Tag Archive: chicken


World’s Tastiest Soup

Dear World,

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! It took me a few days, but I finally got around to making turkey soup. If you still have your turkey’s carcass lying around, here’s something you can do with it. If you threw it away, do not despair – the World’s Tastiest Soup can also be made with the remainders of a chicken, home-roasted or rotisserie.

You’ll need:

  • one roasted turkey, or the carcass of a roasted turkey
  • 2-3 large carrots
  • one onion, with the peel
  • 2-3 large celery ribs
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • peppercorns or ground pepper
  • salt
  • any soup vegetables
  • optionally: rice or pasta

Start by stripping all the meat off of the bones. Whatever you don’t eat right then and their, you can add to the soup later. Place the carcass in a large pot. Chop the onion (wash the skin and add it for color), celery and carrots and add to the pot, along with peeled garlic cloves, peppercorns and salt (one or two big pinches should do the trick). Fill the pot with water, and bring to a boil, then simmer for 30-40 minutes.

When that’s done, turn the heat off, and discard everything (bones and veggies) but the stock. Add about 2 cups of water, and throw in anything you like. I used more carrots and celery, whole wheat rotini, turkey meat and frozen peas. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes, skimming off the fat with a spoon every two minutes. Alternately, if you’d rather, you can simmer the soup for 10 minutes, let it cool, then easily skim the fat, which will have formed into a skin at the surface.

And there you have it! If you need to store it, freezing it in serving-sized tupperware is your safest bet. I will close this post with my first poll: I simply cannot go through Thanksgiving without having thirds of stuffing, so I thought I’d ask.

With love,

– Viola –

Advertisements

My boyfriend has a problem: He’s addicted to eating out.

It’s not that he can’t cook – he’s great in the kitchen! Like most males, he carries the barbecue gene. He knows his way around a pan, and even made up some delicious recipes of his own.

So why does he insist on going out every chance’s he’s got? Laziness may play a small part in it, but I think that mostly, in some way, he enjoys justifying that he can get a good burger and two sides for “only $4.95.” He likes the fact that in NYC, pizza comes for $1 a slice, and that you can get your fill of nitrate (hot-dogs)  at any street corner from a cart. I’m not saying that eating out is always unhealthy, but he certainly doesn’t go to a restaurant for the salad, if you catch my drift.

This has caused some strain in our relationship, as I hate eating out. Why pay $16 (including tip) for a dinner that could have cost me $5 to make at home, turned out healthier, tasted better, served on my own china with my own silverware, and included a glass of wine?

So, we agreed to compromise. Burgers, chili, pizza and pork rolls are still a part of the diet, but now they’re homemade. We haven’t stopped drinking altogether, but we keep the liquor cabinet stocked, instead of barhopping (for which we are too old, anyway). But I can’t eat this “man food” every day, so I had to come up with something else to keep my honey out of the fast food joints.

Yesterday, I did something new: instead of asking the usual “what’s for dinner?” I wrote out the “Menu du Soir” on the dry-erase board. I grew up in one of those tiny European countries near France, so I speak fluent french. Using the fanciest, fruitiest terms I could think of, I wrote out the menu I had in mind:

*Asperges au four, avec un fin filet d’huile et parsemées de gros sel*

*Blancs de poulet à la panure poivrée*

*Compote de pommes chaude au miel*

Even if you don’t know how to say half of the words, doesn’t it sounds so much more appetizing (and a bit snottier) in french? The menu translation is as follows: roasted asparagus, with a thin trickle of oil and coarse-grained salt; chicken breasts with peppered breadcrumbs; hot applesauce with honey.

It did the trick, and helped feign the illusion of a ritzy frog-leg-serving, mustachioed-waiter-harboring establishment, rather than our boring old kitchen. It took a lot of energy to be the chef/sous-chef/waitress/busgirl all at once, so I’ll still let my beloved carnivore fix sloppy joes and franks three or four nights a week, but it’s nice to treat him to his “restaurant outing” without paying the salty (hehe) bill.

For the avid cookers out there, here are the recipes of the night. For applesauce recipe, refer to previous post.

For the chicken, you’ll need:

  • chicken breasts (1 breast per person)
  • All purpose white flour (enough to cover the breasts)
  • slightly beaten eggs (1 egg is enough for about 4 breasts)
  • enough bread crumbs to cover the breasts (I bought mine plain, and mixed in some salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and dried rosemary)
  • olive oil

Pre-heat your oven at 350˚F. Rinse and pat the breasts dry, and roll them in the flour.

Then, roll them in the egg.

And then, in the bread crumbs.

Generously coat the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil. Heat the pan on high, and add the chicken (if you’re fairly new at frying, I would only do one breast at the time).

When the breasts are browned, transfer to a baking sheet covered with a sheet of aluminum foil, and bake 10-15 minutes, or until the breasts are done. COOKING TIP OF THE DAY #1: To check if chicken is fully cooked, make a small incision. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done. Also, the inside should be white, not pink. DO NOT EAT UNDERCOOKED CHICKEN! Serve warm!

For the asparagus, you’ll need:

  • a bunch of asparagus
  • coarse-grained salt (regular salt is okay)
  • olive oil
  • pepper

Preheat the oven (or your toaster oven, if you have one!) to 420˚F. Get rid of the ends (opposite of the yummy-looking tips). COOKING TIP OF THE DAY #2: The easiest way to get rid of the “bad ends” is to snap them off with your bare hands. Just put your fingers at the base of the spear, and snap wherever it’s the easiest – that’s where the tough, stringy part stops and the yummy, tender part starts!


