Chicken Teriyaki

Years and years ago a friend gave us a bottle of Sake.  I’m not a huge fan, and husband doesn’t really drink.  So it traveled with us from CA to TN, and sat atop the fridge waiting till I figured out what to do with it.

Nigella to the rescue, with her Chicken Teriyaki recipe.

This recipe is from Nigella Kitchen.

Substitution made, noted below.

chicken teriyaki 1

Chicken Teriyaki

2 tblsp sake
1/4c mirin – I used white cooking wine with 1/4 tsp sugar added
1/4 c soy sauce
2 tblsp light brown sugar
2 tblsp grated fresh ginger
splash of sesame oil
1 3/4 lb chicken thighs, cut or scissored into bite sized pieces
1 tsp peanut oil

Mix the sake, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and sesame oil in a dish that you can steep the chicken in.  I use an 8-inch square Pyrex, but anything similar would do.  Add the prepared chicken pieces and leave for 15 minutes.

Heat the peanut oil in a large, shallow frying pan or Dutch oven (that has a lid) and, using a perforated spoon, transfer the chicken pieces from their dark marinating liquid to the pan, and saute until they look cooked on the outside.

Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces in the pan and bring to a bubble, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, put the lid on and cook for about 5 minutes – cut into a piece of chicken to make sure it’s cooked through.

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Remove the cooked pieces with a perforated spoon (you could keep them warm in a bowl covered in aluminum foil) and turn the heat up under the pan to let the liquid boil down to a thick, dark syrup.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan, stir well so that they are all coated in the sticky, savory syrup, then serve with a comforting pile of sushi rice and perhaps some steamed baby bok choy or green veggies of your choice.

cartoon-strawberry-9I served this chicken with chow mein noodles and steamed broccoli, just like the teriyaki place I love in CA does.  This one takes awhile, but it well worth the effort.

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African Drumsticks

One of my favorite things is a dinner that is easy to throw together.  Chicken will always fit that bill for me.

This recipe is from Nigella Kitchen.

Substitution made, noted below.

african drumstics 2

African Drumsticks

1/3 c Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c ketchup
2 tsp English mustard – I used 1 tsp yellow and 1 tsp Dijon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tblsp apricot jam
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
8 chicken drumsticks
1 tblsp garlic flavored oil – I used olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, ground ginger, apricot jam, and chopped onion in a shallow dish.

Dunk the drumsticks in this marinade to coat them all over.  (If it helps, you could at this stage leave them to marinate, covered, in the refrigerator overnight.)  Put the oil inot a smallish roasting pan or ovenproof dish, in which the drumsticks will fit snugly, and tip the pan about so that the oil more or less covers the base.  Arrange the drumsticks in the pan and pour over them any remaining marinade.

Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, basking once or twice; the deeper the dish, the longer the drumsticks will take to color and cook through.

african drumsticks 3

cartoon-strawberry-9After almost an hour in the oven, the meat just about fell off the bone.  The sauce wasn’t quite what I expected.  It needs some heat (cumin?  red pepper?) or a little smokiness (chipotle?).  It’s a good basic sauce, but needs a little OOMPH to push it over the top.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Over and over again, I fall in love with Nigella Lawson.  Who else would use 40 cloves of garlic in anything??

This recipe is from Nigella Kitchen.

Substitution made, noted below.  I made half a recipe for just husband and I.

garlic chicken 1

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

2 tblsp olive oil
8 chicken thighs (with skin on and bone in)
1 bunch or 6 scallions
8 to 10 sprgs fresh thyme
40 cloves of garlic (approx, 3 to 4 heads), unpeeled
2 tblsp dry white vermouth or white wine – I used chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt or 3/4 tsp table salt
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat the oil on the stove top in a wide, shallow ovenproof and flameproof Dutch oven (that will ultimately fit all the chicken in one layer, and that has a lid), and sear the chicken over a high heat, skin-side down.  This may take two batches, so transfer the browned pieces to a bowl as you go.

Once the chicken pieces are seared, transfer them all to the bowl. Finely slice the scallions, put them into the Dutch oven, and quickly stir-fry them with the leaves torn from a few sprigs of thyme.

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Put 20 of the unpeeled cloves or garlic (papery excess removed) into the pan, top with the chicken pieces skin-side up, then cover with the remaining 20 cloves of garlic.

