Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken
Roasted Chicken

Nothing says Sunday like a roast chicken. This recipe is so easy it is a dream and everyone, including picky toddlers will gobble it up. I fix this chicken every couple weeks. Sometimes I stuff the cavity with lemon halves, fresh thyme and rosemary, but nothing beats just salt and pepper. Sure there are other recipes, but when it comes to roasted chicken I rarely stray.

10 inch oven proof skillet
Kitchen string

1 3 – 5 lb chicken
Course salt
Dried thyme

Preheat oven to 450.

Dry the chicken really well with paper towels. Salt the cavity very heavily, about 2 TBSP. Then truss the chicken ( there are a ton of videos on the internet if you need help). Salt the chicken all over, use a lot of salt 2 TBSP or so. Then sprinkle with pepper and thyme.

Make sure chicken is up to room temp, then pop into the oven. Roast for 1 hour then start checking the temp. When it reaches 155 and juices run clear. You want to be sure to go into meat and avoid the bones when checking the temp. Remove from oven and tent for about 15 min. Carve and serve.

Serves 4 – 6.

Carrot Muffins

Dino Carrot Muffins

You can bring food to a toddler, but can you get him to eat? In my case, the answer is usually no, especially if it is veggies. I have taken to hiding veggies, but somehow he manages to eat around them. The only success I have had is to take those veggies, shred them beyond recognition and put said veg into a baked good.

Last week some random catalog had dinosaur chocolate molds, so I knew there had to be something  that I could bake muffins in. Thanks to Amazon and those geniuses at Nordicware, I am the proud owner of a dinosaur muffin pan and hopefully will successfully get those veggies into my toddler.

These muffins are super healthy – I swapped 2 cups of flour for a combo of oat bran, flax meal, and whole wheat flour. I cut the sugar down by over 1/2 and subbed out 1/2 the oil for apple sauce. They are tasty, and most important they have a serving of veg in them. Best of all – this recipe is super quick.

1/2 c oat bran
1/2 c ground flax
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
2 c shredded carrots (I do it pretty fine to disguise the veg)
1/2 c chopped nuts
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c shredded coconut
3 eggs
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c apple sauce
1 shredded apple (or 1/2 c more applesauce)

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients with a whisk. Add carrots, nuts, raisins and coconut to flour and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs, then beat in sugar, oil, vanilla, apple sauce and apple.

Line or spray your muffin tins.

Mix wet with dry ingredients. Scoop into prepared muffin tins or pan, an ice cream scoop works great.

Bake for 20 min. Muffins are done when toothpick comes out clean or a cake tester (oxo makes a great one).

Cool in pan for 5 min then move muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

These freeze beautiful and produce about 24 muffins. Best of all my toddler loves them!

Dinosaur Muffin Pan

Apple Rum Cake

Apple Rum Cake

My husband loves apple pie, but pie always seems like so much work, and frankly this cook loves cake. This cake is a good middle ground for both cake and pie lovers. I use as many different varieties of apple as I can, but if you only have one that is fine. This is adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

Special Equipment:
8 inch spring-form pan

Nice to Have Equipment:
Apple corer
Apple peeler

1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
3 TBSP rum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 slick butter (8 TBSP), melted

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter the 8 inch spring-form pan.

Combine flours, baking power and salt with a whisk in a medium bowl.

Beat eggs with a whisk in a large bowl. Whisk in sugar, vanilla and rum. Switch to a spatula and mix in 1/2 flour and 1/2 of the butter until well combined, then stir in remaining flour and butter.

Core and peel apples. Slice to about 1/2 inch thick, then cutu rounds into quarters. A mandoline makes quick work of the slicing.

Add the apples to cake batter and stir well. Pour into the prepared spring-form pan. Cook in oven for 45 – 60 min until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 10 min, then use an offset spatula or knife to run along the edge of the pan to loosen, carefully remove the spring-form and cool completely.

This cake serves 8 – 12.

