Korean Fried Chicken Sliders

Holy Balls, Batman

Korean Fried Chicken Sliders

Oh haaaaaaaaaay!

Anyone there? Have you left me? It would be well deserved – I am a giant slacker and I apologize. This has been, perhaps, the busiest six months of my life, and I am exhausted. Just when I think things are easing up, they absolutely do not do that. Luckily it’s been mostly great, fun, exciting and lovely stuff, but I am tired. I have a list a mile long to tell you about, but it’s been so long since I have made some of the things I want to share, I am going to have to go back and make them again.

BUT, I had to write today, because as it turns out, today B&G turns FIVE. That’s right. Today is Bread & Ginger’s fifth blogiversary. I am currently celebrating with a delicious gimlet and some pork chops that I can’t wait to tell you about, but we are going to celebrate with some fried chicken sliders, which might be how I celebrate everything from now on, because they are good. I first made this a full sized sandwich, which was good but it was a lot. I like the sliders better for their spicy/sweet meat-to-everything-else ratio.

These are good and easy and quick! There is some deep frying but hopefully that doesn’t scare you anymore. The sauce is sweet and spicy and nutty from the sesame, and also has a hint of funk from the fish sauce. (A good thing, I promise…) There are some ingredients in here that you may not have, but if you have an Asian supermarket nearby you will be able to find all of them ( if you don’t  - Amazon!) Gochujang – Korean chile paste – is spicy, but spicy like sriracha, rather than spicy like Frank’s or Texas Pete. There is a great depth of flavor and umami-ness to it. The spice is balanced by the sweetness from the sugar, and the pickles and the Kewpie mayo and the buttery brioche combine with the sauce for crazy goodness.

I miss you all, and B&G. I am still working on making more hours in the day. If anyone has any ideas, I am all ears.

Happy Blogiversary B&G! And thank you all for reading!!

Seriously, you are not gonna want to stop.

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough

1. It is apparently National Junk Food Day which makes me feel way better about the snacks I had today.

2. I will watch Parks and Recreation any time it is on, notwithstanding how many times I have seen a particular episode.

3. I am currently reading A Clash of Kings. I am currently listening to Beyonce as often as possible. I saw her and Jay in concert a couple weeks back. It was amazing – life changing even. (Too hyperbolic?)

4. I am recovering from an ankle sprain. Apparently walking is a struggle. I wear heels for days, and hike around Denver, and a curb in front of one of my favorite restaurants three blocks from home lays me low while I am wearing top-siders. My high school soccer career is coming back to haunt me. Forever a champion. (This is the most annoying because I was starting to run again, and I have a Jawbone. It counted crutching, which was nice, but I am falling way short of my goal while I have a bum wheel.)

5. MAKE THESE SLIDERS. They are so good. You are going to like them. (And then use whatever sauce you have leftover for chicken wings. I am planning on doing just that this week.)

Korean Fried Chicken Sliders (makes 8 sliders)

For sauce:

4 cloves garlic

1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped

3 tbl gochujang (Korean chile paste, available at Asian markets or online)

3 tbl dark soy sauce (available at Asian markets)

1 tbl fish sauce

1 tbl brown sugar

1 tbl sesame oil

2-3 tbl rice vinegar

Put all ingredients and two tablespoons of the vinegar in a blender and pulse until ingredients are mixed and ginger and garlic are minced. If sauce seems a little thick, add another tablespoon of vinegar and blend to combine. Place in bowl and set aside.

For chicken:

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in two equal pieces each

1 egg

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup masa harina (corn flour)

1 tbl corn starch

Salt and pepper

oil for frying

Heat three inches of oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat until it reaches 375 degrees. Meanwhile, in one bowl mix egg with 1 tbl water and whisk until combined. In another bowl, mix both flours, the cornstarch and generous pinches of salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Dredge chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then the flour mixture, and then again in the egg and then the flour. Fry chicken in batches until light brown and crispy, about 6 or 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let the oil come back to temperature and repeat with the rest of the chicken pieces.

For sliders:

8 small brioche rolls

butter for toasting

dill pickle slices

kewpie mayonnaise (Japanese style mayonnaise – can be found in Asian markets and some supermarkets.)

Spread butter on the sliced brioche rolls, and toast until cut sides are golden brown and toasty. Spread each side generously with kewpie mayonnaise and layer pickle slices on the bottom roll. Dredge fried chicken pieces in sauce until well coated, and place on top of the pickles. Cover with the top of the roll and voila!

B&G Classics: Chicken Noodle Soup

Wahoooooooo!

That means I passed my test, in case it wasn’t clear. And I am so so glad. That was easily the most stressful thing I have done in a long time. I felt unprepared and I HATE feeling unprepared. It was hard. I woke up this morning and honestly felt like a year had passed since last Friday. But it is over! And studying did give me the opportunity to procrastinate and make lots of soup, so that is nice. Sorry about the three day hiatus, I was going to blog every day to get all the soup in, but Sunday got a little hairy as the test was getting closer, and Monday was for test taking and then bubbly-drinking and yesterday was for the rest of life. But today is soup day again! Specifically, Chicken Noodle. There are a million ways to make it, but the gist is chicken vegetables and noodles in chicken broth. (I mean, there probably aren’t a MILLION ways to make it, but you know what I mean.) This is a pretty basic, classic version. (This one is classic with a twist and I am DYING to try it. Related: have you guys ever checked out Sweet Paul? It is GORGEOUS.)

A cure for what ails you

A cure for what ails you

This version is perfect for post-chicken dinner leftovers. The key is homemade stock. While I suppose it is not technically necessary, I am saying it’s necessary. You are going to be so happy with yourself if you use homemade stock. It will be infinitely better. Truly. There are plenty of times where homemade stock isn’t that noticeable because of other things that are going into the soup, but this is not one of those times. (STOCK REMINDER: put six lbs of chicken backs in a large pot and cover with water. (Use wings or legs if you don’t collect chicken backs in your freezer/can’t get them from your butcher or grocery store. Pro-tip – ask for them at your butcher or grocery store. Whole Foods often has them packaged with the other chicken for .99 a pound. Way cheaper than you’ll pay for wings.) When the water boils, take the chicken out, dump the water (and the sludge that will come along with it) rinse out the pot, and add the chicken back in with two onions peeled and cut in half, three carrots peeled and cut in large pieces, three celery stalks peeled and cut in pieces, a head of garlic sliced in half width wise, two or three bay leaves, a handful of fresh parsley, some black peppercorns and a good dash of salt. Cover with a ton of water (I use a 12 quart pot and fill it close to the top.) Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat, simmer for two to four hours or as long as you are hanging around the house, strain the solids out, and voila! Chicken stock! Let it cool, skim the fat off the top and use what you need and freeze the rest!)

