Saturday, September 20, 2008

How About Some Chicken?

This evening I felt like cooking something for my boyfriend and me. Yes, it's been awhile since I've actually done any home cooking...seems like we've been doing more takeout than anything else these last few months. Since I had some lovely chicken thighs and legs in the freezer, I opted for this simple yet very tasty dish from Mark Bittman's cookbook, "How To Cook Everything". Keep in mind that your kitchen may get very hot during the cooking process but luckily for us, it was a cool, breezy day here in Southern California, and our smoke detector only went off once. Enjoy!

Roast Chicken Parts With Herbs and Butter

4 tablespoons of butter

1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds), cut up (I used 4 legs, and 4 thighs)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combination of herbs (I used dried herbs--thyme and basil)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. When hot, put 1 tablespoon of butter in a roasting pan and place it in the oven--leave it there until the butter is melted.

2. Add the chicken, skin side up, season with salt and pepper, and return the pan to the oven. Combine the herb and the remaining butter in a bowl and mix until blended.

3. After the chicken has cooked 15 minutes, spread about 1/4 of the herb/butter mixture over it, turn, add another quarter of the mixture and roast another 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over again (now skin side up) and add another quarter of the herb mixture.

4. Cook until the chicken is done (you'll see clear juices if you make a small cut in the meat near the bone), a total of 30-40 minutes (mine took about 25 minutes to cook).

5. When serving, drizzle the melted butter/herb sauce over the chicken and serve with Japanese udon noodles also drizzled with the butter. Hope you like!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Something To Brighten Your Day

These days, I cannot pass up any opportunity to make my day a little brighter, a little happier even. So, when my dear friend T from Chicago shared this recipe for Key Lime Pie With Blueberry Compote, found in the Chicago Tribune and fervently (but sweetly) asked me to bake and blog about it, I could not say no.
Life has been a little tough for me lately and baking and cooking have not been on my regular repertoire, but because I knew this would actually be good for me to do and because I love T, I went out today to get all the ingredients and baked the pie today. As I was putting the recipe together, I discovered that I missed baking and being in the kitchen. I missed that sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with throwing eggs and butter and blueberries together and then coming up with something delicious to nourish our bodies and our souls with. This evening I treated myself to two slices of this creamy, tangy, yummy pie and made sure to add extra whipped cream for myself. Yes, this day was a little brighter. Thank-you, T.

Recipe for Key Lime Pie With Blueberry Compote (adapted from Chicago Tribune):
Crust: - You can purchase a graham cracker crust, or make this one:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used cinnamon graham crackers)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (I used bottle Key Lime Juice)
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup blueberries
1 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar – I cut this down to 1/4 cup for less sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl; stir in the melted butter. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch, buttered pie pan, just even with the rim. Bake until crust just begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside to cool, about 5 minutes.
Filling: Combine the condensed milk, lime juice and zest in a large bowl until blended; whisk in the eggs. Pour the filling into the baked crust. Return to oven; bake until set, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on a rack; scatter the 1/4 cup blueberries evenly over top. Cover; refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. (Pie may be refrigerated up to 3 days.)
Compote: Combine the blueberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. (Compote may be refrigerated, covered, up to 3 days.) Cut the pie into wedges; serve with compote and whipped cream
(this post is dedicated to my late father, who would have celebrated his 79th birthday today. Happy birthday, Pop).