Sunday, August 14, 2016

Herbed Mustard Roast Chicken with Brown Rice

This recipe is a one pan wonder. I'm always looking for ways to cut down on pots and pans, and cleaning time. When I find a dish works so absolutely seamlessly in one pan, that's a huge winner for me. All you need is a 9x13 Pyrex glass dish or even just a basic roaster pan. You can easily exchange the veggies and the herbs in this dish to make it your own. Don't like carrots? Add potatoes instead. Don't have Sage? Add Rosemary or Tarragon. Don't have any of those ingredients? Go to the store! Trust me, it will be worth it.

If you are only feeding a few people this dish is really the only one you need to be making. The chicken comes out juicy and tender. The rice becomes almost creamy like a risotto. It's the best rice you could possibly make and you truly can't mess it up. This is a great Friday night dish that everyone will love. It may seem like there are a lot of ingredients and steps but once you get the hang of it you'll be able to make this recipe with your eyes closed. Let's get cooking!

Herbed Mustard Chicken with Brown Rice, Onions and Carrots

3-4 Pound Whole Roaster Chicken
2 Whole Heads of Garlic or about 16-20 cloves
1 Lemon
1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
Handful of Parsley, chopped
1 Tbs. Fresh Sage, chopped
1 Tbs. Fresh Thyme
Freshly Cracked Salt & Pepper
3 Medium Sized Onions, cut into 8 wedges (can be a mix of yellow and red)
3 Carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces on a bias
1 Cup of Long Grain Brown Rice
2 Cups of Water
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Aleppo Pepper or 1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 glass Pyrex or roaster dish with non-stick spray. Place the chicken inside. Pat dry, drizzle with about a tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with a bit of Salt and fresh cracked Pepper. Cut off the top of one head of garlic and place inside the cavity of the chicken. Make the herb-mustard mixture to be spread over the chicken. Zest the Lemon, adding the zest and one half of the juice to the mixture. Add the un-juiced half of lemon into the cavity of the chicken along with the garlic head. Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Dijon Mustard, 4 minced Garlic Cloves, Parsley, Sage, Thyme and S&P. Mix together and press onto the chicken, ensuring the whole chicken is covered with the mixture. Surround the chicken with the Onions, Carrots, remaining Whole Garlic Cloves, Brown Rice, Water, Garlic Powder and Aleppo Pepper. Add a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus some more Salt and Pepper to the rice and veggies.


There should be water covering up until an inch before the top of the dish. If you feel it needs more water, add it. The water should be completely absorbed during the cooking process. Give everything around the chicken a quick mix, making sure that there are no dry pieces of rice. Cover the top of the chicken with a piece of parchment paper. Cover the entire dish with aluminum foil. Bake for an hour and a half. You can check the rice after an hour to make sure there is enough water. If not, add more. Once the chicken is done, keep it covered for about a half hour. Before you are ready to serve fluff the rice with a fork and then dig in.


Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Basil & Blue Mini Mac & Cheese

If you've learned anything about me over the past few years through my blog posts you'll know that I have a serious love for cheese. You could almost say that cheese was my first love, although I don't know whether my love for cheese started before kindergarten or not. Yes, I even had crushes starting from the age of 6 but I'm almost certain that while I had doe eyes for an adorable classmate I also had a bag full of string cheese given to me by Mom. Whichever came first you should know that my love for cheese is now a lot stronger, like whey stronger. I love all kinds of cheeses from Brie to Goat to Cheddar to Mozzarella and everything in between. I especially love those from France but I should say that until very recently the kosher cheese game was lacking. Now we have a bevy of options to choose from and not just those tasteless sticks or grated "Parmesan" in the plastic containers. My favorite all kosher supermarket has practically a whole aisle full of the stinky stuff, including the cheese I use in this recipe.

Not too long ago I discovered this brand of kosher cheese that was making the most innovative flavors. Sincerely Brigitte is making kinds of cheese that I've never even seen in the non-kosher market. I mean seriously funky flavors like Chipotle, Wasabi and the one I used in this recipe, Blue Marble. When I saw this Blue Marble Cheese I knew almost immediately what I would be doing with it. As a huge Mac & Cheese fan I wanted to make miniature mac & cheeses with an extra cheesy top hat. When my younger sister saw the cheese she almost fainted. It was kind of like when I roasted a whole fish a few weeks ago. She makes a big fuss about how grossed out she is and then, in practically the same breath, she's inhaling the thing.