Other than the stock and the leftover chicken, I like onion, celery, a little bit of garlic, carrots, egg noodles and dill. And that’s it. Soften the vegetables without browning them. Add the stock, bring to a simmer and cook until the carrots are soft. Add the egg noodles and the chicken, cook until the noodles are done. Add the dill, voila! That’s it. It all happens in about half an hour, which is pretty funny, considering Chicken Soup is the quintessential comfort food. It seems like the quintessential comfort food that cures all ills and is essentially a word that has come to symbolize home itself should be an undertaking of some sort. But it’s not. Go forth. Make soup.

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup (Makes a lot)

2 tbl olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

3 carrots, peeled a chopped in half moons

3 stalks celery, peeled and sliced in half moons

1 large clove garlic, minced

8 cups chicken stock

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

4-6 oz egg noodles

1 handful dill, chopped (optional, but I recommend it!)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add all the vegetables and saute until they are soft, without letting them brown. Add the chicken stock, bring the soup to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the chicken and the noodles, and cook for another five or six minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Add the dill, taste for salt and pepper and add as needed, and serve! (IF you are planning on freezing or bringing this to someone’s house, or saving it for later, and you are worried about the noodles getting too mushy, leave them out at this point. Or take some of the soup out for freezing or transporting and just add the appropriate amount of noodles to what you are going to eat now, and add the rest to the defrosted/transported/saved part, so they don’t get mushy!)

Indian Butter Chicken

A lot of my earliest memories are food related. I remember sitting down at the dinner table with my dad and my little brother after my dad got home from work. My mom worked at a Hospice at the end of our street a couple evenings a week, and before she left for work in the afternoon, she would make dinner that my dad could put in the oven when he got home. She would make Chicken Tetrazzini or Mac and Cheese or Chicken Divan and we would sit down at the table and instead of saying grace, we would count to three and scream “Good Dinner Mom!” at the top of our lungs, because my brother and I were SURE she could hear us down the street. And the next morning when we would ask if she heard us, she always said yes.

I remember my dad making us Cream of Wheat in the mornings. It was my favorite. He would skip stirring it just enough, so that it would be the perfect amount of lumpy, because I loved it lumpy. On St. Patrick’s Day he would put a drop of food coloring in the bottom of the bowl, so when we stirred it up it would turn green.

I remember my brother burning his top lip on a cookie sheet of hot homemade pretzels, and he had to wear this green vitamin e paste on his top lip for days, so the burn wouldn’t scar.

I remember special chicken, the most delicious, perfect birthday dinner of fried Chinese chicken wings you could ever imagine, which I have never been able to recreate correctly.

I remember lobsters every July for the joint birthday celebration for my mom and dad and their friends. My middle sister and I would get to have a lobster of our own because we would eat anything and everything. The other two would have chicken or hot dogs or something, because they were not very adventurous eaters and had no interest in lobster, which was fine with my parents because two kids with expensive tastes were plenty.

I remember the school lunches my dad always made. Always. Like every day of my life until I graduated from high school. The lunches were epic, the brown bags were always overflowing. He started making me two sandwiches because the boys in high school would hound me for mine until I shared. Bulkie roll, mayo on the bottom, then lettuce, then ham, then American cheese, then tomato then more mayo on the top – the tomato juice and the mayo made the most delicious combo.

I remember my grandparents’ 50th anniversary dinner at their beach club. My dad and my aunt cooked for my grandparents and all their friends. I suspect my mom made dessert. That’s always been her wheelhouse. My cousin and brother and I were the servers. I have a picture of my dad from that night over the sink in my kitchen. Just looking like he’s always looked, and like I picture him. With an apron on, prepping something and smiling.

I don’t remember when my dad took over primary cheffing responsibilities, it was probably gradual, but now when I think of him, it’s always in front of the stove or the cutting board. It might be for that night’s dinner, it might be for the next day’s brunch and it might be for something a week down the road, but that’s where he likes to be. It’s a very good thing. We eat well at my parents’ house.

I also don’t remember when I really started cooking, though I would imagine it was in college. I used to bake in high school, lots and lots and lots of chocolate chip cookies, but cooking came later. My first major event was a sit down, plated engagement lunch for my college roommate junior year. Which was totally insane, if I think about it. I made pork tenderloin, and fried chicken and greens for the people that didn’t eat pork. It was for about 30 people I think. That was the start…I never really looked back. There were epic law school dinners, and lessons for my roommate who would eat anything, and wanted to learn to cook herself. And then I had a big kitchen all to myself, and so there have been Christmas parties for 40 with food for 90, and football Sundays, and lots of brunches and a few catering gigs.

I am never happier than when I am in a kitchen, preferably my own, cooking for people I love. I love the feeling of providing for people, for nourishing them, for making them happy and, if we’re being honest, the kick in the ego I get when people enjoy it. I feel good when I am cooking, in part because I think I am pretty good at it, but mostly because it is the surest way I know how to tell people I love them. And this, more than anything, is the part of my cooking that I got from my dad. It is how we are most alike and it what I am most thankful to share with him. (If you are wondering, this does NOT translate into us cooking well together, which is mostly on me, because if he’s the sous chef he can’t help futzing and adjusting and perfecting whatever is in the works – as all good sous do – AND I DON’T LIKE PEOPLE TOUCHING MY STUFF. And I’m nobody’s sous-chef. So you see how this is a problem. (That kind of obnoxious behavior is how I’m LEAST like my dad, BTDubs…))

All of this is basically just to say Happy Father’s Day, a couple of days late and plenty of dollars short, of course, to a dad who continues to teach me and my sibs what it means to love and be loved. And who makes one hell of a frittata…

Killer 'stache.

The Man, the Myth, the Legend

———-

And now, a confession. I am losing my mind. I posted the last installment, and promptly realized I ALREADY HAVE A CARBONARA RECIPE ON HERE. I am THE WORST. And then I took eleventy months off. So I am making it up to you by posting THIS recipe. Because it is delicious. It should make up for all manner of sins, it is that good. I actually made it a couple of months back, and have been meaning to share it with you since, but then time got away from me (have you heard that before?)

Don't mind the fabric cutting mat...that's just how I roll

Murgh Makhani

I have wanted to make Butter Chicken since the first time I heard the words. It has butter in the name – I’m an easy sell. When I found out it is kind of  a buttery version of Chicken Tikka Masala, my need to make it got more urgent. I looked around and found a recipe by Floyd Cardoz, who I really enjoyed on Top Chef Masters. The recipe looked like it had perhaps a few more steps than some of the others, but still wasn’t particularly difficult. The extra step is straining, and while it may also be delicious without that step, the sauce that results from it is so silky and creamy, I can’t imagine not doing it.

This Butter Chicken is cumbersome only in that you need to start a day or two before you plan to eat it. I marinate the chicken on day one, cook it on day two, and make the sauce and eat on day three. Each day requires about a half hour’s worth of work, if that, and day two and three could easily just be done the same day. It can be a weeknight meal for sure.

