Crisp-Skinned Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes

January 11, 2011

I am a sucker for crispy potatoes. I admit I didn’t really give the roast chicken recipes in Jan Living much of a second glance until Sarah Carey came on the show and made them. The potatoes in the Crispy Skinned Chicken recipe hooked me. I was also interested to try putting butter and cornstarch on the chicken skin.

I used Yukon Gold potatoes because that’s what I had and I also didn’t have fresh rosemary. It turned out really well. This is an open-kitchen-window recipe though – any time I cook chicken at a high temp like this it smokes up the house. The chicken cooked nicely and was quite crisp (so I will use this method again). The potatoes fell apart a bit when I tossed them in the pan and I did have to put them back in the oven once the chicken was out to get them a little browner, but they were good.

I used dried rosemary, so that may be the problem, but I just kind of wanted the whole thing to have a little more flavor overall. Other than that, it was excellent!

Bookmark and Share

Martha Mondays: Hearty Onion Soup Gratin

January 10, 2011

I chose Hearty Onion Soup Gratin from Jan Living to get us back into Martha Mondays. It’s basically a French onion soup with turnips and carrots added in. I am a lover of French onion soup and have been making it a lot recently (I had one batch where I didn’t stir my onions enough and a tiny bit burned and turned the whole soup bad).

This recipe was fairly simple:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper
4 cups beef stock
4 small carrots, halved lengthwise
3 baby turnips, peeled and cut into wedges or chunks
4 small dried bay leaves
4 large slices of bread
8 slices Gruyere

Heat oil over medium heat in skillet. Cook onions until translucent, about 8 min. Reduce to low and add thyme and cook until golden 35-40 min. Season with salt and pepper

Preheat broiler. Bring stock to boil in pot. Add carrots and turnips and simmer until almost tender, about 5 min.

Divide vegetables among 4 bowls, add onions. Add bay leaf to each. Pour in stock. Place a slice of bread on each and 2 slices cheese. Broil until bubbly.

So now that you’ve seen Martha’s instructions I’ll confess what I did. First of all, I forgot the bay leaves entirely. I didn’t have enough fresh thyme so I used dried. I actually ended up roasting my veggies (and I used baby carrots cut into chunks) in the oven. I added the onions and veggies to the stock (I had about 6 cups of it) and let it simmer for a while so the flavors would combine. I like to make my bread separately on a roasting pan and if we’re eating at home alone, I cut my cheese covered bread into chunks before adding it to my soup to make it easier to eat!

With all that being said, I enjoyed this very much. Really, you’d have to really do something horrible to make me reject a bowl of French onion soup! I enjoyed having more veggies in it and have been eating leftovers for lunch.

Here’s the schedule moving forward for the coming weeks. If this doesn’t work for you, let me know. If you’d like to join up, let me know and I’ll add you.

1/17 Steak and Potatoes Kinda Gurl

1/24 Megan’s Cookin’

1/31 Sassy Suppers

2/7 Perfecting Pru

2/14 Tiny Skillet

2/21 Sweet Almond Tree

2/28 MarthaAndMe

Bookmark and Share

Gnocchi and Me

January 6, 2011

I’ve tried to make gnocchi in the past with disastrous results. Another kitchen gadget I got for Christmas is a potato ricer, which apparently is absolutely essential in making gnocchi (all the recipes I’ve tried in the past have made it sound optional). So, with my ricer in hand, I was ready to dive back into gnocchi making. This recipe has been hanging around my recipe notebook for a long, long time and I was thrilled to finally give it a try.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fried Sage

1 1/4 lbs baking potatoes

1 (1/4 lb) sweet potato

1 egg

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup Parmesan

1 1/2 to 2 cups flour

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup sage leaves

1 tbsp butter

Bake potatoes at 450 for 45 min to an hour until tender (I tried microwaving the potatoes in the past and it just doesn’t work – you have to bake them). Allow to cool, then peel and force through ricer onto a baking sheet. Spread into an even layer and allow to cool (I set mine outside and they cooled quickly). Mix egg, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a small bowl.

Gather potatoes in a mound on the baking sheet, making a well in the middle. Pour the egg mixture into the center and knead. Knead in cheese and 1 1/2 flour. Add more flour if needed and knead until it is smooth but slightly sticky.

Cut dough into 6 pieces. Roll each out into a rope about 1/2 inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Boil a large pot of salted water and add half the gnocchi, cooking until it rises to the top, then cook the other half. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet until shimmery, then add the sage, frying until they turn a shade lighter and crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Remove the sage and add the butter to the oil, cooking until it browns. Add cooked gnocchi to the butter and cook a few minutes, tossing. Serve with sage leaves and extra Parmesan cheese.

The gnocchi turned out really, really well. I didn’t do anything other than cut it into pieces (no fussing with marks from a fork). I really loved the flavor of it – the sweet potato gave it a nice taste. It was light and not gummy (unlike my previous attempts). I didn’t get any flavor from the fried sage though, so that was disappointing. I want to try a butternut squash gnocchi next.

Bookmark and Share

Mom’s Pot Roast

December 2, 2010

Do people still make pot roast? Probably not as often as they did back in the 70s when I was a kid. We had pot roast pretty regularly. I learned to make it by the time I was in junior high. I would get home from school around 4 and my mom would have left me a note asking me to put it together and put it in the oven. I pulled out my recipe notebook to consult my mom’s recipe and realized I don’t even have it written down, because I made it so many times that it was just something I knew how to make. Dollars to donuts, my mom has nothing written down anywhere either.

I haven’t made pot roast in a really long time. There’s something so homey and comforting about it and it smells so good when it’s cooking. I don’t have an actual recipe to share, but this is how I make it.

Start with a medium enameled roasting pan (the kind that are speckled) with a lid. Put a chuck roast in it. Then chop up half an onion and a few garlic cloves. Add baby carrots, 3-4 potatoes cut into 4ths, a teaspoonful of tomato paste, and some whole mushrooms (maybe half a package). Dump in some salt (you need more than you think) and pepper. Dump in some herbs (I have a “beef roast” seasoning from Penzey’s I use, if I didn’t have that I would use thyme, oregano and a little celery salt). Add about 2 cups of red wine. Then add enough beef broth to cover the meat (I used  a whole carton). When you’re done, you should have that medium roasting pan filled to the top. This does not work well in a roasting pan that is larger because the meat is not completely covered.

Roast at 350 for at least 2 hours. I had mine in for 3 hours, but the meat was still mostly frozen when I put it in.

When it comes out, put the vegetables in a bowl and the meat on a platter. Add Wondra to the juices and cook until thickened the way you like it (I like my gravies thick!).

It’s not gourmet and it’s not pretty to look at, but boy is it good!

Stuffed Shells with Proscuitto

November 2, 2010

I was inspired by Lucinda Scala Quinn’s stuffed shells on Mad Hungry recently and wanted to try a version of her recipe. She uses prosciutto in hers, which intrigued me. I could only find large shells, not XL which was a bummer, but I made do. I also did not use radicchio since I don’t care for it. Instead I substituted spinach. I used jarred tomato sauce and cottage cheese instead of ricotta (what a cheat I am). I like some sauce on top of my shells so I poured some over the top before baking.

This was good, but I don’t think I would use the prosciutto again. It was interesting, but was kind of a smoky taste that I didn’t feel really went with the dish. I do like stuffed shells and I wish I could find the XL ones because stuffing all those little shells took me FOREVER!

