Sunday, January 31, 2010

How to roast a chicken

So this turns out perfect. No seriously EVERY TIME! It's super moist and juicy and looks like it could be on the cover of a magazine! No matter who cooks this it looks stunning and although a bit of work most of it can be (and needs to be) done in advance so you can just pop it in the oven when you get home! You need a bowl or pot that can fit a whole chicken. Try this especially if you can't cook it will impress everyone who eats it!

There are 3 components to this don't be scared! The hardest part of this is boiling water and if you don't have fresh herbs use dried! The water will look like gross tea but it'll be fine trust me! So your 3 components are The Brine, The Chicken and The Gravy this gravy is really, Really easy. So if you got a gal or dude to impress make this for dinner they will think you are a domestic Goddess/God!


The Brine;
You can make this days before or in the morning. If you are making it in the morning just make sure you have ice on hand too cool it down!

4 cups water
1/4 cup sea/kosher salt (I like sel gris because it's very salty. It also has an almost chicken broth flavour when mixed with the other ingredients of the brine)
1 small onion or large shallot
2-3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
handful of parsley
2 smashed cloves garlic
2-3 bay leaves
5-6 peppercorns
2 tbsp sugar
4 cups cold water (or ice)

Now I know that looks like a lot of ingredients but don't be afrais. I often if I don't have fresh herbs use a handful of herb de provence or whatever herbs I have around. As long as they are green you will probably be okay!
(note; as you can see there is no rosemary in here, I don't care I do what I want! :)
So boil all of the above until the salt is dissolved remove from heat add cold water or ice and it's done! Just make sure your water is a little cold when you put in the chicken you don't want salmonella! Ew...
(hello little peppercorn)

Wash your chicken and put it in breast down. make sure it is covered in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Cut up 4 small or 2 large carrots, enough for the chicken to sit on. We are making a tasty roasting rack!
(You can do this ahead of time just store them in water in a sealed container. I also usually use cute smaller carrots and leave the tops on they look prettier but Little Miss Pants ate them all)

Now for the chicken
2 tbsp butter (or margarine)
More thyme (like 2 tbsp roughly chopped)
1 lemon
the goodies from the brine
salt and pepper to taste

Now haul out your chicken and pat it dry. Rub it down with the butter. Sprinkle your thyme and salt and pepper over top.

Fill the cavity with your lemon and all the solid bits of the brine. Then I like to tie it up. I'm kinky like that.

Place it on your roasting pan on top of the carrots. Roast in the oven at 375f for about an hour and a half of until your internal temp reaches 165f.
Yummies. Now you could eat it like this or you could make gravy. I like gravy. Now I don't have any pictures of it. It got eaten but here is what you do, to start you have ready;
3/4 cup of chicken broth
1/4 cup of wine (or more if you are like me and really like wine!
Pan drippings
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp cornstarch

Mix water and cornstarch and set aside.
Deglaze pan with wine. Deglazing is a fancy word for scraping the heck out of a pan with a wooden spoon assisted by hot liquid to get all the yummy bits!
add the deglazed yumminess to the chicken stock in a small pot. you will see fat float to the top skim off as much as you can with a spoon.
let that reduce down to aout a 1/2 or 1/3 if you are like me and use too much wine!
whisk in your cornstarch miture and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
if you are really fancy you can strain the gravy into a gravy boat.
Now carve and serve!!
I like it with garlic mashed potatoes for some ultimate comfort food awesomeness!!!!

(also save the carcass and put it in the freezer for chicken stock!!!!)

Now feel the homey yummy warmth!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

KeyLime Pie!

Come here my friends, I would like to introduce you to someone. She is small and a little bitter. If treated the well however, with love care and a little time she is magic! My friends I would like you to meet Little Miss KeyLime!

My Granny loves Keylime pie. When you look at the ingredients you will see why! It is all that is great about old fasioned cooking! My Granny you see is Southern. So see if you can figure out why this pie is so close to her heart!

Now these are the ingredients for one pie. I made two. One of them for my dear little Granny. I tell you this because the photos show me making filling for two pies so you don't freak out when you have less in your bowl than I do. Or you could just make two like I did, and give it to a very special friend, or eat it before everyone gets home and watch them marvel at your willpower to refuse dessert!

The Ingredients;

The Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or about 15 graham crackers pulsed in a food processor)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup butter (mmmmm butter)

The Filling:
12 key limes, juice and zest
1 14 oz can sweetened condenced milk (I used Eagle Brand as that is what my Grannys recipe said!)
1 cup whipping cream
4 egg yolks

Now for the crust mix all three ingredients together. Press into a 9 inch pie dish and bake at 350f for about 12 minutes.

