One of the first things I learned about Bill was that he loves chicken tikka masala. So of course I had to make it – or at least attempt to make it – at some point.
Since we had a BBQ to get to, I set out to find a way to make it the simplest and fastest way possible. Obvious solution: slow cooker! A few chops, spoonfuls, and pieces of chicken later, and we were cookin’. The spices were just ever-so-slightly off, but nothing a little bit of practice won’t fix. I’d also like to try this with chickpeas in the future as a vegetarian option.
Not a fan of working while eating at the dinner table, but with the amount of work he has, I’ll let it pass.
These delicious treats were only the beginning to a pretty intense cooking week. Even though I came back from Miami (finally got to meet Bill’s family!) with a little sick-bug, I managed to make these peanut butter-pretzel Rice Krispies treats, 2 giant pots of chili, chocolate-mint cupcakes, and chicken tikka masala all in the span of 4 days.
I don’t know exactly was spurred me to cook so much this week, but it probably had something to do with the stark realization that I haven’t done much cooking, photography, or blogging after Bill took the liberty of telling his family about this here blog. If he’s going to go around bragging about it, I should have something to show for it. I decided on this variation of the staple marshmallowy treat since I wanted to send some to his fam-bam and needed something that could be easily shipped across the country.
Anyways, the treats are a good combination of sweet and salt – also the reason why I like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups so much – but I need to figure out how to make the chocolate topping less sweet. I cut it with melted peanut butter chips, but I don’t think it made that big of a difference. Something to contemplate for next time. And believe me, there will be a next time.
Since I’m on Operation Clean Out Fridge, I’ve been trying to use up all the random bits in my refrigerator. Tonight’s side dish? Fried miso eggplant.
I’m a huge eggplant fan and this was the perfect sweet/salty/spicy complement to the leftover karaage from last night. Best of all, it only took 20 minutes to prep and cook.
I spotted an easy recipe for chicken that included tequila – my favorite ingredient – and I just had to try it. I doubled the original recipe since I bought a value-pack for only $4.00, but the glaze was still enough for all the chicken. I love the fact that there’s very little prep work for this. Served with a side of collard greens, it made for a healthy and scrumptious dinner.
- 12 chicken drumsticks
- 1 1/3 cups apricot preserves
- 2-3 tbs crushed chile de arbol
- 1/3 cup tequila (I used Jose Cuervo)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/
- Combine apricot preserves, chile de arbol, and tequila – bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Season drumsticks with salt & pepper and place in glass baking dish.
- Brush drumsticks with apricot-tequila mixture and then pour leftover mixture all over chicken.
- Roast for approx. 60 minutes or until cooked.
- Baste chicken with juices and mixture in baking dish then broil for 5 minutes.
My plan this weekend was to make gnocchi, but I got a little lazy – maybe more than a little lazy. Friday was spent visiting my guy-friends down in Redondo Beach, and they somehow dragged me to the beach in the early hours of the morn’. Saturday, I baked shortbread cookies and played Halo… for __ hours. I don’t even want to divulge how much time was spent on that game – it’s too embarrassing. However, I couldn’t start this next week without cooking something new.
Enter: steak roulade.
I was craving something unprocessed, simple, yet super tasty…and with meat. What did I do, then? Visited the super trusty Tastespotting. I stumbled upon a few recipes for flank roulade and decided to give it a go. I couldn’t find flank at Ralph’s, so I opted for a cut of top sirloin that was relatively thin (maybe 1/4-1/2″?) Surprisingly, it doesn’t take that long to make – 30 minutes tops. I also used my tiny fists of fury as a meat tenderizer/to thin out the steak a little bit. I hope I don’t have bruises in the morning.
- 2 cuts of top sirloin (1/4-1/2″ thick) – use a meat tenderizer (or fists!) to get desired thickness
- 4 big cloves of garlic
- 2-3 cups of spinach
- marinated artichokes – cut into small pieces
- soft goat cheese
- salt & pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
- Tenderize/pound meat to desired thickness. I liked mine at about 1/4″. Let sit out for 15-30 minutes.
- Brown garlic in olive oil. Reserve garlic.
- Toss browned garlic, spinach, and artichokes together.
- Spread goat cheese on entire meat area.
- Season with freshly ground pepper.
- Layer on spinach-artichoke-garlic mixture.
- Roll meat and secure with string or wooden skewers.
- Season with salt & pepper
- Sear meat on med-high heat to form a crust.
- Bake for approx. 15-20 minutes.
- Once done, dome with foil and let sit for approx. 10 minutes (ensures juiciness!)
- Slice into pinwheels and enjoy!
Today/last night, I finally decided to make pulled pork. Wow, it was amazing. I always imagined that home-made BBQ would be difficult to make, especially something like pulled pork, which can come out dried out an flat. Not this recipe – no-sir-ee. It was pull-apart tender and juicy, and the sauce (Carolina-style) pulled everything together. The actual process was simple – I just need to plan out making this. I used 5 lbs of meat (bone-in), and that fed 8 people (tri-tip and other fixins were available). I can’t wait to make this again.
6-8 lbs Boston butt/pork shoulder
3/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup salt
2 quarts bottled water
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp ground pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar
- Combine all ingredient for brine in large container. Set meat in brine, fat-side faced downwards. Leave in brine for 8-12 hours.
- Pat pork shoulder dry. Sprinkle dry rub all over meat and massage onto all areas. (It helps to wear latex gloves.)
- Cook on low for 10 hours.
- Let rest for 1 hour, then shred with forks.
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
3 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp salt
Cayenne pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and whisk well to dissolve sugar.