Bookmark and Share

Baked Ziti

October 29, 2010

I’ve been looking at the cookbook: The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook, 2nd edition. I got it from the library. I totally love the idea of this cookbook – they’ve tested many recipes to find the very best recipe for everything they include. I’m going to be making several things from this, but so far the best thing I’ve made was Baked Ziti. I know this is considered a staple for many Italians, but it’s not really something I’ve had very often, except at big banquets, where it is inevitably bad (mushy pasta and bland sauce) The recipes in this book start out with a description of the problems they see with regular preparations of the dishes and the various things they tried to remedy them. This explanation mentioned the mushy pasta and bland sauce complaints, so I was drawn in. And I HATE ricotta cheese, but this used cottage cheese. It sounded really good though, so I gave it a try.

Amazing. Out of this world, insanely good. I thought it was going to be very tomato-y but somehow the sauce gets absorbed or mixed in with the creamy/cheesy sauce. We nearly came to blows over the leftovers. Don’t tell anyone, but when I made this I separated it into two pans and froze one, so we’ll be having it again (no one in the family knows there is another pan of it in the freezer or they would demand I heat it up NOW).

This recipe gets HUGE points from me and I can see why it made it into the book. The only changes I made were that I used whole wheat penne instead of ziti and I ended up adding more sugar than the recipe says since I like my tomato sauce to be sweet. And I used dried basil.

1 lb whole milk or 1% cottage cheese

2 large eggs, beaten

3 oz Parmesan cheese, grated


1 lb ziti

2 tbsp olive oil

5 medium garlic cloves, minced

1 28-oz can tomato sauce

1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes

1 tsp oregano

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

1 tsp sugar


3/4 tsp cornstarch

1 cup heavy cream

8 oz while milk mozzarella, cubed

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup of Parmesan in a bowl. Cook the pasta with salt, about 5-7 minutes until it begins to soften.

Heat oil and garlic in a skillet over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant, 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano. Simmer until thickened about 10 min. Then stir in 1/2 cup of basil and sugar, season with salt and pepper.

Mix cornstarch and heavy cream and cook over medium heat until thick, 3-4 min. Remove from heat and add cottage cheese mix to it with 1 cup of tomato sauce and 3/4 cup of the mozzarella. Add the pasta and stir.

Pour the pasta into a 13 x 9 dish and spread the rest of the tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan on top. Cover with foil and bake 30 min. Remove foil and bake another 30 min. Cool for 20 min. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp basil.

I loved this and so did everyone in this house. Truly a fantastic recipe.

Bookmark and Share

Greek Meatballs

October 7, 2010

Somewhere recently I saw a mention of lamb meatballs and it’s been haunting me ever since. I definitely had to do something to get it off my brain. So I decided to play around with the concept. Here’s what I came up with:

Greek Meatballs over Couscous with Yogurt Sauce
1 cup couscous
1 onion
1 lb ground lamb
1 garlic clove
Greek seasoning (mine comes from Penzey’s)
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 cup feta cheese
4 cups spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
8 oz plain yogurt
1 small cucumber
4 tbsp lemon juice

Cook 1/4 of the onion in a few tsp of olive oil. Add the couscous and some chopped parsley. Add water as instructed by couscous package and cook according to direction.
Make lamb meatballs by combining lamb with 1/2 cup chopped onion, egg, cream, chopped garlic clove, Greek seasoning, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup feta, and breadcrumbs. Mix and form meatballs.
Place meatballs on greased baking sheet and add cherry tomatoes and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Wilt spinach in a pan with a small amount of olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Mix yogurt with remaining onion, remaining feta, lemon juice, Greek seasoning, salt and pepper and small cucumber which has been peeled and chopped.

Serve by placing couscous on the bottom and topping with meatballs, spinach and tomatoes and yogurt sauce on top.

This was SO good. A wonderfulm lighter alternative to regular spaghetti and meatballs and easier to eat than souvlaki pitas. I loved it. The meatballs are tender and flavorful and the yogurt sauce is creamy and delicious. Absolutely fantastic. And my kids love Greek food so it was a hit all around.