Add the vermouth (or white wine) to any oily, chickeny juices left in the bowl.  Swish it around and pour into the pan too.

Sprinkle with the salt, grind over the pepper, and add a few more sprigs of thyme.  Put on the lid and cook in the over for 1.5 hours.

garlic chicken 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Husband was a bit nervous about so much garlic, so I read him Nigella’s description. “Certainly, if you peeled and chopped – let alone minced – the garlic, it would be inedible, but the garlic cloves cooked encased in their skins grow sweet and caramelly as they cook, like savory bonbons in their sticky wrappers, rather than breathing out acrid heat.”  She was right again, comfort food at its finest.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

I’ve never been a huge fan of bread pudding, but this one looked interesting enough to try.  The chocolate chips didn’t hurt too much either. 🙂

This recipe is from Nigella Kitchen.

Substitutions made, noted below.

choc chip Collage

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

9 oz stale bread, cut into 1′ cubes (approx 5 1/2c of cubes) – I used the 2nd loaf of the Portuguese Sweet Bread
1/2 c bittersweet chocolate chips – I used dark choc chips
3 eggs
3 tblsp light brown sugar
2 tblsp dark rum – I didn’t have any rum, so I used vanilla extract
1/2 c heavy cream
2 c whole milk – I used 2%
4 tsp turbinado sugar
1 ovenproof dish, approx 9′ diameter x 2 1/2′ deep (approx 1 1/2 quart capacity)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a round pie dish lightly with butter.  Tip in the stale bread cubes; if your bread isn’t stale, then leave sliced to dry first, for awhile, on a wire rack before cubing and using.

Toss in the chocolate chips to spread evenly among the bread cubes.

Whisk together the eggs, light brown sugar, rum, heavy cream and milk.  Pour this mixture over the bread and press the cubes down to coat them in the liquid.

Leave all to soak for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with the turbinado sugar and put straight into the oven for 40-50 minutes.  If your oven browns unevenly, turn the dish around halfway through cooking.

Let the dish stand for awhile before serving – if you can.  The smell as it bakes is almost overwhelming, and it can be hard to wait once it is out of the oven.

Make Ahead Note: Assemble bread pudding 1 day ahead, but don’t sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.  Cover and keep in the refrigerator.  Remove from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for 15 minutes, then sprinkle with the turbinado sugar and bake as directed in recipe.

choc chip bread pudding 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Nigella is quickly becoming one of my favorite celebrity chefs.  I’m itching to get my hand on every book she’s written and work my way through each one.  This came out of the oven perfectly crispy and gooey and yummy.  Using the sweet bread, I should have used orange extract instead of the vanilla.  Using a sourdough or french bread, the vanilla or rum would be perfect.

Peanut Butter Hummus

Hummus may be my favorite food ever.  Creamy & Smooth, able to take on a variety of tastes, and needs to be eaten with veggies or pita.

This recipe is from Nigella Kitchen.

No substitutions were made.

peanut butter hummus

Peanut Butter Hummus

2 – 15oz cans chickpeas
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 to 5 tblsp regular olive oil
1/3 c creamy peanut butter
3 tblsp lemon juice (or more as needed)
2 tsp kosher salt or 1 tsp table salt (or to taste)
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 to 1/3 c plain greek yogurt
2 tblsp peanuts, finely chopped, to serve (optional)
1 tsp smoked paprika, to serve (optional)

Drain and rinse the chickpeas.  Put the garlic, chickpeas, 3 tblsp oil, peanut butter, lemon juice, salt and cumin into a food processor and blitz to a knobbly puree.

Add 1/4 c of the yogurt and process again; if the hummus is still very thick, add another 1 to 2 tblsp of yogurt and the same of the oil.  (This will often depend on the chickpeas, as different sorts make the hummus thicker or not.)

Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice and salt if you feel it needs it.

On serving, mix the chopped peanuts with the paprika and sprinkle on top if you wish, and put an array of bits and pieces to eat with or dip in, as you see fit.

cartoon-strawberry-9This is a nice alternative to a tahini based hummus, the peanut butter adds a different depth of flavor.  Mine was a little too thick, I should have added a bit more lemon juice and oil.  But there’s always next time. 🙂

Everyday Brownies

Oh Nigella, can I move in with you and have you cook for me everyday?

This recipe is from Nigella Kitchen.

No substitutions were made.

everyday brownies 1

Everyday Brownies

10 tblsp unsalted butter
1 3/4 c (packed) light brown sugar
3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
approx 6 oz milk chocolate, chopped (or 1 c chips)
confectioner’s sugar, to dust
13×9 baking pan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a medium sized saucepan.

When the butter is melted, add the sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon (still over low heat) to help it blend with the melted butter.

(In a separate bowl.)  Whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and pinch of salt, and then stir into the pan (butter mixture); when mixed (this will be a very dry mixture, and not wholly blended at this stage), remove pan from heat.

everyday brownies 2

In a bowl or pitcher, whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract and then mix into the brownies mixture in the pan.

Stir in the chopped chocolate and quickly pour and scrape into a foil-lined baking pan, spreading the mixture with a spatula and cook in the preheated oven for approx 20-25 minutes.  It will look set, dark and dry on top, but when you feel the surface, you will sense it is still wibbly underneath and a cake tester will come out grungy.  This is desirable.

Transfer the pan to a rack to cool a little before cutting into 16 pieces and dusting with confectioner’s sugar.  I love these gorgeously warm.  But then again, I love them cold too.  Actually, when cold they are properly speaking more brownie-like: gooily tender within and chewy on top.

everyday brownies 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Um, I think these are called ‘Everyday Brownies’ because now I want to eat a whole pan of these everyday.  I halved the recipe and baked them in a 9 inch square pan.  Half a recipe baked in 15 minutes.  Who wouldn’t want to make a recipe that includes the word ‘wibbly’?

Chinatown Chicken Salad

I am a sucker for bargain books.  Send me to Barnes & Noble with a $20 gift card, and it’ll take me a couple hours to decide which new books to claim as my own.  A couple of weeks ago, I picked up Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson for nine bucks!  The next day was a lazy rainy Saturday and I got to spend a few hours reading through all her tips and amazing recipes.  Here’s the first one I tried.

This recipe is from Nigella Kitchen.

A few omissions made, noted below.

chinatown chicken salad 4

Chinatown Chicken Salad

2 oz (about 12) wonton wrappers (or handful of tortilla chips)
vegetable oil (for frying wontons) – I used peanut oil

If you’re using the wonton wrappers, begin by heating about 1/2 in oil in a frying pan.

Once the oil is hot, peel off the papery wrappers from the pack and add them, in batches of 3-4 at a time, to the pan.  Be careful, they need just a few seconds a side to turn golden and will continue to darken as you remove them to a cookie sheet lined with some paper towels.

Continue cooking the wonton wrappers in batches until you have a baking sheet full of crisp golden squares.  Let cool a little, while you get on with the salad they are to adorn.

chinatown chicken salad 2

Salad Dressing
1 red or green chili, seeded and finely chopped – I used a jalapeno
2 tsp fresh gingerroot
4 tsp lime juice or rice vinegar – I used lime juice
3 tblsp soy sauce
splash sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar

Mix the dressing ingredients in a jug or screw top jar, stirring together or shaking, to mix.

chinatown chicken salad 1

Salad
1/2 c salted peanuts (chopped if desired)
1 head iceburg lettuce, shredded
1 1/2 c (6 oz) bean sprouts – the supermarket was out of sprouts 😦
4 scallions, cut into thirds and julienned
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut inot fine strips
4 c shredded chicken
handful fresh chopped cilantro, for serving – I left this out

In a large bowl, toss together the peanuts, lettuce, bean sprouts, scallions, red bell pepper and shredded cold chicken.

Add half the cooled wonton wrappers or tortilla chips (if using), breaking them into pieces into the bowl, then dress the salad, tossing again to mix before adding the other half of the crispy wonton wrappers and the chopped cilantro, sprinkling both on top.  Serve at once.

chinatown chicken salad 3

cartoon-strawberry-9This is a restaurant style salad, so good.  Because it was just the two of us, I dressed the salads as I served them.  In the future, I’d also wait to stir in the peanuts and wonton wrappers so any leftovers wouldn’t get soggy.  And this dressing is good enough to make and just keep on hand all the time.