4 WW PP (12 servings)

Rabbit Confit

When I was about 5 years old my Dad raised rabbits, we were allowed to play with the babies but not name them since they would soon be dinner. When it came time to butcher the bunnies, I would sing about how cute the bunnies were and how delicious they would be for dinner.

I love that we learned where our food actually came from, even though we lived in the suburbs. My Dad planted fruit trees, a garden, raised chickens and bunnies and my mom cooked almost everything from scratch, how many 6 year olds hate McDonald?

I still love rabbit, so when I saw this easy and decadent recipe in La Cucina Italiana I had to make it. I made a few changes – doubling the mashed potatoes and added more veggies.

1 3 lb rabbit cut up
2 lb butter, plus 2 TBSP
2 lb Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 c milk
1/4 c water
4 carrots, thinly sliced
4 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 bunch of green onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 lb asparagus, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 TBSP finely chopped parsley
2 tsp finely chopped thyme
1 tsp marjoram

Here is a great link on how to cut up a rabbit

Salt and pepper the rabbit and place in an oven proof 12 inch stock pot or casserole that has a tight fitting lid. You want the rabbit to fit snugly in the pan and 12 inch bottomed pots seems to work well.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Put the butter in a 3 – 4 quart saucepan over low heat and simmer the butter for about 40 min, scraping off the foam with a slotted spoon every 15 min or so. It is done when it is clear and amber in color. Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve over the rabbit in the large pot. Cut a parchment lid, place it on top of rabbit/butter, and put on the pots lid, slide into oven and braise for 3 hours until the rabbit is very tender.

Bunny in a butter hot tub
Bunny in a butter hot tub

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch cubes, toss in a 4 quart pot, pour water to cover plus 2 inches.

30 min before the rabbit is ready, put the pot with the potatoes on the stove over medium high heat and cook until tender, about 20 min. Drain and return to pan, add milk and mash until sooth.

Right after you pull the rabbit out of the oven start the veggies. Make sure you have everything cut and ready to go for the veggie step.

In a 12 inch skillet, melt butter over medium high heat, add water, onions, zuks and carrots, cook 2 min. Add asparagus and cook for 2 min longer. Remove from heat and stir in herbs

To plate, layer potatoes on the bottom of the plate or serving platter then spoon the rabbit over the potatoes and drizzle with the butter the rabbit was cooked in, and finish with veggies and another drizzle of the clarified butter.

Servers 4 – 6.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? Especially when you add oatmeal and nuts! This recipe is adapted from chewy, gooey, crispy, crunchy by Alice Merdrich. The original recipe had raisins instead of chocolate chips, if chocolates not your thing, I guess they would be ok, but I prefer chocolate chips and lots of nuts. These are especially good with coconut too, just swap out half the nuts for coconut.

2 c rolled oats
1/4 c water
2 sticks of butter, melted
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chocolate chips

In a small bowl, combine oats and water.

In a medium bowl combine flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a whisk.

Melt butter, I do it in the micro at 50% power in 30 second intervals.

Add sugars, vanilla and soda to melted butter stir to combine. Add egg and stir briskly.

Combine flour and egg mixture. Stir in oatmeal, chips and nuts.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350

Scoop 1 – 2 TBSP of dough onto cookie sheet, I line mine with silicon mats, about 3 inches apart.

Bake 5 min and switch trays – from bottom to top rack and turning them front to back. Bake another 5 min, from here check in 2 min intervals, you want the cookies to be golden brown on top.

If using silicon mats cook cookies on mats, if not transfer to cooling racks. Cool completely and transfer to an airtight container.

Bakes 40 – 60 cookies

Roasted Tomatoes

There is one farmer at the Hayward Farmers Market who always has tomatoes. These mid-winter, green house tomatoes don’t have a ton of flavor, but it’s been months since I’ve had a great tomato, so these will do.

One way to really concentrate the flavor of tomatoes is to cook them. I love them sliced in half, topped with a little panko and cheese then bake.

These are great with Veal Tri Tip or any streak.

6 – 8 tomatoes, sliced in half
Garlic powder
Panko bread crumbs
Parmesan Cheese
Olive oil spray or olive oil

Preheat oven to 425

Spray baking pan with olive oil spray – or brush with olive oil. Place tomatoes in pan, cut side up, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Then top with bread crumbs and a little Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 – 40 min until tomatoes are soft. Turn on broiler and broil 2 – 3 min to crisp up the cheese.

Drizzle with a little basil oil if you have it.

Serves 2 – 4.

Dutch Baby

Is there anything better than a batter cooked in butter? This breakfast treat is super easy to whip up, Bram even loves it. Today I accidentally left the butter in the oven too long which turned this into a brown butter Dutch baby – yummy whoops!

3 TBSP unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3/4 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c flour
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425

Add butter to a 10 inch oven proof skillet, pop in oven to melt the butter, about 6 min. For brown butter, leave it in for 3 – 5 more min until butter browns.

In a blender, whirl eggs for a minute until light and frothy. Add milk and vanilla, whirl another minute. While the blender is running add the flour, 1/4 c at a time. Add salt and whirl for one minute longer.

Remove butter from the oven, pour mixture into the pan and return to oven. Bake for 20 – 25 min until puffy and brown. Slice into wedges and serve.

Serves 2 – 4.
6 WW PP (4 servings)

Veal Tri Tip

I love shopping for meat at Golden Gate Meat at the Ferry Building! There is something magical about building a relationship with your butcher. On a recent visit to stock up on hormone free, grass fed meaty goodness, my favorite butcher recommend that I try the Veal Tri Tip, and well, if he recommends it, I am all in! Once again he was right – this meat was magical.

For this recipe I kept it simple to really let the meaty goodness take center stage, just salt, pepper and a  little basil oil to provide a little brightness.

1 Veal (or beef) tri tip
1 tsp olive oil
Basil oil (see previous blog for recipe)

Preheat oven to 475

Bring meat to room temperature, I take mine out about an hour in advance. Generously salt and pepper the meat.

Heat an oven proof skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the meat and brown on both sides.

Once browned, put meat in oven and roast until a meat thermometer registers 110, start checking after 15 min.

Remove from oven, place on a cutting board, salt and pepper the meat again, and cover with foil letting rest for 15 min.

Slice and drizzle with basil oil.

Serves 4 – 6 depending on the size of the tri tip.

Basil Oil

This flavorful oil is wonderful on steak, eggs, in soup and on salads. When I whip up a batch I use it on everything!

2 cups basil leaves
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt

Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl, a combo of ice and water.

When water comes to a boil, add basil leaves and blanch for 15 seconds. Remove from water and add to ice bath. Ring out all the water and place in a blender. Add salt and olive oil, blend on high until basil is finely minced and incorporated into the oil. And immersion blender also works great for making basil oil.

Pour into a bottle and drizzle away! I keeps for about a week. Keep in fridge and bring to room temp before using.

Shrimp and Bok Choy

I can’t seem to get enough Bok Choy lately. Maybe it is mid winter and I am growing tired of the usual winter veggies, maybe it is the fact that it is so simple to make, whatever the reason I am loving it!

1 lb shrimp, uncooked, peeled & deveined
4 – 6 bunches of bok choy
12 oz sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh Ginger
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 c chicken stock
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese chili garlic sauce
Peanut oil

In a large non stick skillet, heat 1 tsp peanut oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until golden, if the pan gets dry add a little chicken stock. Remove mushrooms from pan, wipe out pan with a paper towel.

In a bowl, combine 1/2 chicken stock, soy sauce and garlic sauce, set aside.

Add 1 tsp peanut oil to pan over medium high heat, once shimmery, add ginger and garlic, cook for 1 min. Add green onions, shrimp, bok choy, mushrooms, and sauce cook until shrimp are pink, stir frequently.

Serves 2 – 4.