If you're hesitant to try this Blue Marble cheese, my recipe is a great place to start...because what's less scary than a Miniature Mac & Cheese?! Let's get cooking!




Basil & Blue Mini Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:
1 lb. Macaroni Pasta
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, plus additional if needed
2 Tbsp. Flour
2 Cups Milk
1 tsp. White Pepper
1 tsp. Fresh Cracked Salt
2 Packages of Sincerely Brigitte Blue Marble Cheese Slices, divided
2 Tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped
1 Cup Panko Crumbs

Directions:
Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil. 
Once boiling add in macaroni and cook until they are al dente, or about 2 minutes under done. 


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
In a separate smaller sized pot, heat up the Butter until it becomes foamy. 
If butter starts to deepen in color too quickly add in a half tablespoon more to keep from burning. 


Once butter is foamy, add in the Flour and whisk well to get rid of any clumps, about 3 minutes. Next, add the Milk and keep on a medium high heat until the bechamel sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.



In the meantime, season sauce with White Pepper and Freshly Cracked Salt. 
Once the sauce is ready, crumble in 1 package of Sincerely Brigitte Blue Marble Cheddar Cheese Slices. Your bechamel (fancy for white sauce, usually with cheese) will turn a beautiful yellow/orange color and be pleasantly funky smelling. 



Drain your pasta but reserve about 1 cup of cooking liquid. Prepare 8-10 ramekins by spraying with non-stick spray or giving them a thin coating of butter. 
Combine Pasta with the lovely, cheesy Blue Marble Bechamel Sauce we've made and the Fresh Basil. 



Spoon the macaroni into ramekins. Top with 2-3 teaspoons of the reserved cooking liquid.



 Next, top with a teaspoon or so of Panko crumbs. 



Lastly top each ramekin with one slice of Blue Marble Cheese. 



Bake for about 25-30 minutes until tops are fully melted. 


Enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Honey, I Ate All The Spare Ribs!

Ever since a certain Crown Heights Kosher Smokehouse opened up I've been craving ribs a bit more than usual. Ahem, Izzy's. Ahem, Dinosaur BBQ Ribs. The only problem is that I can't always drive 30 minutes for my rib fix. If you are anything like me, you like your meat to be soft, juicy and fall off the bone tender. That's not to say I don't appreciate a good steak every now and then, it's just that when meat is easily pulled a part by only a fork and barely any pressure, that's sexy. Who wants to sit there cutting back and forth and putting a days worth of effort into cutting a piece of meat only to then have to chew it for another three minutes? Not me. So when I spotted a gorgeous package of freshly cut, red Spare Ribs, I said to myself this is something that I'm going to make and I'm going to make it well.

I should tell you, I had never cooked Spare Ribs before. The first thing I think of when I have absolutely no idea how to cook something is to make it Asian style. You can practically never go wrong when you make something with a combination of the Asian flavor trifecta - Garlic, Ginger & Scallions. Add in some Soy, Sesame, Teriyaki, Sriracha and you've just hit the jackpot. If you are a novice, don't go too heavy on the Soy Sauce because that's one thing you can never take away from a dish but can always add. In my Spare Rib research period I asked around to find out how other people cook their ribs. I got a few answers that I was not particularly fond of. Like, why would I want to boil my meat prior to sticking it in the oven? I'm trying to make things simple, not overly complicated, and by that I mean I only want to use, read my lips, ONE dish!

I decided to grab everything from my fridge that I had ever seen connected to Asian cooking. If you are looking to make this dish and don't have all of the ingredients, you should pick them up because I can show you how to use them in so much more than just this one recipe. My stocked pantry and fridge are the key to being able to whip up an awesome meal with ingredients on hand. Don't worry I'm not asking you to buy anything you can't pronounce or have never seen or tasted before. You will like these ingredients and you will use them time and time again.

These Spare Ribs are a great dish to make when you are trying to impress someone who is eating over. It's almost completely hands off and will make your house smell like heaven. If your guests were not hungry before they stepped foot in your house, they will be once they get a whiff of this dish. My husband was so in love with this the first time I made it that he begged me to make it again that same week. He also ate what was left of it while he was half sleeping. Once he took a bite though, he was wide awake.

Let's get cooking!



Sweet & Spicy Asian Style Spare Ribs

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Light Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Mikee Teriyaki Sauce
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
1 Tbs. Burning Bush Hot Sauce
1 Tbs. Fresh Ginger, minced or 3 Frozen Ginger Cubes
1 Jalapeno, sliced
Juice of 1 Lime
3-4 Scallions, sliced
1 Head of Garlic, with top sliced off. Plus 2 Cloves of Garlic, sliced or minced
2 Tbs. Sesame Seeds

1 Package of Beef Spare Ribs, 1-1 & a 1/2 lbs. (not boneless)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Chose an ovenproof dish that will fit all the meat comfortably. 
I used a medium sized glass Pyrex. Combine all of the ingredients in the dish, except the Spare Ribs.


 Mix everything well with a fork and add in the Ribs. 
Make sure that the Ribs are completely coated with the marinade. 


Cover with foil and stick in the oven for 2 & 1/2 to 3 hours. Check on the meat every hour. 


When the meat comes away easily when stuck with a fork, uncover the dish and raise the temperature to 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes. 


Enjoy!


P.S. These ribs are great over some Brown Rice or any other hearty grain. 
Just be sure you make enough to go around :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Baby Bok Choy Chicken Stir Fry Over Forbidden Rice Noodles

Even if you haven't created a New Year's resolution for yourself it's hard not to admit that we've been bad this year. And by "bad" I mean that we ate freaking awesome food the whole year without abandon. I'm not one to advocate diets. I love food and I love my body but sometimes my body says that it's time to pump the brakes. Right now is one of those times. The weather is starting to hit us with what feels like an Arctic blast. Yes, we have been spoiled by Decembers spring-like temps but now is not the time to pack on winter weight. Now is the time to shed all of that holiday weigh. I'm talking ice cream sandwich, doughnut and latkes weight. I'm looking at you Hannukah.

The first mistake you'll make is eating a ton of lettuce, cucumbers and celery. After 2 days you're going to be shoveling mac & cheese in your face like it's going out of style. Yes, I am talking about myself. You may have a bit more will power than I do. In any case, my solution is create healthy dinners filled with protein and vegetables that isn't boring! This recipe may look slightly complicated because of the long directions but it's mostly just throwing things into a pan and watching them sizzle up, seasoning with spicy ginger and serving with a pasta alternative that isn't zoodles.


Baby Bok Choy Chicken Stir Fry Over Forbidden Rice Noodles

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. Sesame Oil, divided
1 Lb. Chicken, sliced into strips
2 Cubes of Frozen Ginger
2 tsp. Light Soy Sauce, divided
1 Medium Onion, sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
8 oz. Mushrooms, sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1 Tbs. Powdered Ginger
4 Baby Bok Choy, stems removed and leaved separated
1 Tbs. Toasted Sesame Seeds
1 Package of Forbidden or Black Rice Noodles
Roasted Peanuts for topping

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling add in the noodles and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Toss noodles with 1 tablespoon of Sesame Oil. Set aside. In the meantime heat a large saute pan to medium high and add remaining tablespoon of Sesame Oil. Add Chicken and cook for about 4 minutes on the first side. Add in the Frozen Ginger cubes and flip chicken. Once chicken is almost done a.k.a. no longer pink, deglaze the pan with 1 teaspoon of Soy Sauce. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside, preferably on a glass plate to collect juices. Without wiping out the pan add in your Onion and Garlic. Saute for about a minute then add in the Mushrooms and Pepper. Add remaining teaspoon of Soy Sauce and Powdered Ginger. Stir to combine and continue to saute for about 4 minutes.



Add in the Baby Bok Choy, Chicken and Toasted Sesame Seeds. Optional - You can cut the chicken into smaller pieces before adding back into pan. Be sure to add the juices from the rested chicken back into the pan. Stir together with a half cup of the reserved pasta water. This will loosen up the mixture, add more if necessary. To assemble place the noodles on a plate, top with the veggie chicken stir fry and toasted peanuts. 



Enjoy!