Friday, October 25, 2013

Skillet Chicken with Artichokes

4 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3/4 teaspoon salt-free herb seasoning
1 jar (6 ounces) marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained and marinade reserved
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup dry white wine or water
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
12 small fresh mushrooms, cut in half
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

  • Sprinkle chicken with herb seasoning. In a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the reserved marinade. Add chicken and brown 3-4 minutes on each side.
  • Drain all but 1 tablespoon of marinade in skillet. Push chicken to one side and stir in flour. 
  • Add the water, wine and bouillon. Stir until mixture boils and sauce is lightly thickened. 
  • Stir in the artichokes and mushrooms. 
  • Cover and simmer on very low heat 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender. 
  • Sprinkle with parsley. 
  • Serve on a bed of rice or noodles. 
  • Yield: 4 servings.
  • Obviously not my picture.  In fact, my chicken was a little on the grey-ish side.  Not my first choice, and I'm not sure if it can be attributed to the cast iron pan or the artichoke marinade.
  • I didn't have dry white wine, but that would be really good.  (And now a decent German white or two is on my Costco list.)
  • I used canned mushrooms and dried parsley.  Fresh mushrooms would be nicer looking, but after cooking 20 minutes I'm sure the texture of canned vs. fresh is identical.  Dried parsley was fine and I would not hesitate to do it that way again.
  • Very good and super easy.  I would definitely make this again.
  • I served it over brown rice.
  • Source

Friday, October 18, 2013

Apple Upside-Down Cake

Possibly better than pineapple.


  • 4 T unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
  • 4 Granny Smith apples or Golden Delicious (about 2 pounds), peeled and cored
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (4 2/3 ounces)
  • 2 tsp juice from 1 lemon


  • 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
  • 1 T cornmeal (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
  • 1/4 c packed light brown sugar (1 3/4 ounces)
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Butter bottom and sides of 9-inch round, 2-inch-deep nonstick cake pan; set aside. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut 2 apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices; set aside. Cut remaining 2 apples into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Heat butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add 1/2-inch-thick apple slices and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times, until apples begin to caramelize, 4 to 6 minutes. (Do not fully cook apples.) Add 1/4-inch-thick apple slices, brown sugar, and lemon juice; continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and apples are coated, about 1 minute longer. Transfer apple mixture to prepared pan and lightly press into even layer. Set aside while preparing cake.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs together in large bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla; whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly over fruit. Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool pan on wire rack 20 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of cake to loosen. Place wire rack over cake pan. Holding rack tightly, invert cake pan and wire rack together; lift off cake pan. Place wire rack over baking sheet or large plate to catch any drips. If any fruit sticks to pan bottom, remove and position it on top of cake. Let cake cool 20 minutes (or longer to cool it completely), then transfer to serving platter, cut into pieces, and serve.

Notes: If you use less-firm apples, you might not get them to caramelize well. I managed to just squeeze this into a 1.5" deep pan. I put a cookie sheet under just in case, but it didn't overflow.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Teriyaki Stir Fry

I'm a little embarrassed to post this right after Holly's pasta masterpiece, but here goes.
Teriyaki stir fry mix from Aldi

  • I bought this product at Aldi and we thought it was pretty good.
  • It required the same basic skill level as boxed macaroni and cheese, but there were lots of actual vegetables involved and the sauce was not over salted or sweet.
  • This version is vegetarian and 37 ounces.  It says 8 servings, but I'd guess closer to 5 or 6.
  • I added shrimp, but it would also be good as is or with leftover pork or chicken.
  • Anyway, not gourmet by any stretch of the imagination, but a perfectly acceptable meal when a quick one is needed.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pasta and Red Pepper Tuna Sauce with Anchovies, Garlic, and Basil

Pasta so good I took a picture!  From Cook's Illustrated Italian Classics.  The sauce comes together very quickly; start the pasta water first.

Serves 4-6.

6 Tbsp olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
2 anchovy fillets, minced (no really - go for it!)
1 cup (about 7 oz.) jarred roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2" pieces (these weren't too expensive at the grocery store, but if you anticipate using a quantity, they were a better price at Costco)
1/2 c dry white wine
2 (6 oz.) cans solid white tuna in water, drained well and chunks broken up with fingers (We prefer tuna in olive oil, so that's what I used - better texture and flavor, IMO)
1 lb. pasta
1 Tbsp lemon juice (I subbed vinegar)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or fresh parsley
Ground black pepper

  1. Bring pasta water to a rolling boil.
  2. Heat 3 Tbsp oil, 1 Tbsp garlic, and the red pepper flakes in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and sizzling but not browned (1-2 minutes).  Add the anchovies and roasted red peppers and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly dry (about 30 seconds).  Add the wine and bring to a simmer; simmer until the aroma bears no trace of alcohol (about 1 minute).  Add the tuna and 2 tsp. of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the tuna is heated through (about 1 minute).
  3. Cook pasta to al dente.  Drain, reserving 1/4 c. cooking water.  Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the tuna mixture, remaining oil and garlic, lemon juice, basil, and reserved pasta water as needed.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.
Also excellent as leftovers.

General Tso's Chicken

This was fantastic!  There are a few specialty ingredients, but they were all pretty cheap (and enough to make many, many batches of this).  I wasn't sure how the cornstarch battering was going to work out, but it was so easy and perfect.  Adapted slightly from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook.

Serves 4.

1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry (I used regular white wine)
2 large egg whites

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 tsp white sesame seeds (optional)

1/4 c chicken stock or water
1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp white rice vinegar (I used regular)
1 tsp hoisin sauce (from the asian aisle)
1 tsp chili sauce (I used sriracha)
1 tsp sesame oil (I used canola)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch

1 1/2 cups cornstarch
salt and pepper
3 cups oil for frying (I doubt I used this much)
8 dried whole red chilies, or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I used the flakes; omit for the spice-sensitive)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Scallions or green onions, for garnish

  1. Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, wine, and egg whites.  Add the chicken and stir gently to coat.  Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. (If using sesame seeds) In a small pan, toast the sesame seeds for about 1 minute, until they become lightly brown and aromatic.  Transfer to a dish and set aside.
  3. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, tomato paste, soy sauce, vinegar, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, oil, sugar, and cornstarch.  Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved.  Set aside.
  4. Toss the 1 1/2 cups cornstarch with salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp each) in a large bowl or deep plate.  Coat the marinated chicken in the cornstarch mixture and shake off any excess before frying (Note: You should have the oil heated before coating the chicken, or the cornstarch coating gets pasty.  I don't know if this affects the finished product, but it doesn't seem ideal).
  5. Heat the frying oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed pot until it registers 350 on an instant-read thermometer.  Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and deep-fry until lightly golden on the outside and cooked through, 3-4 minutes.  Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.  Repeat with the rest of the chicken.  (Optional: To get the chicken extra crispy, allow the chicken to drain and cool for 5 minutes, then put the chicken back in the wok to fry for about another 30 seconds, until golden brown.)
  6. Transfer the oil to a heat-proof container.  Leave a light coating of oil in the pan, and heat over medium-high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact.  Add the chilies and garlic and stir just until fragrant, about 20 seconds.  Pour in the sauce mixture and heat briefly to thicken.
  7. Return the chicken to the wok and stir well to coat with sauce (I didn't think there would be enough sauce, but keep stirring, and it will cover.).  Transfer the chicken to a serving dish.  Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and serve.