Bookmark and Share

My New Favorite Salmon Dish

October 5, 2010

We have lots of salmon Dude Martha and Mr. MarthaAndMe caught in Alaska, which is filling my freezer. This was our first try with the coho salmon Mr. MarthaAndMe caught. It was delicious – milder in flavor than the king, which I kind of liked.

I stumbled upon a great recipe for arctic char in Cooking Light and adapted it for the salmon. It it incredibly easy. Cook your salmon on the grill or in the oven, however you like it. About half an hour before dinner, mix one small container of plain yogurt, one peeled and diced small cucumber (gherkin size), 2 cups chopped cilantro, 1 tbsp lime juice, and salt and pepper. That’s it! Serve the yogurt over the salmon. It’s cool and creamy and light and refreshing. The cilantro, cucumber and lime give it a very fresh taste that allows the salmon to shine. Fantastic. A sauce that doesn’t have to be cooked – you can’t beat that! Even Mr. MarthaAndMe, who believes that he does not like yogurt really liked this one.

Bookmark and Share

Brisket with Emeril

October 1, 2010

I adore brisket. And I’d never had until about ten years ago when I tried Emeril’s recipe for it. Luckily, I happened upon this incredible recipe. Once a year or so I will make a big batch of this and freeze it. I get many meals from one brisket (the leftovers are fantastic on buns or if you buy refrigerated crescent roll dough and line muffin tins with them and fill them with shredded brisket).

You have to plan ahead for this recipe and make it the day before, because it needs to sit overnight. Then you just reheat it the next day. It is sublime. I’ve had so many compliments on this. My in-laws, traditional meat and potato folk, love it. A business associate of my husband’s from India came to dinner and was crazy about it, never before having heard of brisket. The sauce is sweet and a little spicy. It has layers of flavor because you start with studding the brisket with garlic, then browning the brisket, then you braise it in broth, then you add carmelized onions, chili sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and spices. The meat turns out moist and incredibly tender.  It’s a hit every time.

Bookmark and Share

Sesame Chicken

September 30, 2010

My kids love sesame chicken takeout. If we get takeout (a rare occurrence) we have to get two large orders of this to prevent fisticuffs. I don’t mind it, but always seem to end up with a piece that is fatty or grisly, so I don’t eat much of it. They like it because it is sweet and deep fried.

I came upon a recipe for sesame chicken by Ellie Krieger in Food Network Magazine’s Sept issue. No deep frying involved, yet it promised a flavorful dish that is a good substitute. The verdict? They’re right. The chicken is browned in a bit of oil so it gets a nice flavor to it and the sauce is complex and rich. I really liked this a lot. I served it with some somen noodles. Like seemingly all Asian dishes, there are a lot of ingredients and steps, but I would say this was definitely worth it.

5 tbsp soy sauce

4 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tsp honey

1 1/4 lbs skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch chunks

6 tsp canola oil

2 scallions

1 tbsp grated ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/4 c chicken broth

3 tbsp sugar

3-4 tsp cornstarch

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp chili paste

4 cups snowpeas, trimmed

cooked brown rice

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

whisk 3 tbsp of soy sauce with 2 tsp sesame oil and honey. Add chicken and marinate 20 min.

Remove chicken from marinade and cook in 2 tsp oil in nonstick pan over medium heat. Cook in 2 batches, turning once or twice, until done, about 3-5 min

Remove chicken and wipe out pan. Heat 2 tsp oil and add scallions (reserving some tops to sprinkle on dish), ginger, garlic and cook for 1 min. Whisk broth, sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, chili paste, and remaining 2 tbsp soy sauce in a bowl. Add to the pan and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Add remaining 2 tsp sesame oil.

Cook snow peas in a steamer 2-3 min.

Return chicken to pan and heat through. Serve over brown rice with snow peas. Top with sesame seeds and reserved scallion.

Bookmark and Share

%d bloggers like this: