August 22, 2009

Easy Chicken Drumsticks w/Ginger Apricot Marinade

Chicken is one of the easiest things to cook. I also love that it is so versatile. I had several drumsticks defrosting in the fridge and came across this recipe from Sassy Radish. Voila! Dinner of ginger apricot chicken is it!

What’s my favorite chicken dish? Wingstop lemon pepper chicken wings with their fries that are sprinkled with salt and sugar. Who knew sugar on fries could be so good? Ugh, I can’t tell you how much I love fried chicken wings. If I could eat these at least once a week without gaining any weight, hands on, I would. Heck, I’d eat them twice or three times a week.

This dish is fast and most importantly easy. I can make the marinade the night before and then when I get home from work, just pop them in the oven and cook some rice. 30 minutes later, I have a delicious dinner!

I suggested this dish to my sister who was not as big a fan as me. However, she didn’t pour the marinade with the chicken in the pan to cook. I think that makes a big difference. Not only does it help with a great glaze coating, but I opened and spooned the marinade over the chicken twice while I was cooking. Again, can I say YUM?

Apricot-Glazed Sriracha Ginger Chicken
From Sassy Radish who loosely adapted from

1. For ingredients, click
here for list. The only difference I did was use a different type of hot sauce instead of Sriracha and I only used drumsticks.

2. Peel garlic and ginger. Add to food processor and chop, chop! Add the apricot jam, soy sauce, water and hot sauce. Grind until well blended.
3. Wash and dry the drumsticks. I can’t tell you how important it is to rinse meat you buy from the grocery store. You never know what’s it has gone through. Put in plastic bag and add the marinade. Let sit for at least an hour. I usually like to do it the night before and let it sit overnight.
4. Oven to 400 degrees. Put chicken and the marinade into pan. Bake for 30 minutes. I checked at 10 minutes and spooned some of the marinade on top. Did it again at 20 minutes. Make sure chicken is done at 30 minutes – cook longer if it’s still a tad pink or if you poke it with a knife and red juices come out, cook another 5 minutes or so.
5. I served this with rice, which is good to balance out the sweetness of the chicken. Next time, these would go very well with some green beans.

August 16, 2009

Lobster and Corn Chowder

I have wanted to try this recipe for a long time but since this is such a decant recipe, I needed several mouths to feed. Last weekend, my sister and soon to be brother-in-law came into town to celebrate Chinese Father’s Day and this was a perfect chance for me to make this dish. It definitely didn’t disappoint but man, was it a lot of work! Similar to mussels in white wine, dipping toasted French bread into the soup was even yummier. This wasn’t the healthiest dish either…..with lots of cream and whole milk, but isn’t that alway the case? Mmm hmmmm.

Would I make this again? I don’t know if this was worth the time or if I did something that was way too complicated. If I can buy pre-cooked lobster, that would probably shave 30 minutes off the prep time, but, the real time consuming part was extracting all the meat from the shells. This took us another 25 minutes and there were three of us too! Also, this was a pricey meal so not sure I’d make this again unless it was a very special occasion. And, while this was so good, you probably need a side dish as well.

So….I probably won’t be making this for a while and I wish I had a team to help prep food because, Barefoot Contessa, you made this look waaaaay too easy!
Lobster and Corn Chowder
Recipe by Barefoot Contessa

1. Click
here for the ingredients. I’m not posting since this was my first time to make it and didn’t change a thing. Clean the lobsters with a quick scrub and remove the bands on the clinchers. In a big pot, add some water and put the lobsters in to steam for roughly 15 minutes. I reserved the water/broth for later. Take them out and cool for 10 minutes.
2. Take all the mean from the lobsters – shells, claws, everything – and don’t throw away the shells. One tip for the small legs instead of wasting them, I use a rolling pin and start from one end and roll out the meat to the tip – a tip from Alton Brown (love him!). Use the back of a knife on the claws. Cute the meat into big chunks.
3. Cut corn from cobs and keep kernels for later and cob for the next step. In a big pot, melt butter and add the onions until glassy. Add the sherry and paprika. Add the milk, cream, wine, lobster shells, corn cob and bring to a simmer. Cover with a small peek and let it cook for a good 30 minutes.
4. After 15 minutes, start another big pot and brown the bacon (I used Pancetta bacon). Take the bacon out and then add the potatoes, onions, celery, corn kernels, salt and pepper. Cook for maybe 5-8 minutes until smells all yummy.
5. So take the stock and remove all the shells and cobs. I drained it slightly to not get any shells.
6. I also added in roughly two cups of the lobster broth (from when I boiled/cooked the lobster) and cooked for another 10 minutes. Add the stock to the veggies pot and let it cook for another 15 minutes until potatoes are done.
7. Add lobster, chives (which I didn’t do) and bacon. Now enjoy with the rest of the wine that you didn’t use for this dish!

