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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chicken with Artichokes

I first made this a long time ago. It's very easy and very flavorful - perfect for using up the rest of a bottle of white wine. I prefer to use boneless chicken thighs because I think they have the most flavor, but you could substitute bone-in breasts, boneless breasts and/or drumsticks. This is best served over rice.

3-4 boneless chicken thighs (or any other cuts of chicken)
1/4 cup flour
4 cloves garlic, slivered
2 shallots
1 tbsp fresh basil
1 tbsp fresh tarragon
1 tbsp chervil
(the above herbs can be substituted with dried herbs - but if you do, only use 1 tsp of each. If you only have basil, that's ok! A touch of oregano is nice too.)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
3 roma tomatoes or 1/2 can diced tomatoes
1 can artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1. Salt and pepper the chicken and then lightly coat both sides in flour.

2. In a deep pan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium high and brown the chicken on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside.

3. Reduce heat to medium and pour all but ~2 tbsp of the remaining fat from the pan. Add garlic and shallots and cook until soft. Then add the mustard and herbs. Mix well. (There should be brown bits on the bottom of the pan but be careful not to burn the garlic!)

4. Return heat to medium high and add the wine and chicken stock. Scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan.

5. Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through (about 15-20 min). Depending on how much chicken you used, you may want to simmer longer to reduce the sauce a bit.

6. Add the artichoke hearts and parsley.

*Serve over rice.

Paprika Roasted Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes & Garbanzos

This is a very easy and quick chicken recipe that I love. It has a bit of a Moroccan feel to it because of the cumin and paprika. The greek yogurt sauce adds great creaminess without the cream!!

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or more for a little more spice)
1/2 plain Greek yogurt
4 chicken breasts pounded to 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick
1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas
1 12 oz container of cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Mix first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.

3. Pour 1 tbsp of the mixture into a small bowl and combine with the yogurt. Set aside.

4. Place chicken in a large baking dish and generously brush with the oil mixture on all sides.

5. Add the beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup of the cilantro to the remaining oil mixture and toss to coat.

6. Pour the mixture into the baking dish around the chicken. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

7. Roast the chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the breasts.

8. When done, sprinkle with remaining cilantro and serve with the yogurt sauce on the side.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Guinness Cupcakes

What could possibly make a cupcake any better? A cupcake with beer. And not any beer, GUINNESS. Given that Reba and I spent the better part of the last few years at the Druid, it was only appropriate to have her and Andy's engagement party there. And as if we weren't getting enough Guinness from the bar, these cupcakes really topped it off. The cream cheese frosting even makes them look like mini pints of Guinness.

Chocolate & Guinness Cupcakes

1 (12 oz) bottle of Guinness
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup cocoa (Ghirardelli!)
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix the Guinness, milk, oil, and vanilla.

3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the sour cream.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, sugar, and baking soda.

5. Gradually beat the dry ingredients into the Guinness mixture. The batter will seem a bit soupy and you may have to use a ladle to pour the batter into the cupcake tins.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup cream (heavy or light)
~2-3 cups confectioners sugar

1. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy

2. Add the cream

3. Add the sugar. I like my cream cheese frosting tangy and cheesy, add more sugar if you like it sweet and/or to thicken the frosting a bit.

*The frosting will not be very thick, add sugar until it thickens a bit more if you need to. Otherwise, if you can, put the frosting in the fridge for a couple of hours and it'll thicken a bit. When frosting the cupcakes, put a large dallop on top and try to avoid getting too close to the edges, the frosting may run a bit and if you keep it right on top, it probably won't run off the cake.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Rich Chocolate Frosting

I baked 8 dozen of them this week trying out some new recipes to find the best for Reba and Andy's party. Needless to say, the vultures on the 7th floor of the JSI/World Ed office were very happy to add them to their breakfasts (none of us could wait until lunch).

Vanilla Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
*(if you don't have self-rising flour, subsitute 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour + 2 1/4 tsp baking powder + 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Sift the flour(s) together in a small bowl. Do sift! It makes a difference.

3. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth with an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar until mixture is fluffy.

4. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each.

5. Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk and vanilla, beating after each until incorporated but don't overbeat!

6. Fill 2 dozen cupcake liners and pop into the oven for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

7. Cook cupcakes in tin for about 15 minutes and remove to finish cooling.

Rich Chocolate Frosting

3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (Ghirardelli is the best)
1/4 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/3 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Add the flour and cocoa to a medium bowl and whisk together.

2. Add the butter, milk, and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

3. Depending on how thick you like your frosting, you may have to add a little more milk to make it creamier.

Beer Braised Hoisin Short Ribs

If you haven't already figured it out, I'm not much of a meat maker. I prefer to make things that have meat in them but I don't have a lot of experience giving meat the star solo performance. But, I came across this recipe in a cookbook that I've had forever and haven't used. Don't be afraid of braising - it's probably the easiest way to cook meat. All you need is a few simple ingredients and some time. To me, this is a good Saturday or Sunday dinner because you'll need a good part of the afternoon for the braising. You can spend this time drinking the other 5 beers out of the six pack you bought for the ribs.

3 lbs of short ribs (depending on where you go, about 4 large ribs - buy lean if you can)
3 tbsp of vegetable oil
10 garlic cloves - mashed
2 tbsp ginger - minced (a 2 in. piece of fresh ginger cut into 1/4 in. slices)
1 bottle of good ale (12 oz)
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 cup hoisin sauce

*Serves 4, and best with mashed potatoes and garlicy snow peas or broccoli.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Generously salt and pepper the ribs on all sides.

3. Heat oil on medium high in a large ovenproof pot with a lid (Dutch oven or a pot with lots of surface area).

4. Brown the ribs on all sides (don't crowd the pot, you can do them in batches if needed).

5. When browned, remove the ribs and pour out all but a few tbsp of the fat in the pot.

6. Lower the heat to medium and saute the garlic and ginger for a couple minutes.

7. Add the ribs back to the pot, and add the beer and vinegar. Give it a stir, cover it, and place in the oven.

8. Bake the ribs for 2 hours. (you may smell the vinegar more than the meat for a while - don't be worried, they'll be delicious!).

9. After 2 hours, pour the hoisin sauce over the ribs and return to the oven, uncovered, for another 20-30 minutes...or until the meat is falling off the bone.