Tag Archives: potato

BBQ Chicken

Yesterday I had my second round of interviews with the Monterey Peninsula School District. I got home around eleven in the morning and decided to walk to the Safeway on 41st. We live less than a mile from the store, so it was a nice afternoon walk if I limited the amount of groceries I bought. I kept it to two bags and it wasn’t so bad, except for the bunch of middle-aged motorcyclists who decided to stop and check me out. Weirdness.

I was craving BBQ chicken like mad. I couldn’t stop thinking about the sweet, smoky carbonized sticky chicken skin. Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs were the cheapest cuts of chicken available at Safeway, though I tend to enjoy white meat more than dark. Dark meat does tend to stand up better to the high heat of the grill. Andrew got the grilled started up and then I got the chicken on.

To start with, toss the chicken in olive oil, salt and pepper. Do not put the sauce on the chicken yet. Andrew wanted to put the sauce on straight away and this is a mistake. You will end up with a bullet proof carbon shell around your chicken before the inside is even cooked. Once you put the chicken on the grill put the lid on and cook for about fifteen minutes, turning and flipping occasionally.

After about fifteen to twenty minutes, it is time to add the sauce. You can make your own sauce or you can use store bought. I purchased Baby Sugar Ray’s BBQ Sauce for 99 cents. 99 cents for more than a pound of BBQ sauce. Much lighter and cheaper than carrying all the makings for homemade BBQ sauce. Homemade is always appreciated, but so is a light grocery bag and a small bill. Slather the BBQ sauce on with a brush and continue to baste until the chicken is cooked. It took about twenty more minutes for my chicken to cook mostly because I’m terrified of undercooked poultry.

We served this with asparagus and grilled baby new potatoes.

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A Different Take on Kielbasa Stew

I have posted on kielbasa stew/soup before. I have stated before that it is a staple around our house. I have never been able to grasp the delicious richness, the depth of flavor that I achieved the first time I made it. I still did not achieve that today, but I got closer and somewhere different today. Part of that is getting our kielbasa from Shopper’s Corner (http://www.shopperscorner.com/).

The Sausage

I’m not sure what bargain Shopper’s Corner made with the Devil, but they have the most amazing steaks, tri-tips, and sausages. According to their website they are:

Shopper’s is one of the last old-time meat markets around, staffed with highly-skilled and entertaining butchers.

We get fresh local fish 7 days-a-week, sell only ultra-fresh USDA Choice and Prime-grade beef, and boast a large selection of sausages, pre-soaked meats for BBQs, and specialty cuts.

Their kielbasa packs a spiced up, fatty punch very different from the rubbery, Vienna sausage on steroid crap you get from Hillshire Farms or the watered down, mealy kielbasa that Wholefoods shills out. I’m not sure if this is how they make it in Poland, but it is one of my favorite sausages. And just to let you know, Shopper’s Corner is located in Santa Cruz so you can enjoy the redwoods, beaches, and delicious MEAT in one place.

Dice the kielbasa up and put it in the soup as the last ingredient along with the kale.

The Vegetables

This time around I left out the parsnips because they were incredibly water and of terrible quality the last time I made this soup. We picked up some lovely pre-historic looking and appropriately named Dino kale at Shopper’s Corner. If you’re not familiar with kale, it is

Kale or borecole is a form of cabbage (Brassica oleraceaAcephala Group), green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms. The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide array of vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically.

It can be used in soups, salads, or anywhere you have cooked greens. I was surprised that I like it because I usually hate cooked greens. I find them slimy and mushy, but these were tender and decidedly not mucous like.

The kale was joined by chopped baby carrots, baby new potatoes, half a yellow onion, and a head of garlic. Chop the onions and garlic up first and cook in olive oil first. Then chop the baby carrots and potatoes and add to the onion/garlic mixture. After letting these cook for about twenty minutes, add the chopped kale and kielbasa.

The Liquid

I was lacking stock today. I usually have some stock floating around in the back of my pantry, vegetable, chicken, beef, sometimes fish, but today I was out. And it made a difference. There was a lack of depth in the flavor of the soup that I think can only be gained from using stock.

I tried to make up for it by using some Italian imported white wine that we won’t ever drink. Andrew and I don’t drink wine, but my friend Amy gave me some for my birthday: a bottle of white and a bottle of red. When friends Peter and Susannah came over last weekend they went through the bottle of red and three-quarters of the white, which I decided to use for this soup. It added a nice sweetness and acidity to the soup that was very nice.

The Grain

I wasn’t going to add a grain this time around, but Andrew insists on maximum carbohydrates in a soup. Usually I do barley or a mixture of barley and rice, but this time I did just plain white rice, which I have about twenty pounds of in my pantry. Eventually, the rice soaked up the wine, the kielbasa, the vegetables and became creamy as I left the soup onto boil. I love the versatility of grains.

The Result

It is so pretty! Much prettier than the last stew I made. I am very proud of the aesthetics of this dish.

 

I burned something again…

As I walking through the aisles at New Leaf Market on the westside, I got what I thought was an amazing idea for a sandwich: a “chicken” cesar salad sandwich. I know this has probably been done before, but I had in my mind that this would be a delicious sandwich. I had lettuce at home to use and I bought red waxy potatoes at Safeway. I would slice the potatoes and use them as the chicken. Then I would use snap pea crisps to add the cesar flavor and toast bread with rice cheddar cheese. Maybe I would add avocado since avocados were one sale. I even got Kelly’s amazing sourdough loaf. I thought this would be a tasty sandwich.

What it turned into was this:

Now, what is that? That is a salad with green leaf lettuce, blackberries, skillet fried potato, and snap pea crisps with balsamic vinaigrette. That is definitely not what I originally envisioned but it was delicious nonetheless.

Blackberry Potato Salad

  • green leaf lettuce, chopped
  • blackberries
  • one red potato (you can use as many of the slices as you want)
  • snap pea crisps
  • Trader Joe’s balsamic vinaigrette

1. Slice potato into 1/4″ slices lengthwise, not width wise. Spice them however you like, I used salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. In a small cast iron skillet (or any skillet that isn’t non-stick), heat up sunflower oil (or any oil you have on hand).  Add however many potato slices you can without crowding. Cook until browned on one side and then flip over. Cook until browned on that side, then remove and place on a plate with paper towel.

A blurry photo of step 1.

2. Cut green leaf lettuce. Add to bowl with potatoes, blackberries, and snap pea crisps. Add however much salad dressing you want.

So why did I end up with a salad instead of that delicious sandwich creation? Because I didn’t watch my bread and cheese under the broiler and it burnt to a crisp.

Noodle Soup Failure

Yesterday after an exciting trip to 99 Ranch Market, Andrew and I made another version of the spicy noodle soup that I made for him last week. Andrew felt that the soup should be heartier so he suggested we add potatoes. Well, I love potatoes so how could I resist? I forgot that potatoes add a lot of extra starch to broth and can change the entire consistency of a dish.

Everything was  going really well. The carrots and potatoes were looking delicious. I added the vegetable broth and seasonings. The broth tasted amazing. It wasn’t as spicy as last time, but had a certain depth of flavor. While the carrots and potatoes were cooking I chopped the brocolli and the baby bok choy. After about twenty minutes the potatoes and carrots were pretty much done cooking. I can’t believe how the potatoes absorbed the flavor. They tasted so good!

Here is where things went wrong. My soup wasn’t quite simmering when I added the brocolli, baby bok choy, and somen noodles. I increased the heat, but something was still off and the noodles weren’t cooking right. I think in the end, I had not accounted for the fact that the potatoes would absorb a lot of the cooking liquid and my liquid was not simmering hard enough to add the noodles. The noodles turned out gummy and clumped together. They had a raw flour taste that turned my stomach and I think in the end is what caused some serious indigestion for me.

The whole soup was off. Andrew ate it but I could tell he didn’t enjoy it that much and he felt the noodles tasted strange too. The potatoes made the broth thick and starchy. It was lacking the clarity of the broth from the other day.

In the end, I majorly messed up on when I added the noodles. Next time if I want something heartier I will skip the potatoes, add tofu or tempeh instead or maybe some cashews. I added cashews to my soup and they tasted very good with the broth.

Perogies Giganticus

I have been craving perogies for a while. I love the kind with potatoes and cheese inside, but having given up cheese I decided to make my own vegan version. These turned out fairly well. I forgot to add nutritional yeast to the filling and feel that it definitely would have added some extra flavor. I wanted to put my mashed potatoes and carrots through the food processor but got talking to my housemate so I ended up doing it by hand. I think the texture would have been smoother if I had used the food processor. Another thing I would change in the future would be using non-vanilla almond milk. The vanilla taste gets into everything and its kind of weird.

Another thing with this recipe is that my perogies turned out HUGE. The recipe was supposed to make thirty perogies and mine only made FIVE. FIVE. FIVE gigantic perogies. I liked the one I made with apple butter much better than the ones I made with potato and carrot.

Vegan Perogies

Dough Ingredients

  • 2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup earth balance
  • 3-6 tbsp. water (I ended up using at least six tbsps.)

Potato Filling Ingredients

  • 2 potatoes sliced, boiled, and mashed
  • 3 tbsp. earth balance
  • 2 cup boiled water
  • 3 tbsp. rice cheese (I used mozzarella)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • three baby carrots peeled, sliced, boiled and mashed
  • almond milk

1. Cut earth balance into sifted flour and salt with two knives or fingers (I used my fingers). Add water and mix well. If more water is needed, add a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball.

2. Next, prepare the filling. In a medium-sized bowl, add mashed potatoes and carrots, rice cheese, salt, pepper, garlic, and almond milk. Add water and whip with a fork until all ingredients are incorporated.

3. Divide dough into five or six balls. Roll dough out and cut into circles using a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass. Put about a walnut sized spoonful of filling onto the circle. Fold one half of the dough over the filling. Press edges down with a fork.

4. Place dumplings into boiling water for about five to ten minutes. From here you can either eat them or fry them up in some oil. I think mine would have tasted better in some oil, but I chose to take the healthier route.

Thrown Together

Sometimes when I get off work I want a burrito or french fries or something else that I can’t make at home,  then I remember that  I have to eat what I have in the cupboard because it’s already paid for. It was freezing today so I wanted to make something warm and with substance. I threw together a tasty, simple stew of carbohydrates, veggies, and protein.

Ingredients

  • one russet potato, washed and cubed
  • one can of green peas (no salt added)
  • one can of chickpeas
  • one tablespoon of garlic
  • two baby carrots, washed and diced
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • sprinkling of nutritional
  • salt and pepper
  • water

1. Boil water on high. Add nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, garlic, potato, carrot, and brown rice. Reduce heat to medium and put a lid on it.

2. After about twenty minutes add the canned goods. Ladle into a serving bowl and add mustard.

The mustard really made it for me. Otherwise it was kind of a bland dish. You could always make this into a curry or serve it with bread. I just didn’t have either of those.

Pan Fried Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas and Potato

I have a little over an hour break between when I get home from my first job and have to leave for my second job. Usually I just throw together a bowl of cereal, ramen, or a quesadilla, but today I was incredibly hungry and made a full lunch for myself. This morning I remembered to defrost the rest of my boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders. I whisked together one egg and some non-fat milk. I dipped the chicken in the milk/egg mixture and then into a generic breadcrumb mixture (the packaged kind). I pan fried them in a non-stick skillet with a little bit of vegetable oil on medium high heat. While these were cooking, I poked a few fork holes in the a russet potato and put it in the microwave for ten minutes. I turned the chicken over until it was golden brown on both sides. After my potato was done I prepared my steam in the bag sugar snap peas according to the microwave directions. I know its cheating, but I prefer frozen vegetables to canned and fresh vegetables can be time consuming to prepare. With the steam in the bag veggies, I can cook the whole bag and then put what I don’t eat in a tupperware container for the next day. These were some of the best sugar snap peas I’ve ever had. I had the potato with some light sour cream and the chicken with bbq sauce. It was a nice meal that definitely filled me up and energized me for my afternoon job.