Arrange the spears on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, and drizzle some olive oil on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 10 minutes. Bon appétit!

Dinner last night was a SUCCESS! In my excitement, I forgot to take pictures, I’m sorry to say. But man, it’s so good to be cooking again!

The zucchini soup was the easy part. 3 zucchinis, thinly sliced (washed, not peeled), and some minced onion (about 1/3 of a yellow onion). Cover with some of that broth you have handy in your fridge (refer to this post –> https://violainthekitchen.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/apologies-and-a-broth-that-can-bring-you-back-from-the-dead/), boil until the zucchini gets mushy (about 5-10 minutes). If you don’t have broth, use salted water (though broth is SO MUCH tastier!). Transfer to blender and puree (just 5-10 seconds), and then transfer back to pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. I meant to add some curry powder, but forgot.

Next, the chicken. Also easy! Rubbed three boneless breasts with olive oil, pepper and salt, baked at 400˚F, 10 minutes on each side. Portabella mushrooms were brushed and sliced, and tossed into a pan with some olive oil. after browning them on medium-high heat for a couple minutes, put heat on low, and pour some balsamic vinegar (about 1/4 cup) over the mushrooms. I let them cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes, and arranged them on top of the chicken breasts when those were done.

And finally, la pièce de résistance: pumpkin gnocchi with butter sage sauce. Just typing that makes my mouth water. I used the flesh leftover from last weekend’s jack-o-lantern carving (2 sugar pumpkins’ worth of flesh), which I’d baked for an hour at 400˚F. I mixed in some flour (a cup or two) until it turned into a soft dough. I boiled some water in a large pot [Rule of Italian cuisine: always use biggest pot in the house for cooking pasta] and melted some butter with a few fresh sage leaves in a small saucepan. When the water came to a rolling boil, dropped in little bite-sized balls of dough. As soon as they floated to the surface, I removed them with a slotted spoon (had to scoop as I went), drizzled them with the butter sage sauce, and served them immediately to Sebastian and Fabian, who didn’t complain! The one fault was that I’d forgotten to sprinkle a little kosher salt on the gnocchi before serving, so they were a little bland.

Recap: fun cooking, good dinner, happy roommates. Now, I really must clean the house, because I may be entertaining guests for both lunch and dinner!

Laters, world! Love,

– Viola –

Hello, world!

People have all kinds of reasons for starting blogs. They have valuable information to share. They want to connect with other people. They crave attention.

Me…I’m just lonely. I recently moved to Illyria, NJ, just 40 minutes from NYC. I’ve had horrible luck making friends: they keep post-poning our dates, their skeezy boyfriends act inappropriately, or they just never respond. I have a part time job teaching violin at ******* University, and most of my coworkers won’t take two seconds to get to know me. I’m looking for a playing job in an orchestra, and in the meanwhile, I still have four days of the week to fill up with something other than cleaning the house.

So here’s the deal: in return for listening to me whine about my life, you get step-by-step illustrated recipes by yours truly, and all the cooking tips passed down to me by my parents over the years.

Something you should know about my style of cooking –> five essentials to ALWAYS have in your kitchen no matter what:

  1. black pepper
  2. olive oil
  3. onion
  4. garlic
  5. salt

And here it is, the first recipe: WORLD’S BEST CHICKEN WRAP! I’m not kidding, guys, it really is the best. My boyfriend was working late, and I wanted to surprise him with a really nice dinner – and for the first time, he didn’t complain about anything! Did I mention he may be one of the pickiest eaters in the world? Sweet, sweet success!

You’ll need:

  • three boneless chicken breasts
  • ground cayenne pepper
  • chili powder
  • honey
  • wraps (whole wheat is best)
  • 3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
  • a cucumber
  • arrugula, spinach, or any kind of salad leaves
  • bacon (I use turkey bacon, regular is fine)
  • your favorite dressing

Pre-heat your oven to 400˚ F. Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet that is covered with aluminum foil and lightly oiled. Brush the breasts with some honey, and sprinkle with cayenne and chili (and, if you have any, sesame seeds). Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the chicken, re-brush with honey and sprinkle with cayenne and chili,  and bake for 10 more minutes. You can use this time to cook the bacon (extra crispy!) and dice up the cucumber in small cubes.

When the chicken is done, pour the delicious drippings into a frying pan with the onion. Cook on low temperature, until the onion is caramelized (10-15 minutes), and take off the heat. Cut up the chicken in small cubes, and you’re ready for the wrapping process! Toss chicken cubes, bacon, caramelized onion, cucumber and leaves in the wraps, and fold it like a burrito, leaving one end open. (Mmmm, burritos…that should be my next recipe!) For the dressing, I like to make my own vinaigrette by mixing balsamic vinegar, olive oil, black pepper and mustard. I bet it also tastes good with honey mustard or ranch. If you’re eating this on the go, dress from the open end, close the wrap, and wrap it in aluminum. I dare you not to like it!

Oof. It’s already 2:53. Time to hit the hay! More bitchin’ and cookin’ tomorrow.

Love,

Viola InTheKitchen

%d bloggers like this: