Category Archives: Dinner

rolled thin

Last week when I was having my “totally homemade meal” kick, I also knew that I wanted to make pasta dough and transform it into ravioli.  Homemade pasta is one of those things that is just so remarkably different from its dried counterpart that it should be in a category all on its own.  While I appreciate the ease and simplicity of tossing a bag of penne into a pot of boiling salted water and topping it with a little garlic and olive oil, I also really love the process of mixing some eggs into flour and after some time and some coaxing, eating a plate of homemade pasta. Continue reading

sesame ginger noodles

I headed to Green City yesterday morning, knowing that I wanted to create some sort of stir-fry for my final entry in the Saucy Mama Contest. This contest was fun because I didn’t enter it wanting or expecting to win anything, but rather it gave me a chance to play around in the kitchen. Since starting this blog almost a year ago, I have become way more confident in leaving recipes behind and just working with what I have on hand in the kitchen. I have to say that it is pretty fun. Continue reading

little creativity [and a giveaway!]

Early in the summer, I read on Twitter that this company called Barhyte was sponsoring a contest for bloggers to use their bottle sauces to create recipes and possibly win some prizes.  It sounded like an fun idea that would force me to experiment a little in the kitchen with some flavors that I probably wasn’t used to.  The deal was sealed when I found out that they would send a few extra bottles for me to give away to you! Continue reading

refreshed

Well I am finally back. Both physically and mentally. As you probably know, I took a 10 day (very) much-needed post-Bar trip to Texas. I attended one of my favorite sorority sister’s wedding; drove over 1000 miles between DFW, Austin, Houston and various places in between; ate my body weight in salsa, queso, tortilla chips, tacos, BBQ and Blue Bell Ice Cream; continued the 100 year celebration by trying every imaginable incarnation of Shiner; in sum, I basically decompressed from the Stress of the past 3 years and specifically the past 2 months. It was just what I needed. But even as I was enjoying sleeping in to 8:30 AM [yes, 8:30 is now sleeping in for me; I am officially OLD] I was somewhat anxious to get back home to Chicago. I have missed 10 days of the farmer’s markets and I don’t know which fruit slowly slipped out of season or if Nichol’s has started to fill their yellow tubs which every type of little tomato imaginable. Needless to say, I am ready to get back into my summer routine. Thankfully this half will be without the added bonus of 28 pounds of blue BarBri books but rather a large stack of library books (including New Moon, Garlic and Sapphire, The Girl She Used to Be and much more). Continue reading

Chicken Enchiladas

As you may or may not know, even through I write a blog called “Whitney in Chicago”, I am really a Texan through and through (except for my politics). One of the biggest adjustments to Chicago actually wasn’t the long, harsh winter, but the lack of true “Tex-Mex.” Sure you can get plenty of decent mexican and salsa all across Chicago, but really good Tex-Mex can only be found at the source, Texas. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Anyways, anytime that I do go back to Texas for any length of time, I always pack light so that I can bring back lots of Texas things (if only I could figure out how to get some Blue Bell Homestyle Vanilla back), most importantly…SALSA. Continue reading

Smoky Baked Mac and Cheese

Last weekend I had the craving for something warm and comforting but all of my normal, go-to recipes just seemed uninspiring.  I wanted to try something new.  Whenever I am on the search for a new recipe, I look at my starred posts in my reader and slowly make my way through a stack of magazines and recipe books.  However, it never fails that I end up finding the perfect thing to try over at the Kitchen Sink.   Continue reading

Venetian Bean Soup a la Rancho Gordo

After receiving 3 bags of the famous Rancho Gordo beans from Dave for Valentine’s, I had to search out a recipe that was worthy of one of the bags. Continue reading

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.

Homemade Pasta

Ever since I tried a bag of Pasta Puttana’s fresh pasta this summer, I have wanted to learn how to make it myself. However, I knew that it would take an investment in at least some sort of pasta roller, so it wasn’t until recently that I was able to finally give it a try myself. I treated myself to an attachment set for Ethel (my beautiful KitchenAid) for Christmas when the Amazon price went down to the lowest I had ever seen plus a 25% rebate. And I made a resolution of sorts to try it out in the near future.

Gourmet also has up a very helpful instructional video that takes you through the steps of making the dough, rolling it into sheets, and then cutting into noodles. I also decided to use this recipe with my “perfect pasta” flour blend that I ordered from the King Arthur website. The dough came together surprisingly easily.

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After letting the dough rest for an hour, I tested out the new attachments to create the noodles.

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After cutting the noodles, we hung them on this really cool pasta drying rack that I also bought with the attachments. In just over 2 hours, I had successfully turned eggs and flour into pasta. How sweet is that?

We cut half with the fettuccine cutters and the other half with the spaghetti sized cutters.

We decided to use the spaghetti for dinner (with mushrooms, garlic, parm, and red pepper flakes) and threw the fettuccine into a ziploc and stuck it in the freezer. I will let you know how it tastes after freezing. Let me just say, that the homemade pasta was FANTASTIC. It is not even comparable to store-bought dried. Not that I will stop eating dried pasta for a quick meal, but it really is worth taking the time to make some fresh pasta from scratch. I can’t wait to try this technique in ravioli or lasagna, especially this one.

A Bread Success

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This weekend was wonderful. Even though it was (really) cold, it was bright and sunny, not dreary and gray. School isn’t too busy yet (and probably wont be..3Litis much?) so the weekends are actually something to enjoy. My toe is almost healed so I was able to workout on both Saturday and Sunday (and I went for a run OUTSIDE tonight and FROZE but it felt great). I also cooked and baked up a storm. On Saturday, Julia suggested that we take the boys to a FREE wine tasting and then they came over while I made Mexican Meatball Soup. Wonderful recipe but I didn’t take any pictures (whoops!). I am excited because I have two portions frozen for a quick weeknight dinner, one of which we heated up tonight. YUM! Then I baked up some Snickerdoodles really quick to take to an apartment warming party. I don’t like to show up empty handed 😉 But the real accomplishment this weekend was baking bread. Real sandwich bread.

I can’t believe how easy it was to make a real homemade loaf of sandwich bread and how few ingredients are involved.

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Mix 2/3 bread flour with 1/3 wheat. Don’t you love my flour canisters? I really do. I have 4 of them and kinda wish I had a few more.

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It is true that you can only buy powdered milk in massive quantities (at least this was true at Treasure Island) but I hear there are other good recipes (granola at Homesick Texan to name one) to use some of it up. Anyone in Chicago need some powdered milk? I can hook ya up ;-P

After Ethel (my KitchenAid) did the mixing and kneading, you let it rest for and hour or so until it doubles. Then comes the fun part of stretching it out into a rectangle…

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…then shaping it and rolling it to the proper loaf shape.
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After a 2nd rise and 45 mins in the oven…out came a loaf of bread!
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I was a little concerned because it felt rock hard on the outside, but really the “crust” layer was perfect. It made a wonderful sandwich yesterday and I enjoyed a slice tonight with a little melted sharp cheader to go along with the leftover soup.

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And the best part about it? I know EXACTLY what went into it. No partially hydrogenated this or xanthan gum that. Just flour, yeast, salt, sugar, powdered milk, water and a little time. Amazing.

Give it a try for yourself. It really does give you a feeling of triumph and accomplishment.

The recipe can be found here. Now I have another cook book to add to the endless wish list 🙂