May 13, 2015

(The Best) Spicy Ginger Honey Chicken Marinade & Citrus Balsamic Roast Vegetable Glaze

For the marinade:
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. honey
1/3 c. (1 small root) peeled, diced ginger root
2 tsp. chopped Hatch green chile
heavy dash turmeric
small dash nutmeg
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. red chile powder
1 tbs. salt
dash garlic salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
dash lime juice
4 tbs. butter
1-2 tbs. chicken drumsticks, wings or thighs
For the glaze:
balsamic vinegar
red wine (for cooking)
orange juice
orange zest
black pepper
1 sprig fresh thyme
roasted beets, carrots, or other root vegetables

I am not good at cooking meat, generally speaking. I blame it on spending a brief number of my formative cooking years being vegetarian, but in all honesty meat is just HARD TO COOK. The idea that anyone with a flame and a hunk of beef can cook meat is just baffling to me--I mean, if you overcook it you wind up with a tasteless rubbery block or a charred brick, and if you undercook it you risk serious poisoning. Meat is no joking matter.


After being shy about learning to cook chicken, pork, and beef in any way that isn't simmered into oblivion in the crock pot, I've finally found it. THE marinade. THE cook times and temperature.  THE go-to standard that I've already made repeatedly and intend to continue doing so (a big deal, because usually I cook to see if I can nail a recipe and then forget about said recipe). And here I'm sharing it with you.

Preheat oven to 400°.  If cooking vegetables now is a good time to chop them, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and put in the oven. Mix all marinade ingredients but the butter together and thoroughly coat the chicken (I also highly recommend putting everything in a ziploc and letting it marinate overnight).

Bring a cast-iron skillet up to medium heat and melt half of the butter. Add the chicken and let sizzle for about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Take the skillet off the stove and put in the oven to roast for 25 minutes.  While the chicken is roasting, pour some balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan--you'll have to eyeball this, depending on the amount of vegetables. Bring the balsamic to a simmer on low, until steam begins and the vinegar starts to reduce. When it starts to thicken, Just when it thickens, add a dash of wine, squeeze of orange juice, black pepper, and thyme and let reduce further. Turn the heat off and add the orange zest. Remove the sprig of thyme.

After taking the chicken out of the oven, melt the remainder of the butter in the still-hot skillet to make sure you coat the meat with all the best parts of the marinade remnants.  Coat the roasted veggies in the glaze and serve over fresh greens alongside the chicken.

March 5, 2015

Crockpot Carnitas Breakfast Hash

1lb. pork chops (or shoulder)
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1/2c. chicken broth
1 yellow onion, diced
2lb. red potatoes, coarsely chopped
1/3c. diced Hatch green chile
2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt & black pepper
red chili flakes to taste
onion & garlic powder to taste
dash oregano
4 eggs
1c. shredded cheddar cheese

I love breakfast. I especially love breakfast that involves avocado. And pork. And potatoes. And green chile. And cheese. Mmm cheese. Not that I'm New Mexican or anything...
Fortunately, this has all of those things and requires roughly zero effort!

Add all ingredients to a crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. If using pork chops (which I do recommend; they seem to be available in smaller, cheaper amounts than shoulder), use tongs to take out the bones and then break apart the meat. Stir all ingredients briefly.

If you plan on serving the hash to a group -- or are just really, really hungry -- use a ladle to make 4 indentations in the hash mixture. Crack an egg into each dent, turn the crockpot to high and cook for 15 minutes. Top everything with shredded cheddar and sliced avocado, then serve.

If you're planning on eating this in more than one sitting, spoon out a ladle of the hash into a frying pan. Crack an egg over top, cover, and cook on medium to medium-high heat until the egg is set. Serve.

January 18, 2015

Chicken Mole with Spiced Carrots & Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

For the chicken:
1 1/2-2 lbs. chicken breast, cut in slightly smaller pieces
12 oz. tomato paste
1 c. beef broth
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. anise
3 tbs. New Mexican red chile powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
dash ground nutmeg
2 tbs. cocoa powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs. tahini
sea salt & black pepper to taste
For the brussels sprouts:
1 lb. brussels sprouts, washed & halved
1 small yellow onion, diced
sea salt
sesame seeds
For the carrots:
carrots, washed & quartered
red chili powder
sea salt & black pepper
toasted sesame seeds
*all to taste*

Contrary to what the recent publication frequency of this blog would suggest (sorry), I've actually been cooking recently. I even got an organic, free-range, grass-fed, weekly grocery thingy. It's like I'm an adult, guys! The thing is, I'm trying to clear out a back log of drafts of recipes that were allllmost right but not quite. I'm determined to get them up to scratch before sharing them, hence the slowness. If anyone's still hanging in there, I am pleased to present a lazy person's guide to making Mexican-style chicken mole (and then completely mucking up cultural influences and pairing it with distinctly Indian flavors):

Put all mole ingredients in a crockpot and cook for 5 hours on low heat.

About an hour before the mole is done, preheat the oven to  400°. Toss the carrots in a bowl with a heavy drizzle of olive oil. Season to your taste (go easy on the red chili to let the other flavors through); you can also use pre-made garam masala spice mix. Spread the carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, stirring them after 15. When the timer goes off, sprinkle the carrots with the sesame seeds and keep in the closed oven with the heat off for another 10 minutes.

While the carrots roast, pour a heavy drizzle of olive oil into a frying pan over medium-low heat. Spread the brussel sprouts in a single layer and add the onion. Let brown slowly; the sprouts will take about 5 minutes on each side. When the veggies have carmelized, sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss with sea salt.

November 16, 2014

New Mexican Green Chile Stew

1 1/2 lbs. stew-cut pork or beef
12 oz. roasted Hatch green chiles, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 oz. beef stock
8 yukon potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
sea salt, black pepper & garlic salt to taste

Green Chile Stew is, as I'm sure any fellow New Mexican would tell you, an autumn flavor.  When I smell it it reminds me of styrofoam bowls heaping with potatoes, pork and chile carefully maneuvered into one's mouth with a plastic spoon while the many balloons of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta light up overhead at their nightly glowdeo. It's the perfect thing to eat or reheat as you try not to freeze on a crisp fall night.

Season the pork or beef with salt, garlic salt and pepper.  Saute the meat in a heavy drizzle of olive oil over medium heat until it begins to brown; about a minute on each side for beef and slightly longer for pork.

Drain the meat of extra oil and put it in the crock pot.  Add all other ingredients, making sure that there is liquid covering everything--top it off with extra broth or water if necessary. Cook the stew on high for 4 hours, until the meat is tender and the potatoes are cooked through.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain full-fat greek yogurt.