Sunday, July 26, 2009

Veggie & Cheese Bagel Sandwich

I was browsing through Pioneer Woman's Favorites and something about this sandwich looked so tasty! Bagel? Check. Veggies? Check. 3 different types of cheese? CHECK. It's also been very hot here lately, and this seemed like the perfect summer sandwich!

This was sooooooo good! The best thing I've had in ages. In fact, as soon as I started eating it, I regretting putting everything away. I was ready for another! It's a little tough to eat, if you toast the bagel it can be stiff compared to sandwich filling, but I personally think the crunch of the bagel adds a lot to the taste.

Mix it up with whatever veggies you prefer. I left off the avocado, red onion, and alfalfa sprouts for my personal taste. And my husband and I split this - one sandwich half is plenty!

Veggie & Cream Cheese Bagel Sandwich

Bagel of your choice, toasted and set aside to cool
1/2 block cream cheese
2-3 green onions
Red Onion
Alfalfa Sprouts
Muenster Cheese
Cheddar Cheese

1. Place 1/2 block of cream cheese on a plate and mash it with a fork. Chop up 2-3 green onions finely and mix with the cream cheese until throughly combined.

2. Slice all veggies thinly.

3. Spread cream cheese generously on both bagel halves. Layer the vegetables. Layer the avocado slices right on the cream cheese, followed by the alfalfa sprouts and one slice of each kind of cheese.

4. On the other bagel, add the cucumber slices on the cream cheese. Sprinkle with salt if desired. Lay the onion slices on top, then the tomotoes followed by lettuce.

5. Put the whole thing together and enjoy!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chicken Provencal

Source: Cook's Illustrated

I saw the video for making this recipe, and have wanted to make it ever since. 1. Anything with chicken thighs is amazing; and 2. I love Cook's Illustrated. Truly, it never fails.

That said, I felt the dish lacked a LITTLE sweetness. However, I did not have real zest or nicose olives. I'm sure those made all the difference!

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), trimmed of excess skin and fat
table salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion , chopped fine (about 2/3 cup)
6 medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 anchovy fillet , minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces), drained
2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaf
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup ni├žoise olives , pitted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add 4 chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook without moving them until skin is crisp and well browned, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken pieces and brown on second side, about 5 minutes longer; transfer to large plate. Add remaining 4 chicken thighs to pot and repeat, then transfer to plate and set aside. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot.

2. Add onion to fat in Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, anchovy, and cayenne; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and scrape up browned bits from pan bottom with wooden spoon. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, oregano, bay, and herbes de Provence (if using). Remove and discard skin from chicken thighs, then submerge chicken in liquid and add accumulated chicken juices to pot. Increase heat to high, bring to simmer, cover, then set pot in oven; cook until chicken offers no resistance when poked with tip of paring knife but still clings to bones, about 1 1/4 hours.

3. Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken to serving platter and tent with foil. Discard bay leaf. Set Dutch oven over high heat, stir in 1 teaspoon lemon zest, bring to boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Stir in olives and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Meanwhile, mix remaining 1/2 teaspoon zest with parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken, drizzle chicken with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, sprinkle with parsley mixture, and serve.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Chicken Tikki Masala

Source: Cook's Illustrated

Having lived in the midwest the vast majority of my life, and growing up on standard American fare, I have to admit I really don't have an adventurous palate. Since moving out west, that's changed! I now love sushi, and have tried Thai as well. I've never felt a desire to try Indian food, but I was flipping through my ever-consistent New Best Recipe and thought, "Why not?" This wasn't any more difficult than any other dish I've made. I had to pick up garam masala and a few other spices, but it was overall really easy.

Did I LOVE it? I liked it, A LOT, but a little quirk to my taste buds is I don't like sweet meat dishes. I rarely like barbeque sauce. Suffice to say, the resulting chicken had a slightly sweet flavor, but I overall really enjoyed the different flavors. I'd like to try this again because sometimes it takes new tastes awhile to grow on me. For instance, the first time I had sushi, I was like, "Okay, but probably not again." Ha ha! Now you can't keep me away from a crunchy roll!

I also like the "technique" of cooking the chicken under the broiler. It's like a grill without the mess! I may start using that particular method again in other recipes.

I made this with basmati rice - check the label carefully. I didn't read it quite thoroughly enough, and my package instructions had me soaking the rice for 15 minutes, then boiling down for another 35 minutes, which is longer than the recipe takes to make. I also added 1 tablespoon of tumeric for a little more flavor and color! I do so love the colors of this dish :)

Chicken Tikka

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (if you like more heat, keep in some of the ribs)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.