September 11, 2014

Perfect Roast Chicken



























Anyone who follows me on Instagram or Facebook might know about my obsession with Thomas Keller and finding the perfect roast chicken recipe. When I discovered Keller’s super easy recipe a few years ago, my heart melted. Three ingredients will, every time, without fail, make the best roast chicken you will ever eat. Don’t mistake my love for simplicity as a renunciation for other, more difficult, methods of chicken roasting. There is something god-like about a chicken slathered in butter, stuffed with aromatics with fresh sage or thyme delicately pressed underneath the skin for added flavor. But if you can create the best roast chicken ever with just three ingredients, would you at least try it? Would you make it at least one night a week and then use the leftover carcass for chicken stock the next day? Yes. You would. And you will.   

I made two of these simple birds last night and coupled them with asparagus, whipped butternut squash, and pan gravy. Paired with a bottle of warm and spicy Côtes du Rhône wine, it was a flawless introduction to fall flavors.

Let me make something very clear. You will be tempted to stuff this chicken with “stuff”, but you will resist the urge. You will be tempted to add “just a little butter” on the skin or “just a few vegetables” to the bottom of the roasting rack. You will resist the urge. What makes this chicken so crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside is the extreme heat from the oven and zero moisture in the air. Vegetables and butter, well, they have moisture, which is your enemy for this particular recipe. Don’t let the moisture monsters tempt you with their vapor-y ways. 

Perfect Roast Chicken (inspired by Thomas Keller)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Time in Kitchen: 70 minutes

Tools required: 
Roasting pan with roasting rack
Kitchen twine

Ingredients: 
Organic young chicken brought to room temperature
2 TB Kosher salt
½ TB freshly ground black pepper

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees 
  2. With paper towels, dry the chicken completely, inside and out. For this recipe to work, the chicken has to be completely dry, including the cavity!
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper in the chicken’s cavity
  4. Truss the chicken with  kitchen twine (click here for a tutorial)
  5. Slather the chicken with copious amounts of salt and pepper
  6. Place the trussed and seasoned chicken breast-side up on the roasting pan
  7. Do not, I repeat, do not put anything else in the oven while the bird cooks. 
  8. Put chicken in oven and roast for 50-60 minutes, until the thermometer registers 165 degrees. Open at your own risk. 
  9. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from roasting pan and allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before slicing. This is the perfect time to throw those sides in the oven to roast, and make a nice pan sauce!

Enjoy! 

March 28, 2014

Avocado Brownies with Chococlate Glaze




Some people dream of being President. Other people dream of saving the world. My dream: To have nonstop access to chocolate all day and all night. I’m not proud of this. I should really want more out of life. But I lose a mass of brain cells and lots of stamina when chocolate is around, especially these brownies.
 
Avocado Brownies with Chocolate Glaze look and taste like fudge made with lots of butter. But guess what! There is no butter. Not a trace. And they are gluten free. True story. Make these and you’ll give up that dream of being President one day. Who has time to save the world when you have a dozen brownies to eat?

Avocado Brownies with Chocolate Glaze
Inspired by Dr. Oz
Time in Kitchen: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 (or 6 large brownies)

Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup rice flour (or almond flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe avocados, mashed very smooth (no chunks)
Chocolate Glaze:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk (or more to desired consistency)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Using an electric mixer on high, whip the eggs and sugar until fluffy; about 3 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to low, and slowly add the melted chocolate, vanilla and mashed avocado until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine cocoa, sugar, brown sugar, rice flour, and salt. On slow speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined. Turn off the mixer.
  5. Pour into a greased 8x8 baking pan and bake until the top begins to crack; about 30 minutes.
  6. Use a toothpick to test the center (they are done when the toothpick comes out clean). Cool on a wire rack.
  7. While the brownies are cooling: In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, cocoa powder and almond milk until smooth and creamy. Drizzle glaze over room temperature brownies and allow to dry; about 10 minutes. 


February 1, 2014

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes




Weekends are for pancakes stacked high and drizzled with maple syrup, fruit, and nuts. I relish lazy days filled with the sweet ease of rolling out of bed sans alarm clock, reading in my cozy sun room, and doing whatever the hell I want. I’m writing to you about pancakes while I sip on my first cup of coffee with my hair glamorously matted from bed. Life is good, people. Life is good.

These healthy pancakes are stuffed with bananas, homemade oat flour (gluten free oats ground in a food processor until smooth), and a little bit of extra protein from vegan vanilla protein powder. They are gluten free and dairy free, just what my body likes, and not loaded with added sugar. What a lazy day treat! I enjoyed a stack of three topped with warm blueberry maple syrup, a handful of walnuts, and thin slices of banana, because, hey, it’s Saturday, and life is good.  

Go make some pancakes.

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes
Inspired by CookieandKate
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 pancakes
Nutrition information per pancake: 103 calories, 4 grams fat, 14 carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 3.5 grams protein

Ingredients:  
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup oat flour (1 cup oats ground in food processor)
  • 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder (vegan, gluten free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Directions
  1. Whisk together mashed bananas, coconut oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, eggs, and almond milk until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl combine oat flour, protein powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients mixing until combined. Do not over mix.
  4. While the mixture sits for a few minutes, heat a cast iron skillet to medium low. Lightly oil the surface with coconut oil.
  5. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, ladle one to two pancakes at a time. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes; until the edges are cooked through and the pancakes are golden brown.
  6. Keep pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven until you are ready to serve.
Serve with maple syrup, blueberries, sliced bananas, and chopped walnuts.

January 9, 2014

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup

It’s really cold outside, like super polar vortex cold. On my walk to work a couple days ago I swear my face froze off. I haven’t felt it since. It's scary, but not that scary. This is when my Florida roots really start showing. Who has time for single digit temps? Not this girl. No no no.

In this weather all I want to eat is oatmeal for breakfast, soup for lunch, and soup for dinner. It gets real weird. Since I can’t live on chicken pho alone for the next two months, I have been experimenting with different cultures in my soup pot. This week I took major liberties with the traditional Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup which usually features white potatoes and sliced Portuguese linked sausage. Since I (like 90% of the American female population) am watching what I eat this January, I used spicy Italian chicken sausage for the protein and sweet potatoes for the starch. The result was a simple yet robust man-approved soup. 


This hearty recipe will keep you coming back for more, and it only takes about 45 minutes to make from start to finish.I think that is called a win-win situation.

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup
Servings: 8
Nutrition Per serving: Calories 250, Total fat 10g, Fiber 5g, Protein 15g
Time in Kitchen: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ pounds loose spicy or mild Italian sausage (I used chicken sausage for caloric reduction)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups organic low sodium chicken stock
  • 6 cups kale, de-stemmed and hand torn
Directions:
  1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Remove sausage from casing and add to the pot, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon as it browns; about 3-4 minutes. 
  2. Add onion, carrot, celery, salt and red pepper flakes and cook until onions are translucent; about 7 to 8 minutes. 
  3. Add sweet potatoes, chicken stock, and more salt to taste. Bring to a simmer then cover, until sweet potatoes are tender; about 15 minutes. 
  4. Add kale and simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 5 minutes.

January 1, 2014

Hoppin' John, and a Happy New Year!




New Year’s resolutions are for the birds. At least that is what the media wants us to believe as they spout out how most of us make hefty resolutions only to fail time and time again. Personally, I love making over-the-top resolutions. I make quite a long list of things I want to change about myself and do for others. I find a category everything falls under, and then I narrow it down to one word. I use that word to give meaning to my entire year. When I’m feeling frustrated, or tired, or simply not amused, I remember my word and everything I have done to make it happen. We can all stay in touch with one word, right?

My word this year: Family

Speaking of family and traditions, New Year’s Day has rules, ya’ll! Real simple rules to follow in order to gather up luck for the year ahead. One of those rules is to make a big ole pot of porky black eyed peas, rice, corn bread and greens to bring on the prosperity. The recipe below is tried and true. I learned it at my parent’s side since they cooked it every year since I can remember.

Happy New Years, to my friends and family! May your year be filled with delicious food and lots of love.

Hoppin’ John
(Recipe adapted from Emeril and many years at my parents side)
Time in Kitchen: 1.5 hours
Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or bacon drippings)
  • 1 ham hock (or smoked turkey leg for a healthier alternative)
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped (not traditional, but I like to sneak in veggies)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 pound frozen black eyed peas
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 can organic low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 6 green onions, diced
  • Tabasco Sauce, for serving
  • 4 cups cooked long grain white rice, for serving
 
Directions:
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil until it ripples. Add the ham hock (or smoked turkey leg) and sear on all sides. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, carrots, and garlic, salt and pepper to taste; cook until translucent; about 5-7 minutes. 
  2. Add the frozen black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaves, thyme, Cajun seasoning, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 40-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peas are creamy and tender. 
  3. Remove ham hock (or smoked turkey leg), pull off meat. Discard bone and place meat back in the pot. 
  4. Remove bay leaves. 
  5. Serve Hoppin' John over rice sprinkled with green onions and a dash of hot sauce. Serve with a side of corn bread and greens for a traditional New Year's feast.


December 5, 2013

Grubarazzi Cookies


Ya’ll! I named a cookie after myself. The name, Grubarazzi, elicits really good feelings about food. It also explains the feeding frenzy that takes place when you mush a lot of yummy things in to cookie dough. So I named these cookies filled with Snickers, Reese’s, M&M’s, and all things chocolate after me. Grubarazzi Cookies: a new treat using classic ingredients.