August 02, 2009

2:1 - Lemon Arugula Pasta w/Herb Pork Chops

Ahhh…. Lazy weekends are always a good refresher. Had the luxury of waking up late, making some quality coffee and enjoying morning shows while lounging on the couch. Before I knew it, it was almost one and we hadn’t had any lunch! While Ross went out on a search for sandwiches, I remembered I had some thick pork chops in the freezer – there’s dinner!

Pork chops are tricky. Depending on the thickness you have, they can overcook in a blink of an eye and then who wants hard, chewy pork? Not me and certainly not Ross! During my last trip to the grocery store, I was surprised to see thick (roughly 1.5 inch) pork chops. They’re usually sliced thin, so I was extremely excited about getting something a little meatier and had high hopes to actually cook it perfectly.

How have I cooked pork chops in the past? Hrm….not well apparently. I typically season with salt and pepper and then pan cook them until they’re done – slice and had with veggies and rice. I’ve crusted them in bread crumbs mixed with seasoning and pan cook – these actually turn out pretty tasty. Or I’ve buttered, S&P and herbed them and popped in the oven, which are not as good since my oven can get testy and before you know it, it’s already overcooked before the allotted six minutes! The trick is trying to cook them but keep all the yummy juices inside the meat until right before you cut a piece to eat – hasn’t happened for me in a long time.

So, not surprisingly, the recipe I used was from Giada. She had a recipe for a dry herb rub pork chops topped with onion marmaletta. I know I was cooking for Ross too but really, I can’t make something I know I don’t like so the onion marmaletta went out the door. Sorry Ross! The only thing I did differently (simply because I didn’t have it) was omit the rosemary but I substituted for dry oregano instead. The pork chops turned out beautifully! They had a ton of flavor, were juicy and complemented the citrusy pasta I made as well.

Well, pasta goes well with almost any meat in my opinion. I had lemons and arugula/spinach I needed to use so why not a recipe with all of it? Simple and from my other favorite Food Network cook – Ina Garten. You can really taste the citrus in this pasta - gives it a little zang! which I loved.

Herb Crusted Pork Chops
Original recipe by Giada
Serves four
Since I didn’t change a good portion of her recipe, I’m not posting the ingredients. You can check it out
here but I’ll walk through what I did below. I cooked it a little differently but the ingredients were almost the same – minus the rosemary.

Combine dry oregano (recipe called for rosemary but I didn’t have), fresh thyme lightly chopped, garlic and S&P. Make sure your pork is cleaned, rinsed and dry. Rub the herb mixture all over the pork, both sides. I let it sit for roughly 15 minutes (you should probably do longer but Ross and I were getting hungry!).
Heat your grill. With a paper towel, pour a little bit of oil and then rub paper towel over the grill.
Grill the pork chops for seven minutes on each side. Since I used my inside grill, I actually put a bowl over the pork chops while they were cooking to help trap the heat and cook a little better – like a real grill! I like to let it sit for just a few minutes to let it cool slightly and to keep the juices locked in. I put them on a plate and covered again with a bowl to keep the heat in.

I didn’t have parsley so didn’t use that. I made a balsamic reduction – just heat on low, balsamic vinegar until thick. Pour just a little bit on top of pork. Or not. The pork chops were actually really tasty that it didn’t need anything else. Pairs well with citrus pasta.
Citrus Pasta
Original recipe by Ina Garten with my adaption

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pint heavy cream
2 lemons (zest and juice)
1 orange (zest and juice)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
½ lb angel hair
1/2 pound baby arugula & spinach mix
1 bunch of fresh chopped basil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1. In pan, heat olive oil, add garlic and cook until you smell it and right before it gets really brown.
2. Add the cream, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, S&P (as much as you’d like so taste test while cooking).
3. Let it come to a small boil and then reduce for 10 minutes. Heat up the butter in microwave and then add the flour. Mix until paste. Add this to the cream mixture to make sure it is incorporated completely.
Bring pot of water to boil to cook the pasta – I did this a tad too early so had to let it sit while I made the cream sauce. Recommend that you start cooking right when you leave the cream mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. 5. When cream is thick, add pasta, arugula, spinach and basil to pasta and then the cheese. Mix thoroughly and then eat!