The first step is marinating the chicken, and it should be done a day before you cook it. The marinade is garlic, ginger, jalepeno, lime juice and yogurt with garam masala and paprika. I used skinless boneless chicken thighs because I like the flavor of the dark meat. Marinate the chicken overnight.

Step two is broiling or grilling the chicken until it is cooked through and slightly charred. This can be done the day before or the day of dinner.

Step three is the sauce. Onion, tomato, more garlic and ginger, another jalepeno and butter. This gets simmered down for about a half hour, then pureed and strained. It’s finished with cinnamon, honey, fenugreek leaves and cream. Apparently fenugreek is THE thing that makes Butter Chicken, Butter Chicken, but I have a secret…I can’t find it, so I haven’t used it either time. This was still delicious. Someday I am going to find it and add it, and I suspect my mind will be blown.

It sounds like a lot, or like it might be time consuming, but it really isn’t, it just needs a little foresight. And the results are amazing. The sauce is so smooth and flavorful and great.

Thanks Floyd!

Heaven

Just because I haven’t been around here doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking and eating – I wouldn’t want you to worry that I have been hungry for four months.

I have had pizza

pizzapizzapizzapizza

mushroom, onion, black olive…doesn’t get better.

Softshell Crabs

getinmybelly

with Israeli couscous, garlic scape pesto and tomatoes

Chicken Stir-fry

quick and easy quick and easy

Chicken with Black Bean Sauce

More chicken of the sticky soy variety

Honey Soy Chicken Legs

Honey Soy Chicken Legs

Somen noodle bowls

Tofu, what?

healthy AND delicious

and lobsters, among other things…

You were delicious

Hello little buddy!

I have also been cooking for others quite a bit. I’ve had a couple of catering jobs, a personal chef gig, and LOTS of baking for office birthdays. Exciting stuff!

In other thoughts:

1.) I needed a distraction this past weekend. I decided on CandyCrush, which may have been a huge mistake. I mean, it was a GREAT distraction, incredibly effective, but now I JUST. CAN’T. STOP. I am really concerned for my future. I thought level 33 was going to kill me dead.

2.) Netflix and Hulu Plus are the greatest and the worst. I am SO EASILY DISTRACTED.

3.) It seems to finally be summer here. It took forever to get here, but the weather has been glorious for the past week. Thank goodness.

4.) It is very nice to live in a place where there is almost always a team in contention, it makes things fun. GO B’s!!

5.) What I am listening to: Josh Ritter’s The Beast in Its Tracks. This album is great. I was listening to it for the second or third time, and bopping along and started actually listening to the words…yikes. Dark. JRitt went through a divorce a couple of years ago, and clearly it sparked his creative juices. All is well though, because I saw him in concert about a month ago, and it was the happiest, giddiest most joyful I have ever seen a performer on stage, so it seems like he’s bounced back.

6.) What I am reading: Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers

7.) I am making an Olive Oil Cake for the wedding reception of one of my oldest friends this weekend. I can’t wait to celebrate with her and then tell you about the cake, because it is pretty tasty.

And now, for the main event. Hopefully I will see you all back here again soon!!!

Indian Butter Chicken (serves 4-6)

From Floyd Cardoz and Serious Eats

4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbls minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
3 tbls juice from 3 limes
3 tbls neutral oil (such as vegetable or canola)
1 tbl kosher salt
3 tbls paprika
1 tbl garam masala
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups yogurt
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
 
2 (28 oz.) cans roasted tomatoes
2 cups water
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tbls fresh minced ginger
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
8 tbls (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Kosher salt
3 tbls honey
3 tbls fenugreek leaves, toasted and crushed
1 tbl black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream, to taste
 

For Chicken: In a food processor, combine garlic, ginger, chili, lime juice, oil, salt, and spices. Process to a paste, then add yogurt and process until smooth. Transfer to a large zip top bag or tupperware and add chicken. Marinate 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.

Set broiler rack 4 inches from heat source and preheat broiler to high (or feel free to grill these!). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove chicken from zipper lock bag and wipe off excess marinade. Lay out in a single layer on baking sheet and broil until color darkens and some dark blisters form, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken, rotate sheet pan, and broil until color darkens on other side, about 5 minutes. Repeat once or twice until chicken is cooked through, and there is some dark char on each piece. This takes me 12-15 minutes.

For sauce: In a large, heavy pot, combine tomatoes, water, onion, garlic, ginger, chili, butter, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered at a hard simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens to about 2 1/2 quarts, about 30 minutes.

Transfer 1/3 of sauce to jar of a blender. Starting with low speed, gradually increase to high. Blend until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean large saucepan. Repeat with remaining two batches sauce. Keep sauce warm over low heat and stir in fenugreek, black pepper, honey, and cream to taste. Season with salt to taste, then chop chicken  into bite-size pieces and add to sauce. Serve with rice and a garnish of julienned ginger.

Stocking up for the New Year…Chicken, Beef and Vegetable Stock

Essentials for the new year...

Essentials for the new year…

Hola nerds!

How I have missed you! It has been a busy fall and winter, blah blah blah, excuses, blah, blah, travel, blah, unitentional hiatus…

Now that I have cleared that up, what’s new with you? I hope all has been well!

My brother recently said that I needed to post something asap, because he was really tired of looking at wings. I did not know that my brother was actually visiting the blog, but since he is, I certainly don’t want to cause fatigue and lose him as a reader, so here I am with a new post. This may not actually be what he had in mind, but beggars can’t be choosers.

This one is really more about technique, as there are myriad ways to make stock and pretty much all of them have already been documented on the interwebs, so instead of considering this a recipe, consider it a friendly reminder/suggestion. Make stock, put it in the freezer, use it until you run out, make stock again. Repeat ad infinitum. The work involved is minimal and the payoff is HUGE. The flavor is better than what you get in the store, your house will smell good while you make it, and people will be impressed. Actually, those three reasons pretty much make up the sum total of my rationale for cooking at all…

I value my “stock”pile (ahahahaha) so much that it is the only frozen item that made the move to my new place with me. I make the stock and let it cool and then measure two cup quantities in to quart-sized ziploc bags. Then each stock bag goes into a second ziploc bag to prevent freezer burn. Label with the type of stock, the quantity and the date, and there you go. This is not the most environmentally friendly storage method, but it is the best storage method, and if you label the INSIDE bag, you can use the outside bag again. (Label the bag before you add the stock. This is probably obvious to most, but in case it’s not, take it from me…) (Also, I know you are looking at the photo and saying “but Meghan, those don’t look like ziploc bags…” and you would be correct, but ziploc bags don’t photograph particularly well, so I dirtied some extra dishes for you. You are welcome…) Freezer bags are the best storage because they can be laid flat and stacked on top of each other in the freezer to maximize space. Two cups is a good amount because if you are making soup or risotto, two bags will typically do the trick, and if you need less than that, you will likely be able to use the rest of what you defrosted without it getting lost in the back of your refrigerator for many moons and going to waste…though maybe that kind of thing never happens to you, in which case, carry on.

the beginnings of beef stock

the beginnings of beef stock

Stock is pretty much the same regardless of type – the main ingredients, the aromatics and water get simmered together for enough time that the water becomes rich flavorful stock rather than boring, flavorless water. Which aromatics and vegetables you choose can depend on the stock you are making, but for the most part, if you have the holy trinity of cooking: onions, carrots and celery, and perhaps some garlic and herbs, you have what it takes. For chicken stock I like to make sure I add thyme, bay leaves, lots of peppercorns and, sometimes, ginger, to brighten it up. For lobster stock I like to add fennel and some tomato paste because they are so suited to lobster, and for vegetable stock I like to add mushrooms, because they deepen the flavor and add the umami-ness that is important when you aren’t including meat. The rules are the same: bring everything to a gentle boil, then reduce the temperature and let the goodness simmer for a couple hours until it’s stock. In the case of beef stock, you want to avoid boiling at all – you just want to bring it to and keep it at a simmer instead – but otherwise, the process is the same.

Make stock my darlings, if you’ve never done it before, it will revolutionize your cooking.

In other news…my 10 things:

I don’t like asking for things, but this one’s for Shania – I am so lucky to call her my homie: http://www.fundraiseforbcrf.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=1021963&team=5354081

BostonGLOW: an amazing organization that I am proud to be a part of…small now, but I’m certain it won’t be small for long…

My album of the moment is really not an album at all, just a playlist of ridiculous Top 40 amazingness.

What I am reading: I just finished Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. Amazing and heartbreaking.

I want Tina and Amy to be my best friends. http://tv.yahoo.com/blogs/2013-golden-globes/tina-fey-amy-poehler-dazzle-hilarious-golden-globes-014640389.html

Pitch Perfect might be my new favorite movie. Best. Ever.

I guess I have to root for the 49ers in the Super Bowl? Not how I hoped that would go.

Resolutions are tricky, so I am setting goals instead. Because those will totally be easier. Financial, Work, Personal, Fitness, B&G, they’re all covered…we’ll see how it goes. Happy New Year!

It’s the beginning of free week at the casa! If you are new around here, free week is when I decide not to buy any groceries, and just fashion dinners out of what I have in the house. I did cheat and buy eggs today, but I figured that didn’t count, because you can practically buy eggs with pocket change. The menu for free week includes: Penne with fennel, tomatoes and olives inspired by this, cowboy beans from here, spaghetti carbonara (I think I might have figured out how to make this work every time! I will share) meatloaf, soy sesame noodles and sweet pea ravioli with pecorino romano. As you can see, it was high time for a free week. It will not be much of a sacrifice.

I guess that was only nine things…until next time, my lovelies…

Here’s to 2013. I have high hopes.

Be good to one another.

And to the recipes we go…

Beef Stock

Vegetable Stock

Basic Chicken Stock (makes about 3 quarts)

4-5 lbs chicken wings

2 medium onions, quartered

2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, peeled and roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic, unpeeled

Handful of fresh parsley

2 dried bay leaves

1 tsp peppercorns

Add all ingredients to a large pot with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for two or two and a half hours. Strain the stock through cheese cloth, and store for future use.

Feel free to add leeks if you have them, ginger if you would like to add a little zip and bright flavor or thyme if you want a more herby flavor.

Buffalo Wings for Football Sunday

It’s really fall. I’m sleeping with blankets, wearing boots to the grocery store, listening the college kids partying into the wee hours and making wings for a football Sunday.

a football classic

…At least the wings were successful.

I’m just going to chalk that Pats performance up to a show of solidarity for that smoking wreckage of a baseball team we have up here right now, and figure we’ll all be moving on next week.

***

Buffalo wings are delicious. And actually pretty easy to make. Ingredients are minimal: hot sauce, butter or margarine, and chicken. I like to add a little salt, pepper and cayenne also. You can technically bake these, and I have. They are fine, and they still taste like buffalo wings, but I’m not going to lie, deep-frying them is better. A bit more work, but not much, and worth it I think. Yep, they are more unhealthy, but we are talking about a recipe in which one of the primary ingredients is butter or margarine, so let’s go all in, shall we?

I have made these for years with butter, but I was just reading the most recent Saveur, and apparently, the original recipe – like the Anchor Bar in Buffalo original recipe – used margarine. Which makes sense, since these were invented in the 60′s. I used margarine today to see if it made a difference, and I am not sure if it does, and since margarine is pretty much poison, I will probably stick to butter in the future. But I did come up with another trick. I tossed the wings in just a little corn starch before I fried them. It doesn’t really make a huge difference in the crispiness, but it gives the sauce something to stick to, so it’s a win!

crisp fried and delicious

Wings are a crowd pleaser. They are messy as anything, but that is half the fun. Obviously, blue cheese dressing is a requirement, and it’s always nice to add celery and carrots for health. And just like that, you can skip the bars and strangers and have delicious wings at home! (If you are like me, this is a dream come true.)

Sunday Funday

Buffalo Wings (makes two dozen wings)

24 chicken wing pieces (from twelve wings, separated, tips removed)

1/4 cups corn starch

3/4 cups hot sauce, like Franks

3/4 cups (1.5 sticks) butter or margarine

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

salt and pepper

Peanut or canola oil (or a combination) for frying

Blue cheese dressing (recipe below) celery and carrots for serving

Heat several inches of oil in a dutch oven or other heavy pot to 350 degrees. Toss the wings with the corn starch and salt and pepper. When the oil reaches 350 degrees, shake off the extra corn starch and add half the wings and fry until crispy and cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. When finished cooking, remove the first batch from the oil and drain on paper towels. Let the oil come back to 350 degrees and add the second batch of wings.

In the meantime, cook the hot sauce, butter, cayenne, salt and pepper over low heat until the butter melts. Keep mixture warm over low heat until the wings are finished cooking. Toss the wings in the hot sauce mixture and serve with blue cheese dressing and carrots and celery for dipping.

If you want to bake these, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and toss the wings in half the hot sauce mixture. Lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes until the wings the cooked through. Toss with the rest of the hot sauce mixture and serve.

Blue Cheese Dressing (makes about 1 1/4 cups)

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 tbl white wine vinegar

Splash of red wine vinegar

4 oz blue cheese crumbles

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine sour cream, buttermilk, vinegars, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add blue cheese and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Weeknight Chicken: Chicken Thighs with Garlicky Crumbs

weeknight chicken (don’t mind the anchovies…)

Warning: This post contains anchovies. I hesitate to warn you because if you are anything like my mom, or if you are my mom, you have probably already stopped reading. And that would be a mistake! Because there is nothing to be scared of. But I was afraid if I didn’t warn you, you would get to the end and discover the tiny fish in the recipe and feel duped, and never trust me again. And after you took all that time to read this…

I hope you stay though, because these are not offensive anchovies. In fact, if you came over and I made this for you and you didn’t already know about the anchovies, I don’t think you’d be the wiser. It would be such a dirty trick (my dad totally does this to my mom – luckily for him she’d rather eat hidden anchovies than cook, so…) but that’s the thing about anchovies. Unless they are sitting there on top of a pizza staring at you, often times you’d never know they were there…

The strangest thing about this recipe is actually not the anchovies at all. It is the fact that you are asked to grill a piece of chicken that has been breaded with breadcrumbs. That is very strange. Until I did it, I couldn’t quite imagine how it was going to work. I suspect the next time I try this (and there will be a next time, because it is delicious) I will try just pan frying it because I did lose some crumbs and presumably they would stick a bit better that way. Or maybe not! There has to be a reason that grilling was suggested in the first place. I will keep you posted

Regardless of the cooking method (you could absolutely bake these too, methinks) these are great. The garlic (lots of it) packs a great punch, the anchovies add a ton of good salty-umaminess and the parsley adds an awesome freshness. It’s an excellent combo. And I would totally make these green beans (or snap peas as the original recipe suggested) by themselves. They were delicious on their own!

You don’t have to be afraid of these ‘chovies, I promise.

don’t fear the anchovies!

Chicken Thighs with Garlicky Crumbs and Green Beans (serves 2)

adapted from Food & Wine

3 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and chopped

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

6 garlic cloves, smashed

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Salt

1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced

In a food processor, combine 2 of the anchovy fillets with the bread crumbs, garlic, parsley and 1/4 cup of the olive oil; process until evenly blended.

Season the chicken thighs with salt. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the bread crumb mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a pot of boiling, salted water, blanch the green beans until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and pat dry.

Grill the chicken thighs over moderate heat until they are lightly charred, crisp and cooked through, about 10 minutes per side. Transfer the thighs to a platter.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallots and the remaining anchovy fillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the green beans and cook, tossing a few times, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season the green beans with salt and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve the chicken with the green beans.

Chicken Tinga Tacos…one of my new favorites

You guys are going to love me for this...

I’m sick again. I may have discovered the kink in my plan to be a person that sleeps less and accomplishes more. All I want to do is lay around, drink smoothies and eat chicken soup. This is on the stove as I type. I’m hoping that by virtue of the almost insane amount of ginger in there, I might actually be able to smell and taste it when it’s finished. It would be about the only thing.

Perhaps my most favorite recent discovery, Chicken Tinga Tacos will likely be in the rotation for some time. I spotted these in the pages of Food & Wine, and may have skipped right over them, but for a recent celebration of Taco Tuesday with the gals at La Verdad, where the Chicken Tingas were our favorite tacos of the evening.

From my very scientific web searches on the topic, it appears Tinga is a stew of braised chicken, pork or beef, with tomatoes, onions, garlic and chipotles in adobo. Which is good, because that’s what it is in this recipe, so it appears we’re on the right track. A couple of the recipes I saw also called for Mexican chorizo (definitely different than Spanish chorizo, if you are reading a recipe that specifies you definitely want to get the right one, Spanish chorizo has the very distinctly flavored Pimenton in the mix, Mexican chorizo uses chile peppers.) I am sure that would also be quite delicious.

This recipe calls for chipotles in adobo. I have mentioned them before for the Chilequiles, and when I finally get a B&G Pantry page together for your viewing pleasure they will definitely be on it. They are spicy and smoky and add a ton of flavor and background smoke and some excellent heat to things. They are also potent. A little goes a long way. I am guessing you can find them in most grocery stores. Whole Foods carries them, and any market with a decent international section probably does too. (I wonder if my dad can get them? I think yes, even in good old small town CT he can find them, so it is looking good for the rest of you.)  They last pretty much forever in the fridge so don’t be afraid to buy a can or two if you see them. They look so innocuous, but they are spicy. Chipotles are, after all, smoke dried jalapeños, and the seeds are still in there.

This would be a great dinner during the week, it only takes about an hour, and better yet, I think the Tinga would only get better with time, though I can’t say I’ve had many leftovers to test this theory. There is also something that feels very Sunday about it, probably the braising part, even though it is a short braise. It also would be great game day food, and easy for a group. I served it the first time with a combo of hard shells* and soft shells – the hard shells won the day – and it would also be great as a tostada topping, or for nachos, or probably on a roll of some sort like pulled pork. And also just with a fork. Or any spare tortilla chips you might have hanging around. (*Do me a favor next time you are making tacos of any kind, heat some oil in a frying pan ¼ – ½ inch, I’d say, fry corn tortillas until they start to get just a bit stiff, then fold them over so they are taco shell-like and fry for another minute until they are just barely brown and crispy, but not stiff and shatter-y like those gross ones you buy in a box. Truly, it makes a world of difference and takes very little work.)

someday we'll talk about that corn...

There are really only a couple of steps. First you brown the chicken thighs in a little oil, then take the chicken out and add some sliced onion. Let it soften and brown a little, then add the garlic, cook for a minute longer, and then add the tomatoes, chipotles in adobo and chicken stock. This combo simmers for about 20 minutes. Turn the heat off for a couple minutes and let it cool slightly, then puree it in a blender, add it back to the pan and add the chicken back in.

pureed

Simmer for another 20-30 minutes and voila! Shred the chicken and you are ready to serve.

shredded

I serve mine with corn tortillas, either fried into hard shells or just warmed in foil in the oven. Cotija cheese is a must, and I like avocado and something pickled too, radishes or red onion. And finish it with a squeeze of lime.

toppings

Hold UP. I think, I THINK I just saw a commercial for TGI Fridays that involved allusions to romance and cute bartenders. Is Fridays a martini bar now? With an app and entree combo for $10? When did that happen?

Is there ANOTHER GOP debate tonight? Are there more debates this primary season than ever before? Doesn’t it seem that way?

I am trying to turn over a new leaf in 2012. I am trying not to let people annoy me for no reason. It’s their life, and if they want to jump around like a fool like the Sweaty McHeadband in my kickboxing class, or kill themselves with cancer sticks like half the people I get stuck behind walking to work, that’s their problem, not mine. It means I will be putting the next blog I wanted to start, peopleiwanttopunchintheface.wordpress.com on the back burner for the time being. Here’s to new beginnings!

I’ve gotten locked in my bathroom twice in the last week. I thought I was going to waste away on the floor of the smallest bathroom in the world. It was terrifying so I took the doorknob off. Now there is no doorknob, but also no chance of getting locked in there. Probably time to talk to the landlord.