The cookie dough is perfectly soft and chewy a la Martha Stewart. She knows a thing or two about making the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I’m going to refrain from sharing my opinion about Martha as a human being, but I will say I hope my food pictures are better than hers, and I hope my cookies turn out like hers. It’s a love/hate relationship. 


These cookies are a great way to get rid of the leftover Halloween candy you are having a hard time resisting. Bring them to the office, or reserve them for your husband who never gains weight. They are great served warm and dipped in to a tall glass of cold milk.

Grubarazzi Cookies
(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living)
Servings: 3 dozen
Serving Size: 1 cookie

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup M&M’s
  • ½ cup Reese’s Pieces
  • 1 cup roughly chopped Snickers and Reese’s (or any gooey chocolate candy you have on hand).
Directions

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces.

Step 2:
With clean hands, place a tablespoon of dough in to the palm of your hand. Place one chunk of Snickers or Reese’s cup in to the middle of the dough, cover with more cookie dough, and roll in to a ball. Place each dough ball about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Step 3:

Bake until cookies are slightly golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week. 



November 5, 2013

Chunkin Punkin Cookies


I want cookies lots and lots of cookies. I want the pie in the skyyy.

I’m channeling Calloway and the Cookie Monster today. It’s a half delusional notion, but please hang in there with me. I started a new job two weeks ago and I’m feeling winded from climbing the corporate ladder. This means less time at home, and less time doing the thing I really love to do; cooking. Besides last weekend’s catering gig, this weekend was the first time in a long time that I utilized my kitchen to nourish mind, body, and soul. I dug it. I missed it. I danced all up on it. Life felt right again.

I made chicken noodle soup from scratch, and baked about 4 dozen cookies in an attempt to reclaim my sanity. It worked… I think… At least these cookies worked. In my mouth.


Chunkin Punkin Cookies are soft and slightly chewy, and the crushed up graham crackers running through the batter provide a sweet crunch that will make you happy on the inside. I added graham crackers because I like cookies stuffed with crazy things like potato chips, bacon, or pretzels. I like cookies with surprises and bursts of texture. Since this cookie is loaded with holiday spice, the graham crackers work really well here. It’s like having a pumpkin pie with a graham cracker crust…think about it…but don’t hurt yourself. This isn’t rocket science. You can stuff a damn cookie with whatever the hell you want and it will taste like heaven on earth.

Just FYI: Heaven on earth is stacks and stacks of cookies cooling on wire racks.


Chunkin Punkin Cookies
Serving Size: 1 cookie
Nutrition information per serving: 110 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams sugar
Servings: lots of damn cookies (4 dozen)

Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 graham crackers, crumbled in to large pieces
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper or Silpat.
  2. Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth; about 2 minutes. Beat in brown sugar until light and fluffy; about 4 minutes. Beat in one egg at a time. Turn the mixer off and mix in pumpkin puree and vanilla.
  3.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture in thirds (scrape down the sides when needed). Turn off the mixer as soon as the mixture is combined. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the chips and graham cracker chunks.
  4. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the dough on the to the prepared cookie sheets about 1 inch apart; bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies just begin to brown on the sides (they should look underdone). Remove the cookies with a spatula and cook on wire racks.

October 19, 2013

Green Detox Juice



You might be expecting a Halloween recipe from me today. It would make sense considering I’m a member of the food blogging community and it’s almost a law to participate in candy making. Marshmallows made to look like ghosts. Maybe a cake that looks like witch. 

Please don’t make me. 

The party must stop.  Just give me a few days to detox. Cleanse. Breathe. Srsly. 


My body is craving everything green and purifying after months of partying, eating, and drinking like I was contributing to the downfall of the decadent Roman Empire.  Many sins were committed to this vessel, and until the holidays completely take over I will be doing what I can to reverse the damage. 

Let’s start the day with a delicious Green Detox Juice. Sure, it’s green. This might not be your ideal color for breakfast. But I will tell you this. It’s good. It’s sweet from the pears and a little spicy from the ginger.  Oh, and it is jam-packed with really healthful ingredients. You won’t feel a thing. Just drink it.

Green Detox Juice
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes 28 ounces
You will need: a juicer (I use the inexpensive Breville Compact Juice Fountain)

Ingredients:
3 large kale leaves, washed
½ inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
2 celery stalks, washed
½ cup fresh parsley
1 small lemon (or ½ large lemon), peeled
I cucumber, washed
2 small pears (or one large), washed and cored

Directions:
Thoroughly wash all of your vegetables before putting them in the juicer. Peel and core any fruit and vegetables with inedible or bitter skins and seeds. Feed all of the ingredients in to the juicer until done. Pour in to a pretty glass and enjoy.

Pssttt. You don’t have to throw away the pulp left over in the juicer. Depending on the vegetables you have juiced, use it as compost, make stock, stuff in to vegetable burgers, or stir in to pasta sauce. The sky is the limit!



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