For the filling, whip egg youlk in your handy dandy mixer until light and fluffy. They should look like this!

While that is happening zest and juice all the keylimes. This will take a while and you might get a hand cramp if your juicer is too big for them!

once your eggs are happy and fluffy add your whipping cream, condenced milk and half of your keylime juice mix until it`s nice and thick. Then add the remaining jucie and zest.

Pour into preparedd pie crust and bake for another 12 minutes or until just set in the centre (it should still be a little wiggly! Watch it dance and smile.)

Let it cool at room temperature and decprate with whipping cream. Or just slather it on all ``rustic`` like. However you want to do it!

Oh yeah my Little Miss Pants tried sweetened condensed milk for the first time....... I think it was a hit!

Monday, January 18, 2010

A night of random fridge god gifts!

So a few days ago I opened the fridge and was assaulted with leftovers. You know all those odds and ends from entertaining and the little extras of family night dinners? Well my B.D. hates leftovers. You cannot understand how much he hates them. So I must disguise them into something new, or else he discover me and rain down his sarcastic wrath! (He's a total sweetie just a little grumpy sometimes!)

So the other night I opened the fridge door and was assaulted by some oddities. The night before was taco night so I had cheese and many other prepped items. I also had one of my favorite people over for dinner. The only issue is she is a vegetarian. (I love her anyway but it can be hard.) So with my hatred of fake food I wandered over through the interwebs to the lovely Jaqueline over at the Sweet Beet And Green Bean. I love her recipes! Vegan deliciousness, normally I find veggan food dull but she is wicked! Anyways I made these. They were fantastic even my B.D. liked it! Jaqueline has inspired me to do at least one veggie/vegan night a week.

So anyway for dinner I made a Basil and Rosemary Chicken Breast with Cherry Tomatoes (a little to wrinkly for salad) and Capers with Red Wine (it was open.) I would have preffered white but I was out. I also made stuffed biscuits with potato, thyme, cheddar, and the eggplant carnitas from above. They turned out pretty tasty. Here are the recipes!

Chicken with Basil, Rosemary, Tomatoes and Capers
5 Chicken Breasts
1 pint Cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup capers
1 sprig fresh rosemary(roughly chopped)
1/2 bunch fresh basil (torn)
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken broth or Veg broth, whatever you have lying around
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop Cherry tomatoes in half and toss in a skillet at med high heat with just enough olive oil to coat the pan. Add in capers and toss until tomatoes get a little wrinkly. Season to taste and set aside.

Turn heat up to high. Season chicken breasts to taste. Add Veg oil to pan. (Or canola or even pam. Anything with a high smoke point! Sprinkle herbs onto pan and lay chicken breasts on top.

Sear until lovely brown and the herbs are stuck to the chicken, about 4 minutes. Sear other side until it's as pretty as the first side. add you liquid turn to med low and cover. Let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the juices run clear.

Place chicken on a plate or butcher block, I love my butcher block. It makes me happy. to rest while you finish the sauce. Turn pan back up to high and reduce liquid down by 1/2 to 1/3 of the liquid remains. Toss Tomato and caper mixture in with the sauce and pour on top of the chicken breasts serve family style with Mixed greens and....

Stuffed Biscuits, Done however you want!

3 medium-small potatoes (or 2 large, 5 baby ect. ect.)
1 small onion (finely diced)
1 sprig thyme (roughly chopped)
1/3 eggplant carnita mix
1/3 shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter
salt to taste

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
half a cup of water (room temp, this also may fluctuate)

preheat oven to 375F
Boil potatoes until very tender. I like cutting them up into itty bitty cubes. They cook faster and make me happy!You like my paper towel back drop?

Sift dry ingredients together and create a well. add your eggs into well.

stir until it comes together if too dry slowly add water. You need a very stiff dough so be careful!

knead about 8-10 times cover and let rest for 20 minutes

Your potatoes should be done now so it's time to mix it up! Add butter and thyme and mash together. Then mix in other ingredients
Tee hee. Cubes.

roll into a cylinder and slice in 3/4 inch slices. You should end up with about 16 slices

flatten the slices and add about a tablespoon of the mixture to a slice and fold it up!

place on baking sheet 1 1/2 -2 inches apart
bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown

Now eat your little heart out! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Frustration and Frosting

This is harder than I thought. I am trying to do so many things. I wanted this to be an outlet. A way for me to vent my feelings and creativity out into the tubes that is the interwebs. I have been cooking everyday, cooking for a five and a half person household and yet I cannot get this blog done! It makes no sense. I have to try harde remember to take pictures, but where the heck doid my camera go? Man do I hate b*tching but Argh. Babykins is teething. Maybe once the buisness plan is done and the baby is done teething I will have a few minutes. I WILL do a recipe tomorrow, maybe even tonight. Iam reminded of a small steam engine. Whatever, Not like anyone is reading this yet anyway. Until next time here are some pictures of cupcakes. And yes I made said cupcake. They are choclolate salted caramel, (some with ganache icing others with vanilla buttercream) and lemon cupcakes filled with lemon curd with vanilla buttercream.

