Monday, September 29, 2014

Yogurt Sriracha Chicken Thighs

Here we are at the start of another week with fall in full swing.  I actually had a surprisingly relaxing weekend and made a wonderful brunch with one of my best friends.  Saturday my boyfriend and I went to one of my favorite Portland parks, Cathedral Park, and recreated our second date.  We walked around and secretly drank champagne while watching boats go by on the river, it was a perfect and romantic afternoon.  As we walked around we bumped into Occidental's Oktoberfest, it looked like a blast and we will definitely have to check it out in the coming years.  I made this recipe after researching what chicken recipes I could make in order to use up my yummy plain whole fat Nancy's yogurt.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
1/4 cup plain yogurt (whole fat)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbsp Sriracha
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 to 5 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
The Process

1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, Sriracha, garlic, salt and pepper. Place chicken thighs in a large ziploc bag and pour marinade over. Turn bag over several times to coat chicken. Place in refrigerator and let marinate for at least one hour, I marinated the chicken overnight.

2.  Preheat oven to 375F. Arrange chicken thighs in a single layer in a baking dish or broiler pan. Spread any marinade remaining in the bag over the thighs. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Then broil on high for 4 minutes, until skin is crispy and golden brown.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Beef Tamales

Last weekend my good friend Erin and I attacked a very long but super rewarding cooking adventure, we made about 100 homemade tamales from scratch.  We had planned on making tamales together for over a year but it didn't happen until her boyfriend became obsessed with eating tamales and went to the tamale cart almost everyday.  We decided it was great motivation to make a bunch and freeze them for all our tamale cravings.  This recipe is for the beef tamales but we also made chicken tomatillo, and pork tamales, all of which are delightful!  All in all the tamale making took us about 8 hours and required some very creative steaming contraptions.  I am very excited for this weekend because my boyfriend and I are going to the annual Polish Festival in North Portland.  It is one of my favorite Portland cultural events, not to mention the tasty pierogis and delicious beer (definitely check it out if you haven't ever been).  Then on Saturday night I am going to a great fundraiser for EveryLibrary (a nonprofit social welfare organization chartered to work exclusively on local library ballot initiatives).  The event is called Tatas for Libraries, it is a tasteful burlesque show hosted in the beautiful Norse Hall and I'm sure it will be a blast!  One last note, I love that it rained all morning here in Portland, OR makes me so happy!

Makes about 30

The Ingredients

For Beef:

4 lbs beef roast (buy something leanish and inexpensive-ish)
1 large onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, halved
2Tbsp chili powder
salt and pepper
1-2 Tbsp cumin
1 (15oz) can enchilada sauce
For Masa:
4 cups masa
4 cups leftover cooking liquid from meat
1 1/3 cups lard
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 bag corn husks
The Process

Day 1: (about 8 hours)

1.  Place beef, onion, and garlic in a slow cooker. Add 2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp cumin, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour in enough water to cover or almost cover the meat. (You could use low-sodium beef broth.) Cook on low 8-10 hours or till very very tender. Don’t discard the broth! Shred beef, pour in the enchilada sauce and refrigerate. Store broth separately in a container in the refrigerator.
2.  Soak corn husks in warm water overnight.

Day 2: (about 4 hours)

1.  Rinse corn husks and drain well.

2.  Add just enough broth (only a few tablespoons) to just moisten the meat. Taste and check seasoning. If somewhat bland, add more cumin and chili powder. You may need to add a little more broth.

3.  To make masa mixture, combine masa, lard, baking powder, and salt and stir.

4.  Then add the cooking water and mix.  Next add the lard and mix until dough is slightly sticky.

5.  Watch this video to learn how to assemble, we also took little strips of corn husk and tied them around the tamales to secure them.

6.  We steamed them (over a vegetable steamer in a large pot with water) for 2 1/2 hours (covered), then we uncovered them and steamed for another 1/2 hour.  When they are done the masa will start to pull away from the corn husk wrapping.  At this point you can eat them fresh or freeze them!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mushroom and Beef Chili

I finally got to make my chili...I almost lost it on Monday evening because as I mentioned in my last blog post my oven hasn't been working for 2 1/2 weeks and then I arrived home Monday night and my stove was out of commission too.  With all my chili ingredients in hand to make a fabulous and hearty chili I read the note my landlord left saying sorry he will fix the whole appliance as soon as he can.  All I could think was my day was lame (as it was a Monday), I am starving, and great thanks for being so vague.  After I accepted I wasn't going to be able to make chili I reluctantly sauntered down to Subway because I had no more energy or patience to feed myself any other way, and no it was not satisfying.  Tuesday morning I woke up happy and ready for the day and to my surprise when I got home after a grueling workout my stove and oven were fixed!!  So as you can imagine I made my special mushroom and beef chili recipe.  I know we all deal with lots of dumb things everyday but when it comes down to it cooking makes me forget it all.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 small can of diced green chilies

2 cups crimini mushrooms, quartered

1/8 cup chili powder

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt, divided

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup broth (I used vegetable)

1 pound ground beef (85-90% lean)

1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

16 ounces fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

The Process
1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until it is shimmering. Add the onions, chili powder, cumin, cayenne and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

2. Add the beef and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes (with their juice), tomato paste, green chilies, mushrooms, Worcestershire, honey, vinegar, broth, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so it maintains a slow simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

3. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste before serving. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and chips, if desired.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chicken Wrapped Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

I had a very exciting weekend, first off we went to Eugene to visit my boyfriend's family and go to a baby shower and last minute I got a ticket to go with my boyfriend to the Ducks vs. Michigan State game!  If you watched it you know it was an amazing game that we (the Ducks) won!  It was my first Duck game since I was a freshman at the University of Oregon, and now I'm back to work and another boring Monday is in full effect.  For the last 2 going on 3 weeks my oven has been broken and I haven't been able to bake anything, if that weren't frustrating enough the repair man didn't show up or call on two separate occasions.  So finally my landlord said he would fix it which is great because I'm not going to sit around and waste 3 hour chunks of time anymore and dang it I want my oven working.  I always love to roast my asparagus but since I don't have a working oven I had to get creative and that is when researched different asparagus recipes and came up with this one.  (Mind you my boyfriend did make the hollandaise sauce and boy is it delicious).

Serves 2

The Ingredients

2 chicken breasts, pounded out
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bunch of asparagus washed, bottom 2 inches cut off
8 toothpicks
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

5 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup melted butter or clarified butter (add more if you want)
Dash of cayenne

The Process

1.  Put chicken breasts on a cutting board, and pound them out. Season each of the pieces of chicken on both sides with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Take about half of the bunch of asparagus, and roll the chicken around it. Secure the roll with about 4 toothpicks each.

2.  In a large frying pan, heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Place chicken in the hot pan and turn to brown on all sides. Once the chicken is browned, turn the heat down to medium and add chicken broth, wine and thyme. Let chicken simmer in the broth mixture for about 10 minutes, turning once halfway through.

3.  While the chicken is simmering you can make the hollandaise sauce. In a small saucepan, beat the egg yolks with a whisk with no heat. Add the lemon juice, mustard powder and cayenne to the egg yolks and whisk again to combine. Very slowly drizzle in the melted butter into the egg yolks while continuing to whisk. Once the butter is combined, place the saucepan over medium-low heat.  You want the sauce to come up to temperature but not boil, and stir occasionally. Just before the sauce wants to start bubbling remove from heat. (you can also use a double boiler to make this process easier).

4.  Drizzle the hollandaise sauce over the asparagus stuffed chicken and serve!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blue and Blackberry Ginger Pie

This last weekend we had a very social but somehow still relaxing weekend.  We rode our bikes to the Skidmore Bluffs and had a very nice picnic and played many rounds of rummy until the sun set.  On another night we attended our friend's 5 year wedding anniversary potluck party, for this I actually baked a pie!  As you have seen in the past I don't really bake nor do I like to, but pies are my one exception.  I like making pie and I'm actually good at it.  I only very slightly adapted this recipe because if I were to improvise much at all I would end up with a mess, baking is just a little too precise for me.  I used fresh blueberries and blackberries from my mother's yard, I also used her kitchen and moral support to make sure the pie turned out perfect and it did.  Enjoy!

Serves 8

The Ingredients
For the Crust:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Cup cold, unsalted butter diced
4 Tbsp. ice water
For the Filling:
4 Cups  blackberries fresh or frozen
4 Cups blueberries fresh or frozen
1 Tbsp small tapioca
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1/3 Cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp crystallized ginger diced finely
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp unsalted butter diced
1 egg beaten (for washing the crust)
The Process
Prepare the crust:
  1. In the bowl combine the flour, butter and salt. Pulse until combined and the mixture looks like coarse meal.
  2. Slowly add the ice water and mix until just combined. Dump mixture out on to work surface (will be crumbly) and mix until incorporated.
  3. Divide in half, press into flat circles and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.
Prepare the filling:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the berries and all remaining ingredients except the butter and egg in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Roll out dough on a floured work surface in two large rounds. Line a 9" deep dish pie plate with one. Cut 8, 1" strips from the other round. Re-rolling if necessary. Pour filling into the bottom crust, dot with the diced butter, and top with four strips of crust, weave into a lattice or use a fun cookie cutter and make designs in the top, just be creative! Brush top with the beaten egg. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then lower heat to 375 for the remaining 40 minutes, or until the juices bubble and the crust turns golden brown.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing.