitivity
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 2 T of brown sugar (optional, I did not use)
  • 1 T of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro, mint or a combination – for serving

Method:

  1. Combine the ginger, garlic, chili paste, lime juice, sugar (if using), and salt in a bowl with the coconut milk. Whisk or stir to mix. Pour the marinade over the chicken in a bowl or plastic zip lock bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinate, shaking them gently to remove any excess. Place the chicken thighs on a parchment or foil lined lined sheet pan. Bake for about 30-40 minutes depending on your oven and the size of the thighs, or until the skin is brown and the juices run clear.
  4. You can bring any remaining marinade to a boil in a small saucepan, simmer for a few minutes and use as a sauce.
  5. Garnish with cilantro, mint or a combination.
Thai Inspired Roast Chicken

Thai Inspired Roast Chicken

I am taking these over to the folks at Fiesta Friday to share at the virtual blogging party. It’s Fiesta Friday #364 hosted by Angie and cohosted this week by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Petra @ Food Eat Love

Come on over, click on the link to Fiesta Friday and read all the blogging post recipes, craft ideas, and decorating tips.

Suitable for phase 3 of the 30 Day Metabolic Diet, remove the chicken skin before serving.

Thai Inspired Roast Chicken

Thai Inspired Roast Chicken

January – Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

January – Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

I rarely braise any kind of meat in the summer or spring. Late fall and winter things are different though. Braised foods make your home smell amazing, definitely comfort food in the cold weather. And they usually provide several meals, a bonus these days of seemingly constant cooking.

I’ve made this dish several times now, it’s based on a combination of recipes. One from the New York Times and my own special 5-hour slow cooked beef stew. That one is a favorite on the blog (it was first published in 2016) and I highly recommend it as it’s walk-away-easy as well as delicious. That first recipe uses cubed chunks of beef, this one a chuck or other roast. Use a cut you would use for a pot roast. What’s so special about that recipe? One – there is no pre-searing of the meat, and two – it will cook unattended by you during the afternoon while you do more interesting things. This time I adapted the recipe to a larger roast of beef, rump or chuck or cross rib.

Note: cook this in your oven, not the slow cooker. The liquid amounts are not designed for your slow cooker, or your pressure cooker for that matter.

This is the dish to use up that half bag of cranberries left over from Thanksgiving or Christmas, or one forgotten in your freezer from last year. It’s a reason to stock up on those bags as they are a seasonal item and usually unavailable the rest of the year. The cranberries add a tart but sweet note that is addictive. 

I will let you decide what vegetables to add. Some type of onion is essential but the rest can be varied. What about a bag of those small differently colored potatoes, or young carrots, small boiler onions, shallots…or all of them?

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef with baby potatoes

Spiced Braised Beef with Cranberries and Carrots

Spiced Braised Beef with Cranberries and Carrots

The second time I made the recipe I used a bag of those baby carrots in various colors from Trader Joe’s. Both time dinner was a big hit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 beef rump roast, brisket, or chuck roast
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced into half moons
  • 1/2 package of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1-1/2 cups of tomato juice, V8, or spicy V8 (my favorite)
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 3 ½ tablespoons of instant tapioca, I used Minute Tapioca
  • 1-1/2 pounds of small boiling onions or shallots, peeled and left whole. Or 2 larger onions, peeled and cut into wedges and/or a dozen small potatoes or a couple of cups of carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • For serving – chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper as needed

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
  2. In a small bowl combine the paprika, garlic, cinnamon, cardamon, cumin, salt, and pepper
  3. Dry the roast and rub it all over with the spices, let sit for 30 minutes while the oven preheats and you combine the other ingredients.
  4. In a larger bowl combine the juice, stock (or water), wine, and tapioca. Stir to mix and dissolve the tapioca.
  5. Place the roast in a large casserole or baking dish with a lid. Pour the liquid over then add the cranberries.
  6. Nestle the the onions and other vegetables at the sides.
  7. Cover and cook 6 hours.
  8. Uncover and let sit for 20 minutes before serving.
  9. Add the lemon juice and garnish with the parsley.
Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Let this simmer away, undisturbed, while you go for a hike or a walk or a bike ride… You will arrive home to the heavenly scent of slow cooked beef and spices. All you need for a complete meal is a green salad and something to mop up any juices. Mashed potatoes would be excellent here, or polenta, or a loaf of crusty country bread.

