Monday, August 30, 2010

The Juiciest Most Flavorful Roast Chicken in the World.

Would I lie to y'all? No. And just to cover my bases my teeth are also straight as arrows and I have no cellulite on my entire body. Seriously it's like a baby seal that's been shellacked in marble.

Okay now I feel better in case you don't find this recipe to be as delectable as I do. But either way it's pretty damn good.

The secret is the marinade which you have to let the chicken soak in for 24 hours. Any less than that and you'll get good chicken but not quite the juiciest-most-flavorful-roast-chicken-in-the-world so follow my directions por favor. I don't need the hate mail.

By the by, this marinade also makes the most delicious crispy skin but of course you can substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts if you like. Just be sure to reduce the cooking time and temp.

I admit to not comprehending the fascination with chicken skin until recently. Turns out I wasn't getting it crispy enough. I like mine with the fat all but completely rendered out leaving behind just a thin, crispy chip-like layer of deliciousness.

Hmm...chicken skin chips. I can see that one catching on. For real. In Williamsburg. Or even here in Austin. After all I had thought the whole haute hillbilly food fad was finally going away until I picked up the latest issue of Food and Wine. Apparently at the end of the day, all of us just want to eat something deep fried. With cheese. And preferably between a bun.

What's your favorite southern dish?

Juiciest, Most Flavorful Chicken Marinade
* Enough for 3 bone-in, skin on breasts or 4 boneless, skinless cutlets.

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 fat green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
3/4 cup orange juice
juice of 1 lemon, the leftover lemon cut up and added to marinade
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
good grating fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

3 skin on, bone-in split breasts (technically 1 1/2 breasts, I believe)
olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix up the marinade ingredients (the red pepper flakes through the olive oil) in a large ziploc or tupperware container making sure you whisk to get everything mixed thoroughly, trying to dissolve the salt at least a little. Add the chicken, seal to smush around, and marinate for 24 hours in the fridge, turning bag over once midway. Remove 30 minutes before roasting.

Preheat your oven to 425. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (optional for easy cleanup) and spray with nonstick spray. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Remove any clinging herbs/garlic and place skin side up on your prepared tray. Drizzle the tops oh so lightly with oil and sprinkle very lightly with salt and pepper.

Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 and cook for another 20 minutes just until the skin is nice and crisped and the chicken is cooked all the way through. I can usually tell mine are done when there's an ugly (but harmless) bed of blackened juices collected around the bottoms. (You can also turn the broiler on for the last 3 minutes to get the skin crispier if it's not there yet.)

Let rest for 7 minutes before serving.

Monday, August 23, 2010

And the winner is...

Debra! Congratulations! You will receive an email from CNS with a link to your certificate (assuming the email attached to your name is correct.) If not let me know.

FYI, names were drawn from a cowboy hat. Thanks everyone for playing!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bobby Deen - it's a good thing I'm married.

I've been worried about Bobby Deen for quite some time. Such a cutie. Such a sweetheart. Such foodie royalty (though girls - I want your you think Paula Deen would make the world's best mother in law or the worst? I love her to death but I could see it going either way.)

Anyway - back to Bobby. The perpetual bachelor. Until recently (whew - I can go back to worrying about world peace and more important matters!) as he seems to be hooking up with the darling actress from Eastbound and Down - score!

Bobby made a recipe the other day on Paula's show where he slathered chicken breasts in a mayonnaise mixture and baked them. It looked delicious though I couldn't help but think it would have been better to let the chicken marinate in it for a while. After all - as mama Paula said - mayonnaise is basically an oil which just coats the chicken and makes it juicier.

Only Bobby's mayo mixture had so much more going on. First of all there was a ton of lemon zest in there as he admitted to being an addict. Again - it's a good think I'm married. He also had celery seed, paprika and cayenne.

Well I took his mixture and changed up a few things, mainly lessening the amount of celery seed as it's quite potent and adding dill. I also swapped the lemon zest for juice as I too often lately have found myself with a fridge full of sad, white lemons missing their yellow jackets. Honest to God - there isn't anything that lemon zest can't make better and that's exactly the problem with it. After all there's only so much zest in the world... I also chose to grill the chicken rather than bake as I worried the mayo would geek me out after baking.

I was quite pleased with my changes on Mr. Deen's recipe. This chicken is so flavorful and JUICY! Mr. Deen. I like the sound of that. Okay, I'll shut up now.

Juicy Mayo Marinated Chicken Breasts with Dill, Celery Seed, and Lemon
* Adapted from a recipe from Bobby Deen

1/2 cup mayo (I used low fat)
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried English mustard (I use Coleman's brand)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
fresh cracked black pepper
juice of 1/2 a large lemon
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix up the mayo, dill, and celery seed through the lemon juice in a small bowl. Add the mixture to a large ziploc bag along with the chicken breasts and mix around to coat evenly. Seal and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to take the chill off. Remove from the marinade, season lightly on one side with sea salt or kosher salt and grill.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Southern Living's Cream Cheese Lasagna

Paula Deen can keep her butter queen title - I'll be the queen of cream cheese. And this is the recipe that made it so. After all we have a long history together.

Years ago I went to summer horse riding camp with my childhood bff and some other friends. It was the stuff of girlhood dreams - riding all morning and swimming all afternoon. By dinnertime, we were no longer skinny little pre teens - we were ravenous zombies. I look back at the things we ate during camp and wish I could go back in time and bottle that metabolic mojo. But I digress...

One of the highlights of camp was when our riding teacher (who will go unnamed even though I'm pretty damn sure she's never heard of this blog) made us cream cheese lasagna for dinner. I remember eating so much of it I had to go and lie down until my stomach stopped ballooning, like a pregnant woman who'd just hijacked a funnel cake booth at the county fair. I mean I was in pain.

Well, the pain finally subsided and all us girls could do is talk about that lasagna. We praised our teacher for the rest of the week for it. Don't get me wrong - we loved everything we put in our mouths at that camp from Watermelon to candy bars to hamburgers - but not a meal went by after that dinner without us mentioning the lasagna and its excellence. What was the secret, we asked? Some exotic herb? A special cut of ground beef? What?? But our teacher refused to answer us and just tucked her chin in with a stoic look that said 'I'd love to tell you, but I can't...'

Turns out the secret ingredient was my friend's mother - she was the person who made the lasagna. All our teacher had done was heat it up! Years afterwards my sister gave me the Southern Living Cookbook and low and behold - there was the recipe. And it's as good now as it was when I was 12.

No fancy Bechamel sauce, no hours spent simmering tomatoes, no worries at all. Just pure comforting deliciousness.

The point of the story is this. Cream cheese is good. Lying is bad. There's nothing wrong with heating up other people's food as long as you don't pretend it's yours. In fact, some of the best hostesses on earth don't cook a God-D%*n*ed thing themselves. But at least they own up to it.

PS - Don't forget to enter the giveaway if you haven't already!

Southern Living's Cream Cheese Lasagna, with slight adaptations marked as *

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small chopped onion, or about 1/2 cup
salt and pepper, for seasoning
1 pound ground beef
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more for additional heat (not in Sl's version)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
* 1/4 cup low sodium beef broth (SL says to use bouillon cubes and water)
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, that's sat at room temp for at least 30 minutes (I use reduced fat)
1 cup cottage cheese (I use 2%/lowfat)
1/4 cup sour cream (I swear by Daisy brand either regular or reduced fat)
2 eggs, beaten
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt (not in SL's version)
* hefty grating fresh nutmeg (not in SL's version)
* 1 tablespoon minced flat leaf parsley (SL uses dried)
* 1 tablespoon minced basil (not in SL's version)
* zest of 1 lemon (not in SL's version)
* 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (SL's has 2 but I adjusted due to my above additions)
6 Lasagna noodles, cooked in boiling salted water until al dente and drained and tossed with a splash of olive oil as they cool (use extra in case some break and add a splash of oil to the water to keep them from sticking to one another)
1 (4 oz) package pepperoni or salami slices
2 cups (8 oz) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Bell Pepper rings for garnish, optional (red and green would be pretty during holiday time!)

Heat the oil in a large nonstick rimmed skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion, season with a nice pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 4 minutes or until beginning to lose their rigid shape and soften a little. Add in the ground beef, breaking up into smaller bits with a wooden spoon. Season with garlic powder and red pepper flakes and cook until brown (about 8-10 minutes) stirring often. Turn off heat and stir in tomato sauce, paste, and broth until the mixture is blended and consistent.

Let sit while you blend the cream cheese mixture in a separate (large) bowl. Add the softened cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream to the bowl and whip with a whisk or fork until well blended. Stir in the eggs until well mixed then add in the salt, nutmeg, parsley, basil, lemon zest, and Italian seasoning. You are now ready to assemble your lasagna.

Spray a large (12x8x2 inch) glass or ceramic baking dish with nonstick spray. Ladle enough of the meat mixture into the bottom so that it coats it well (but isn't swimming) then add a layer of the lasagna noodles (should only take 3 laying side by side - no need to overlap. Spoon over 1/2 the cheese mixture, spreading carefully but evenly to make a solid layer, then 1/2 the pepperoni, then 1/2 the mozzarella. Repeat again with the rest of the meat mixture, lasagna noodles, cheese mixture, pepperoni, mozzarella and finally the shredded Parmesan.

Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and let brown slightly, cooking another 5-10 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving, topping with bell pepper rings for garnish if desired.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Friday the 13th and My Very First Giveaway!

The lovely people at CNS Stores who have over 200 online stores including and are giving me a $60 gift certificate to give to one of my dear readers! The winner can apply it to anything their heart desires from a sexy new All Clad pan or Halloween decorations (okay, that's what I want...) to dining room sets or a new couch.

And since it's my first giveaway, I'm going to keep it simple. All you have to do is leave me a comment saying you want to be entered and follow me if you don't already. That's it. The winner will be picked by random draw and announced next Friday, so you have until Thursday, August 19th to leave me a comment.

I wish you the best of luck. In the meantime, you can do a little browsing here in case you're the lucky winner.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Frank in Austin and why I must go to there.

1. They serve their drinks in Mason jars.
2. They have bacon infused vodka.
3. They have chocolate dipped bacon.
4. The place is freaking adorable - like a general store from the 1800's as envisioned by Kubrick.
5. It's cheap. An old school jalapeno cheese dog will cost you $3.50 while a specialty sausage dog (everything from venison to rabbit to anything in between) goes for $7.50 - still pennies compared to Trulucks across the street or anything else in the Warehouse District.
6. The Jackalope - their signature antelope/rabbit/pork blend weenie covered in huckleberry jam, Sriracha aioli, and applewood smoked cheddar (pictured above.) Mary might have craved this when she was pregnant with Jesus.
7. Their appreciation for waffle fries and the plentiful ways in which they serve them including 'nacho style' (also pictured above) and Poutine style with cheese curds and gravy.
8. You can order any dog 'pork it' style - wrapped in bacon and deep fried. Anyone who's eaten at Crif Dog in NYC knows better than to turn their nose up at this. In fact anyone who's been to a state fair should know better than to turn their nose up at this.
9. Frank isn't one of those restaurants trying to bring something 'extra' to Austin - on the contrary it's one of the restaurants that makes Austin more Austin just by being here.
10. The alcoholic ice cream float. The only invention known to man to actually allow one to span time. One sip and you're both 12 and 21 at the same time and not a day older.

Visit Frank on the interwebs here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fudge Pie - Breakfast of Champions

My mama made this pie. It's one of her signature recipes.

Fudge Pie, Courtesy of Southern Living

3/4 cup butter or margarine
3 (1-ounce) unsweetened chocolate squares
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted and divided
Toppings: vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup

Cook butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring often until melted.

Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Gradually add chocolate mixture, flour, and vanilla, beating until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans.

Pour mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch pieplate.

Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is firm. Cool. Top each serving with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup; sprinkle with remaining chopped pecans.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sure Fire Steak Marinade

One of the conundrums of being a home cook is wanting to find more 'easy' recipes then being leery of them if they seem too easy. At least that's the vicious vortex I'm forever finding myself in the middle of. The truth is 'less is more' recipes give me the sweats.

This marinade is an exception. Any cut of steak is better for having taken a long relaxing soak in it. In fact you could probably do away with the red pepper flakes and rosemary as you don't really notice them in the end product. I however am too paranoid to leave them out, convinced they perform some sort of magical ritual together in the oven.

You'll want to marinate your steaks for at least 7 hours in the fridge, flipping them over halfway through for even soakage, then removing them 45 minutes before you're set to grill. Don't be alarmed when the marinade becomes a little pastey in parts. Just scrape any solidified clumps off the steaks and dab them with a paper towel before grilling.

Sure Fire Steak Marinade
* Adapted from All Recipes
* This marinade will hold up to 4 filets or 3 NY strips/Ribeyes or 2 Porterhouses

3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted then cooled
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you like)
1 (3 inch) sprig of rosemary

Combine all in a medium bowl with a whisk or fork then carefully pour into a large sealable plastic bag. Add your steaks turning them over a few times to be sure they're all anointed. Chill for at least 7 hours, turning over half way, then remove 45 minutes before grilling. Right before you grill, remove the steaks from the marinade dabbing them thoroughly with a paper or kitchen towel. No need to season further with salt but you can sprinkle with pepper if you like.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chipotle Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes with Ground Turkey

My return to the Lone Star State has caused a temporary swell of pride for Texas food and flavors. I'm sure it will pass or at least fade soon, but in the meantime here's my Texified take on twice baked potatoes.

Next time I make these I'll hold the actual chipotle and just use the adobo sauce instead for that smokey kick. Turns out my taste buds need to go into basic training to become fully Texan again. As with any twice baked potato recipe, these take time. The saving grace is they make a full meal when paired with a salad. They would also make great appetizers if made with small potatoes.

Giddy Up!

Chipotle Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes with Turkey
Serves 6.

3 large potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 large shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 lb ground turkey
2 tablespoons chipotle adobo sauce plus one chipotle (optional!) minced
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon coriander
few gratings fresh nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons low fat cottage cheese
2 tablespoons chopped green onion plus extra for garnish
1 1/2 cups reduced fat shredded cheddar for filling, plus another 1/3 cup or so for the tops
2 tablespoons melted butter, for putting over the top before baking

Preheat oven to 400.

Rub cleaned potatoes with olive oil. Stab with a fork a couple times each, place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until skin has begun to crinkle and the flesh pierces easily with a fork. Cool 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the shallots in olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Once the shallots have softened, add in the minced garlic and cook another minute. Add in the ground turkey, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper and cook about 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Add in the chipotle (if using), the adobo sauce, ketchup, coriander, nutmeg, salt, white pepper, and paprika. Stir well. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes in half length wise and carefully scoop out the flesh leaving a solid 1/4 inch 'wall' around the edges to keep them from falling apart. Add the flesh to a large bowl and fluff/break apart with a fork. Once nice and fluffed, mix in the sour cream and cottage cheese. Add the turkey mixture and incorporate well being careful not to over mix or the potato will become gummy. Stir in the green onions and cheddar cheese.

Place the potato 'skins' on a large greased cookie sheet and fill with the stuffing. They can hold a lot so don't hold back here and pile them nice and high. Pour the melted butter over the tops then top with more cheddar if desired.

Bake again lowering the heat to 375 for 20 minutes or until the tops just begin to brown. Garnish with green onions.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm baaa-aack!

Hello Loves! I've missed you so!

After a hellacious move and a month of nonstop Mad-Menning I'm finally back. And I have so much to share...all in good time.

For now I leave you with this - a fig from my very own fig tree (note the teeth marks - I don't know what left them but am so happy they had second thoughts.) I can't wait to tell you about my shift from living in NYC to living in the (just about) country and what I've been cooking.

Until next time - sleep well and have a great night!