Monthly Archives: March 2009

Chicken in Milk

When I saw the post and the rave ecstatic review of this recipe on The Kitchn on Friday, I knew what I was making this weekend. The flavors sounded intriguing and the recipe was simple, no prepping the bird with Kosher Salt in advance. After picking up a nice 3.5lb bird at Whole Foods on Saturday, I knew what I was making for Sunday Dinner.

After rinsing and throughly drying the chicken, you liberally season it with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Then melt a stick (can’t go wrong with a recipe that starts with a stick of butter) with a little olive oil in a dutch oven. After the butter is melted oven medium heat, place the chicken in and let it sizzle until it is browned. Repeat on the other side. This took me maybe 10 mins, flipping the bird a few times. Meanwhile, zest 2 lemons and pull the leaves off a handful of sage.

After the bird is browned on both sides, remove the bird to a plate and drain the leftover butter, but save the lovely fond that has developed. Pour the pint of milk into the dutch over, mixing with the lemon zest, sage, cinnamon stick and the un-peeled cloves from a head of garlic (recipe only called for 10, but this really was my favorite part, so go crazy if you like garlic). Roast the bird in a covered dutch oven for an hour at 375, basting with the milk “when you remember”, then for another 30 mins with the lid off.

Let me just say that this was phenomenal. The meat just melted off of the bones. The leftover juice, while a little funky looking, was incredibly flavorful. The best part though was taking the cloves of garlic, completely infused with all the flavors and spreading it out on a hunk of bread, dipping into in the juices and topping it with a piece of chicken. Heaven.

Try this recipe with a nice bird. You will be glad that you did. I can’t wait to have the leftovers tonight.

Recipe from Jamie Oliver via The Kitchn

Chicken in Milk with Lemon, Cinnamon, Garlic, Sage

• 1 – 3½lb organic chicken
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 stick of butter
• olive oil
• 1/2 cinnamon stick (I used a full smallish one)
• 1 good handful of fresh sage, leaves picked
• zest of 2 lemons
• 10 cloves of garlic, skin left on (or go crazy and use a whole head)
• 1 pint milk

Preheat the oven to 375°F and find a snug-fitting pot for the chicken. Season it generously all over, and fry it in the butter and a little olive oil, turning the chicken to get an even colour all over, until golden. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and throw away the oil and butter left in the pot. This will leave you with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramelly flavour later on.

Put your chicken back in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Baste with the cooking juice when you remember (isn’t this the greatest instruction ever?) The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce which is absolutely fantastic.

To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it on to your plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Dip your bread in the juice, spread with the garlic.

A Snowy Shuffle

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Well I woke up this morning at 7AM and immediately walked over to the balcony to get a peek outside and it was total white-out. After checking out the radar and seeing that it wasn’t going to let up in the next 3 hours and that the wind was blowing to 30MPH, Brian, Julia and I decided to not run the Shuffle. I will admit that I was rather disappointed. However, I know that it would have been cold, wet, slippery, and miserable and I didn’t want to risk slipping and hurting myself so early into my 10 mile training. Instead I did my required “long run” of 4 miles on the treadmill.

Check out these pics here if you want to see the crazy motivated people that actually made it out to the race.

Update at 5:38PM:  It is now sunny, 40 degrees and the slush has melted.  That is all.

One of those weeks

[Warning: I am doing a little bit of complaining in this post]

Do you have those weeks where you are just apathetic about doing anything?  And when you actually summon the energy deep inside to do something, it doesn’t go as planned?  It has been one of those weeks.  Dave has been in San Fran for work since Wed which has made me not want to cook (cooking for one, is just not as much fun).  No desire to cook, has kept me away from grocery stores.  My past two training runs have been filled with crazy side stickers (felt like my whole  diaphragm was on fire) plus shin pain for the first time ever.  And to top it all off, they are predicting 1-2 inches of snow for the first time in weeks,  for the Shuffle tomorrow morning (and I sorta ran into a pole-like thingie, digging through my goodie bag to pull out a some what disappointing shirt at the Health and Fitness Expo yesterday and now I have a painful bump on my nose). 

It has been on of those weeks.

However……I came home on Thursday to a “See Doorman” sticker on my mailbox and this was waiting for me.

Andrea at Bella Eats asked for my address after I sent her a bag of my granola because she wanted to send me a treat. (I really wasn’t expecting anything out of my granola sharing, I just really loved the way it turned out and love to share with friends-even those that I only know through the internet and really hope that I can meet some day).

Banana Date Bread! Let me just say that this is some of the best banana bread I have ever had. It is incredibly moist and flavorful. I have been slowly enjoying it, trying to not eat it in one sitting so that Dave can have some when he gets back today.

I will be making this again when the banana bread craving strikes. It really is that good. I really is amazing how writing this simple blog has given me the opportunity to meet so many interesting and sweet people. I need to jump in the shower because I am actually meeting two local reader/bloggies at Argo at 1.

Thank you Andrea for being so sweet and really giving me a smile during one of those weeks. :)

PS-I currently have some Rancho Gordo‘s soaking for an appealing recipe that I hope to share tomorrow after the snowy Shuffle.

Kolaches

Within a few days of booking my flight home to TX, my March Gourmet had an article about Central Texas kolaches in Good Living: Road Food. I always knew about The Village Bakery in West, Texas (yes, the town of West not the directional region) because it was on the 1-35 route between Ft. Worth and Waco that I traveled many times sophomore year. But I had forgotten that the Czechs had settled in areas with the Germans in Central Texas, including La Grange where we were staying the night before heading south to Shiner. After mentioning to my friends that I was going to have to try out a bunch of Kolaches, I realized that Kolaches aren’t a commonly known thing in the Northeast (CT, PA) Georgia or Missouri. Who knew?

We first tried out the goods at Weikel’s Store and Bakery on the 71 bypass but we had heard from a local that theses were just not the best in town.

I tried a cheese, poppy-seed and cheery. The dough was just like I remembered a kolache tasting and I did enjoy the cheese. However, the poppy-seed was just a little odd in my opinion.

The next morning, we hit up the “better” bakery on the square surrounding the courthouse. Lukas was the real deal.

We decided to stock up on a bunch of their famous pigs in the blanket, which I currently have in the freezer for a rainy day. We also bought some homemade Krenek’s Bohemian Noodles which I will have to find a worthy soup to toss them in. But of course, we had to try the kolaches.

These were fantastic. They had a greater filling to dough ratio which made for a more satisfying treat. You could also tell that they used real fruit because they weren’t overly sweet and were more complex.

My favorite was the cheese. It was almost a cottage cheese with a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon. Fantastic.

Dear Gourmet, this is where you should go for kolaches in La Grange.


My Mom enjoyed the apricot. If you ever find yourself wanting to spend a day exploring La Grange and the other small towns in central TX, make sure to hit up Lukas Bakery for breakfast. You won’t regret it.

Shiner Brewery

When I was deciding between moving to Chicago to attend Kent and moving back to Houston to go to U of H Law, one item on my “con list” for Chicago was the lack of Shiner in the state of Illinois. Thankfully, during my 1L year this was no longer a problem. I was on the Halsted bus and saw an advertisement on the side of a building that said “Hi Chicago” using the H-I from the Shiner label and I freaked out: Shiner had arrived in Illinois. Needless to say, that it was clear that my move to Chicago was right, because Shiner followed me.

When I decided to take advantage of the cheaper flights and come home to hang out with my mom in TX, we planned to take a day trip (that turned into an over night trip) to Shiner. We ended up spending the night in La Grange, enjoying Kolaches, good BBQ, and painted churches (go to my Flickr page for more pics and I’m sure I will discuss the amazingness that is good Kolaches). But the highlight of the trip was definitely going to the Shiner Brewery. Shiner is celebrating its 100th year, so it really was a perfect time to go.

Shiner, Texas is a small town, just a little south of 1-10 about half way between Houston and San Antonio. This area of TX was settled by German and Czech Immigrants.

The brewery employs 60 people (from 2000 total population) and brews enough beer to reach 41 states (including IL YAY!) and now Mexico. I can’t remember exactly how many (so don’t quote me) but I think they brew 750K bottles EVERY DAY. If you could see how small the brewery seemed, it really is amazing. Since it was Spring Break our tour was on the large size so the tour guide was a bit overwhelmed. The best part of the tour of course was the FREE BEER.

We got to sample the Commemorator Centennial Ale Brew as well as Shiner Blonde and Shiner Hefeweizen.

I really enjoyed the Hefeweizen. After the tour, we listened to our tour guide’s tips and went to their little grocery store so that we could buy a “Family Reunion Pack” so that we could try the Kosmos Reserve.

The Kosmos Reserve is an “aromatic dry hopped lager that is specially brewed to celebrate the man who started it all.” Kosmos Spoetzl was the original brewmaster of Shiner and the Brewery still carries the Spoetzl name.

This beer was very tasty. I wish that I could some how get a bunch back to Chicago, but alas, I will have to settle for enjoying the 4 in the box in The Woodlands. I very much enjoyed our short little road trip to Shiner and I encourage any body to make the drive, and enjoy a day in the little towns near the TX Hill Country.