Coast trail on the headlands in Fort Bragg CA

Coast trail on the way to the lighthouse – New Year’s Day 2021

Slice and serve a good strong mustard or horseradish along side.

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Braised Beef with Carrots

Braised Beef with Carrots

It will be fall-apart tender.

January 4 is the first day of our annual 30-day healthy eating plan. With a few friends we do this every year. We cheer each other on and support each other through our individual difficult spots. For some it’s the sugar or carbs, others late night eating, and still others that 5 pm cocktail. We have all slid into comfort food the last 10 months. For 30 days we give up empty carbs, sugar, dairy, wheat, caffeine, alcohol and fatty/fried foods. We feed our bodies whole grains, beans, lean meats and lots of fruit and vegetables. It’s a reset. Yes, we usually lose weight but we also speed our metabolisms and reset our taste buds for healthier food. You can find details of the diet and some recipes by clicking on the category “30 day Metabolic Diet” on the right side of my blog. You will need to use your computer as the categories don’t show up on the mobile app.

I wonder if the folks over at the blogging party Fiesta Friday have left over cranberries? I think I will mosey on over there and add this post to the link party. It’s Fiesta Friday #362 hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Petra @ Food Eat Love.

Come on over and join the party. Click on the links to read blogs about food, travel, decorating plus arts and crafts.

As this dish is cooked without any additional fat (strain any off the sauce), it would qualify as a phase 1 or phase 3 dinner.

Again, wishing you a safe, healthy and love filled 2021.

January – Citrus Spiced Pulled Pork

January – Citrus Spiced Pulled Pork

Happy 2021 everyone. Things are looking up and there is an end to all this craziness in sight. We just have to hang on for a few more months.

Our Christmas was lovely, quiet with only the three of us. I missed our annual holiday dinner with friends, an often raucous crowd of lovely people who are my adopted family. But, they will be back on Christmas eve of 2021. I am grateful that we are all healthy. We will appreciate family and friends that much more, having been without them for the last 10 months (or more).

Kitchen inspiration has been lacking in the last month or longer, but this dish of slow roasted pork shoulder had me headed to the store for a pork shoulder roast…it’s perfect cold weather eating and will provide you with several days of delicious leftovers.

I recommend using any leftovers for holiday tacos. They were delicious cooked in the manner of carnitas with cranberry sauce, a bit of shredded cabbage added for texture. Simply reheat the pulled pork in a skillet until it begins to brown. There were delicious crispy bits formed.

Spiced Pulled Pork

Spiced Pulled Pork

I plan to use the rest to top roasted sweet potatoes…garnishes will include some spiced pecans and a bit of sour cream with a squeeze of lime. Yum!

Here’s the backstory, in the lull between Christmas and New Year’s I came across an idea for chicken thighs cooked with spices usually reserved for ham. I tried it and must say I was not particularly impressed. However, adopting some of those same spices rubbed onto a pork shoulder before roasting was an entirely different experience. The 6 hour low and slow cooking allowed the spice mixture to penetrate the pork and the aroma!!! Well, let’s just say my mouth was watering all afternoon. This is the perfect meal for cold, wet, grey days. It cooks slowly without any attention to you. Put it in the oven and leave, go take a long hike or sled ride. When you come home the house will smell like heaven.

It’s the best kind of cooking in my book, leftovers are already in mind. There was enough for at least two more meals.

Ingredients:

  • Pork shoulder roast, bone in or out
  • 2 whole oranges, zested
  • 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 T of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of one of the oranges
  • Second orange sliced thinly

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F
  2. In a small bowl combine the orange zest, sugar, mustard, olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, salt and pepper. Stir until it forms a paste.
  3. Rub the paste over the pork shoulder and place in a large casserole with a lid.
  4. Down the side of the casserole add the cider vinegar, the juice of one of the zested oranges and the star anise.
  5. Slice the second orange and place the slices over the pork roast.
  6. Cover and place in the oven, roast slowly (without peeking) for 6 hours.
  7. Remove from the oven, uncover and allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving. I pulled the meat into large chunks.
Holiday Pulled Pork

Holiday Pulled Pork – before

Spiced Pulled Pork

Spiced Pulled Pork – after

I understand this is similar to a Haitian dish called griot. It’s a classic dish of pork shoulder marinated in chile, citrus and vinegar. I didn’t use any hot chiles in this recipe but I will definitely include it next time.

I wish you all a happy new year. Be well, be safe and wear your mask. We have to hang in there for a few more months and this may be the most dangerous time. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

In My Kitchen – December 2020

In My Kitchen – December 2020

Well, here we are in lockdown again. Cases are not so bad here on the North Coast of Mendocino County in California, but more inland they are booming. It hasn’t been a good month for optimism and frankly, I am tired of cooking every night. Not to mention tired of Covid all together. We have been within our own small social bubble for too many months now. I appreciate all the articles on food and cooking in the newspaper, but they are wearing thin. Maybe I’ll just settle for a grilled cheese sandwich and a margarita, or a baked sweet potato and roast vegetables, or a pizza…yes a takeout pizza sounds just fine. With a glass of Anderson Valley red wine of course.

On the other hand, I am grateful that we have food on the table, many don’t at this point.

So, it’s without much enthusiasm I tell you about what’s In My Kitchen.

I did make a quart container of brandied fruit for the holidays. My intention was to make fruitcake, however fruitcake for just the three of us was not appealing. Next year. The brandied fruit would be a wonderful holiday dessert spooned over pound cake with vanilla ice cream.

Brandied Dried Fruit

Brandied Dried Fruit

I am not fond of the candied fruit in fruitcake, this one has none of that. It’s a simple recipe that is endlessly adaptable.

Brandied Dried Fruitmakes 1 quart 

  • 4 oz of currents or raisins or a combination
  • 4 oz of dried cranberries
  • 2 oz of dried cherries or figs
  • 1 oz of dried apricots or prunes
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 lemon, sliced thinly and chopped
  • 1 T of grated fresh ginger
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/2 tablespoon of freshly grated black peper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamon
  • 1/2 cup of brandy or other spirit (I used B & B)

Method:

  1. Chop the fruit into raisin sized pieces.
  2. In a large bowl combine all the chopped dried fruit, the zest of the orange, and the the chopped lemon and spices. Mix well.
  3. Pour them into a quart jar, add the juice of the orange and the brandy.
  4. Cover. Turn several times to mix. Place in a cool place.
  5. Turn the jar over every day to mix the fruit with the brandy.
  6. After about a week; place in the refrigerator. Allow to cure for about 3 weeks before using. ‘

The type of dried fruit is quite forgiving. I knew I purchased cherries but couldn’t find them in the pantry so used dried figs instead. Use your favorites. Ditto with the spirits, I think bourbon would be just fine.

Also in my kitchen are sausage rolls. These are definitely a nostalgia item as I remember my English grandmother making them. These are quite different; using lamb, currents, jarred red peppers and chopped almonds. They were quite delicious served warm with a glass of pinot noir.

Lamb Sausage Rolls

Lamb Sausage Rolls

And really, that is about all that is interesting in my kitchen right now.

We had a small and very lovely Thanksgiving holiday with sous vide turkey thighs and our favorite stuffing (a sausage and cornbread one). It is likely Christmas dinner will be very similar.

