Slow Cooker Chicken with Mushrooms & Wine

Chicken with MushroomsI never thought in a million years I’d be writing a meat recipe on here, but here I am. We’re a few months into my crazy diet for MSPI (Milk Soy Protein Intolerance), or infant allergic proctocolitis. So far, Luca is allergic to dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, nuts, coconut, chocolate, and possibly corn. But he’s happy! And healthy! So who am I to complain.

I was so tired of having beans/quinoa and rice for every meal, and a nutritionist I’ve been working with suggested I try adding in chicken. I’m not incredibly excited about chicken–I’d still rather have a plate of amazing veggies than some chicken–but it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it was going to be after 17 years!

Cooking meals three times a day without a break is kinda tough and so I’ve been trying to come up with as many slow cooker recipes as possible so dinner is ready when I walk in the front door from work. When you’re on this diet, it’s almost impossible to eat out and guarantee that allergens have been kept out of your meal. Most allergy-friendly slow cooker recipes (other than bean chili, bean chili, and bean chili) seem like they involve meat. This recipe smelled really nice when I walked in the door and the chicken shredded up nicely. I served it over brown rice, but it would also be good with polenta or pasta provided you aren’t gluten-free.

Wine Mushroom Chicken

Slow Cooker Chicken with Mushrooms & Wine

Adapted from Chicken Merlot with Mushrooms, Taste of Home

  • 3/4 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup full bodied wine
  • dash of hot pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian herbs
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Optional: 1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tb. water

Layer the mushrooms, onion, olive oil, and garlic in the bottom of a 5-qt. slow cooker. Top with chicken. In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, broth, wine, herbs, Worcestershire, Dijon, salt, and pepper. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is tender. Add a slurry of 1 tsp. cornstarch in water to the chicken if desired to thicken sauce.

Serve over hot rice, pasta, or polenta.
Freeze option: Freeze cooled chicken mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little broth or water if necessary. Yield: 5 servings.

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Mexican Lime-Pepper Soup by Guest poster Chris

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Inspired by Cat’s flurry of posts, I took the opportunity to document our humble domestic meal tonight. In rainy, low-ceiling, grey Seattle, this meal comes as a real tonic. The best thing about this meal is that it is a total bonus thrown together from leftovers from—eeck—a week ago!

We had had some friends over a week ago for a belated Channukah party, which was totally rad and super fun, but nothing on the scale of Cat and Gary’s soiree (WHOA—wish we had attended—looks amazing!). We served some roasted chickens, which are always wonderful to eat, but what I savor most is gleaning the scraps left on the bird, setting them aside, and making stock. From the stock and left-over shredded chicken, we got a nice enchilada party with our buddies Pete and Jenell, who at the same dinner inaugurated their first Settlers of Catan match. Then tonight this meal happened, and was worthy of a post…

Again, this meal is just killer when it’s cold out, or your feeling under the weather (too much holiday cheer, etc.). Here’s more or less the ingredient list:

Two fistfuls of shredded chicken per person

A bowl or two of stock per person (homemade obviously worlds better than store-bought)

An onion or shallots or something, chopped

Some garlic, minced

Oregano (we had fresh on-hand), chopped

Cilantro (fresh—is there any other kind?), chopped

2-4 corn tortillas per person, cut into thin strips

Fresh cracked pepper, more than you think is rational

Expensive and rare colored salts, to taste

2 limes per person, or more than you think is rational

Grated extra sharp cheddar (Tilamook was on hand)

Optional is cotija cheese (We had it, so threw it in, why not)

Olive oil for sauteeing

Canola oil for frying (1-2 cups)

Recipe

  1. Take shredded chicken and fry it in hot olive oil in a pot that you will make the soup in, tossing the onions and garlic on top, medium-high to high. The goal here is to take cooked chicken and brown it in the pan. The nice auburn crust on the chicken is great for looks, but the brown bits that develop in the pan are important for flavor, and when you see this develop after 5 or so minuted, throw some water in, a cup or two, and deglaze the pan by scrapping the brown bits off on high.
  2. Throw a bunch of stock in and simmer with oregano and a Bill and Melinda Gates generous amount of black pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, heat canola oil, maybe a cup, in a smallish sauce pan until the surface dimples with heat. Throw a test tortilla strip in—if it floats immedately your temp is good. Smoking is bad, here as elsewhere. Throw the tortilla strips in, a handful at a time, and have a slotted spoon or a spider on hand. Fry until blond or golden brown, set on paper towel to cool.

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  1. It’s best to have the cilantro chopped, the cheese grated, and the limes cut into Mexican wedges ahead of time, so that when your tortillas strips are ready to go you throw the whole thing together in the bowl—the tortilla strips will crackle, still being hot with micropockets of roiling oil.
  2. Put strips in bowl, ladle chicken and chicken broth on top, throw some cilatro, sharp cheddar, and cotija on top like Emeril—BAM!Ô —and squeeze the lime on top.
  3. Enjoy with loved ones. Listen to Frank Ocean’s song Pink Matter on Rdio.

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Smoked Salmon with Green Onion Cream Cheese

Continuing on with recipes for the Holiday Cocktail Party… This app couldn’t be easier–it’s almost embarrassing to post, but here goes nothing!

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 Smoked Salmon with Green Onion Cream Cheese

  • 1 large smoked salmon (Trader Joe’s has one for $17 or so)
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1/2 bunch of green onions
  • black pepper
  • 1 Tb. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest

Place the salmon on a platter and garnish with some lemon slices. Whizz the cream cheese with green onions, cracked pepper, lemon juice, and zest until blended. Chill cream cheese before serving with salmon and crackers.

Bourbon Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Mango-Ginger Chutney and Yeast Rolls

Continuing with the Holiday Cocktail Party menu, here’s an easy one. This pork tenderloin is great as a heavy hors d’oeuvres or as a main, and it’s super easy–I hate cooking meat, because I don’t know what I’m doing, but this is impossible to screw up if you have a meat thermometer. I scaled this up for about 50, but you can scale down easily.

Add some Trader Joe’s chutney and some yeast rolls, and you’re set!

Bourbon Pork Tenderloin

Bourbon Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Mango-Ginger Chutney and Yeast Rolls

  • 3 packages of pork tenderloins (2.5 lbs. each) for a total of 7-8 lbs. meat
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or put through press
  • pepper
  • 1 C. bourbon
  • 1/2 C. soy sauce
  • 2 Tb. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • Trader Joe’s Mango-Ginger Chutney (or substitute any other chutney you like)
  • 1 package of 36 frozen rolls (I used Kroger brand–see here for example–baking these myself was much cheaper than buying lots of pre-cooked store rolls, but you could also go that route)
  • 2 Tb. butter

There is no science to the marinade, so go with your gut on it. Separate the pork tenderloins and put 3 tenderloins in each of 2 plastic gallon bags (you’ll have 6 tenderloins total). Whisk together the bourbon, soy, mustard, and olive oil and pour half into each bag. Marinate the meat overnight.

Generously butter several baking pans or pie pans and place individual pieces of frozen roll dough into them (space about 1″ apart). Let the rolls rise for 3-6 hours in a warm corner or in a warm but unheated oven.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line roasting pans or baking sheets with foil and place the tenderloins on them. Cook at 400 until the pork reaches 145 degrees and then tent it with foil (ours took about 20 minutes, but yours could be more or less). Turn down the oven to 350 degrees for the rolls. Let the meat rest at least 10 minutes before carving (preferably more).

While the meat is resting, melt the butter and brush the rolls with it. Bake the rolls at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes till golden brown.

Serve meat with juices warm or at room temp with the chutney and the rolls on a platter garnished with arugula or other greens.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches… or Tacos!

ImageWe’ve all been a little busy lately it seems, ehhhhh? Hopefully our long hiatus was a result of enjoying long summer evenings on your new porch, riding your new mountain bike amongst the Alps, or celebrating your recent engagement! I’ve been exploring my new Northwest home in all its green, mountainy, weird, 80s-punk glory. Tomorrow I start a really busy rotation so the last few days I’ve been in a frenzy of preparation – doing laundry, catching up with people, playing this awesome game I recently discovered (thanks Jenell and Pete!) and upping my protein intake. On Sunday I went to 1 of several local farmers markets and suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to do something I have never done before. Yes girl friends, I bough a big hunk of pork. Butt. I dont know what did it – maybe it was the grandpa-y farmer with a giant belly just barely held in by flannel and suspenders. Maybe it was the glittery flash of light that emanated from the cooler with the dangling “Butt” sign over it. Probably both?! So I did it. I made my first pulled pork. Not gonna lie, it was GOOD! (I take little credit though – a slow cooker is like having your grandma over to cook you dinner. But then you have to clean up of course, because now you’re an adult and she has arthritis.)