I am currently obsessed with Ryan Adams’ “Easy Tiger.”

I am reading The Line of Beauty, and am having difficulty getting into it, but that is probably because I don’t get in bed to read until about 11pm and one of my eyes is already pretty much shut from exhaustion.

This is awesome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9NF2edxy-M

So is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF9-sEbqDvU and this (even better): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ta9K22D0o5Q&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

And now, please enjoy your Tinga…

Chicken Tinga Tacos (serves 6-8, probably with leftovers)

adapted from Food & Wine

1/4 cup plus 2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil

2 1/2 lbs trimmed, skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, thinly sliced

3 large garlic cloves, minced

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 canned chipotles in adobo, coarsely chopped

1 cup chicken broth

24 corn tortillas

Cotija cheese, avocado, pickled onions, slaw or toppings of your choice

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 12 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and pour off the fat.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and then add the onion. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned and softened, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the chipotles and the broth and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and slightly reduced, 20 minutes.

Transfer the sauce to a food processor and let cool for 15 minutes. Puree until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Add the sauce back to the pan and add the chicken. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Simmer the sauce and chicken over medium low heat until the meat is tender and the sauce is very thick and darkened around the edges. Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them in the oven for about 10 minutes or fry into hard shells.

Shred the meat, spoon about 3 tablespoons of chicken onto each tortilla and sprinkle with the crumbled cheese and toppings of your choice.

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Weeknight Chicken Volume 5ish…Chicken Thighs with Rosemary and Brown Sugar

weeknight chicken in the truest sense...

A couple of weeks ago, I had taken chicken out of the freezer for a mid week weeknight chicken dinner and recipe to share with you guys, but then I never actually came up with a plan for it, so I got home on the night I was going to make chicken with defrosted thighs and no plan. I wandered around and stared aimlessly at my cookbooks, and picked up one of the Fine Cooking compilations that they do (I highly recommend picking them up when you see them in the bookstore, I think they do them a couple of times a year) devoted to chicken. They didn’t have anything in there that called my name this particular evening (though there is a fab recipe for braised chicken with tomatoes and fennel that I love and will share with you when the weather is more appropriate for it) but it did make me think of another Fine Cooking chicken recipe that my Auntie A. now considers a family fave – Grilled Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Sweet & Sour Orange Dipping Sauce. The name cracks me up, because I feel like it doesn’t sound at all like what it is. In my case, it was whole thighs (bone-in, with skin) coated with oil, brown sugar, rosemary and spices, and grilled, inside on the grill pan, to a delicious finish. I didn’t bother with the sauce.

The original recipe uses boneless skinless thighs, served with the sauce for dipping, which would also be tasty, I’d imagine, so perhaps one day I’ll try it. But my modification suited me just fine. It was really good, and crazy fast, and while I would recommend doing this outside on a grill if you can, because I think that would make it easier to control the heat and the char, etc., or maybe try roasting the thighs with the oil and rub, with a little diligence, these worked just fine inside. (To be sure, the boneless skinless thighs would certainly be easier and quicker inside, but taking the thighs off the bone would not have been quicker, for sure, and removing chicken skin and just throwing it away makes me sad, because, you know, chicken skin…delish. Maybe next time I can try to get the thighs off the bone but keep the skin. Experiment!)

chicken with rosemary and brown sugar (and look at the compound butter!)

These are a little spicy from the red pepper flakes, and a little sweet from the sugar. The rosemary flavor is awesome – I am sometimes a little wary of rosemary because it is strong and woody and can be overly prominent at times, but not here. It’s great here. And it was great for lunch the next day too. I made some small smashed potatoes to go with it, and tossed them with garlic scape compound butter (compound butters are miraculous – I will post about those) and had a kind of unexpectedly great last minute dinner. And it would have been even easier had I more space to spread out on a grill…the size of the grill pan makes it very hard to grill anything off of direct heat, obviously, so I did have to pay attention. I imagine the grill would add a smoky flavor too, which would be great, if that’s the kind of thing that revs your engine. Maybe I will try roasting it next time to see what that does…and maybe marinating it with all the good stuff for a couple hours or a day would intensify the flavors a little bit (more experiments!) Anyway, this was really tasty and really easy, even easier and tastier than I expected, so I recommend it wholeheartedly!

So now, I have some questions for you…

A) Are you in the northeast corridor and did you feel the earthquake today? Crazy! (heh)

B) Does anyone know what happened to summer? Because it is fall. And while fall is my most favorite season of all, we totally got the short shrift on summer this year. It didn’t start until Memorial Day and it is going to end in mid-August? Nonsense.

C) What should I do to make B&G better? I would like to do some work on this here little spot over the next couple of months, and have a new and improved B&G for 2012…what should I change/fix?

What I am listening to: The National, Boxer, and Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine. John Prine is awesome (also, hilarious) and this is an awesome compilation of awesome people singing his awesome songs.

What I am reading: “Brideshead Revisited” Evelyn Waugh – just starting it. Can’t wait to finish it and then Netflix the mini-series and the movie. Favorite game ever. Also, I am glad I am not a boy whose name is Evelyn.  I imagine that isn’t easy.

All my pics from this dish were pretty much exactly the same...whatevs.

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Rosemary and Brown Sugar (serves 3-4, depending on appetite)

Adapted from Fine Cooking

1 tbl minced fresh rosemary

2 tsp dark brown sugar

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbl canola oil, plus more for the grill

6 chicken thighs (or chicken pieces of choice)

Heat a grill pan over medium heat for several minutes until hot. In the meantime, mix together the rosemary, salt, sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and set aside. Toss the chicken pieces with 2 tbl of canola oil, and rub with the rosemary mixture to coat well. When you are ready to put the chicken on the grill, rub the grill with a bit of the oil to prevent sticking. Cook chicken thighs turning and moving frequently to prevent burning, until cooked through – juices run clear when pricked with a fork or knife or internal temperature is 175 on an instant thermometer in the thickest part of the meat, not touching the bone – (20 minutes or so?) When chicken is cooked through, remove from the heat and let rest for five minutes. Serve with sides of your choice. So easy! Leftovers don’t suffer. (NOTE: my tendency is to salt things once I take them off the heat and before serving. Resist the urge to do so with these, the rub is pretty salty. Wait until you’ve tasted it.)

Bacon Update!

Day 5

Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chicken…and rambling

Oh man, I’m sorry these things take me so long, you must be sick of me making excuses, so you know what? I’m not going to anymore. To quote 50 Cent “my s(tuff)* coming out WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT.” (*He did not say “stuff.”) Fiddy’s my new guru of life. Did you know he’s writing a Young Adult novel about bullying? There are so many things wrong with that sentence, and yet, it’s totally true.

