Thursday, August 2, 2012

Roast Chicken

Maybe everyone else is already producing roast chickens with ease, without a recipe, but it took a recipe published in my newspaper to prod me into trying it for the first time.  I tweaked the recipe a bit, using what I've learned about roasting a turkey.  This is more of a technique than a recipe, but I like having it all written down.  I made it for the second time last night, and it was a hit!  The kids eat the meat much better than typical chicken breasts, because it is so much moister.  And I thoroughly enjoy the crispy, garlick-y skin!

Roast Chicken

1 whole chicken, 4 to 5 lbs.
½ cup mayonnaise
2 gallons water
2 T fresh herbs
1 cup kosher salt
½ onion, peeled
1 cup sugar
Salt and pepper
5T butter, softened
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4-5 cloves garlic, divided

Brining the chicken (6 hours to overnight):  Put 2 gallons water, kosher salt and sugar in a large stockpot or brining bucket.  Swish to dissolve.  Remove giblets from chicken and submerge chicken in the brine.  (1 gallon water, ½ cup salt, ½ cup sugar seems to be enough for my stockpot, but it's easy to adjust).

Two and a quarter hours before dinner:  Remove chicken from the brine and rinse thoroughly.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Place chicken in roasting pan or dish.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix one pressed clove of garlic in with the softened butter.  (I freeze leftover garlic butter from when I make garlic bread-- this is a good way to use this-- just take the butter out of the freezer when you start brining the chicken.)  Chop fresh herbs and mix into the mayo.  Gently loosen the skin over the breast and rub the herbed mayonnaise over the meat underneath the skin.  To reach further back, place a large dollop of the mayonnaise under the skin, then, massage it back by pressing on the skin.  Then, rub the skin with the garlic butter and salt and pepper generously.  Place the half onion and the rest of the garlic cloves, peeled, in the cavity of the chicken.  Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the pan.  Place roasting pan in oven and set timer for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Then peel potatoes, etc. to get ready for the meal.  When the timer goes off, increase the heat to 400° and roast for another 20-25 minutes, until skin is crispy and a meat thermometer registers 165°.  Remove chicken from the oven and lift out chicken onto a cutting board.  Tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, strain pan juices through a sieve into a saucepan to make gravy.  Heat the juices, whisking in Wondra flour, until thickened.  Taste, then salt if needed.  Carve chicken and serve.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chile Cheese Egg Casserole

This recipe was in the Sunday Parade magazine a few months ago.  I've made it once, and my mom has made it several times.  She often cooks it Saturday night, and it reheats beautifully for Sunday morning.  Very filling and delicious.

Chile Cheese Egg Casserole

1 stick (½ cup butter)
1 quart (4 cups) cottage cheese
10 eggs
½ cup marscapone cheese
2 egg whites
1 lb. shredded Monterey Jack
½ cup flour
2 (8 oz.) cans diced green chiles
1 tsp. baking powder
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350°.  Melt butter, and pour half into a 13x9 baking pan, and set the other half aside.  Beat eggs and egg whites lightly in a large bowl.  Stir in flour, baking powder, chiles, all cheeses, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.  Pour egg mixture into baking pan.  Pour reserved butter over the top.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350° and bake 35-40 minutes or until casserole is set.

(That's the way the recipe appeared.  I did make a few alterations-- I just dumped 12 eggs in there, without separating the 2 egg whites.  And my family isn't a huge fan of spicy foods, so I only put one can of chiles in.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Knox Blocks

I never remember what proportions of Jello and Knox Blocks go in this recipe.  I made them a couple of weeks ago, though, and this recipe turned out just right.  Better write it down before I'm scratching my head and wondering again in a month.  Evan remembers this treat from childhood, and loves it.

Knox Blocks

3 envelopes Knox gelatin
4 cups boiling water
4 pkg. (3 oz. each) Jello

Mix gelatin and Jello in a heat-safe bowl.  Pour in boiling water and stir briskly until completely dissolved.  Pour in a 13x9 pan.  Cool in fridge for 4-5 hours.  These are very firm blocks, easy to eat with your hands!

You can choose any four flavors of Jello.  We like 2 boxes of grape and 2 boxes of cranberry, but it's fun to try new combinations!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pork Chops with Raspberry Sauce

And, tonight's supper!  For a side, I have some sweet potatoes cooking in the crockpot, a yummy-looking recipe from the new slow cooker recipe book from Cook's Illustrated.  I'm hoping that turns out good.  I've made these pork chops several times since I first saw the recipe in Family Circle magazine, they're super yummy and easy!

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
½ cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 T butter
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
Pork chops, 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. rubbed sage

In a medium saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar, vinegar, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  Stir in ½ cup water and bring to a boil, crushing berries with a wooden spoon.  Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Take off heat, stir in butter.  Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°.  Heat grill pan over medium high heat.  Season the pork chops with the spices.  Lightly grease grill pan and grill chops 5 minutes per side.  Place chops in baking dish and bake for 10 minutes, or until internal temperature is 145°.  Allow to stand 5 minutes.  Serve with warm sauce on the side.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fish Tacos

Here's what's for supper tonight, courtesy of Cook's Illustrated The Best Skillet Recipes.  Lots of yummy recipes in this book!  This recipe is one of my favorites, and once I learned the right order to prepare it all in, it's a pretty quick meal.  Eun Hui, the California girl, even pronounced it "authentic".  The recipe calls for cod, but I tend to buy cheaper fish, like tilapia or swai, which has the advantage of frying much faster, too.  The chipotle mayonnaise is excellent on sandwiches as well, so don't worry if you make too much!

Fish Tacos
Chipotle Mayonnaise
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 T lime juice
1-3 tsp. minced chipotle pepper
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 T minced cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together and set aside

¼ head green cabbage (12 oz.), shredded (about 4 cups)
1 tsp. vegetable oil
3 T minced onion
½ tsp. salt
2 T cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients together and set aside

½ cup flour
1 tsp. salt & ½ tsp. pepper
1 T chili powder
1 ½ lbs. white fish, cut into strips

You will need oil for frying, and tortillas for serving.  The recipe suggests corn tortillas, but I usually have flour on hand, so I use those.
Whisk together the flour, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl.  Dredge fish gently, letting excess flour fall back in bowl.  (Can shake gently in a mesh strainer to remove excess).  Heat about ½ inch of oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Oil is ready when a little piece of the chopped cabbage bubbles quickly when placed in the oil.  Add the fish and cook on one side, 1-2 minutes.  Carefully flip, and finish cooking (another minute or two), until fish flakes easily with a fork or paring knife.  Place fish on a paper towel-lined plate.  Heat tortillas, smear on chipotle mayo, place a few pieces of fish on top, and top with cabbage mixture.  Eat while the fish is hot!