So I cooked the pork, and it was good. But then I realized I had 2.5 lb of pork and just 1 small belly! What to do?! Luckily my good friend Eben is in town visiting from Alaska, and my friend Jenell who has fed me many a delicious meal recently is working nights and has no time to cook! Eben probably took care of a good pound or so all on his own, and Jenell and Pete (yes, the board game people) got a big hunk for their next dinner. Thanks guys! So here’s the recipe. While the Asian flavors were lovely, I don’t think they were actually really necessary. A good piece of pork and a slow-cooker are probably all you really need! FYI – for this I toasted whole spices and ground them as I had some free time, but it would probably be just as good-ish with already ground spices.

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Ingredients:

– 2.5 lb pork shoulder

– 2 cups chicken broth

The Rub:

– 2 tbsp tamarind paste

– 1 tbsp soy sauce

– 1.5 tbsp coriander

– ½ tbsp black pepper

– ¾ tsp cayenne

– ½ tsp cumin

– 1 star anise

– 1 tbsp brown sugar

– 1 tbsp salt

– 2 cloves garlic

– ½ tbsp minced ginger

Extras for the Sandwich:

– Tortillas or a good crusty bread

– Queso fresco

– Asian slaw (I made something resembling this)

Direction:

1. If you are using whole spices, toast them in the oven and then ground them coarsely.

2. While they are toasting, melt/dissolve the tamarind paste in ~1/2C hot water.

3. Put the spices, tamarind paste, and all the other ingredients for the rub in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth enough to schlop onto the meat. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t go crazy!

4. Schlop the rub all over the meat. Go ahead, rub it in. Massage it. Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

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5. Put the meat and the chicken broth in the slow cooker and cook it on low for 16 – 18 hours. Mmmmmmmmm.

6. When the meat is finished it should easily fall apart when pressed with a fork. Arrange on tortillas or bread with the slaw, queso fresco, avocado, etc. and invite your hungry friends who are in town visiting over for dinner!

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

K had a four day weekend this week  (Ascension day on Thursday as well as a ‘bridging day’ on Friday- companies here realize many people would inevitably take it off, so they give it as freebie – so progressive). Unfortunately, my employer does not celebrate Ascension day or bridge so we stayed in Basel, which was a nice reprieve from our otherwise hectic schedules.  Focusing on house projects, we FINALLY BOUGHT A GRILL!!!!  Now if anyone knows K, this is a BIG deal in our lives and I must say, I feel more grown up with this purchase than any other we’ve made.

As I’ve previously mentioned, Basel is a wonderful place to live; however, the food scene is utterly lacking.  Granted, if you hop on a bike and cross the border, you are bound to find incredibly decadent, delicious French food, which we did Saturday night, but if you want anything ethnic, with a hint of heat, we have found the best option is to make it ourselves.  As a result, we’ve really expanded our culinary repertoire.  We’ve made many dishes where after taking a bite we exclaim – “Wow…is that it? It’s so easy!” So we christened our grill with Jamaican Jerk Chicken (it’s so easy!), parmesan/lemon asparagus and veggies. DELICIOUS.

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken Ingredients (Adapted from Saveur):

This mix is for one whole chicken deconstructed.

– 1/2 c brown sugar

– 1/2 c allspice

– 1 shallot minced

– 1/3 c peanut oil

– 1/4 c kosher salt

– 1/2 c minced giner

– 1/3 c lime juice

– 2 tbsp soy sauce

– 1 tbsp fresh thyme

– 1 tsp ground cinnamon

– 1 tsp ground nutmeg

– 7 gloves minced garlic

– 3 habaneros

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Rub all over chicken, especially getting into the skin area.
  2. Grill. (Not sure what one is involved here, but I’m sure most people who use one do).
  3. Consume.
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Jerk chicken with lentil, veggie quinoa salad with mustard, lemon vinaigrette

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Grills veggies and asparagus

Winter Soup: Sausage, White Bean and Kale

The weather in Basel has been grey, cold and rainy.  Although the temperatures aren’t anywhere near what we experienced in Hanover, I still am yearning for a glimpse of sun.  At least the the weather isn’t  stopping us from enjoying the full range of festivals Basel has in store. We enjoyed dozens of rides for the fall festival, Herbestmesse.  We got completely drenched with friends, but felt like we were kids again enjoying the gluhwein, brautwursts and cheesy bread. Granted I got totally motion sick at the end of the night…now we’re waiting for the Christmas markets to charm the city center.