And since we’re talking about books, you guys, I am in the nerdiest pickle right now. Everything I am reading is SO FREAKIN GOOD that I can’t decide what to read at any given moment and I am pretty much paralyzed with the inability to choose and I am accomplishing nothing. Seriously. It’s a problem. I can’t get anything done (for instance, the bulk of this post is already written, by hand, in a notebook, can I type it up? No I cannot) because I have to spend so much time reading because I can’t just pick one thing. Nerd. Alert. The New Yorker is amazing, and I am reading “Blood Bones and Butter” by Gabrielle Hamilton and apparently she cooks better than she writes which is unreal and seems impossible because the book is crazy good, plus! I was in my friendly neighborhood Borders the other day (is anyone else a member of Borders rewards? I got an e-mail the other day saying I had $10 in Borders Bucks to spend before the end of the month, so I better get on in there. And it worked! I actually had $10 that I could use on anything! How did I get that?) and I saw THIS.

Because I need something else to subscribe to

Oh my gosh you guys, David Chang, my chef/celebrity crush (does anyone know him? Can I meet him? Can I get a reservation to his restaurants? I have to go to NY obvs, but I will do that. I will go and spend an entire weekend eating at only his restaurants and I think I would be crazy happy with that. Anyone want to join me?) HAS A MAGAZINE. And it is published by McSweeney’s so it is awesome on top of awesome. It is apparently a going to be a quarterly (this is the first issue) and there are no advertisements and all sorts of great people contribute to it and OH MY GOD. Each issue is going to have a different theme and this one is Ramen and did you know you can write an entire amazing magazine with Ramen as your theme? There are a few diversions, but there are recipes! And so much Chang! And it was exactly $10 so it was also FREE! My head is going to explode.

OK, and one more thing, real quick, since we’re talking about books. I love my Kindle. Love. So psyched to be headed off to vacation with my little Kindle loaded with about six unread books and four back issues of the New Yorker, because you know I would have not been able to choose and would have brought all of those with me in book and magazine form if they weren’t on my Kindle, but books! Oh my gosh, please people, keep buying books so they don’t disappear. They’re so pretty and creative and I just love being around them. I am currently obsessed with finding all the books I read and loved when I was little and hoping they are still somewhere in my parents’ house. Because I would read the heck out of them again. My parents were not in to the television when we were little (for us, they totally watched) because it rots your brain and also because there were all sorts of inappropriate things on there that they wanted to avoid us seeing. But books, we could read as much as we wanted and we could read ANYTHING we wanted. The logic being, even if you are reading the words on the page your imagination and experiences filter what you are reading, which I think is totally true. Case in point. I read Clan of the Cave Bear the summer between 5th and 6th grade. I may be wrong but I am fairly certain that would be (or is?) totally a rated R movie and there was no way I would have been watching that. But, what I remember of it is sitting during swim period at the day camp that I went to with a friend who also read a ton and reading the sex parts to each other and laughing and laughing and laughing. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that first sex part? Forcible and NOT at all funny, but since I had no concept of that, I totally missed it. I forget where this was going, but anyway, books are awesome. And if you didn’t read Christopher Pike or VC Andrews or any of the Clan of the Cave Bear series you totally should. (I had some some intriguing taste in books. Like, A Wrinkle in time was not murder-y or warped love triangle-y enough for me or something? Geez. I wonder what a therapist would say. Also, I think I need to read all of these books again. They were so good! I really should get a therapist.) Another interesting note, I still can not watch scary movies. Scream? Never saw it. I mean, that was basically a Christopher Pike novel, of which I read every single one, but forget the movie. I’d still be terrified. Same with Silence of the Lambs. Read it in like seventh grade maybe? I read the mass market paperback that tied in with the movie, which came out in 1991, so seventh grade sounds right. Still have never seen the movie. I think I would like to? I’ve thought about it. But not by myself. Seriously, I have no idea where this is going. We’ll talk about food now?

Sorry. There is also a caveat before I actually get started with this recipe…I’m calling this a weeknight chicken recipe, but it’s probably not really a weeknight chicken recipe exactly, since I would say that noodles are the main event here, but! it is definitely for weeknights, and it definitely has chicken in it, so I’m counting it. It’s also too good not to share immediately.

Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chicken

This is a recipe courtesy of my mom…she didn’t make it up, but she used to make it all the time, and has no recollection of where it originally came from, so she wins by default. Cold Sesame Noodles is the name of this game. Tahini, sesame oil, soy sauce, sambal, garlic, scallions, red wine vinegar and oil, and then a bit of water to thin it out, and that’s it. There are a lot of recipes for Cold Sesame Noodles online, and many or most of them have peanut butter and sugar in them. The pb I sort of get, but these aren’t peanut noodles, they are sesame noodles, and this recipe relies solely on sesame paste. The sugar I don’t totally get, but like I said, very common, so maybe I’ll try one of those recipes at some point and compare.

I enjoyed this for dinner and several lunches as the main event, but it may be intended as a side dish, which is how my mom usually served it. But what it is really perfect for is a picnic, a potluck, a bar-b-q or whatever because you can make it ahead of time and it really is better cold. The first night I made it I couldn’t wait, so I had some that night when it was still warm, but they really, truly are better cold.

The process is easy. Poach some chicken and then use the very same water to boil some linguine. While those things are happening, chop some scallions and mix up a quick dressing, and that is it. Shred the chicken and mix it all together and voila, dinner or covered dish or side or on the go food (I packed these in containers for my sibs for our road trip last week. I was mocked for the chinese food containers I used, but they put a sock in it when they started eating.) This is great for the summer because it is minimal work and best enjoyed cold. I am probably going to make some more this week because it is stifling in my apartment. Cold food is good.

One more thing, I made a serious omission in my last post when I was mentioning blogs. I forgot to tell you about this one. Healthy Adventures with Adrienne Martin. Adrienne is a gorgeous funny awesome lady that I used to work with at the restaurant, and she has a cute husband and two cute girls and I want to be as cool as her when I grow up. She is very devoted to encouraging people to live their best life and doing the same herself and I suspect if anyone ever is going to convince me to put kale in a blender and drink it, it will be her. She has an exciting new project coming up that I can’t wait to see. Also, without her encouragement, I am not sure B&G would exist. Good luck Adrienne!

Also, really the last thing, listen to Vampire Weekend when you get a chance. I love them and they make me smile and they seem perfect for the summer.

Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chicken (serves 4ish…depending on size of appetite and how you are serving it. I got four dinner/lunches out of it for me. My brother might get one out of this amount. Maybe two if he was feeling generous.)

1 large boneless chicken breast

1/2 lb dried linguine

1 tsp plus 1 tbl sesame oil

1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)

3 tbls water (or to desired consistency)

2 tsp sambal oelek (or chile oil, sambal has a bit more heat-you will probably be able to find it in a grocery store with a decent ethnic food section, you will definitely be able to find it in an Asian grocery. If you can not. Use chile oil, which you will be able to find. Totally interchangeable here.)

