Tag Archives: Chicken

164

25 Jan

LEARN TO COOK

So last night I was listening to music (Alabama Shakes), drinking a glass of wine (pinot) and MAKING DINNER all by myself! I had an AH-HA moment and I thought- oh my God you’re making dinner all by yourself and you are actually enjoying yourself! I was moving around the kitchen with ease. I was handling raw chicken like it was no big deal. I was grilling veggies like I had been doing it forever and it made me smile. Such a very teeny tiny step for mankind but such a huge step for me and I felt proud. I saw my progress- I can cook now. I can actually cook now. When Brian walked in the door and saw the scene he smiled and hugged me…I think he’s proud too and probably SO thrilled he doesn’t have to cook all our meals anymore.

By the way, this doesn’t mean I wont continue learning recipes from fellow epicureans  (Keep them coming! Tomorrow’s cooking post with Erin from Well In LA is going to be great!) It just means that I saw a difference in myself and I liked it.

Ok I am off to put the finishing touches on my book proposal and volunteer at PATH- that’s a pretty good Wednesday if you ask me! Below is the song that I was jamming to while cooking last night by the Alabama Shakes. I love them…they are so lively and I love her voice.

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173

16 Jan

LEARN TO COOK

Teacher : My friend Alex

Dish : Moroccan Chicken

Location : Alex’s place

Alex and I used to live together so I know this boy very well and I can safely say that  he is one of the tidiest and nicest humans around. I also think he is funny, brilliant (he built a picnic table from scratch once. It was pretty impressive) and interesting (he  travels the world for work. Cool right?) I am a little jealous of this. Alright a lot jealous. It’s just not fair Universe!! But I’m not here to talk about unfair things. I’m here to talk about Moroccan Chicken.

Alex knows firsthand that I don’t cook…I don’t think he ever saw me use the stove in our place. He on the other hand actually used the stove in our house to cook things. He’s one of those people that likes to cook and takes joy in the process. Thank God one of us did. He made this Moroccan Chicken dish one night for a dinner party at our house and I was in love with it! The flavors and spices are just unreal- anything with cumin and sweet paprika is good in my book.

Going into the evening Alex was aware of my raw chicken issues. He’s been reading about them here. The day before he taunted me with an email that finished with “There will be lots of handling of chicken tomorrow night so get ready”. You know what my new defense is against raw chicken? Wine. Drinking wine while cooking with chicken softens the blow and makes me see the humor in the bird. Tongs also come in handy. I actually made it through our whole cooking session without touching the bird with my hands once. Yay to tongs and wine.

What a cooking marathon- we cooked for 2 hours while the dinner guests trickled in. The group was a good one. All interesting and lively people. The highlight of the night was chatting with his friend Jeff who happens to have written Cooking For Geeks, which I think it such a great idea! It may not have been Jeff’s highlight though…poor man…I grilled him on everything from cooking (he made an awesome pear dessert) to book proposals. He probably wished he wasn’t sitting next to me!!

(Oh and thanks to Bri for being my photographer:)

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INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 teaspoons sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 strips lemon zest (each about 2 inches by 3/4 inch)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice , from 1 to 2 lemons

5 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks; wings

reserved for another use) and trimmed of excess fat

Table salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion , halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 cups)

1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon honey

1 medium carrot , peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick coins, very large pieces cut into half-moons

(about 1 cup)

1 cup dried apricots , halved

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas , drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine spices in small bowl and set aside. Mince 1 strip lemon zest; combine with 1 teaspoon minced garlic and mince together until reduced to fine paste; set aside. 2. Season both sides of chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large heavy–bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Brown chicken pieces skin side down in single layer until deep golden, about 5 Top: White Meat Middle: Carrots Bottom: Dark Meat minutes; using tongs, turn chicken pieces and brown on second side, about 4 minutes more. Transfer chicken to large plate; when cool enough to handle, peel off skin and discard. Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot. 3. Add onion and 2 remaining lemon zest strips to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have browned at edges but still retain shape, 5 to 7 minutes (add 1 tablespoon water if pan gets too dark). Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly, until darkened and very fragrant, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in broth and honey, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Add thighs and drumsticks, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 5 minutes. 4. Add carrots, apricots, and breast pieces (with any accumulated juices) to pot, arranging breast pieces in single layer on top of carrots. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. 5. Transfer chicken to plate or bowl and tent with foil. Add chickpeas to pot; increase heat to medium-high and simmer until liquid has thickened slightly and carrots are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Return chicken to pot and add garlic-zest

175

14 Jan

TOP 5

Yay for the weekend! Today I will be holing up to work and write. Yay me. But I will be breaking free tonight! We are headed to our friend Alex’s house for a dinner party- a dinner party that I will be helping Alex cook for so I can learn how to make his Moroccan Chicken dish!! I may have actually forced him to have this dinner party so I could learn this dish.Thanks Alex! I have had it before and it is to die for.

Alex sent me an email yesterday that finished with this…

“Lots of handling of chicken tomorrow. Get ready.”

Clearly, he is aware of my chicken phobia.

TOP 5 moments this week…

1. The look on Brian’s face when I told him that my newly rented movie “Thelma & Louise” was road trip research/ inspiration

2. When I told Rachel to watch her step going down the stairs and then fell down them

3. When I said “meditation shitting” instead of “Meditation sitting”

4. My Dad’s email. It really got a laugh out of me.

5. After sitting here for 20 minutes I realized that sadly I don’t have a 5th.

**

183

6 Jan

INSPIRATION, GRATITUDE & SURPRISES

{photo via}

-What inspired me this week?-

My new vision board! I lurve it. Brian’s board is pretty fab too but he wouldn’t let me post pictures of his (understandably so. I think I’m the only asshole that would share their vision board with the world-wide web). Trust me though, his is good. For a guy who isn’t into “new age” stuff, he really grasped the concept.

The word “movement”

My volunteer meeting with PATH (People assisting the homeless). I start working with them next week. I will be volunteering in the job search department, helping write cover letters for the residents!

My friend Jen’s amazing article, “I had this dream I was perfect”…her writing is so honest and fabulous!

Love this article 

-What am I grateful for this week?-

My pops! Happy Birthday Daddy. SO happy you were born

 I have said it before but I am deeply grateful for yoga. It makes me a much more agreeable person to be around! (with less anxiety too. YAY YOGA!)

Manuk for teaching me his Schnitzel 

The LA weather. 85 degrees in January…yes please

365 til 30 has had a really great week! Thanks readers! I am so grateful for you.

-What surprised me this week?-

How much I LOVE this song! I’m surprised because it’s not a song I would normally like but when I heard it on KCRW’s morning becomes eclectic  I fell in love with it. It makes me want to dance! Actually, it did make me dance!

*

“Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle”

unknown

220

30 Nov

CAMPING : RECAP

For those of you who recently joined the 365 til 30 party, camping was the very first goal I crossed off the list. Simply put, it was the easiest to tackle…sleeping in the dirt is surprisingly easy to manifest. To recap…camping and I had a love/hate relationship…there was no middle ground for us. I was either singing its praises or cursing it all. I was like a crazy person. The highlights included “The Tent”“The Chicken” and “The Hike”.

When I got home from camping, I thought to myself – “Well, there is something I will never do again”. Sure it had it’s fun moments (s’mores) but overall I thought it was pretty exhausting.  Here I am though, 4 months later, and surprisingly I am going camping again. In DECEMBER no less and the kicker is…it was my friend Rachel‘s and my idea. When my mother heard the plan she told me she can only assume Rachel and I had been drinking when we came up with the brilliant idea. We weren’t. The story goes like this- we thought it would be fun to go camping together considering that Rachel and her boyfriend PJ love to camp and they have some truly great camping supplies (camping stove, air mattress, camelback campfire dual skewer and a pancake maker), so we looked at our calendars and checked with our guys (and also invited another adventurous couple) and December 16th was the only date that worked for everyone for the next few months.

So, as ridiculous as this may sound…I am going camping in December and I hate the cold. I’m actually under 3 blankets as I write this.

But this time the adventure will include 3 couples, one small chihuahua named Nala and the beach.

242

8 Nov

LEARN TO COOK

Oh look everybody…I handled raw chicken again! As you can see from the pictures above, I have totally moved past my aversion to it.  I look like quite the pro, don’t I?

Welcome to the worst roast chicken meal ever. I would say it was a slight setback in my cooking career but have decided not to get discouraged by one meal. So what that Brian got a bit sick from it…no big deal right?

My friend Rachel and I decided it would be fun to make dinner for our guys last Friday night. The weather in LA has been getting chillier and we thought it would be a cozy way for us all to hang out. When we were brainstorming meal options I came up with the brilliant idea that we should roast a whole chicken. I have never attempted this before but I thought it sounded easy enough and I have always loved the way a whole chicken looked finished on a plate. Obviously the most important part of the meal right? So we googled roast chicken recipes and found one we really liked. Problem was it happened to be called “Engagement Chicken”. Supposedly if you make this chicken for your significant other he will be so impressed by it and you that he will be inspired to propose. So ridiculous, we thought, but we liked the recipe so we decided to keep the name to ourselves and make it anyways. We didn’t want the boys to get the wrong idea about what we had up our sleeves for a simple Friday night dinner!

In my defense, I thought we followed the recipe perfectly. In retrospect maybe we didn’t account for different oven temperatures? Who knows. All I know is that we followed that recipe! I am not lying. It also looked perfectly done (in a candlelit room) when we pulled it out of the oven.

I think we all know where this story goes. It wasn’t good. Actually, it was horrible. I think we may have served slightly undercooked chicken to our loved ones. I guess we could have killed them. We didn’t though! Thank God…because that would have screwed up my vision  for this blog.

I doubt I will be given the opportunity to roast a chicken for guests anytime soon. Oh, and if I was looking for an engagement ring out of this meal I doubt I inspired him to buy me one.

HA

341

1 Aug

COMPLETED CAMPING : PART 4

THE CHICKEN

The Chicken consumed my thoughts prior to the trip. I simply did not trust Brian about the chicken situation. He attempted to assure me that it was ok to travel with raw chicken in an ice cooler and then eat it. Even more disturbing…the plan was to cook the chicken on night two. This seemed wrong to me. Terribly wrong. But, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings considering he had already done so much to make my first camping adventure perfect. So after a few conversations I acted like I let it go. Cut to our drive up the coast when I slipped and asked “Hey Brian, where is the raw chicken in relation to the apples in the cooler?” He looked at me like he was worried about my mental health.

Cut to-night two. The day I made it through an 8 mile hike, over-grown brush, thistle stuck on my ass, poison oak, a supposedly “cute” snake and a bobcat sighting on the trial where I happened to be wearing a backpack filled with cured meats. I was a survivor and I was so exhausted. I would have happily indulged in a hamburger and fries with no shame. But no, I knew what was coming. It was night two and that meant it was chicken night. I look back now and see there was a master plan at work.  He wore me down, to the point I couldn’t say no to eating that chicken. He won. In that moment I HATED camping.

Brian built a fire for our chicken to cook on while I sipped wine. Despite my preoccupation with the situation, I still noticed his incredible fire building skills. That boy could build a fire out of one little stick. Boy scout material for sure. He also takes great pride in the activity, even retrieving his “fire gloves” from the car to perfect the position of the wood. I didn’t show him how impressed I was in the moment though. Finally, after much anticipation it was time to eat. This is hard for me to admit but that was the best damn chicken I have ever eaten and I didn’t die!

After dinner Brian and I sat by the fire, laughing, cuddling, telling stories, making s’mores…just being…with no distractions. In that moment I LOVED camping.

Somewhere deep in my soul I think there may be a camper.

See ya next year tent.

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