Creamy Spicy Chicken

Say whaaat? Rosie’s cooking meat? The Chiberia weather must be getting to her.

I’ve decided to expand my horizons and cook a chicken main dish because I’ve heard a couple times from my more adult co-workers, “What should I cook tonight for my kids?”

Nobody wants to slave hours over a stove after slaving away for eight hours at work.

Nobody wants to eat cereal for dinner every night. Just kidding. I would eat milky milky coco puffs every night.

Here I present to you an easy chicken dish you can throw together in about half an hour using everyday ingredients like butter and onions. No white truffle oil sniffed out by Wilbur and found on the hills that are alive.

Creamy Tasty Chicken
Serves 2

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Ingredients:
2 medium Chicken Breasts, defrosted
1/2 cup Heavy cream
1/4 cup Milk
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoon Butter
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil

Instructions:
1.) Combine the chili powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt in a bowl.

Spicy

Mhmm, flavor

2.) Dredge the chicken breasts in the spices to coat all over.

Bawwwk, it's spicy in here.

Bawwwk, it’s spicy in here.

3.) Melt 1/2 tablespoon and butter and 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat.

I buy my olive oil from Costco. It's delicious and a steal for $12 or so.

I buy my olive oil from Costco. It’s delicious and a steal for $12 or so.

4.) Place the chicken breasts in the heated pan, and cook for 5 minutes or so on each side.

Cookin'

Cookin’

5.) Remove the chicken from the pan, keep the pan juices and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan.
6.) Add the chopped onion to the melted butter and cook until brown. While the onions are cooking, slice the cooked chicken breasts into medallions.

Be ready for the wonderful onion smell to permeate your kitchen.

Be ready for the wonderful onion smell to permeate your kitchen.

7.) When the onions are brown, add the chopped chicken, heavy cream, and milk. Bring to a simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes or so.

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8.) Serve over pasta or whatever you prefer.
9.) Devour on the couch and watch “My 600lb Life” on TLC.

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Snow snow go away

This year is the first year that I’ve been in the city and we’ve had major snow.

It’s the worst. When I leave for work at 6am before everything is shoveled, I feel like I’m wading through cold wet sludge.

This is what I have to look forward to in the mornings.

This is what I have to look forward to in the mornings.

To combat the cold, I have three levels of winter wear and winter footwear. I feel like I’ve been living in my level 3 winter coat since November, covered from head to shin with stuffed feathers.

Brr

Brr

I remember my first snow day in second grade. I got to stay home from school AND play, score! I made tunnels in the snow, built forts, and tried to roll snowballs for snowmen. Somehow as I get older and crankier, I hate snow more and more. It’s cold, wet, dirty, and makes my toes sting when I finally reach a warm area.

Trying to get into the snowy mood, I made some candycane saltine toffee. My co-worker also likes candycane so I knew I would have some help eating it ūüôā

This recipe is great for something different to add to a cookie platter. It’s also easy to make and pretty quick to throw together, no funky ingredients or equipment!

Candycane Saltine Toffee Bark

Chomp chomp chomp

Chomp chomp chomp

Ingredients:

40 Saltines
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup crushed candy canes

Instructions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2.) Line a cookie sheet with foil
3.) Arrange the saltines in a single layer with no overlap. I broke some saltines in half to fit the pan

Apologies for any OCD readers.

Apologies for any OCD readers.

4.) In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then add the sugar. Stir for 3-4 minutes, until bubbly and slightly thickened.
5.)Pour the butter and sugar evenly over the saltines
6.)Bake for 5-6 minutes, until golden brown.

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7.) Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips. When the chips eventually melt, use a spatula and smooth the chocolate chips over the saltines.
8.) Sprinkle crushed candycanes all over. Cool completely and enjoy!

Ta-da

Ta-da

Vegan Adventures and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last weekend, I braved the chilly Saturday morning and attended a cooking demo at Native Foods¬†Cafe. Native Foods Cafe is a vegan chain restaurant with locations in Chicago, Colorado, and California. You know it must be good when the restaurant is a chain with locations in multiple states! No limpy lettuce without dressing here-they have enticing menu items like “Super Italian Meatball Sub” and “Caribbean Jerk Chicken Salad.” My favorite is their “Rockin Moroccan Bowl” with their vegan chicken replacement because it’s hearty, flavorful, and I love sweet potatoes.

My first Rockin’ Moroccan bowl with tofu. I went back for bowl two with the fake chicken and devoured it before snapping a pic.

 

Native Foods Café is one of my favorite places to eat in the city because:

1.)

I think meat tastes funny. I’m convinced my mother’s traditional Chinese cooking method of including skin, bones, fat, gristle, etc caused my aversion to meat at an early age and I never grew out of it. I can’t eat meat when it actually looks like the animal.

2.) ¬†I hate waiting for food. I’m here because I’m hungry and I want to eat¬†now,¬†thank you. No waiters or fancy prep at Native Foods¬†and¬†they make all their own tempeh, seitan, etc.¬†

The turnout at the demo was more than I expected. I had imagined a more intimate setting where we would actually participate in making the food. Instead, it was more like a presentation with samples, but hey, the samples were good and knocked my socks off!

Of the four samples, my favorite was the vegan spin on dirt-in-a-cup.

Vegan dirt in a cup, complete with grass and worms.

Vegan dirt in a cup, complete with grass and worms.

Mhmmm…and it reminded me of another reason of why I love Native Foods Cafe so much.

3.) I can stuff my face and feel good about it. A diet devoid of animal products does not have to be bland and unfulfilling. Native Foods is incredibly creative in their approach at replicating and veganizing non-vegan foods. They even make their own vegan cheese! For those who are interested, you can find out more at http://www.nativefoods.com/

Feeling inspired from this demo, I am going to challenge myself and go vegan for a week along with my partner in crime. No dairy will be tough, but I am looking forward to getting creative with my meals and try out new and unconventional food combinations. I think breakfast will be tough because I love my yogurt and eggs. We shall see!

Before a week of adventurous eating, I decided to make something traditional from Baking Illustrated. I dare you to think of a more quintessential dessert/comfort food than chocolate chip cookies.

Please dunk me in milk.

Please dunk me in milk.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from Baking Illustrated.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2) ounces granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate (I went with 1 1/2 cups)

1.) Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl, set aside.

2.) Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

3.) Roll a scant 1/4 cup of dough into a ball, hold the dough ball with fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with the jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball. Place the formed dough ball on the prepared baking sheet, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

4.) In a preheated oven (325 degrees F), bake the cookies until light golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheet, and then eat!

The extra yolk adds more fat without adding greasiness, keeping the cookies tender after cooling.
The extra yolk adds more fat without adding greasiness, keeping the cookies tender after cooling.
My breakfast.

My breakfast.

Verdict:

Baking Illustrated, you’ve done well!

True to their name, these cookies were thick and chewy. Perhaps I overbaked them a bit (I’m still getting used to my new oven), but I felt like they could have been softer/chewier after cooling. The flavor was wonderful and vanilla melded well with the faint melted butter taste. Overall, this is a great basic chocolate chip recipe. This recipe will be my go-to chocolate recipe and I can’t wait to experiment with browned butter and different mix-ins.

Stayed tuned next week for updates on my vegan challenge!

Nature’s First Green is Gold

Dear friends, I have no forsaken my vows to this blog. I’m back after vacationing in Peru where I hiked around, saw ancient ruins, and ate a lot of seafood, quinoa, and potatoes. Mhmm. My favorite part was camping in the mountains and falling asleep to the sound of running water and waking up to roosters. It’s refreshing to be so far removed from the city and a break in the every day routine.

Baby Alpaca!

Baby Alpaca!

So punny.

So punny.

Lunch companions

Lunch companions

Macchu Pichu reminds me of human’s amazing potential. The ruins are an amazing feat of engineering and human labor. Our tour guide gave us a sensationalized version of the history behind Macchu Pichu. We were told that one rock was supposed to represent a guinea pig, but we overheard another tour guide saying the rock was meant to represent the mountains behind it. Meanwhile, we saw a tour group bending over, touching the rock, and looking at the ground. I can only imagine they’re stretching their sore hamstrings or looking to derive magical power from the rock. All in all, it was a fantastic trip and highly recommended!

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Seeing the trees starting to change color was a surprising welcome back to Chicago. I had lost track of time in Peru and didn’t realize the seasons would be changing when I got back. To me, fall is the season of apples and pumpkins. What better way to celebrate than make something with apples?

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Flaky Apple Turnovers and Quick Pastry Dough, adapted from Baker’s Illustrated

Makes 12
 

Quick Pastry Dough
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1.5 tablespoons sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 cups cold unsalted butter, grated
9 tablespoons ice water
2 teaspoons lemon juice

1.)Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the grated butter and mix until the butter and flour come together into a coarse cornmeal consistency.
2.) Combine the ice water and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add half the liquid to the flour and butter, toss to combine. Keep adding liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough will clump together in your hand. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Lightly knead the dough with the heel of your hand until it comes together into a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.

Apple filling:
4 large Granny Smith apples
1.5 cups sugar
3 teaspoons lemon juice
.5 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon Sugar
.5 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1.) Roll dough into a 20×15 inch rectangle, about 1/8th inch thick. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, trim and cut the dough into twelve 5-inch squares, and place 5 on each sheet. Refrigerate the dough squares while making the filling.

2.)Peel the apples and grate them on the large holes of a box grater. Combine the grated apples, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a medium bowl. Remove one sheet of dough squares from the refrigerator. Working with one square at a time, place a dough square on a work surface. Place 2 tablespoons of the grated apple filling (squeezed of excess fluid) in the center of the dough. Moisten two adjoining edges of the dough square with a finger dipped in the apple liquid, then fold the top portion of dough over the bottom, making sure to overlap the bottoms portion by 1/8 inch. Crimp the edges of the turnover with a fork. Repeat with remaining dough squares. Refrigerate the filled turnovers for at least 30 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

3.) While the turnovers are chilling, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl.

4.) Brush or mist the turnovers lightly with water and sprinkle them evenly with the cinnamon sugar. Bake until golden brown, 30-35 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the turnovers to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Buttercurls

Finished pastry dough

Apple filling

Apple filling

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Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Verdict:

Jaclyn Spitz: Deeee-licious.

I personally was not a fan of the grated apple texture. Perhaps it could grow on me, but I think I will keep looking for a different apple turnover recipe. Next time, Baker’s Illustrated!

A new new beginning

Hello, my name is Rosie and I have a commitment problem to this blog. After much reflection and procrastination, I’m renewing my vows to this blog. I promise to update it weeklyish with recipes from “Baking Illustrated,” in sickness and in health, until figurative death do us apart.

Really, I need something more productive to do when I come home after work than lay on the futon and watch “Catfish” reruns. I also want to teach myself baking skills so one day I can quit my day job and just bake for fun and get paid somehow. One can dream, right?

To celebrate, I decided to make a peach crisp from “Baking Illustrated.” For Alton Brown fans, “Baking Illustrated” is a necessity for your cookbook collection. The cookbook is published by “America’s Test Kitchen,” which is a TV show that tests and troubleshoots recipes to perfection. This cookbook includes tutorials too, along with tips and tricks to make the perfect lattice crust, a crispy and chewy baguette, how to fold calzones, etc etc. Perfect for self-teaching.

I chose the peach crisp recipe because it reminds me of peach cobbler, which reminds me of two important things:

1.) Peach cobbler from the dorms at U of I.

Hands down, peach cobbler with vanilla soft serve was the best thing that ever came out of the U of I dorms. It’s been four years since dorm living and I still wax nostalgic about our family dorm dinners.¬†After working out together and showering (separately), our group of friends would all sit down together to eat and gossip. Alas, it’s fall again and I have to remind myself that I am not going back to school.

2.) Justin Timberlake.

Random fact: His favorite food is his grandma’s peach cobbler. Maybe I’ll get him to change his mind?

The making of the recipe:

Ingredients
Flour, brown sugar, chopped almonds, butter, white sugar+spices
The aftermath.

The aftermath.

Mhmm peaches!

Mhmm peaches!

Chopped and tossed with lemon juice

Chopped and tossed with lemon juice

Come together, right now.

Come together, right now.

Everything is better with whipped cream.

Everything is better with whipped cream.

Ingredients:

Topping:
 
6 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
5 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I used walnuts, you can use pecans or walnuts)
 
Filling:
 
6 peaches (about 3 pounds), peeled and sliced into 1/3 inch wedges 
1/2 tsp grated zest and 1.5 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup granulated sugar

 Instructions:

1.) For the topping: Place all the topping ingredients except for the nuts into a food processor, and process briefly to combine. The mixture will resemble coarse cornmeal. Add the nuts and process again until well mixed. It should look like clumpy wet sand. Refrigerate the topping while preparing the fruit, at least 15 minutes. 

2.) Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.

3.) For the filling: Toss the chopped peaches, zest, juice, and sugar in a medium bow. Scrape the fruit mixture with a rubber spatula into an 8 inch square baking pan or 9 inch deep dish pie plate.

4.) To assemble and bake the crisp: Distribute the chilled topping evenly over the fruit. Bake for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue baking until the fruit is bubbling and the topping turns deep golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Serve warm with lots of whipped cream.

Verdict:

Success! I’ve found a new go-to recipe for peach crisp.

I liked that this recipe used more almonds and no oatmeal for the topping. The nuts added a nice crunch that held up after¬†refrigeration and a smoky toasted taste. Unlike some of the other recipes in “Baking Illustrated,” there are no funky ingredients or extra steps. It’s very straightforward. Plus, it’s roommate approved, win!

Moroccan Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Last week, I received a very special and exotic pet in the mail…

With butterscotch and coke flavored droppings

With butterscotch and coke flavored droppings

a poo-lar bear!

L.B, one of the coolest kids I know, gifted this precious poo-lar bear to me. I had the privilege of babysitting her during my four years in college. I remember the first time I met her she was collecting rocks and woodchips to create a self-sufficient community (the rocks were meat and the woodchips were firewood). Did I mention she was only 7 at the time? Yeah, she’s 11 now and rocks a pixie cut like a BAMF.

On occasion, I’d also make dinner for her and we would experiment in her parent’s kitchen. Her mom had a gorgeous spice cabinet full of big jars of paprika, turmeric, vanilla, candied ginger, etc, that were bought in bulk and stored in upcycled glass jars. When I moved into my first apartment my junior year of undergrad, I was a total copycat and started my own upcycled- glass -jar -bulk -spice collection. My collection has survived through one hobo college apartment to another, move back to my parent’s house, and now to my Chicago apartment. ¬†Today, I used it to make Moroccan Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew…mhmmm. This stew is spicy with flavor, not heat, perfect for this crummy wintery weather. It’s got some key superfoods such as spinach and sweet potato for those of you trying to hit your daily healthy food quota.

You’ll need:

Spices

Paprika, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander, ginger (not pictured)

Paprika, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander. Not pictured: cayenne, ground ginger

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Chopped onion, garlic, sweet potato

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I used coconut oil instead of olive oil, just for kicks. I didn’t notice a huge taste difference though. I heated it up over medium heat to get things started.

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Saute the onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent and soft

Oops, a rogue sweet potato

Oops, a rogue sweet potato

Add your spices and stir them around for about a minute

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It smells a lot better than it looks, I swear.

Add the canned tomatoes and then the veggie broth

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Bring to a boil

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The end product is much prettier.

Throw in the chickpeas and sweet potato and let simmer for 25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft.

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Then, add the frozen spinach and let simmer for 2 more minutes before removing from heat and serving.

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Ta-da!

Served with brown rice and greek yogurt.

Served with brown rice and greek yogurt.

Recipe:

Moroccan Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon coconut oil (or whatever oil you have)

1 large onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups vegetable broth

1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 large sweet potatoes, diced (around 1.75 pounds)

1 15 oz chickpeas, drained (1.5 cups cooked)

3 cups frozen spinach

Steps:

1.) Chop up the onion, garlic, and sweet potatoes.

2.) In a large pot or skillet with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

3.) Stir in the spices, saute for about 30 seconds.

4. Add the diced tomatoes and 2 cups broth, bring to a boil.

5.) Add the sweet potatoes and chickpeas. Turn down to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in the spinach in the last two minutes.

6.) Serve over brown rice/quinoa, top with some yogurt, lemon juice, whatever fixin’s that strike your fancy.

7.) Pat yourself on your back for eating your vegetables.