Archive for March, 2014

15th March
written by admin

Week 10 – March 5, 2014 – March 11, 2014
Made on March 11, 2014

This week… I decided to make more chicken! I may as well have called this my 52 Week Chicken Challenge. With all the craziness of launching Titanfall this week, I haven’t had a lot of time to make anything or even think about making something. I was looking for something to make that didn’t have a ton of ingredients and didn’t require a lot of prep. I ended up deciding to try this Italian Chicken Bake.

The ingredients were super simple. And it was even better than it only involved chopping for the most part and not mincing or something. There isn’t really a requirement on this recipe to be exact in measurements either. So I just eye’d everything which made this quick and easy to make. Basically, it was mixing a bunch of simple ingredients together, placing in the chicken, and then baking it. I learned that, for chicken breasts, you need to bake them at 350F for 60 minutes. I used my meat thermometer to double check that it was done but that temperature and time was very good to know. Then I just added the cheese, broiled it, and placed some of the basil leaves on top and I was done. I was additionally excited that I got to use the new Italian baker that I had gotten from Sur la Table. :) It reminded me of the dishes they used at some of the restaurants when I was Italy.

I didn’t want the extra carbs, so I just ate the chicken, tomatoes, etc, and no pasta. It was plenty delicious without the pasta. It was especially surprising how delicious this was considering how simple the recipe was. All the juices and oils meshed together so well. I will definitely be making this in the future. I also think I will add other veggies to this to make it more diverse and healthier.

As for this week’s picture, you can see that I’m still having trouble with the white balance. I’m also really lazy so I just keep using my 50mm 1.8f lens, instead of switching it out. That’s why all of my more recent pictures have such intense bokeh. However, since I usually am taking the pictures at night, I need to be get a lot a light through the lens, especially since I’m taking these pictures in the evening, so the large aperture is helpful. So yeah, let’s go with that, I’m not lazy, I’m doing this to make up for the lack of light.

6th March
written by admin

Week 9 – February 26, 2014 – March 4, 2014
Made on March 4, 2014

Apparently I really like chicken. This week I decided to make another roasted chicken – this time it was all about the sauces though. I made this Spice-rubbed chicken with two sauces recipe found on Food & Wine’s website. One initial change I made to this recipe was that I didn’t feel like dealing with a whole chicken, so I just decided to try roasting boneless chicken breasts that I had in my freezer.

To start I made the spice-rub for the chicken. For the most part, it was pretty straight forward. For the ground fennel seeds – when I was buying ingredients, I didn’t notice the word “ground” in there and thought, “Oh, I have fennel seeds, no reason to buy more”. Also, since the recipe didn’t mention the word “fresh” I assumed my dried fennel seeds were sufficient. I don’t even know if you could buy fresh fennel seeds, now that I think about it. In any case, I just used my mortar & pestle and with a little elbow grease, I had ground fennel seeds. It wasn’t hard; it only took a few minutes with the mortar & pestle. I did the same for the rosemary – the recipe didn’t mention the word “fresh” so I just used the dried rosemary I had on my spice rack and ground up the rosemary. After the spice-rub was ready, I applied it to the chicken and placed the chicken, on aluminum foil, in the oven. (Last week, I learned that aluminum foil is your friend when roasting things.) I looked up directions online, about how long to roast a chicken breast. Basically, it said to check the chicken and flip it after 15 minutes. And then check for done-ness after about 30 minutes.

While the chicken was roasting, it was on to the sauces. First I made the Wasakaka sauce. For the most part, the recipe was pretty easy. The biggest complication I had was that the two limes I had gotten (to get 1/3 cup of lime juice) was not nearly enough. I don’t know if the limes I got weren’t ripe enough or what, but it was really difficult to try and squeeze the liquid out of them. I don’t have one of those lemon/lime juicer devices, so with only my own strength, the two limes resulted in what looked like 1/6 of a cup. I ended up adding lemon juice to make up for the lack of lime. Then came the next concern, after I put it all together, it didn’t look like the picture on Food & Wine’s website. I’ve decided that Food & Wine must have switched the images for the Wasakaka and Piri Piri sauces. What I made looked a lot like the image on the Piri Piri sauce page, but it was all the ingredients and directions from the Wasakaka sauce page.

Wasakaka Sauce

So then I figured that the Piri Piri sauce would require some blending, and it did. This was another simple recipe to follow. The most important thing to note here is that recipe says to let the sauce sit for an hour before serving. By this point, the chicken was already done. It was even starting to get cold. So one piece of advice would be to make this sauce first, maybe even before you start roasting the chicken, or make it in advance by a day or something. Anyway, overall this recipe was easy to make. Everything needed to chopped instead of minced (except for the garlic) which made things go by much faster. Blending it was simple – and then it was done!

After that, I put some of each sauce in little rice bowl (I used them as sauce bowls) and ate some chicken. I have to say, I didn’t noticed the spice-rub on the chicken at all. The sauces were really the stars of this dish. The flavors were so interesting. In terms of using chicken breasts – I think there’s a reason most roasting recipes call for bone-in chicken because this chicken turned out a little drier than I’d like. That may be because I put the chicken back in the oven (which had cooled a bunch, but not all the way) to keep warm while I finished the sauces. In any case, at the very least, I’m keeping this recipe around for the sauces.

5th March
written by admin

Week 8 – February 19, 2014 – February 25, 2014
Made on February 23, 2014

This week, I attempted to make Tandoori Chicken with a Cilantro-Shallot Relish. This was yet another food that I had never made before. I have never roasted anything so this was another new experience.

The recipe was actually really easy to follow. I love the fact that you need to toast the spices a little to heighten the flavors. Putting all the ingredients together was simple. Coating the chicken was simple. And roasting the chicken was also simple. I love that the chicken was still moist after 45 minutes of roasting. One thing I would suggest, that I learned from my first roasting experience is to put aluminum foil on the baking sheet. Basically, I put the baking rack on top of a baking sheet. But as parts of the spice coating dripped down from the chicken onto the baking sheet, it created this oiled-spiced coating on the baking sheet. This doesn’t leave you with the ideal cleaning situation.

The Cilantro-Shallot Relish adds a little extra flavoring to the chicken. It’s different. When I’ve had Tandoori Chicken in the past, it’s all been about the spices and the chicken. But the relish, I’m not sure how to explain it other than tell you it was good and worth it. When I make this recipe again, I will continue to make it with the relish.

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