3 tbl soy sauce

2 tbl red wine vinegar

1/4 cup peanut or canola oil

2 tbl minced garlic (mince pretty fine, it stays raw in the final dish)

3 scallions, chopped

Bring chicken breast to boil in a large pot of water over high heat. When water boils, turn the heat off and let the chicken sit for 10-15 minutes until cooked through and then remove from the water. Bring the water to boil again and salt it well. Cook pasta until al dente, and then drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Add the pasta back to the cooking pot, toss with 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, and set aside.

In the meantime, mix the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the scallions, together with enough of the water to make a runny, but still fairly thick, dressing and set aside. When the chicken is cool enough to touch, shred it and add it, with the chopped scallions, to the pasta pot. Pour the dressing over and toss to combine. Let the pasta cool and serve cold or at room temperature with a sprinkling of kosher salt. Leftovers improve.

In which I make some more chicken…

Ahoy mateys!

I have been BUSY! I have been cooking, but also doing other things, like throwing a baby shower, hanging out at the beach, playing golf for the first time…busy. I have lots of things to tell you about: two weeknight chickens, banana bread, softshell crab two ways, pesto, Congo Bars/7 layer bars/Hello Mollys, fish tacos, brownies, leek and lobster bread pudding…SO MANY THINGS! Today though, I am going to talk about weeknight chicken again, because I have a good one for you.

three teacup chicken

I have actually made three teacup chicken once before, but it was a bit different. The first time I did it I used chicken breast pieces. I liked it this way better. First of all, dark meat chicken, second of all, less prep, third of all, I just liked it better, k?

The name comes from the measurements in the sauce. Apparently a small Chinese teacup is approximately a quarter of a cup, and the three major ingredients in the sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar are each one of the three teacups. This recipe uses chicken legs, but the cooking was pretty much the same for both, which was interesting, because it meant cooking whole chicken legs in the wok, which I had not done before (never fear, if you are wok-less, this one could totally be done in a high sided saute pan just as well.)

This is super easy.

In the wok.

Brown the chicken over medium high heat, add ginger and garlic, and then the sauce ingredients, cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, then remove the chicken and reduce the sauce for a minute or two then serve. Delicious! I served it over rice and it was mighty tasty. And super quick.

mmmmm mmmm...

Some thoughts:

1. Fellas, listen up, this one’s for you. Some life lessons, totally free, courtesy of me.

  • If a lady hasn’t asked you for a picture of your genitalia…don’t send it to her via Twitter. Or actually, at all, don’t send it at all, via any medium. (I may not know all ladies, but I can pretty much guarantee if she didn’t ask for it, she doesn’t want to see it. Also? Some vocab for you: harassment. Look it up.)
  • If a lady does ask you for a picture, and you’ve never actually met her…don’t send it (and maybe reconsider your social media relationships…she sounds like no good.)
  • If a lady does ask you for a picture, and you have met her, but you are married and she IS NOT YOUR WIFE…don’t send it. Seriously. I can’t believe we still have to have this conversation.
  • If a lady asks you for a picture, and you’ve met her, and she is currently your wife, but you are, hope to be, thought about being, or have a loved one who is or hopes to be in a public office, maybe still?…DON’T SEND IT OVER TWITTER/FACEBOOK/THE INTERWEBS. Seriously. It is a TERRIBLE IDEA. Also, potentially super creepy. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. I hope we all learned something today. You are welcome.

2. Listening tip of the week. Adele. She’s not new if you’ve been paying attention, but she’s just awesome all the time. 

3. I almost had to play the Slap a Stranger game recently when a weirdo got in the revolving door compartment with me. Seriously, just jumped right in. Lucky for his well being I was too shocked to hand out anything but a death stare. 

4. I am curious about kimchi. Everyone talks about how awesome it is, but the description of it usually includes the word “funky.” Am I crazy for thinking that doesn’t sound super delicious? Luckily, I happen to know a Korean food expert, and I am hoping he can enlighten me. 

5. I’ve discovered food trucks and I’m in love…if you are in Boston, find yourself a clover truck and try the chick pea fritter sandwich. It is definitely the most popular sandwich from a very popular truck for a reason. 

6. I played golf for the first time this weekend. I was not good. But I had very patient teachers who tried their best not to laugh at me, which I appreciated. And I kind of liked it! New hobby!

7. So I have a book recommendation for you. (Things is getting crazy up in here!) The NeverEnding Story. NOT the movie. The movie, as it turns out, sucks a lot by comparison. Read the book. And then watch the movie again. Because the special effects are HI-lariously bad.

8. It’s SUMMER! Finally! I can’t even tell you how excited I am. I have had two epic good weather weekends in a row. It is fantastic. I missed it so.

Three Teacup Chicken (serves 4)

Adapted from Serious Eats and Simply Recipes

3 whole star anise

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice vinegar

¼ cup sugar

2 tbls Shaoxing rice wine

½ tsp vegetable oil

4 chicken legs, skin on (or, if you’d rather, use 1½ – 2 lbs breast or thigh meat, cut into bite size pieces*)

4 garlic cloves, smashed

One 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 6 or 8 pieces.

1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, lightly toasted and ground (I did not have these, apparently to my complete detriment. I threw in some red pepper flakes for heat, and it still tasted delicious, though I guess I’m missing out. Next time.)

½ cup chicken stock

Whisk together star anise, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and rice wine (and red pepper flakes if you are using) in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Place a large wok over high heat. (Recipe note: I used my wok to do two legs and it was great, but it’s not huge, so four may have been too crowded. A sauté pan would also work just fine (and maybe better if you are making four legs at a time, just make sure you use a high-sided one that is not too big, so the sauce doesn’t evaporate too quickly.) When it starts to smoke, pour in oil. Swirl oil around, and then add chicken legs skin side down. Adjust heat to medium-high and cook without moving or touching until they are browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the chicken legs, and add garlic and ginger. Continue cooking until the other side is browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add Sichuan peppercorns if you are using, soy sauce mixture, and chicken stock. Toss chicken pieces with sauce. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until juices run clear, about 12 minutes. Remove legs and set aside on a plate.

Turn heat to medium-high, and reduce sauce until it lightly coats the back of a spoon, stirring often. Serve chicken legs with sauce with rice or a vegetable.

*If you are using pieces in a wok you may want to add the in two batches so you don’t crowd the wok and lower the temperature significantly, add the first batch, toss for a minute or two, then remove and add the second and toss for a minute or two before adding the first batch back in and adding the sauce. Additionally they may only take about 5-6 minutes TOTAL to cook through, add the sauce mixture after a minute or two, and then remove chicken when cooked through and reduce sauce as detailed.