Archive for Poultry

August 15th, 2010

Quitting with Tagine (and Couscous)


It’s been a while.

Well to make a long story short, I quit my job. It felt a little crazy to do it in this economy, but it became a matter of “now or never.” We have some savings and not very many responsibilities at the moment so it’s as good a time as any to try out a little life experiment: I went ahead and signed up for a few more cooking classes, a cake decorating class, and applied for an internship at a bakery. Class starts in a couple of weeks and I’ll hear back about the internship next week so we’ll see how that all goes.

So in the spirit of trying out new things, I made a Moroccan meal a few days ago. I found this recipe in The Bon Appetit Cookbook. It didn’t seem very intimidating and I already had most of the ingredients on hand so I decided to give it a shot. Turns out, it pays to try new things every once in a while. Although a tagine is a particular kind of pot used primarily in North African cooking, I just used my Dutch oven and it worked out fine. Whatever heavy-bottom pot you have will work great.

Chicken Tagine and Vegetable Couscous
Adapted from Bon Appetit Cookbook
Serves 2-3


1 Tbsp olive oil
4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on (about 2 lbs total)
1/2 an onion
1 1/3 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
dash of cayenne
2/3 tsp ground ginger
2/3 c low salt chicken broth
small can of olives
lemon, cut into 6 wedges

Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot and brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to platter. Pour off all but thin film of fat from pot. Add onions. Reduce heat to medium and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add all spices and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return chicken pieces to pot, in single layer if possible. Add chicken broth, lemons, and olives. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, basting and turning occasionally, about 30 minutes. Season tagine to taste with salt and pepper.

This can be prepared 1 day ahead so the chicken can sit in the tasty stew but, well, we were hungry and ate almost all of it.

Since I’ve never had couscous before and wasn’t sure what the taste and texture is supposed to be, I just bought a box of instant couscous. I sauteed a quarter of an onion, one zucchini and one summer squash then mixed that with the cooked couscous. It was like teeny tiny rice! Quite delish.


February 28th, 2010

Roast Chicken for Dad

Any experienced home cook or professional cook will tell you that you need a good roast chicken recipe under your belt because it is easy, and it impresses everyone. There is something celebratory about pulling out a whole bird out of the oven and carving it up for your family and friends. It can be very versatile, tweaked to your tastes, and you can leave it alone in the oven while you tend to other things, like catching up on Archer or reading the new Bon Appetit.

I am especially proud of this recipe because my dad loves it. Now it could be because he was just startled that I know how to cook anything at all, or maybe all dads love whatever their kids make, but when he said, “this might be better than mom’s,” you could practically see me glow and float off the floor. My dad is not a picky eater per se. He’ll eat anything my mom puts in front of him but that also means that just about everything else is never really good enough. He’ll go out to restaurants for certain foods like sushi or a really good steak but not much else. So when he said my chicken was good, I patted myself on the back and had a stupid grin on my face all day. He complimented the bird out of mom’s earshot, by the way. He’s allowed to love it, but not too loudly.

I love this recipe because the initial high heat crisps up the skin, and because there is almost a whole stick of herbed butter in this sucker. If that doesn’t make you hungry, I’m not really sure what will.

  • Ingredients

  • 3-lb chicken, preferable organic and free range (it really does taste better, to me anyway)
  • Thyme (or you can use Rosemary too)
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened, plus 2 Tbsp melted
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 apple, quartered (or lemon, or orange… whatever’s on hand)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2-3 Carrots, sliced lengthwise then crosswise
  • 2 Celery stalks, halved
  • 4-5 Red potatoes, quartered

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Toss carrots, celery, 2 of the 4 onion quarters, and potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper, and herbs. Please in a roasting pan.

3. Rinse the chicken inside and out then pat dry. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.

4. Stuff cavity with garlic, onion, thyme and quartered apple/orange/lemon.

5. Mash the softened butter with herbs until combined. Use that butter to rub under the skin of the chicken. This is probably the trickiest part of the recipe. Loosen the skin of the chicken; starting at the neck, push your fingers under the skin and loosen it from the flesh without tearing it. Squish some of the herbed butter in there and then massage it to spread it evenly. Do the same with the butt end of the bird. I use the back of a spoon to shove the butter under the skin then just work it with my fingers. This can get a little messy and frustrating but it is worth it. Believe me.

6. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with more herbs and then brush over the chicken. I told you there was going to be butter in this recipe, right? Rub the outside with some salt and pepper.

7. Place chicken in roasting pan on top of the vegetables. Place in oven.

8. After 15 minutes, turn down heat to 400 degrees.

9. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the bird, until the thermometer reads 165 degress in the thickest part of the thigh. I tend to pull out the chicken at around 150 degrees because it will continue to cook. If you let it get beyond 165 degrees, the meat will be pretty dry. Let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving so that the tasty juices can recirculate.

Serve to adoring guests.

Posted under Poultry | 3 Comments
February 13th, 2010

Superbowl Foodfest

So this is probably a bit of a late post but gimme a break… preparing all that food for our little Superbowl party was biting off way more than I could chew. But chew we did, and I gotta say I was pretty happy with most of the food.

I don’t have a whole lot of experience feeding a dozen or so people so I went hunting around on the internetz for some inspiration. There are a ton of amazing food bloggers out there and so it felt like I got a bit of help in planning out what to make.


Chopping for Vegetarian Gumbo. This recipe wasn’t really all that great… wasn’t too happy with it at all, so I’m not going to bother linking the site to you. If you do happen to search for it and it asks for vegetarian sausage, let me save you some grief right now and tell you that it does not exist. The guy at the meat counter will just give you a dirty look and banish you to the frozen foods aisle, where you will find  other vegetarian “meat,” but definitely NOT sausage.

Can you tell where my shirt is from? Bonus cookie if you can.*


Seven Layer Dip… More like 5 layers really. I forgot to make the guacamole. D’oh. I also didn’t want to put shredded lettuce on it. I borrowed this recipe from a member of Here it is.

Jalapeno poppers. These suckers were more labor-intensive than anticipated. Cut in half, seed (the seeds go flying EVERYWHERE), stuff with cream cheese then stick some bacon. Sounds simple but it took me close to an hour to prep. Guh. But it was a huge hit. Here’s the recipe, from one of my favorite food bloggers, Pioneer Woman. She takes beautiful pictures, makes amazing yet simple food and she has a great story (city girl turned ranch wife). Go check out her stuff. Be warned though, her website is picture-heavy so it is not friendly to slow internet connection.

Adobo-glazed wings. Now I probably broke a Superbowl Rule of some sort by not deep-frying these babies but I just did not want to deal with a vat of oil and my house smelling like a KFC. I had Boyfriend grill them instead and I gotta say I think that actually added a lot of wonderful flavor. So I’m not apologizin’ to nobody. For the glaze, I turned to another Filipino food blogger, Burnt Lumpia, a genuinely funny guy with some really incredible recipes. Here you go.

And finally, the piece de resistance. Brisket. Oh wow. This had so much flavor in it that it made my head swim. I pulled this from Smitten Kitchen, who has AH-mazing recipes. I have yet to be disappointed with anything on that site. Her recipe is a slow-cooker recipe but I just cooked mine in the oven for about 3 1/2 hours and it was perfect. Either way you go, you have got a real winner with this one. Here it is.

We had a few other munchies but these are the highlights. Unfortunately we forgot to take pictures of the desserts, all of which were prepared by my sister Nikki. Cupcakes, Oreo truffles, chocolate chip cookies… oh my! She totally saved my ass since I had no time at all to make dessert myself, and what is a big gathering without fattening sweets? She remains reigning Dessert Queen at our house. I’ll make sure to talk her into doing a guest post eventually.

Hope you guys had a fun Superbowl Sunday too! Unless the Cowboys are playing, I don’t really care who wins (come on Cowboys, stop breaking my heart). I do tend to root for the underdog, though, and during this Superbowl, it seemed like everyone who came over had the same idea. So congratulations Saints! Sounds like Mardi Gras is going to be a long affair this year!

*No cookies actually awarded