Ah.... now I feel better. If there is anyone reading this and you would like the recipes for these and maybe decorating tips let me know. I would love an excuse to make these again they were very yummy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Baby Daddy Breakfast part deaux

Make sure you have read Baby Daddy Breakfast.
So As I said mix vanilla and milk.

You are then going to alternate mixing in dry and wet. Try to end in dry if you can. If not then meh.

Then you will end up with this!

Put this loveliness into my secret greased pan recipe. Want it? I dunno..... Oh okay. Butter your tins then in a seperate bowl mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Use this to dust the tins over your butter. If your tins are cleaned properly this will have you perfect linerless muffins everytime!

Into the 350F oven they go for 20-25 minutes! I have these tins I LOVE but are a weird size. If you have the same problem always fill your muffin tins from the centre out and making sure you are as even ad balanced as possible. I always think of it as carrying a tray of glasses you want similar weight distribution!

Then dip in the melted butter and mix your cinnamon sugar together and there you are!

Now the Baked eggs;
your ingredients are really whatever you want. I used;
Red Onion
1 egg (per cup)
sprinkle of Gruyere
Salt & Pepper

Layer them into greased Ramikins in that order. Throw into the oven with the muffins for about 10-15 minutes or until egg has set to desired consistancy!

Enjoy your Breakfast. I find this one best served casually in bed!

Thanks for being so patient with me. The first blog is always weird. Especially when you have a little persons naps to work with!

I hope you love these as much as I do!

Baby Daddy Breakfast.

So my BD (Baby Daddy) is also a cook. He works in a prominent hotel here in Toronto. This hotel has room service. 24 hour room service. So every once in a while he has to work overnight. One of those nights happened this week. So my BD got home and fell asleep as me and the baby were getting up. Molly pants went for her nap and I decided to make my Boy some breakfast for when he would wake up in the early afternoon.

I decided to make some favorite comfort foods that are really simple but usually impress. My Butter Cinnamon French Muffins and Leftover Baked Eggs. What makes the Muffins French? They are almost entirely fat. Not just butter either but that lovely fat that is finally okay to say again..... Lard. I love lard it makes baked goods so flaky and the taste is unbelievable. If you have dietary issues (or like me occasionally bake things for sale) you can use shortening. I always use lard at home though. Except when this one vegetarian I do not hate comes over. Then I use shortening, I usually b*tch the whole time though about it though. My Leftover Baked Eggs are just that. Whatever you have in the fridge will work. I likeusually a vegetable for every meat or cheese though. That way I can trick myself into thinking I am healthy.

Without further ado, The recipes!
Butter Cinnamon French Muffins;

6 Tablespoons Butter
6 Tablespoons Lard
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
3 Cups flour
4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
Half a Teaspoon of nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup milk
Half a Teaspoon Vanilla

1 cup butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Cream Lard, butter and sugar together.

Scrape down the sides when it's all nice and smooth. Add your eggs one at a time making sure they are all nicely mixed, and scrapping! I'm a big advocator of the spatula! Scraping for all!!!!

Mix together your dry ingredients. That would be the flour, salt nutmeg and baking powder.

Then mix your Vanilla and milk.

I seem to have run out of room for pictures. I'm sorry it'll prolly take me a little while to get a handle on this. I'm going to finish this in a part two beccause I'm getting a little angry. I'll get better I promise!

Click here for part two!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

If you are like me...

So, If you are like me you are starting to miss December. Not the stress of the holidays but the pure joy of being able to eat whatever you want! I love the sweet nothings melting on my tongue. The chocolate and cookies and frosting! Oh My! The savory buttery goodness of puff pastry and dare I say my love's name? Cheese! I love cheese! All of it, any of it, all the time!

My name is Lexi and if you haven't guessed yet I love food. All food. Except fake food. (you know the fake meats and vegan cheese. If you find any of these that are remotely palatable let me know. I doubt I'd spend money on it but you never know.) I love how the internet has expanded our ability to try so many new things and I would like to add my two cents.

A little bit about me, I'm a new mom who used to be in the food industry. My jobs before being a mom were, drumroll please......... Baker, Pastry Chef, Catering Chef. Most of what I will post will be deserts (most likely) but if it starts getting too desert heavy let me know! It's late right now but hopefully I will be putting up a recipe in the next few days!