Sriracha-Sesame Popcorn

After a bit of a hiatus from RITK we are back and I have some great recipes coming up for your reading pleasure in the next few weeks. It’s been a crazy last few months with lots of cake orders, some blog construction, and just general life business. Today’s recipe is one of my favorite snacks to make for parties, I hope you enjoy it!

I’ll have a new recipe next week on the blog so, be sure to subscribe to RITK so you never miss a delicious post!

DSCN0416

I started making stove top popcorn as a way to make popcorn a bit healthier (this is way better than those microwave packets full of salt and fake butter!)  I love stove top popcorn with just a bit of salt but after a while I thought of ways to make my snacks more savory and spicy. Today’s recipe is one of my concoctions to keep my snacks interesting. This recipe is also great to make in large batches, store in a airtight container and pack in lunches.

DSCN0434_edited

So let’s talk about the method, below I will guide you through popping kernels on the stove, this is my favorite way to make popcorn at home and the method I use even if I’m not adding this sauce. I use olive oil although you can use sesame oil or coconut oil. After the popcorn is coated in spicy sauce, it goes into the oven to dry out. Before I added this last step I was eating soggy popcorn that required a few napkins, however drying the popcorn out in the oven cuts down on the messiness and also adds some more crunch.

DSCN0451   

print2  

Sriracha-Sesame Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1 1/3 c unpopped corn kernels
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp Sriracha

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

To pop the popcorn; I find it’s easier to do this in two batches. Start with a large-sized pot and heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Heat until the oil is shiny and easily coats the bottom of the pan. Add 2/3 c of corn kernels to the warm oil and stir with a wooden spoon so that the kernels are evenly coated and spread out over the base of the pot. Cover and let the kernels pop (approximately 10-12 minutes).

Stay close to the pot, if you don’t hear any popping within a 4-5 second interval it’s time to take the pot off the heat. Once the kernels are all popped remove from heat. VERY CAREFULLY, using hot-pot-holders, firmly hold the lid down on the pot while you flip it over 2-3 times. This releases the steam from the popcorn. Next pour the popcorn into 2 shallow baking pans and pick out any burned or unpopped kernels and throw away.

Next, in a small saucepan combine the hot sauce, butter, and sesame oil over low heat until well combined and makes a thin sauce.

Distribute the sauce as evenly as possible over the popped corn (I like to use a combination of a slotted spoon and my hands). Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Store the popcorn in airtight containers or plastic bags.

1432080936482_edited

Refridgorator Pickles

 

print2

ABM_1406583145

Anyone who knows me, knows of my love for pickles, really anything pickled I will eat. I always have and I always will. I find the salty and tangy flavors satisfying and I personally believe they pair with just about any meal. But hey. that’s just me.

Not too long ago, a good friend of mine introduced me to this recipe and I have been making them every week ever since. What are refrigerator pickles you ask? Good question. Refrigerator pickles are pickles that are pickled and stored in the fridge. They are good for about 2 weeks. This is opposed to pickles that are canned and can be stored for the long term.

This recipe is for a sweet pickle yet, they are still quite tangy and they are super easy to make! I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe courtesy of Abigail Robinson

Ingredients:

  • 3 c water
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • handful of fresh dill
  • 2-3 cucumbers, sliced any which way you like

IMG_20140728_132807_774

Note on Ingredients: Think of the amounts listed with the ingredients above as ratio suggestions. This is what appeals to my taste buds but, if you prefer your pickles sweeter, then add some more sugar. Want them to taste more tangy? Add another splash of vinegar.

IMG_20140728_131247_780

Directions:

Let’s get this easy-peasy brine started; combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally and leave the mixture on the stove top until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

IMG_20140728_134013_428

Once your brine has cooled to room temperature pour the brine into the container that the pickles will be living in (I typically leave them in a large plastic container or large glass jar). Add the chopped onion, garlic, peppercorns, fresh dill, and sliced cucumbers to the brine and seal up the container.

IMG_20140728_134735_195

Allow the cucumbers to sit in the brine for at least 8-12 hours before trying the pickles.

IMG_20140728_132955_217

Store them in the fridge in a sealed container for 7-10 days.

print2


Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe courtesy of Abigail Robinson

Ingredients:

  • 3 c water
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • handful of fresh dill
  • 2-3 cucumbers, sliced any which way you like

Directions:

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally and leave the mixture on the stove top until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Once your brine has cooled to room temperature pour the brine into the container that the pickles will be living in (I typically leave them in a large plastic container or large glass jar). Add the chopped onion, garlic, peppercorns, fresh dill, and sliced cucumbers to the brine and seal up the container.

