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Monthly Archives: February 2012
One night, a few months ago, just when I started shooting almost every meal I made for this here site, my friend came to dinner.
She is a lovely tiny woman. But she can eat. Which is just the kind of friends I love to have. When she arrived, I realized I hadn’t come up with a main dish. There were some chicken thighs in the fridge, so I started there. As I thought about what else I had in the house, I came across some fresh oregano and sherry vinegar. The recipe began to form in my head, all I needed was some lemon and a bit of honey and we were off and cooking.
It’s a simple affair, if a little messy. I started by heating a pan to super hot, added some oil and salt and put the chicken thighs in skin side down. The fat splatters, so be ready for a little bit of cleanup. The extra step of searing these on the stove top before baking them makes the skin come out super crisp and delicious.
The key to this dish is the combination of the honey, sherry vinegar and oregano. You add these just before the chicken goes into a hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes. And let me tell you, the chicken comes out moist, a little sweet, and very tender. I served it with some roasted brussels sprouts and a quinoa salad. Most delicious.
This past weekend, I found myself with some chicken thighs and recreated the dish for my daughter. She ate two pieces and asked that I save the others for her dinner the next night. A hit, if I do say so myself, and a dish that is so quick to make, I can do it on a weeknight while helping with homework.
So if you are asked “Chicken, honey?” I hope that you respond “Sure, but it’s Honey Chicken.”
Honey Chicken with Oregano and Sherry Vinegar
makes 4 portions
- 4 Chicken thighs, skin-on and with bones
- 4 Tbsps Olive Oil
- A pinch of Salt
- 3 sprigs fresh Oregano (or 1 tsp Dried Oregano)
- 3/4 cup Sherry Vinegar (Red Wine Vinegar works here, or just some leftover White Wine is good, too)
- 2 Tbsps Honey (I like the dark amber kind)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Heat up a large non-reactive skillet over high heat.
- Put the olive oil and salt in the pan once it is super hot (technical term).
- Place the chicken thighs in the pan, skin-side down.
- Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the skin starts to curl up on the edges.
- Turn the thighs over. Cook for 1 minute more.
- Turn off the heat. Add the sherry vinegar.
- Turn the heat back on and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the honey, turn off the heat and put the pan in the preheated oven.
- Bake on the top rack of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken juice runs clear.
- Remove from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes, and then dig in.
Stuffed zucchini is a delight. I haven’t made it in awhile, since I used to cover it in cheese and can no longer do so, dairy-free me and all.
I realized that if I were to put something else with a nice strong flavor in the stuffing, that could complement the mellow sweetness of the zucchini, I might be able to make this taste just as good without the cheese.
Last week, I made this Onion & Shallot Marmalade (click here for the recipe) and thought it could be the perfect accompaniment for the zucchini.
I was right. It added texture and also flavor, both savory and sweet.
Though I did replace the regular bread with a gluten-free variety (Udi’s), all the other ingredients are the same as what Gran Fran always used to make hers. It took me awhile to remember that you have to steamed the zucchini before you stuff and bake it. I did also fry the bread briefly before adding it to the stuffing, to make sure it browned and didn’t soak up too much of the oil from the onion & shallot marmalade.
My daughet managed to eat the first batch of chantarelles that I sauteed and I couldn’t quite remember how long to cook them in the oven, but in the end, they turned out great. I even managed to get a non-vegetable lover to eat this without any complaint, and of course, I loved it, too.
- 6 Zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
- 1/4 lb. Chanterelles, cleaned and chopped coarsely
- 2 pieces Rice Bread, cubed
- 4 to 5 sprigs fresh Oregano (or 1/2 tsp dried)
- 6 Tbsps Olive Oil
- 1 recipe Onion & Shallot Marmalade (click here for the recipe)
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Steam the zucchini halves until just soft. Do not cook them all the way through, just enough that the meat of the squash is soft to the touch.
- Remove the zucchini and allow it to cool.
- While you are steaming the squash, heat a saute pan large enough to hold the bread cubes in one layer.
- Add the 1/2 of the oil, the oregano, some salt and the bread cubes. Lower the heat to medium.
- Sautee the bread for about 4 minutes, keeping the cubes moving with a wooden spoon so that they don’t burn, but just brown.
- Remove the bread cubes from the pan and set them aside in a medium bowl.
- Return the saute pan to high heat, and add the remaining olive oil.
- Add the chanterelle mushrooms to the pan and cook until nicely browned.
- Remove the mushrooms from the heat and add them to the bowl with the cooked bread cubes.
- Take the zucchini halves and scoop out the flesh and add that to the bowl as well.
- Mix up all of the ingredients in the bowl.
- Put the scooped out zucchini halves into a baking dish, large enough so they aren’t touching.
- Scoop a layer of the bread/zucchini/mushroom mixture into each xzucchini half.
- Top with onion and shallot marmalade.
- Bake at 375 degree for 20 to 25 minutes on the middle rack of the oven.
You see, it’s that time of year, when I abandon pork products and start a-new.
And so, this past Monday night, I made a big rack of pork ribs as my fond farewell to the porky-goodness for the time being.
My friend made up the dry rub recipe, and I have to say it’s brilliant. I don’t usually use allspice for anything but ginger-y baking recipes and marjoram has never made it’s way into my kitchen. The combination of curry with these two spices was amazing. There’s just enough sweetness there, and a little bit of the earthly complexity of the curry powder gives you layers of flavor in each bite.
I didn’t make any side dishes, just ate lots and lots of ribs to store up the yummy for the next month or so.
See you soon, ribs, and until then, I hope my friends and neighbors will enjoy you.
Oven Baked Ribs
- 1 large rack of pork ribs
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp curry
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp marjoram
- ½ tsp pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp red pepper
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Wash and dry the ribs in the sink.
- Cut the rack into pieces if it won’t fit into your roasting pan.
- Coat the ribs on all sides with the dry rub.
- Place the ribs in your roasting pan(s).
- Let sit for at least 30 minutes (up to overnight, if you have the time).
- Place the pan(s) in the preheated oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Turn the ribs over carefully.
- Bake for an additional 30 minutes.
- Turn off the oven and leave the ribs in the hot oven for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven, cut the ribs apart and enjoy!
Do you love a good baked potato as much as I do?
I noticed that I rarely make them at home these days. Ordering them in a restaurant is out of the question: they always show up soggy and over cooked. But, they are quite easy to make and reheating them is a snap as well.
A good baked potato can really start your day out well. During High School my Dad (Joe, remember him?) used to give me a baked potato for breakfast on occasion. It was a great, warm breakfast with plenty of butter and I recall it keeping me good and full for the morning.
There were some very nice small russet potatoes available at the market this past weekend. I bought a bunch and cooked them up and cooked them in the evening.
The next morning, I reheated them for a few seconds in the microwave and we enjoyed a lovely breakfast. For myself, I put anchovy butter (recipe here) on one and onion and shallot marmalade (recipe here) on the other. For Ms. Iz (my daughter) I just put plain old butter on the baked potato.
The best breakfast ever! Just as I recalled, it lasted all day and I was happy to pass along a nice breakfast memory from my childhood to my daughter.
- 1 Russet Potato per person
- Toppings of your choice:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Scrub potatoes under cool water.
- Cut an X into each potato, not all the way through, to allow the steam to escape as the potatoes cook.
- Place the potatoes in the hot oven.
- Cook for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are soft enough to give a little when pressed with your thumb.
- Remove from the oven, pop one open, top with your topping of choice and enjoy!