Prosit!

Texas Bound

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I am packing up for a few days at home in Texas. I am looking forward to warmer weather, Tex-Mex, BBQ, Shiner Bock and exploring some small towns. I am sure I will be posting about my fun through out the week.

Much better than law books…

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Look what came in the mail today.

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Needless to say, I am excited to dive in. Who else out there has enjoyed Molly’s book?

Granola w/ Almonds, Pistachios and Cranberries

After reading a bunch of food policy-esque books lately, I have been reevaluating some of my food purchases and finding simple changes that have infinite benefits.  Simple things like looking at the italian dressing packet that I always used and swapping it for a mix with far fewer (and pronounceable) ingredients from the Spice House. It is satisfying to know that the loaf of bread that just gets pulled out of the oven, only has a handful of ingredients in it. After buying a whole lot of dried milk for my light wheat bread, I was excited to see that another use for all the surplus is granola. This recipe is entirely flexible and the results are wonderful. I have a big gallon sized bag that I am slowly eating down and enjoying it every step of the way.

I decided to use my favorite nuts (almonds and pistachios) and big, plump dried cranberries that I really fell in love with during this past holiday season.

It comes together quite quickly. You put all the dry ingredients (nuts, oats, powdered milk, coconut, salt) in a huge bowl (in my case 2 large bowls) and give them a quick stir. Then you mix together all the wet ingredients (oil, honey, vanilla) in a measuring cup and slowly add the liquid to the dry stirring it all in as you go.

Once everything is mixed, you dump it all out onto a half sheet pan (I did it in two batches) and place it in a preheated 300 degree oven. Take it out every 5-7 mins and stir it around so that it cooks evenly.

The granola is done when the oats start to brown and it feels hot to the touch (took me around 20 mins). It is fanatasic on its own, eaten like cereal with cold milk, or, my personal favorite, mixed with some tangy plain greek yogurt.

I have been giving little baggies full to friends and enjoying it for breakfast all week. I will probably stick some in the freezer to see how it holds up. The recipe makes a TON so it might be smart to half it (or just have lots of ziploc handy.)

Granola
Recipe adapted from Homesick Texan

10 cups rolled oats (this is just your normal Quaker Oatmeal)
1 cup dried milk
4-6 cups nuts (I used 2 cups of pistachios and 2 cups of almonds and I think it is plenty)
5 cups dried, unsweetened coconut flakes (I usually HATE dried coconut, but these flakes are PERFECT in this recipe)
2-3 tsp. salt (I used 3 and it is almost a little salty)
1 to 1.5 cups vegetable oil
1 cup honey
3 tsp. vanilla
2-3 cups dried cranberries (add after baking)
Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a BIG bowl and mix thoroughly. In a large measuring cup, measure the oil and then add the honey and vanilla too it. Mix thoroughly with a whisk.

Put the mixture on a silpat lined (if you have one) pan 1-3 inches thick and bake. Use a spatula to turn it every five minutes or so. It is best to take it out before it seems done. When it feels hot to the touch and is a light golden brown, it’s ready. Mix in the dried cranberries.

Learning to love running

Last year around this time, I was gearing up to run my first race, the Shamrock Shuffle 8K.  I was proud of myself for jumping in and doing something slightly longer than a 5K and training during the winter.  

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Fast forward a year later and I have run three more 5Ks, dealt with plantar fasciitis and bad asthma (but thankfully treated both successfully so far) and I am training again for the Shamrock Shuffle and now the Solider Field 10 Mile!!  I decided to sign up for a training program through Fleet Feet and Chicago Endurance Sports which starts in 2 weeks.  I think it will be good to have some structure and accountability for the training, plus meet some people that I can hopefully continue to be active with throughout the summer.  I have also decided to make this race more than just something for my own personal satisfaction and benefit.  I am running this race as an American Cancer Society charity runner!  In college, I raised money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through my involvement in Up ’til Dawn but I have taken 2 years off actively raising money for charitable purposes.  I know that this economy is making everyone worried about their career (I know I’m terrified about unemployment come Post-Bar July) and their investments, but charities are struggling just as much if not more.  So I hope that all my friends, family and blog readers (who ever you are out there) will go to my website and donate as little or as much as you can.  Even just $1 or $5 or $10 dollars. For those of you who are local, I can promise some form of baked good as my appreciation (and even for those who are non-local for the right donation amount ;-) if you get my drift). Thank you in advance for your support. I am sure that I will be getting your advice and discussing some of my training up and downs in the coming months.

Please go donate here.