The only other excitement with the weather turning is that we are in soup season again!  There is nothing better than having a hot pot of soup just steaming and reducing on your stove.  This recipe is one of my favorite soups because it’s hearty and really flavorful.  I also love kale and finally found some at the French markets.

Ingredients:

– 1 garlic clove (minced)

– 1 dried red pepper (chopped)

– 4 shallots (minced)

– 2 onions (minced)

– olive oil

– 2 sausages (I like to get merguez or something flavored. They had fennel ones at the store, which were delicious – chopped)

– 4 Cups Chicken Broth

– Parmesan rind

– 2 bay leaves

– 10 stalks of kale (chopped)

– Salt and pepper to taste

– 1 can of white beans

Directions:

– Heat olive oil in a pot (preferably a Le Creuset-like pot) and when hot toss in onions, shallots, garlic and chili. Saute until onions are translucent

– Place in sausage and brown the sausage. You want to get a nice brown base at the bottom of the pot.

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See the brown?!

– Pour in chicken stock and degalze (very important to make sure you get a good soup base)

– Bring to a boil adding in the bay leaves and parmesan rind

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– Turn the heat down low to reduce for an hour or so

– Remove bay leaves and what’s left of the rind and add kale and white beans

– Bring back to a boil and serve to beat those winter blues away!

– Optional garnish: parmesan cheese and parsley

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Smoked Trout and Potato Salad with Arugula

Smoked Trout and Potato Salad

It’s full on fall here, and after a week or so of unseasonably warm weather, we’re finally getting frost warnings at night. (Breaking into hard frost season is kind of a big deal here in Tennessee). Accordingly, I was in the mood for something smokey and comforting last night, and so I reached for a tin of smoked trout from good ‘ole Trader Joe’s.

This is an ad-libbed recipe, but I’ve made something similar before, inspired by a potato salad recipe my mom always made growing up with a delicious and strong-handed Dijon vinaigrette. This combo is one of my favorites, and it manages to be comfort food without being very heavy. You could substitute in any number of steamed veggies, and/or add in some chickpeas or white beans for more protein. Lots of fresh basil if it were still summertime, would also make for a nice addition. In the winter, parsley would be a great substitute. The steaming of the veggies is the thing that takes the longest, making this a fast recipe to throw together.

Smoked Trout and Potato Salad with Arugula

  • 1 3.9 oz. can of smoked trout
  • 1 lb. baby Yukon gold or red skinned potatoes (the tinier, the better)
  • 1/4 C. crumbled feta
  • 1/3 C. peeled, chopped English cucumber
  • 2 small heads of broccoli, cut into florets and stems peeled and chopped
  • 3 C. arugula, finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tb. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tb. red wine vinegar
  • 6 Tb. olive oil

Put a metal steamer basket in a large pot on the stove and bring a small amount of water in the bottom to a boil. Add the potatoes to the pot and cover with a lid. While the potatoes are steaming, whisk together the mustard and vinegar, adding a pinch of salt and a few generous grinds of pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil till emulsified. When the potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes or so, remove from pan. While still hot, trying not to burn off your fingers, half or slice potatoes into thirds, and toss with the vinaigrette. Add the broccoli to the steamer basket and steam for 3 minutes. Remove broccoli and dice and add to potatoes and vinaigrette. Toss the feta with the vegetable mixture. Drain the oil out of the trout and then flake with a fork and toss with the veggie mixture. Finally, add in the arugula and cucumber, and combine thoroughly. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Whole Fish with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate Seeds

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Hey y’all! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the last few days of my VACATION basking in the glory of my mom’s kitchen, with its new stove complete with 2 ovens (!), her mountains of high quality cooking tools, pleasant lighting, spaciousness, and radio playing NPR. Oh, and a really cute dog… (see my next post: TBA.)

Yesterday I got out a lovely cookbook my mom has of Yotam Ottolenghi – an Israeli chef who has had a prolific career in London for the past 15 or so years. His book is full of the kind of recipes we love on this blog: simple concoctions that are easy to make in large or small quantities, and are full of herbs, interesting sauces, and flavors from around the world.

The recipe I based this one off of suggests using sea bream fillets, but I used whole fish. Why? Eh, it seemed a bit more festive and I just kind of felt like it. Why not? (I will answer this question later.)