Allow the cucumbers to sit in the brine for at least 8-12 hours before trying the pickles.

Store them in the fridge in a sealed container for 7-10 days.

Flaky Flatbread and White Bean Hummus

I am in love with today’s recipes. A few weeks ago I read in Bon Appetit magazine the recipe for flaky flatbread I have shared below. I wanted to try it almost immediately. My husband and I made them together and devoured all of them that same day. The flavors may be simple, but it is still rich in flavor and texture. An absolute treat.

ABM_1397493831

Flaky Flatbread

From Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • olive oil

Directions:

Whisk kosher salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in melted butter; mix well.

IMG_8238

Gradually mix in ¾ cup water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is shiny and very soft, about 5 minutes.

IMG_8244

Wrap in plastic; let rest in a warm spot at least 4 hours.

IMG_8250
Divide dough into 10 pieces and, using your palm, roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes.

IMG_8254

Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals about 9” across. (If dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few minutes.)

IMG_8257

Brush tops of rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

IMG_8258

Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope,

IMG_8261

then wind each rope around itself to create a tight coil.

IMG_8265

Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10” rounds no more than ⅛” thick.

IMG_8267

IMG_8268

Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Working 1 at a time, brush both sides of a dough round with room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

IMG_8277

Transfer bread to a wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

IMG_8284

Top these delicious flatbreads with a dip of your choice or try this easy and tasty white bean hummus. What I love about white beans is the buttery flavor they have, they make for delicious dips.

White Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (Canellini beans, Navy beans, etc.)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Rinse and drain the white beans. Toss the beans and the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth with just a few large chunks remaining.

Scrape bowl of food processor and put hummus into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours before serving (trust me this tastes great when the flavors have had a chance to meld together first).

IMG_8304

 

print2


Flaky Flatbread

From Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • olive oil

Directions:

Whisk kosher salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in melted butter; mix well. Gradually mix in ¾ cup water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is shiny and very soft, about 5 minutes.

Wrap in plastic; let rest in a warm spot at least 4 hours.

Divide dough into 10 pieces and, using your palm, roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes.

Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals about 9” across. (If dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few minutes.)

Brush tops of rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope, then wind each rope around itself to create a tight coil. Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10” rounds no more than ⅛” thick.

Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one piece of dough at a time, brush both sides of a dough round with room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer bread to a wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

 

print2

White Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (Cannellini beans, Navy beans, etc.)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Rinse and drain the white beans. Toss the beans and the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth with just a few large chunks remaining.

Scrape bowl of food processor and put hummus into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

Homemade Sour Gummies

print2

I’ve seen these all over Pinterest and I really wanted to make some homemade sour gummies (aka sour patch kids) that weren’t artificially flavored.

IMG_8146

Before I jump into this recipe, I would like to talk about some of the ingredients listed below; I rarely name brands in my recipes, because while there are a few brands I always go to, in general I like to let readers choose which products to use, it’s your food after all! However, for this recipe I have noted the brands for two ingredients and here’s why;

I strongly recommend Simply Lemonade since the whole point of this recipe (for me) is to cut back on artificial flavors. If you look at their ingredients, it is just water, lemon, and sugar. So the way I see it, it’s just saving me the trouble of making lemonade from scratch. You can certainly use any kind of juice, freshly squeezed, or store bought that strikes your fancy.

IMG_8069

The other brand I mention is Knox for the gelatin. This is because not all gelatin is created equal, and I can’t with confidence say you will get the same results with other products. So, save yourself the trouble and use Knox gelatin, it can be found in most large grocery stores. I promise they are not paying me!

Homemade Sour Gummies
Recipe Adapted from Knox Gelatine

ABM_1395889549

Ingredients:

  • 1 c Simply Raspberry Lemonade*
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons depending on size)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 2 packets of Knox Gelatin

*A note on ingredients; as noted above, you can use any kind of juice, lemonade, or flavoring you like but the trick is, that all of your liquid adds up to 1 1/4 c. The ratios in this recipe are really important to ensure the gummies hold their shape.

IMG_8074

Directions:

In a small sauce pan over low heat, warm the lemonade, lemon juice and food coloring (if using). Once the mixture is warm (not even boiling or simmering), add the gelatin.

IMG_8080

Stir with a fork until completely dissolved (2-3 minutes).

IMG_8087

Pour the mixture into a mold of your choice. I used a square brownie pan, but candy molds or a cake pan would work equally well.

IMG_8091

Place in freezer for 10-12 minutes. To de-mold the gelatin, run a butter knife around the edges.

IMG_8099

Then cut the gummie into 4 sections for easy removal from the pan.

IMG_8105

I then placed the gelatin on a paper towel and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.

IMG_8120

 

IMG_8122

I used the smallest cookie cutter I own so they are little bite-sized adorable gummies, but they are just as good at any size.

Store the gummies in a an airtight container and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

IMG_8143

print2


Homemade Sour Gummies

Recipe Adapted from Knox Gelatine

Ingredients:

  • 1 c Simply Raspberry Lemonade*
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons depending on size)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 2 packets of Knox Gelatin

*A note on ingredients; as noted above, you can use any kind of juice, lemonade, or flavoring you like but the trick is, that all of your liquid adds up to 1 1/4 c. The ratios in this recipe are really important to ensure the gummies hold their shape.

Directions:

In a small sauce pan over low heat, warm the lemonade, lemon juice and food coloring (if using). Once the mixture is warm (not even boiling or simmering), add the gelatin. Stir with a fork until completely dissolved (2-3 minutes).

Pour the mixture into a mold of your choice. I used a square brownie pan, but candy molds or a cake pan would work equally well. Place in freezer for 10-12 minutes. To de-mold the gelatin, run a butter knife around the edges. Then cut the gummie into 4 sections for easy removal from the pan.

Place the gelatin on a paper towel and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Store the gummies in a an airtight container and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

 

Vanilla Bavarian

print2

Today’s recipe comes from this big ol’ cookbook, I  Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot. It’s an English translation of what is basically the encyclopedia of French cooking. I both like and dislike this book. I like how much it includes and the different variations of recipes, what I dislike is how short the recipes are.

IMG_7993

Some of these recipes are rather technical, it being French cooking and all, and I find myself wishing for more instruction. I often jump into a recipe not entirely certain it will turn out or if I’m doing it right. Today’s recipe is no exception. However, my attempt was successful, and I have tried to fill in the gaps where I wish the original recipe had.

ABM_1395243524

Today’s recipe is Vanilla Bavarian (Creme Bavaroise A La Vinille), contrary to what the name says, this is not a recipe for Bavarian creme. This is essentially a creme anglaise (the custard used in creme brulee) that has been thickened. Trust me, you’re going to love it.  A decadent dessert, worth the effort, and perfect with fresh berries.

IMG_7952

Vanilla Bavarian

From I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of unflavored Knox gelatin
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 c heavy cream

Directions:

First separate your eggs. Put the egg yolks in a bowl that can be used in a double boiler. What to do with all of those egg whites? I freeze mine individually in cupcake tins so that I can use them for other recipes in the future.

IMG_7904

Next get the gelatin set up; empty the three packets into a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of hot water. Give it a quick stir with a fork to combine and then set aside. Wash the fork immediately (trust me).

IMG_7905

Now it’s time to start making the creme anglaise. In a medium-sized pot whisk together the milk, sugar, and seeds from the vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer. While the milk heats up, whisk the mixture every once in a while to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Now, when I say bring to a simmer, I mean a simmer, not a boil, you do not want to get your milk too hot or it will curddle your egg yolk during the next step. You have been warned.

IMG_7908

Once the milk is simmering, pour it into a tall measuring cup with a spout. Start pouring the milk SLOWLY into the bowl with the egg yolks while whisking the mixture constantly. Continue whisking until the milk and egg yolks are combined and slightly frothy.

IMG_7915

Put the mixture on top of a double boiler over simmering water. Keep that heat low-medium (this will depend on your stove, if you have gas keep it on low, I have gas so I had my temperature set at a medium heat).

IMG_7929

The idea is you want to gradually thicken your creme angliase and do NOT let it boil. Stir the mixture constantly. The creme anglaise is finished when it coats the back of a spoon. Be patient with this one, it can take several minutes depending on your stove.

IMG_7933

Pour the creme anglaise through a fine meshed sieve into a mixing bowl. Add the gelatin to the mixture while it is still hot. If your gelatin is a solid disk like mine was, this is ok, the hot mixture will dissolve it.

IMG_7937

Allow the mixture to come to room temperature. While it is cooling whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.

IMG_7940

Once the creme anglaise is cool, gently fold the whipped creme into the mixture. Do this slowly, working in batches of 1/3 of the whipped creme at a time.

IMG_7944

Once the mixture is completely combined pour it into a mold. Put into the refrigerator and chill for 3 hours. You could use small individual molds, or one large one like a round cake pan or a bunt pan. You could also put into fancy glasses.

IMG_7954

After 3 hours remove from the mold and serve with fresh berries.

ABM_1395243381

print2


Vanilla Bavarian

From I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of unflavored Knox gelatin
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 c heavy cream

Directions:

First separate your eggs. Put the egg yolks in a bowl that can be used in a double boiler. Next get the gelatin set up; empty the three packets into a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of hot water. Give it a quick stir with a fork to combine and then set aside. Wash the fork immediately (trust me).

In a medium-sized pot whisk together the milk, sugar, and seeds from the vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer. While the milk heats up, whisk the mixture every once in a while to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Once the milk is simmering, pour it into a tall measuring cup with a spout. Start pouring the milk SLOWLY into the bowl with the egg yolks while whisking the mixture constantly. Continue whisking until the milk and egg yolks are combined and slightly frothy.

Put the mixture on top of a double boiler over simmering water. Keep that heat low-medium (this will depend on your stove, if you have gas keep it on low, I have gas so I had my temperature set at a medium heat). This will gradually thicken the creme anglaise and do NOT let it boil. Stir the mixture constantly. The creme anglaise is finished when it coats the back of a spoon.

Pour the creme anglaise through a fine meshed sieve into a mixing bowl. Add the gelatin to the mixture while it is still hot.

Allow the mixture to come to room temperature. While it is cooling whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.

Once the creme anglaise is cool, gently fold the whipped cream into the mixture. Do this slowly, working in batches of 1/3 of the whipped cream at a time.

Once the mixture is completely combined pour it into a mold. Put into the refrigerator and chill for 3 hours. You could use small individual molds, or one large one like a round cake pan or a bundt pan. You could also put into fancy glasses.

After 3 hours remove from the mold and serve with fresh berries.

Brown Chicken Stock aka Liquid Gold

print2

Alright folks, I’ve shared with you some of my favorite chicken recipes (Roasted Chicken Thighs and Spatchcock Roasted Chicken), but don’t throw away those bones! In fact, I always have a “bone bag” in my freezer and and as we make these dishes the discarded bones go into this freezer bag rather than the trash. Once I have a full gallon-sized zip lock bag or more and a rainy day with no plans I make this chicken stock.

Chicken stock is one of the staples I like to have in my kitchen at all times, and if you’ve got the time (and the bones) this one is seriously worth it, it really is liquid gold in my kitchen.

IMG_7775

Brown Chicken Stock

adapted from Bon Appetite MagazineBrown Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 5 lb chicken bones
  • cooking spray
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots (or 16 baby carrots), peeled, rinsed, and diced
  • 2 celery stocks, diced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • handful of black peppercorns
  • 10 parsley sprigs
  • fresh thyme
  • fresh sage
  • 2-3 bay leaves

Directions:

Adjust the racks in the oven so one is on the bottom third of the oven, and the other is in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the bones in a single layer in a large roasting pan.

IMG_7662

(I know it looks kind of gross but hey, sometimes cooking ain’t pretty!)

Coat a baking pan with cooking spray and place the diced vegetables in it. Set aside. I do not recommend using a 9×9 pan as pictured above, the vegetables are too crowded and take to long to roast.

IMG_7664

Roast the bones for 15 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven. After 15 minutes place the vegetables on the top rack of the oven and roast for 20 minutes (let the bones continue roasting in the oven). Remove the vegetables from the oven and coat them in the tomato paste.

IMG_7677

Return to the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. The bones and vegetables should be a nice deep brown color (and smell amazing).

IMG_7689

Place the bones and the roasted vegetables into a large pot. While the roasting pan that the bones were in is still hot pour a cup of water in and scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture into the pot with the bones and vegetables.

IMG_7691

Add 16 cups of water, and all remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 3 hours.

IMG_7695

Now for the fun part! Remove the stock from heat and using a slotted spoon remove the solids.

IMG_7705

Once the big pieces are out of the way, strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve.

IMG_7711

Return the stock t0 medium-low heat and simmer for an additional 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the stock from the heat and allow to cool. Once cool, spoon off the excess fat.

The stock will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months or in the refrigerator for 3 days, I like to store it in quart-sized zip lock bags. I typically put about 3-ish cups of stock per a bag and let them freeze flat so that once they are frozen solid I can stack them or stick them in small places in the freezer. To defrost them place the bags in a sink of hot water.

IMG_7777

print2


Brown Chicken Stock

Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 5 lb chicken bones
  • cooking spray
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots (or 16 baby carrots), peeled, rinsed, and diced
  • 2 celery stocks, diced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • handful of black peppercorns
  • 10 parsley sprigs
  • fresh thyme
  • fresh sage
  • 2-3 bay leaves

Directions:

Adjust the racks in the oven so one is on the bottom third of the oven, and the other is in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the bones in a single layer in a large roasting pan.

Coat a baking pan with cooking spray and place the diced vegetables in it. Set aside. Roast the bones for 15 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven. After 15 minutes place the vegetables on the top rack of the oven and roast for 20 minutes (let the bones continue roasting in the oven). Remove the vegetables from the oven and coat them in the tomato paste. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. The bones and vegetables should be a nice deep brown color (and smell amazing).

Place the bones and the roasted vegetables into a large pot. While the roasting pan that the bones were in is still hot pour a cup of water in and scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture into the pot with the bones and vegetables.

Add 16 cups of water, and all remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 3 hours.

Next, remove the stock from heat and using a slotted spoon remove the solids. Once the big pieces are out of the way, strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve. Return the stock to medium-low heat and simmer for an additional 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the stock from the heat and allow to cool. Once cool, spoon off the excess fat.

The stock will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months or in the refrigerator for 3 days, I like to store it in quart-sized zip lock bags.

The Bird is the Word

print2

It all started this past November a few days before Thanksgiving. First of all, if you don’t already know this, you should; Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love, love, love it. I love all of the cooking/baking/love that goes into it. This year I was able to host my very first Thanksgiving, and even though I’m pretty sure I drove my husband crazy, I loved it. But I was spending so much time focusing on which side dishes to prepare (See: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese, Roasted Mushrooms, and Buttermilk Biscuits ) that I really kind of forgot the turkey. I know, I know, that’s crazy talk.

So a few day before Thanksgiving, I started looking at different recipes for roasting a turkey. That’s when I came across various claims that spatchcocking a turkey is the fastest and greatest way to roast a turkey. So let’s back up, today’s word of the day is spatchcock. This is a cooking technique for poultry where the back bone is removed, the bird is pressed flat, and then cooked. Basically it’s a fancy word for butterflying a whole bird.

IMG_7638

Let me just say, this blew my mind. I had never heard of it before and I was kind of fascinated by a technique that claimed to cut cooking down significantly and produce a juicy turkey with a crispy outside. But this was days before Thanksgiving, and I was not brave/crazy enough to experiment with this technique for the very first time on Thanksgiving.

Now let’s fast forward to a few weeks ago. My time had come, and I was ready to try this whole spatchcocking thing for myself. I bought a 4 lb chicken, brined it, and gave it a try. OH MY GOODNESS. It was magnificent! It was delicious! It was more than I dreamed it would be. Thankfully my husband called to say he would be working late that night because I almost ate the whole chicken myself. I have no regrets.

So without further ado, I give you my recipe for a fool-proof roasted chicken. Be brave! This yields awesome results and I will most certainly be doing this the next time I host Thanksgiving.

IMG_7649

Spatchcock Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • brine for the chicken
  • 4 lb roasting chicken
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp bacon fat (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper

Step 1: Brine the bird

You can use any brine you like. I halved this recipe from Pioneer Woman. I like this one in particular because it gives the bird sweet and savory flavors. I swear by brining whole birds before roasting, you’ll never have a dry roasted bird again! I recommend brining for at least 16 hours, or up to 24 hours before roasting.

Step 2: Spatchcock

Take the chicken out of the brine and allow it to drain for a few minutes.

IMG_7600

Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel.

IMG_7603

Using kitchen scissors, cut vertically along the backbone of the chicken on both sides and remove entirely.

IMG_7610

Flip the chicken over and press the bird as flat as you can.

IMG_7614

Step 3: Roast the chicken

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a cooling rack in a flat baking pan and put in the oven while it is preheating. Slice the lemons and oranges into thin round slices and set aside. Melt the butter (and bacon fat if using) in the microwave and set aside.

Once the oven is up to temperature, remove the hot pans from the oven. Carefully, spray the cooling rack with non stick cooking spray and arrange the lemon and orange slices on the the rack.

IMG_7616

Place the chicken on top of the citrus. Brush the skin with the melted butter (and bacon fat) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

IMG_7629

Roast for 50-60 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting up and eating.

IMG_7644

Just look at that beauty.

IMG_7640

How you doin?

Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of Freinds reruns lately. I regret nothing.

The wings and thighs are my favorite, and I love using the juicy meat from the breasts in sandwiches and soups. After carving the chicken, save those bones! Later this week I will share with you my absolute favorite recipe for brown chicken stock.

IMG_7648

Enjoy and let me know how your chicken turns out.

print2


Spatchcock Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • brine for the chicken
  • 4 lb roasting chicken
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp bacon fat (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Step 1: Brine the bird. You can use any brine you like. I recommend brining for at least 16 hours, or up to 24 hours before roasting.

Step 2: Spatchcock

Take the chicken out of the brine and allow it to drain for a few minutes. Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel. Using kitchen scissors, cut vertically along the backbone of the chicken on both sides and remove entirely. Flip the chicken over and press the bird as flat as you can.

Step 3: Roast the chicken

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a cooling rack in a flat baking pan and put in the oven while it is preheating. Slice the lemons and oranges into thin round slices and set aside. Melt the butter (and bacon fat if using) in the microwave and set aside. Once the oven is up to temperature, remove the hot pans from the oven. Carefully, spray the cooling rack with non-stick cooking spray and arrange the lemon and orange slices on the the rack.

Place the chicken on top of the citrus. Brush the skin with the melted butter (and bacon fat) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 50-60 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting up and eating.

Lemon Oregano Roasted Chicken Thighs

print2

Honestly, this dish is a staple in my house. I started making this a few years ago, when I was desperate for one-pot meals, and this one just stuck. I make this (or a variation of this) every two weeks or so. This can be attributed to a few reasons; the first being that it is quick and easy to make. I also love this recipe because it’s a building block for tons of other dinners. I often change the spice combinations and vegetables I’m roasting with the chicken so it doesn’t get boring.

ABM_1429632710

The last, and maybe most important reason we make this for dinner so often is because it’s with chicken thighs. Let me tell you, I used to think I didn’t like chicken. It turns out I was just drying out my chicken every time and that was really making my chicken dishes unenjoyable. Once I started cooking chicken thighs with this method I learned how absolutely amazing chicken can really be, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. It was literally a revelation to me that I had been ignoring, in my opinion, the best part of the chicken!

IMG_7566

And chicken thighs are so inexpensive. I buy big packs of them at the grocery store and freeze 4-5 thighs in a bag, so that when I’m making it for dinner I put the bag of frozen chicken in a sink of hot water and they defrost quickly. After they are defrosted I trim the skin so there is just a small amount on the top of the thigh, and trim the excess fat on the bottom of the thigh.

So, as you try this recipe in your own kitchen, I strongly encourage you to experiment with different spice combinations for the chicken and which vegetables get roasted with the chicken. If you like crispy chicken that is juicy and flavorful on the inside then this recipe is for you.

IMG_7565

Lemon Oregano Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 chicken thighs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c carrots, baby carrots, or cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • oregano

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Pat dry the chicken thighs with a paper towel and place on a plate. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven safe pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shiny and easily coats the bottom of the pan place the chicken thighs, skin side down, on the the pan. Allow them to brown for 6 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken and brown the bottom of the chicken thighs for 6 minutes.

IMG_7533

Toss the carrots in a small amount of olive oil and add them to the pan around the chicken thighs. Squeeze the lemon slices over the entire pan (be careful, this will splatter a bit), place the lemon slices in the pan on top of the vegetables.

IMG_7545

Sprinkle oregano on the chicken thighs and then place the pan (uncovered) in the oven and roast for 18-20 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken thighs).

IMG_7555

The chicken is finished when it reaches an internal temperature of 165.

IMG_7562

Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

print2


Lemon Oregano Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 chicken thighs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c carrots, baby carrots, or cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • oregano

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Pat dry the chicken thighs with a paper towel and place on a plate. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven safe pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shiny and easily coats the bottom of the pan place the chicken thighs, skin side down, on the the pan. Allow them to brown for 6 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken and brown the bottom of the chicken thighs for 6 minutes.

Toss the carrots in a small amount of olive oil and add them to the pan around the chicken thighs. Squeeze the lemon slices over the entire pan (be careful, this will splatter a bit), place the lemon slices in the pan on top of the vegetables.

Sprinkle oregano on the chicken thighs and then place the pan (uncovered) in the oven and roast for 18-20 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken thighs).

The chicken is finished when it reaches an internal temperature of 165.

Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

 

 

Poached Pears in Red Wine

print2

A few years ago when I was living and working in Boston I noticed a small free magazine called Lola Magazine. It was with all the other free publications near the T stops. It turned out to be a just adorable magazine geared towards the women of Boston.  I liked this magazine because it reminded me of a smaller version of Real Simple Magazine. It had some interesting articles in it that featured local business women, there was always a piece on a local charity, and my favorite part; 2-3 recipes.

I have no idea how long the magazine had been around, but I found myself starting to look forward to the beginning of each month when I new magazine would be out there waiting for me on my way to work. Then one day, at the beginning of the month I went to grab a new issue, and there was none to be had. Last months issues still sat there in the dispenser untouched. I checked again the next day and the day after that. Lola magazine disappeared almost as quickly as I had found it. Unfortunately, I’m sure this is a very common story for free print publications. I don’t have any copies of Lola Magazine saved (I’m not one to hang on to magazines for long), however I’m glad I did tear a few recipes from the magazine and save them in my enormous binder full of stray recipes I’ve collected over the years.

Today’s recipe, Poached Pears for Two is one of those recipes I saved from Lola Magazine. The last time I made these my parents were visiting me for Easter and I was looking to make them a unique dessert. I had never heard of poaching fruit and I remember being so impressed how we transformed the flavor of a cheap red wine into this delicious cooking sauce. I like this dessert a lot, and I have a sneaking suspicion you will too. So take a look, and give a try, you won’t be sorry!

ABM_1392140650

Poached Pears in Red Wine

Recipe originally appeared in Lola Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2-6 firm but ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears (one pear per person)
  • 1 bottle of red wine (no need to get anything fancy, just a cheapo bottle will do)
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • the peel of 1 orange
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • whipped cream or mascarpone (to top the finished pears, vanilla ice cream works too)

Directions:

In a medium-sized saucepan (large enough to hold the cooking liquid and pears) combine the wine, sugar, orange peel, vanilla bean, and cinnamon stick. Over medium heat bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. This will honestly, make your kitchen smell just heavenly.

While the wine sauce is coming up to a simmer, peel the pears. I recommend cutting off the bottom of the pear to create a flat surface. This way, the pears can stand up in the pan if needed, and also this will make for a dramatic presentation when the dessert I finished.

IMG_7462

Once the sugar is dissolved and the wine is simmering, gently place the pears into the mixture. The pears should be mostly submerged in the mixture. If the pears are mostly sticking out add some water to the mixture so that they are mostly covered in liquid. Simmer the pears over medium heat for 25 minutes. The pears should be tender when pierced with a knife (the pears might take 10-15 minutes longer if they are not very ripe).

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool in the poaching liquid. Once they are room temperature, store the pears (in the poaching liquid) in the refrigerator, and let them sit for at least several hours and as long as three days (I like to let mine sit for 24 hours).

When you are ready to serve the pears, take them out of the liquid and allow them to come up to room temperature. While they are warming up, strain about 1/2 of the poaching liquid into a pot and bring up to a boil over high heat. Boil the liquid for 15-25 minutes until the wine sauce cooks down a bit and thickens. It should be the consistency of warm honey. Allow the wine sauce to cool slightly.

When you are ready to plate the pears, you can leave them whole for a dramatic presentation, or if you have a misshapen pear you can cut it up (although mine kind of looks more like sushi in this picture than a pear).

IMG_7471

Drizzle the pears with some of  the cooked pan sauce.

IMG_7479

And lastly, top with a healthy dollop of whipped cream (or whatever you have decided to top the pears with).

