Garlic. Garlic everywhere.

I’ve made Bill and Haley’s Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic before when I just wanted to experiment with the idea of using so much garlic to cook a dish. In this case I did it because it’s simple, and all it requires is to baby sit the over (which you can do while doing other things in the kitchen anyways).

Just like the previous time the hardest thing to do is to cut up the chicken. Every time I do it, though, the easier it becomes, and I’ve gone from 30 minutes “I have no Idea what I am doing” to 5 minutes “I’m also chopping some shallot and other stuff at the same time”.

Besides that, everything is even sequential: fry the chicken, fry the garlic, fry the shallot, put everything together and bake for 1.5 hours.

One thing I forgot to buy were the fresh herbs, lemon thyme and rosemary. I will try my hand at herb growing again, but I need to stick it in my calendar that I have to water my herbs. I somehow managed to kill mint, which is basically a weed, so yeah, I suck.

However, a good bunch of dried herbs were a good substitute.


Hm… gravy

The convenience of the crockpot is that as long as you dump stuff on it and take care of it, it will cook it thoroughly without having to pay any attention to it. Bad thing is that if you forget about it, it can get overcooked, so you do have to be at least a bit careful. Otherwise dry chicken can happen.

Michelle from Nom Nom has a recipe for chicken that makes its own gravy. We need to fry some onions and garlic in butter, to let them sweat, and let their flavors come out.

We add tomato paste and we let it cook for a bit. Now, I know we are not supposed to use acidic food in cast iron because of leaching. I decided to take a risk since we had already added a decent amount of butter to the pan when sweating the onions.

In the meantime, we rub the chicken. Michelle uses a prepackaged rub – I decided to use the rub I make when I put my chicken in the oven: mustard, thyme, salt and pepper.

Rub it all over. In and out.

We put the sauce in the bottom of the pan, and the chicken on top of it.

And let it cook for four to six hours. After that we take the chicken out and we blend the sauce into a gravy.

The amount of gravy was so much that I will use it with other chicken.

How to tell if a pepper is gonna kill your taste buds

A lot of people hate to devein and deseed peppers. And it’s understandable, because it burns. As a matter of fact, a good way to know if your dish is gonna end up spicy is how much does the spice bother you when dealing with it. If it’s a little bit, your dish will be spicy but manageable. If it’s a bit more, well, it’ll be more spicy. In my case? I was bloody sneezing everywhere!

Just like yesterday, a whole chicken, cut up. But this time, with salt and pepper.

Fried, in batches.

And now we fry the dried chiles. In this case I used Mirasol, because it was what I had in hand, but the recipe from my grandma’s cookbook called for Chipotle. Since I interchange those two whenever I’m making enchiladas, I said whatever.
However, cleaning up those suckers had me crying and sneezing and swear I almost bled out of my nose. I’m joking, I’m joking!

Something that you have to be really careful about is frying the chiles: since they are dry, they will more easily burn up. Just like it happened to me. After frying the chiles you return the fried chicken to the pot, add chicken stock, salt, pepper and epazote (if available, you can find it at Whole Foods or at any Mexican grocer) and let it stew until tender.

Mine was spicy as hell.

More salads in more jars

So I am forgetful. Really. A lot. That’s why I keep looking into stuff like Getting Things Done and the Secret Weapon Evernote integration in order to keep my life in check. As soon as I know I have to do something, I write it there and then periodically check it out so I know what I am supposed to do next. Except when I forget jotting the tasks down. Like taking the chicken out of the marinade.

This satay had one of the most simple, if not packed marinades I’ve seen: ginger, paprika, cayenne, fish sauce, salt, pepper, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cloves, allspice, mustard, coconut aminos, lime juice… It was a lot! but so good! Well, I may have overstepped on the turmeric… and while the recipe didn’t call for it, since it was a decent marinade I decided to let the diced chicken soak for eight hours.
Except I forgot. I took it out 30 hours later.

Since I panicked, I decided to fry the chicken in coconut and serve it over a salad consisting of kale and spinach bathed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Turned out pretty good! So much I had it for breakfast, lunch (in the jar) and dinner! Well, I also ate a can of tuna when dinner, since apparently 2 lbs of chicken ain’t that much for this kid.
Recipe from My Paleo Life

Rediez, que esto no es paella!

So this weekend I spent it in an amazing Yoga workshop with yes+ Boulder (Hi everyone!) but that cut my time short and I didn’t do my usual sunday cook-it-all day. Heck, I didn’t even had time to go grocery shopping – or planning the meals of the week! So what I did was as soon as I was done I took the bus and went to Whole Foods, while frantically looking at my RSS feed and grabbing the first meal I saw.

And that’s why I love my cellphone. Long hail Google and the Nexus phones!
Now, even though it looks like it, this is not paella. Paella has LOTS AND LOTS of ingredients, particularly LOTS AND LOTS of seafood, but Brent and Heather’s version is a magnificent simil. And while I think this is a good base to add more seafood ingredients, such as lobster, crabs and mussels, I ain’t from the East Coast (not even a beach) so I won’t do it.
First thing I did was to cut up the chicken in pieces, and sprinkle it with oregano, paprika and turmeric. Since it was pretty late when I started doing it I decided to let it sit overnight instead of just thirty minutes and waited until the following morning for it to be cooked.

Before I took it out, I riced some cauliflower, chopped some onions, peeled some garlic, thawed a bag of shrimp and opened a can of tomatoes.

And sliced some chorizo. Which I fried first in coconut oil, and then removed it. Then I fried the chicken in the oil in order to sear the meat and removed it again. My chicken still gets stuck to the pan whenever I try to do it, but I finally saw that it is because my stove is not perfectly horizontal, and makes the liquids (and in this case, oil) get stuck in one side of the pan, rendering the other side a perfect site for stuck meat.

After searing the meat, I fried the onions until translucent, moment in which I added the garlic and the tomatoes. I want to point out that the original pictures had the oil looking transparent while mine had taken a lovely red color, that infused in the onions. Different chorizo, maybe? I got mine from Whole Foods!

When boiling, I added the rice and the shrimp, and let it simmer for a bit. Then I returned the chorizo and the chicken, and stuck it in the oven at 350F.

Twelve minutes later, my oven-proof meat thermometer said that it was around 160F, so I took it out and let it sit for another ten minutes, so it would finish cooking itself outside the oven.

This thing is probably going to feed me for a week or something, it’s huge!

Michael Ruhlman’s Six – What came first?

No, I haven’t forgotten rules four (onions) and five (acid). It’s just that my logistics (fine, my lack of organization) dictated that I worked with eggs first.
Eggs are the swiss blade of cooking. They can be a foundation (cakes, custards), a compliment (sauces, mayonnaise), a work of art (souffle) or a complete meal in themselves. So it is understandable that Ruhlman dedicated a whole chapter to them. He spends a lot of time talking about the multiple uses of eggs -particularly for custards.
Scrambled eggs are NOT my specialty. That would be the frittatta, since all I need for that is a broiler, a cast iron pan and whatever I find in my kitchen. Scrambled eggs, on the other hand, are a subject of eternal debate between my american friends and I, since I prefer to scramble them in the pan, while they prefer to scramble them in a bowl and then curd them in the pan. Being an american, Ruhlman follows the latter and I decided to follow the recipe.

Eggs in a double boiler is probably one of the things I would have NEVER thought to do. So I sliced some chives, opened the goat cheese, beat the eggs until uniform and waited for the water to boil.

First some butter, then the eggs, then… wait? Even though the water was boiling and the inside pan was hot the eggs took a LONG time to cook. Really long time. At some point I gave up, moved it to the stove, added the goat cheese immediately and prayed to God it would work. It did, but of course some of it stuck to the pan.

Chives and more goat cheese for garnish. They tasted like heaven, or what heaven would taste like were it made of eggs and goat cheese.

Memories of butter

When I was a wee toddler, my mother left me at daycare every morning. I don’t blame her, she had to work to get the chow for our household of two, and it was obvious she needed help. This daycare cared a lot for what happened at the households of the children they accepted, and as part of their programs they gave out cookbooks. Mind you, little things made in typewriters and stitched together, but valuable resources of economical food.

In this case, a blend of tomato, onion and garlic (with my handheld blender -no need of the ninja for this) made a base sauce into which I incorpored a couple helpings of my almond butter.

When fully incorporated, I added the chicken, and let it poach in the sauce. When fully cooked, I garnished with cilantro.

The original recipe called for peanut butter, but honestly, the substitution was a perfect match, and this reminded me of the times when my mom would cook it for me. Good times.