Chicken Tikka Masala.

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.

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Snap. Crackle. Pop.

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.

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Ooh, Tequila.

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.

 

Ingredients:

  • 12 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 1/3 cups apricot preserves
  • 2-3 tbs crushed chile de arbol
  • 1/3 cup tequila (I used Jose Cuervo)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  • 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.

 

 

 

Roll With Me

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  • 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!

BBQ

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.

Pulled Pork

Ingredients

6-8 lbs Boston butt/pork shoulder

Brine:
3/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup salt
2 quarts bottled water
Dry Rub:
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

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredient for brine in large container. Set meat in brine, fat-side faced downwards. Leave in brine for 8-12 hours.
  2. Pat pork shoulder dry. Sprinkle dry rub all over meat and massage onto all areas. (It helps to wear latex gloves.)
  3. Cook on low for 10 hours.
  4. Let rest for 1 hour, then shred with forks.

BBQ Sauce


Ingredients

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.