And are any of you experiencing the same run on Christmas trees as we are here on the coast? We don’t usually put up our tree until the weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday but all the nurseries have been sold out!!!! Is this the same as the toilet paper run? We are going to have to drive 2 hours to Santa Rosa to pick up a tree this weekend! I think folks are ready to close out 2020 as soon as possible and have something positive in their lives.

This post is part of a regular “In My Kitchen” blogging party. Let your fingers lead you over to Sherrys Pickings for the December In My Kitchen, a collection of posts from kitchens around the world.

Have a wonderful holiday, stay safe and well.

 

November – Sous Vide Turkey Thighs

November – Sous Vide Turkey Thighs

I have edited and am reposting one I did in April of this year, just after the shut down here in California. I think it will be very useful at Thanksgiving 2020. Most of our holidays are going to look very different this year. Certainly they will be smaller and, and maybe because of that, less elaborate. In our household of three a whole turkey is out of the question. Turkey parts are the answer. Everyone has their favorite part so you can choose which you will serve. Some families will only consider the white meat of the breast, others the dark. We are all thigh folks in this family so that’s the way we’ll go.

I was able to score some organic bone in turkey thighs at the grocery store and immediately seasoned them with salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence. I then vacuum packed them and put them in the freezer for Thanksgiving. They will cook away starting the day before with no fuss on my part. I can concentrate on the dressing and side dishes and the birthday cake since it coincides with a family members significant birthday.

You can sous vide food directly out of your freezer. You don’t need to defrost it, just add some additional cooking time. The flavor and quality of the meat will not suffer one tiny bit. You may need to do some browning once it is cooked, but that is a last minute thing.

I generally cook the dark meat for 24 hours (yes, no mistake) at 150 degrees F. This time, because the thighs were going to be cooked while frozen solid, I added another 3 hours to the cooking time. This recipe would also work for whole legs.

I know that 27 hours sounds like a lot, but almost all of it is unattended. Just add the vacuum packed and frozen thighs or whole legs to the preheated water, let it go overnight. If you start in the afternoon of the day before, they will ready for dinner the next day. The turkey comes out tender and juicy, almost the texture of pulled pork, and it can be used in similar recipes.

Sous Vide Turkey Thighs

Sous Vide Turkey Thighs – Looks Like Pulled Pork

Since my sous vide machine doesn’t like 150 degrees for some reaon, I used a temperature of 149 degrees F/65 degrees C for 24 hours (not frozen). I added an additional 3 because they were still frozen. So a total of 27 hours cooking time.

Be sure to cover you sous vide water with plastic wrap or a lid to cut down on evaporation. Otherwise you could wake to a pan or container with the water gone or a beeping and complaining machine.

Sous Vide Turkey Thighs

Sous Vide Turkey Thighs – After Cooking, Before Browning

You can use the turkey meat immediately for chili, or tacos, in a salad or brown the skin and have them as a holiday meal.

Some recommend browning them before vacuum packing, I sometimes do that. It does add an extra layer of flavor and it is easier to press the meat into the hot pan for uniform browning when they are raw. You then can crisp them in a hot pan or the broiler as well after they finish cooking sous vide. I didn’t pre brown them this time as I was intent on getting them into the freezer. I do find that once cooked they are more solid and it’s difficult to uniformly brown all the skin unless you deep fry them. I don’t think it will be a problem at this dinner because the raisin and sausage dressing will have plenty of crispy bits.

Here they are post sous vide cooking and browning in a hot cast iron skillet.

Sous Vide Frozen Turkey

Sous Vide Frozen Turkey

They were sliced and served with mashed potatoes, a side, and dressing. You won’t believe this is turkey, the texture and taste is more similar to duck confit.

Finished baked Dressing

I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #354 as it may be useful to some members of the party just before the holiday. Fiesta Friday is hosted by Angie. Click on the Fiesta Friday link to get all kinds of ideas for the coming holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.