Ingredients:

  •  3-4 whole red snapper (In reality, if recreating this recipe I think fillets would probably be better. I will further explain below. Any mildly flavored white fish will do.)
  • 1/3 C tahini
  • 1/3 C water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 Tbsp finely chopped parsely
  • Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • A bunch of coarsely chopped parsely for garnish
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Set the oven at 400. Heavily season the fish: if using whole, season the cavity and both sides of the skin. If using fillets, season all over. Drizzle olive oil in the cavity and on both sides, or over the fillets.
  2. Bake – the red snapper took ~20 min. Fillets will take less.

  1. Prepare the sauce while the fish is baking: wisk together the tahini, water, lemon, and finely chopped parsely.
  2. When the fish is done, if using whole fish, fillet out the meat of the fish and discard the carcasses. This is basically a huge pain in the butt! Which is why its better to use fillets in the first place. The problem with the whole fish here is that part of the point of the recipe is drizzling the sauce over the fish and garnishing with lemon zest, parsley and pomegranate seeds, and you kind of lose the effect if you deal with the whole fish on your plate and pick it apart yourself (which I would generally consider enjoyable if not dealing with the previously mentioned accoutrements,) dipping each little bit in sauce. Make sense? So that’s my two cents.
  3. Well, I guess I kind of gave it away in #4: drizzle the sauce over the fish, and sprinkle on the lemon zest, pomegranate seeds and coarsely chopped parsley.

A nice thing about this dish (in addition to the wonderful combo of the tahini with the bitter/sweetness of the lemon and pomegranate) is that its super quick! Probably only took about 35 min from start to finish, including cooking the fish, and would be even quicker if using fillets.

AWESOME Roast Chicken with Root Veggies

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Its time to re-emerge from hibernation. After a very busy (and hot!) summer and early fall, I’m finally getting back into the swing of cooking, inspired by the sensory overload of the season with its root vegetables, changing trees, and brisque, cool temperatures. I also have my LAST EXAM OF MEDICAL SCHOOL in a few minutes, so what better time to pause, disconnect, and channel my love of food and lady friends?! I bring you a recipe that IS awesome, and that really does NOT take a whole lot of practice. This recipe is also a nod to my amazing mom who taught me years ago that roast chicken is a simple, yet delicious and festive meal for something spectacular when you don’t have a ton of time or patience to try something more complex. This is also probably the first meat dish I learned to make in my post-vegetarian period.

Ingredients:

– 1 bird

– Potatoes + root veggies – this time I did 2 potatoes and a parsnip, but turnips, carrots, sweet potato, cassava, yucca, and whatever else grows in your part of the globe would be great too

– Garlic – lots! Like 3 whole cloves

– 3 tbsp butter – softened but not completely melted

– Thyme – also lots

– Salt + Pepper

Set the oven to 375. Peel and cut up the veggies in large chunks and place them in a bowl. Peel ~10 cloves of garlic and throw them in the bowl as well. Now its time to prepare the bird.

I usually have my seasonings prepared at this point in a way that keeps me from having to touch anything clean while handling the bird: I have a bowl with the butter, one with lots of salt and pepper, and a third with a pile of thyme leaves off the sprigs. Take a couple cloves of garlic and slice them, then place the slices under the bird’s skin spaced out as well as possible. Take two whole garlic cloves and slice them in half horizontally like so:Image

Place both halves of each clove along with plenty of sprigs of thyme in the cavity. Now, with your hands, mix plenty of thyme leaves, salt and pepper with the soft (but not liquidy) butter and spread it all over the bird in a nice, thick layer. With what is left, coat the root veggies, also just shlopping it on with your hands.

Place the bird in the center of a roasting pan and arrange the veggies around it. Roast in the center of the oven until the skin on the breasts starts to look gold and crispy (~50 minutes), then flip the bird upside down. When you take it out to do this (carefully!), also have your assistant stir the veggies around the pan so they get coated with the chicken drippings.

As for how long to roast… I’m not a big fan of time charts for chicken because they are pretty much always wrong. I find that for a 3-3.5 lb chicken somewhere around 1 hr 15 min at 375 usually does the job, but you have to either check the internal temp of the thickest part of the leg (165 degrees when its done) or if you don’t have a cooking thermometer (which I don’t), loosen the leg and check that the juices run clear to know its done.

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My apologies for not having better (or at least more directly relevant) photos. I didn’t plan at the time to put this on the blog, thinking it was too simple! But Chris, Aya and Tara set me straight. Luckily Chris came up from his voracious consumption of the meal for a quick photo!