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Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs

Moist, juicy chicken thighs with a crispy skin.

Servings: 2-4

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 1/4 pounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 475°. Pat the thighs dry and rub with the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a 12" cast-iron1 skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Nestle chicken in skillet, skin side down, and cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high; continue cooking skin side down, occasionally rearranging chicken thighs and rotating pan to evenly distribute heat, until fat renders and skin is golden brown, about 12 minutes.2, 3

Transfer skillet to oven and cook 12 more minutes. Flip chicken; continue cooking until skin crisps and meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate; let rest 5 minutes before serving.4

Notes

  1. When I say "cast iron", I mean cast iron. The original suggests a nonstick pan; don't. You risk ruining it. Cast iron is indestructible.
  2. Like all good fried chicken recipes, this will splatter grease all over your stove and oven if you let it. I use a "splatter screen" over the pan on top of the stove and a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the pan in the oven. (This turns out to be surprisingly tricky -- air currents from the oven will pick up the foil and carry it away.)
  3. The temperature of the pan is critical to get the proper skin texture.
  4. This makes an excellent pan gravy.
Original recipe
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The problem with "berry" muffins is that the berries tend to dry out -- their juice cooks out into the main body of the muffin. In these muffins, the juice stays inside the pomegranate "arils" -- the little individual seed packets. When you bite into them, you get a little explosion of juice in your mouth.

Dry:

  • 2 cups (270g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup minced crystallized ginger1
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 ¼ cup pomegranate arils2, 3 (one medium pomegranate)

Wet:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cups honey or ⅔ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup oil

In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in crystallized ginger, lemon peel, and pomegranate arils. Make a well in the center.

In another bowl, blend milk, egg, honey, and oil. Add any juice from extracting the arils. Pour all the liquid into the well. Stir just until the batter is moistened; it will be lumpy. Spoon batter into 12 (2 ½ inch wide) or 24 (1 ¾ inch wide) buttered muffin cups, filling each almost to the rim. Sprinkle each with 1-2 teaspoons sugar.

Bake in a 425°F oven until lightly browned (about 16 minutes for large muffins, 13 minutes for small). Remove the muffins from the pan at once. Serve hot, or set on a rack and serve warm or cool.

Notes:
  1. Crystallized ginger is wonderful stuff, but it tends to be pricey. Trader Joe's has "uncrystallized ginger", which is just as good, for a reasonable price.
  2. "Arils" are the individual pomegranate "seeds" -- the seed itself, the layer of juice, and the membrane that holds the juice in.
  3. Getting the arils out of the fruit can be a bit of a challenge. Try to use brute force and you'll end up looking like an extra in a slasher movie -- the juice stains. There are helpful videos on YouTube, of course. Some of them even work. The way I do it:
    1. Cut around the equator of the fruit, just deeply enough to get through the rind.
    2. Pry the two hemispheres apart
    3. Gently pull the rind apart, loosening the arils
    4. Hold the hemisphere over a bowl, cut side down.
    5. Whack it vigorously with a heavy wooden spoon. Ideally, the arils will just fall out.
    6. Pick out any of the white membrane that finds its way into the bowl.
    7. Repeat with the other hemisphere.
    Here's a YouTube video of the process.

Original recipe

sgsguru: (Default)
 Many years ago, I made a Valentine's Day dinner for the woman who would later become my wife.  It was a disaster, of the sort that, in prior years, would have epic poems written about it.  Dessert was chocolate mousse, Julia Child's recipe, which I had made before with spectacular results.  This time, it didn't work.  Turns out that she can't eat anything with raw eggs in it, and the "foam" part is uncooked egg white.  Additionally, I added some Chambord (expensive raspberry liqueur) and it Just Didn't Work.  The fact that our relationship survived at all is seriously impressive -- that was just one disaster of many that evening.
 
Anyway, I was under orders Not to Cook today, but I made this mousse anyway.  The only ingredients are chocolate and water -- no chance of accidentally poisoning the Love of my Life.  Admittedly, the Food Elves swapped the bittersweet chocolate that I bought with semisweet before I got it home, but it worked anyway.
 
This, I think, is the new Ur-mousse; the mousse against which all others are measured; the mousse that casts its shadow on the wall of Plato's cave.  Is it the best of all possible chocolate mousses?  No; it could be improved -- next time, I'm adding a bit of amaretto and using much higher cacao content chocolate -- but it is the base that everything else must be compared to.
 
sgsguru: (brownie)
OK, I've made some homemade pizza with fairly ordinary (by my standards) tomato sauce, cheese, and green stuff.  Hard part is the dough -- I don't have a Kitchen Aid mixer and Uncle Alton says you have to knead for at least fifteen minutes.  I don't have that kind of endurance any more.

So I bought a bread machine.  Cost me $8 at Value Village.  After making a couple of indifferent loaves of bread, I figured it was time for pizza.

This started out as the NY Times recipe and mutated, due to a couple of problems:  Kit is very sensitive to sodium, so I have to keep the salt to a minimum, and Kit's innards don't like white flour very much, so it's 100% whole wheat.  Makes two large (2 person) or four small (one person) pizzas.  (The small ones are a lot easier to handle):
  • 1.5 C water
  • 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 scant tsp salt
  • 3 C whole wheat  flour
  • Yeast1
  1. Dump everything into the bread machine in the order given2.
  2. Run the bread machine on the "dough" cycle.
  3. Divide the dough into two balls. Oil the outside of the balls, put into 1 quart plastic bags and put into the fridge.
  4. Let it sit for a day or so.3,4
  5. When it's Pizza Time, put your pizza stone5 on the lowest possible rack in the oven.  Preheat the oven to the highest temperature it will go to reliably6,7  It should preheat for 45 minutes to an hour8.
  6. Dampen down a section of countertop, and your hands.  Dump a ball of dough onto the counter.9
  7. One ball of dough will make two little pizzas or one big one.10  If you're making two little ones, divide the dough into two.
  8. Smoosh the dough down into a rough circle.  Shape doesn't really matter, but you'll have to fit it all (or them both) onto the peel.
  9. The more toppings you plan to add, the thicker your crust will need to be.  I usually make it about 0.5 in/1 cm thick in the center.  Leave a little raised area at the rim to keep the sauce under control.
  10. Sprinkle a layer of corn meal onto the peel
  11. Carefully lift the rounds of dough and put them on the peel.
  12. Add toppings 11
  13. If you want a thicker, "breadier" crust, let it sit and rise for up to 0.5 hour.
  14. Gently slide the pizzas from the peel onto the pizza stone.12
  15. Cook for 7-9 minutes until the crust is brown and the cheese is melted
  16. Remove on the peel 13 and let cool for a couple of minutes.
  17. Enjoy!


[1] The bread machine instructions call for 1Tbs of yeast.  That's what I used, and when I cooked the pizza, this gave an effect similar to the "instant pudding" in Woody Allen's Sleeper.  As in 2 inch thick edges.  Next time, I'm using a lot less.
[2]   The instructions say to put the yeast into a little well in the top of the flour to keep it away from the salt; I don't see how that would make any difference here.
[3]  If you seal the bags, be sure to look in on them occasionally to vent the generated CO2.  You don't want to have to scrape pizza dough off the inside of your fridge.
[4] It'll last for a week or so.
[5] Following Alton Brown, I use unglazed quarry tile.  Cheap and nearly indestructible.
[6] Modern ovens have safety interlocks to keep them from getting too hot.  You don't want to trigger this -- it'll turn the oven off.
[7]  You probably shouldn't mess with the "self clean" settings.  Yes, it's hotter ....
[8] The thermostat measures air temperature; you're concerned with the temperature of the stone.
[9] Yes, this really does work to keep the dough from sticking.  It has a lot of oil in it, and you don't need to add any more flour.
[10] Little ones are much easier to handle.  You can also have different toppings on each one.
[11] Uncle Alton wants you to spread some olive oil on the dough before you add other toppings.  This is not necessary with this dough; it's already got a lot of oil in it.
[12] I find a thin metal spatula helps maneuver the raw pizzas
[13] possibly with the help of the spatula.

sgsguru: (Default)
So I got a craving for snickerdoodles (thanks, Ase!) and Kit wanted some cookies.  Not having Ase's recipe handy, I turned to our old friend Google.  Snickerdoodles, as it turns out, are just sugar cookies with a cinnamon- and- sugar coating.  So, after reading a bunch of recipes, I decided to hack on one from Emeril Lagasse and the Food Network.  The result was very good.
  • 185 grams (1 3/8 cup) unbleached white flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter 1
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed 2
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbs white sugar
  • 1 tbs ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth.
  3. Add the egg and continue to whomp.
  4. Sift the flour, salt, and soda together
  5. Add the flour mixture to the dough a little at a time; continue to whomp until smooth.
  6. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes or so.
  7. Mix the white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.3
  8. Form the dough into 1" balls 4
  9. Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture
  10. Put them on a sheet of parchment paper 5 on a cookie sheet.  Squish them down a bit.
  11. Cook for 12-14 minutes, until brown.
  12. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
Makes 20 cookies

Notes:

  1. Most recipes use half butter and half vegetable shortening (Crisco).  I don't use vegetable shortening for anything;  near as I can tell, it's one of the most unhealthy substances in your kitchen.  Lard is actually better for you.
  2. The original uses white sugar here.  Bland!
  3. This gives rather too much cinnamon-and-sugar mixture.  I put it in a shaker bottle and put it on warm buttered bread.
  4. I'm starting to appreciate "dishers"
  5. I'm becoming a big fan of parchment paper.  The bottoms come out nice and evenly brown and using it means you don't have to wash the cookie sheet.
Original from Emeril Lagasse and the Food Network.
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Costco had these dried shiitake mushrooms, reasonably cheap.  The obvious thing to do with them was to put them over some chicken:

  • 1 skinless boneless chicken breast
  • Handful of dried shiitake mushrooms
  • white wine
  • couple of dashes balsamic vinegar[1]
  • Olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed and chopped
  • Couple of pinches of Herbes de Provence
  • Pepper or other seasoning, to taste

Soak the mushrooms in the wine and balsamic vinegar for 10-20 minutes. [2]

Slice the chicken breast in two "the hard way", making two cutlets[3]. Put in a microwave-safe dish with a tight-fitting lid. Thinly coat with olive oil and add garlic & herbs[4]. Add some of the wine/balsamic mixture. Spread the mushrooms evenly over the cutlets.

Put the lid on tightly and microwave for 2.5 minutes, or until the cutlets are done.[5]

Notes

  1. If I were doing it again, I'd leave the balsamic vinegar out of the mushroom marinade and put it directly onto the chicken.  Or, perhaps, I'd substitute juice of half a lime.
  2. They'll hydrate faster if you microwave them for ~20 seconds. Go easy on this; the idea is to get them warm, not to cook them.
  3. This way of slicing chicken breasts is also called "butterflying".  If you want to be fancy, you can cover the breast cutlets with plastic wrap and pound them out to a uniform thickness; I usually don't bother.  I don't have a special chicken-pounding hammer; I use a cast iron skillet.
  4. Go easy on the seasonings.  The lid is on tight to keep flavors from escaping; herbs will be a lot stronger than you expect.
  5. If I wanted to get fancy and take longer, I'd wrap them in foil or parchment paper and cook in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or so instead of microwaving.
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Chocolate cake, for those of us who aren’t into deferred gratification. About ten minutes from urge to plate, counting digging out the ingredients and cleanup afterward (if you don’t count soaking the mug).

From Instructables

Ingredients:
  • microwave
  • straight sided coffee mug
  • 4 tablespoons flour (100 Kcal)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (135 Kcal)*
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg (90 Kcal)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil (360 Kcal)
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (150 Kcal)
  • splash vanilla or other flavoring
Mix dry ingredients in mug. Add egg & whomp. Add milk & oil & whomp. Add chips & vanilla & whomp.

Microwave on “high” for 3 (1000W oven) or 4 (700W oven) minutes.

The cake will rise up out of the mug while it’s cooking, but it will collapse when you’re done. It’ll slide right out of the mug. The mug will be a lot easier to clean if you coat the inside with nonstick cooking spray first.

Makes one me- sized serving. I’d estimate it’s about two normal cupcakes.

This is the first bread/cake/muffin thing I’ve ever cooked in a microwave that has come out edible, let alone tasty. I suspect that the small volume is the key — there’s no way to get the microwaves spread evenly over a large area.

* I actually like a bit less.

(Copied over from my LiveJournal account; they're making noises about cancelling my account for inactivity. Or maybe I just got hit by an exceptionally clever phisher.)

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