Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cilantro Lime Chicken Breasts and OAMC

For the love of cooking... cilantro lime chicken

I don't really have much of a post for this week which is a shame because I made a great Rustic Apple Tart, and about 12 other dishes last week.  I was not catering, or throwing a dinner party, or anything exciting at all.  I was planning.  And by planning I mean plotting.  And by plotting I mean I am sick of not having time to cook dinner and I think that we have ordered too many pizzas in the past month. 

I say this only because my 3 year old asked me to call the lady that brings the pizza to the door so he could give her a hug.  That's a hard flag to ignore.  So I started searching for quick recipes and I stumbled upon Once a Month Cooking.  I don't even know why I started reading up on it because I have read it all before and thought... I think not!

However this time I came across Once a Month Mom..., and she had 4 full menus already there waiting.  With a printable grocery list, and a prep list and fresh and tasty looking meals so I thought.... eh, why not.  I made all sorts of things.  Some very traditional that are my good old standbys for freezable meals.  Things I make before going to the hospital to say deliver children and such.  Things like meatloaf which I already told you about click here for recipe.  And spaghetti sauce which I have not told you about but the recipe has recently been requested because apparently not everyone has a fast spaghetti recipe that doesn't involve opening a jar and I think this is a staple so I will get on it.  Then there were Pork Carnitas, Ginger-Beef Stir Fry, Oatmeal pancakes, Scones, and CILANTRO CHICKEN.  That is the photo of it up there.  I didn't take any photos while making it because it was the last thing I made and I was burnt out on photos and food in general, and because honestly I didn't have high hopes for it, but it was delicious.  It also took 5 minutes to make and I have a second batch in the freezer just waiting for us.  Here is the link for the real recipe.

here is how I made it.... Take all ingredients... double the recipe and put into a blender or smoothie maker if you like to just throw it in the dishwasher... hypothetically speaking of course.  Pulse, pulse, some more... do a little dance with the pulse to make your sick 8 month old laugh. Now while making ridiculous faces at a the ridiculously cute 8 month old who is trying to free herself from the cute hat you've just put on her...

Now throw 1.5lbs or two chicken breasts in the bag... just as they came no fancy pounding needed.  Now pour half the marinade into each bag.  Smoosh the chicken...why yes that is a technical term.  Now remove as much air as you can, roll up the bag to take up less space and freeze.  When you want to cook them take them out the night before or the morning of.  At dinner time... grill.   Ta da.... that's it.  And it was good... so very good, and I am plotting some kind of black bean, tomato, avocado salad thing to go with it next time.  I can't wait.  And... there is another batch already so I don't even have to do the five minute prep just move it from the freezer to the fridge.... you can't even get a pizza delivered in that amount of time, your child's love of the delivery girl aside.  And my husband is lord of the grill so that is where my job ends other to say... did you start the grill?  Can you start the grill?  Hellllooooo?  Grill!

or how about this little gem.

I am not a huge fan of a lot of canned foods, but I think when it comes to beans and tomatoes often it's just easier.  If I had to remember to soak beans or lentils every single time I cooked them they would never be made.  If you have time use dried, however.... if you  had time you would probably cook something instead of using a crock pot, and honestly isn't it nice to know that you have something you can make in the house and you do not have to run out for anything.  The first time I made this I forgot to thaw the chicken so I just thew the frozen breasts on top, let it cook for 10 hours on low and hoped for the best.  It worked.  The second time I made it I forgot to make it, and ran home at lunch and thew everything into the crock pot, turned it on high for 4 hours (thawed chicken this time) and hoped for the best and IT WORKED!  Oh yeah and I didn't have cilantro that time either but I hardly missed it. 

As for the Once a Month Cooking so far so good.  I will be sure to get the better recipes to you.  And I hope they are all good because I made double batches of EVERYTHING.... why do something twice when you can do it once?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Raspberry Flaugnarde (gesundheit)

Photo by Tina Rupp

We went raspberry picking last weekend with visiting family and as we walked the rows of berries I said we need enough berries to make... ahhh... Cl... ummm.... Coul-fatie?  Followed by the disclaimer that I had no idea how you pronounce it because I've only seen it in Food and Wine but it looked fabulous and I've wanted to make it ever since.  I couldn't explain if it was a custard or a cake, and now that I've actually had it it's really neither.  And it's not even a clafoutis it's a flaugnarde.

According to my sources (i.e. Wiki) the clafoutis is a baked classic French dessert of black cherries (containing pits) covered in a thick flan-like batter (I disagree with this description, not being a big fan of flan, which my Aunt describes as custard that couldn't get a hard on... lovely... moving on).  It is dusted with sugar and served lukewarm.  The dessert originates from the Limousin region and when baked with any other fruit it is actually a flaugnarde.  And apparently the word is "bastardized" as Clafouti... good gracious no... a missing s... whatever shall we do?

Clafoutis/Clafouti/flaugnarde... I don't care how you spell it it is G O O D!  I stole the photo from above because I didn't want to scare you with my photo.

I would like to blame my photo skills but honestly it was an ugly duckling of a dessert. 

Any better?  No you're right.

Some recipes call for it to be completely golden brown on top like ours but all the good photos look like the one above all creamy and white.  I suspect this has something to do with food styling and using painted food when things do not appear the way we want them to.  I like to think of it as proof that even gorgeous food like gorgeous people are retouched!  It was getting a bit late by the time it came out of the oven so I tried to take it outdoors, then decided I would take a photo the next day in natural light.  After all there were 4 1/2 of us and 8 pieces of dessert surely there would be a slice a smidge something leftover to take a photo of.... and there was... did I show you the left over berries?

I am sure it has something to do with the fresh berries that were like little pillow of fruity velvet on the tongue.  Something so rich, so delicious, so fantastic that what you see above is probably all that survived the onslaught of people eating the berries with cream and just straight from the refrigerator.  I have been counting the days all week until this weekend when we could go again and pick two to three times as many so that there could be many a flaugnarde in our futures but the weather did not cooperate.  Maybe tomorrow... hope hope.  Either way it is raspberry season get thee to a raspberry picking place and make this today.  Your stomach will thank you.  Oh and did I mention that it takes about 5 minutes to throw together... can't beat that with a stick could you?

Raspberry Clafoutis
Food and Wine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 pints raspberries (3 cups) (there is NOOOO way 3 cups would have fit.  I used 1 1/2 tops I would say just have a lot and add them until full)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch gratin dish. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the eggs, butter and lemon zest until smooth. Add the milk and whisk until light and very smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the gratin dish and top with the raspberries.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool slightly. Dust with confectioners' sugar, cut into wedges and serve.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vanilla Bean-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting

I have been on a huge baking kick lately.  Makes sense as it's a perfect kick to be on while on a diet.  My thing to make this month?  Cupcakes!  I know they are so last year but I still like them more than the cake pops and they are conveniently portioned so that I can't cheat and say cut a bigger cupcake like I could should I have made this as a cake.  My first cupcake batch was a cream cheese mini chocolate chip stuffed chocolate cupcake with a fudge frosting which will be coming soon but I need to tweak the frosting to ensure yours will not melt off the cupcakes like mine did.

I may have mentioned my obsession with coconut once or twice before.  Like the Chocolate-coconut creme brulee here , Swedish dream cookies here, or the coconut blondies here, but I am always happy to add another one to the recipe box, which is what this blog really is, as much as a way to share great recipes with family and friends.  No matter where my husband and I go if there is Internet or phone service we can look up a recipe to share, and you will want to share these.  Actually you will want to horde all 18 for yourself but don't be selfish, share with your friends.  Your friends and waistline will thank you.

I love it when you can see the specs of vanilla

Michael brought some to the daycare for his and Juliet's teachers, and I gave some to my partners in crime from school.  The rest we shared with visiting family, now I'm not going to name names or anything but when I went to bed there were some left and when I woke up there was an empty cupcake holder (ahem.... cupcake thief 1 and cupcake thief 2).

Vanilla Bean-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting
Bon Appetit

Reduced coconut milk 2 13-to 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk* (preferably organic)

Cupcakes 2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup reduced coconut milk (see above), room temperature

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup reduced coconut milk (see above), room temperature
Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (for garnish)
Reduced Coconut Milk
Bring coconut milk to boil in large deep saucepan over medium-high heat (coconut milk will boil up high in pan). Reduce heat to medium low; boil until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat; cool completely. Transfer to small bowl. Cover; chill (coconut milk will settle slightly as it cools). DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
For cupcakes
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line eighteen 1/3-cup muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat on medium-high speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in seeds from vanilla bean and remaining egg. Add half of flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Add 1 cup reduced coconut milk; mix just until blended. Add remaining flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake cupcakes until tops spring back when gently touched and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes in pans to rack; cool 10 minutes. Carefully remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on rack.
For Frosting
Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, 1/3 cup reduced coconut milk, seeds from vanilla bean, and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until blended, scraping down sides of bowl. Increase to medium high and beat until light and fluffy.
Using pastry bag fitted with large star tip, pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. (Alternatively, top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons frosting. Using small offset spatula, swirl frosting over top of cupcakes, leaving 1/2-inch plain border.) Sprinkle with coconut. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight containers; chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.
* Available at many supermarkets and at Indian, Southeast Asian, and Latin markets.

I wasn't sure which would be better toasted coconut or plain coconut so I did both... do the toasted coconut.  There were only plain coconut ones left at the end of the night so I knocked off the regular coconut and added the toasted.  The original recipe says to use it sparingly as a garnish.... I happily threw that recommendation out the window and loaded them with it.  I urge you to do the same.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Greek Grilled Chicken

Some times you just make your favorite foods and never think... I really need to blog this.  However in light of my new realization that people don't cook because people don't have time (I have come to this realization after realizing that in the past two nights we had pancakes and then pizza for dinner because I haven't had time to shop for food), I realized... these are the recipes people need most.  Well people like me... which I think far out weigh people that have time to make the sophisticated food I dream about making again some day.  Here is something so fast and tasty you will swear you picked it up on your way home from the local Greek place.  It is light, diet friendly (what's a little olive oil.. okay a lot but it's healthy fat right), and deeeelicious.  Make this with the Greek Salad, and some Greek Potatoes or rice and your done.  Who said cooking takes a lot of time?

Greek Grilled Chicken
from the Bossy Chef


1-2 pounds of chicken cut lengthwise to make thin, but full sized breasts
Salt and pepper
1 ripe lemon, zested and juiced
3 tablespoon red wine vinegar, eyeball it
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano, or 1 tablespoon of dried
3 cloves garlic, chopped

Place chicken in shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  Combine lemon zest, juice and vinegar in a bowl and whisk in oil. Add oregano, garlic and whisk again to combine into dressing. Pour the dressing over chicken. Turn chicken in dressing to coat.  Let sit for about 15 to 20 minutes but not too long as the lemon will start to cook the meat.  Preheat grill to med-high,  or heat grill pan to high.
Grill chicken 4 to 5 minutes on each side. If you are using a grill pan turn the heat down after searing the chicken to ensure it gets cooked all the way through.