IMG_7484

I just love the color of the pears after they have been sitting in the wine sauce. Yum! I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

IMG_7486

print2


 

Poached Pears in Red Wine

Recipe originally appeared in Lola Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2-6 firm but ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears (one pear per person)
  • 1 bottle of red wine (no need to get anything fancy, just a cheapo bottle will do)
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • the peel of 1 orange
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • whipped cream or mascarpone (to top the finished pears, vanilla ice cream works too)

Directions:

In a medium-sized saucepan (large enough to hold the cooking liquid and pears) combine the wine, sugar, orange peel, vanilla bean, and cinnamon stick. Over medium heat bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.

While the wine sauce is coming up to a simmer, peel the pears. I recommend cutting off the bottom of the pear to create a flat surface. This way, the pears can stand up in the pan if needed, and also this will make for a dramatic presentation when the dessert I finished.

Once the sugar is dissolved and the wine is simmering, gently place the pears into the mixture. The pears should be mostly submerged in the mixture. If the pears are mostly sticking out add some water to the mixture so that they are mostly covered in liquid. Simmer the pears over medium heat for 25 minutes. The pears should be tender when pierced with a knife (the pears might take 10-15 minutes longer if they are not very ripe).

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool in the poaching liquid. Once they are room temperature, store the pears (in the poaching liquid) in the refrigerator, and let them sit for at least several hours and as long as three days (I like to let mine sit for 24 hours).

When you are ready to serve the pears, take them out of the liquid and allow them to come up to room temperature. While they are warming up, strain about 1/2 of the poaching liquid into a pot and bring up to a boil over high heat. Boil the liquid for 15-25 minutes until the wine sauce cooks down a bit and thickens. It should be the consistency of warm honey. Allow the wine sauce to cool slightly.

Drizzle the pears with some of  the cooked pan sauce before serving and top with a healthy dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone.

Pecan-Stuffed Mushrooms

print2

First things first, I love toasted pecans. I love their nutty sweet flavor. Un-toasted, I don’t give a fig about pecans, but toast those babies up and the flavor and crunch factor gets intensified and I love it.

IMG_7290

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this recipe; Pecan-Stuffed Mushrooms. This is from a cookbook from my Mom’s (sizable) cookbook collection. This is kind of a neat book because it was put together by a rotary club in the late 70’s in Upstate New York (where I grew up). It’s a collection of recipes that really capture the times (according to my Mom) and it includes recipes such as Hot Sherry Crab Dip, Chocolate Crepes, and cocktails such as Sunshine Slush. Apparently it’s all very “70’s” as my Mom says. I’m a product of the 80’s so I’ll have to take her word for it.

Anyway, these tasty little mushrooms are an awesome appetizer or side dish. They have a nice crunch to them thanks to those toasted pecans, and a pleasant tangyness to due to the Greek Yogurt.

ABM_1391039464

Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms

Adapted from Applehood and Motherpie

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 16 large button mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp toasted pecans, finely chopped

Directions:

Clean mushrooms with a wet paper towel. Remove stems and set aside.

IMG_7278

Arrange mushroom caps on a baking sheet. Brush the mushroom caps with 1 Tbsp of the melted butter and set aside.

IMG_7279

Chop the mushroom stems. Using the remaining melted butter saute the mushroom stems, onion, and garlic cloves over medium heat until the onions are browned (about 5 minutes).

While sauteing preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the sauteed mushrooms and onions and all remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Fill the mushroom caps with the mixture.

IMG_7288

If you’re a self-proclaimed cheese addict like myself, sprinkle some additional cheese on top of the mushrooms.

IMG_7292

Cook in the oven for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. The mushrooms should be tender and the tops brown.

IMG_7306

The cook time might vary slightly depending on the size of the mushrooms, so keep an eye on ’em.  Serve warm.

IMG_7309

print2


Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms

Adapted from Applehood and Motherpie

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 16 large button mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp toasted pecans, finely chopped

Directions:

Clean mushrooms with a wet paper towel. Remove stems and set aside.

Arrange mushroom caps on a baking sheet. Brush the mushroom caps with 1 Tbsp of the melted butter and set aside.

Chop the mushroom stems. Using the remaining melted butter saute the mushroom stems, onion, and garlic cloves over medium heat until the onions are browned (about 5 minutes).

While sauteing preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the sauteed mushrooms and onions and all remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Fill the mushroom caps with the mixture.

If you’re a self-proclaimed cheese addict like myself, sprinkle some additional cheese on top of the mushrooms.

Cook in the oven for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. The mushrooms should be tender and the tops brown. Serve warm.