Grilled Marinated London Broil

I have never been a big London Broil fan, but when one mysteriously showed up in my grocery bag last week (along with a ham steak and filet mignon I also didn’t purchase — score!) I decided to make good use of it. In general, London Broil can be tough, so it’s always wise to marinate it first — and the longer the better.

I set off in search of a recipe that was both highly rated and contained ingredients currently located in my pantry. Not always an easy order to fill, but I got lucky! The boys and I loved this, and there was not a scrap left over. I served it with some green beans and everyone’s favorite potatoes. This is a simple, versatile marinade I will be using again for sure.

Grilled Marinated London Broil from Epicurious, original recipe here

Ingredients:

  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/2 pounds top-round London broil

Directions:

Mince the garlic to a paste with salt and in a blender blend with the salt, red wine, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and honey.

In a heavy-duty sealable plastic bag, combine London broil with marinade. Seal bag, pressing out excess air, and put in a shallow baking dish. Marinate steak, chilled, turning occasionally, at least 4 hours and up to 24.

Bring steak to room temperature before grilling. Remove steak from marinade, letting excess drip off, and grill on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals, 7 to 9 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.

Holding a knife at a 45-degree angle, cut steak across grain into thin slices.

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Jim Lahey’s No Knead Pizza Dough

Every now and then I break out of my kitchen and work part-time for a luxury French retailer favored by everyone from Princess Grace to Beyonce. It’s a nice change of pace for me, and I feel very fortunate to work with beautiful people and beautiful products. How fun to shed my yoga pants and Ugg slippers for something slightly more sophisticated! But for as much as I enjoy working, I’m always amazed at how hard it is — even the teensy weensy amount of time I work — and I give working moms all the credit in the world. Wait, you want me to work all day AND still feed you AND still do your laundry AND still drive you places? What? Seriously, I don’t know how you people do it, but hats off to you.

Working, even just a little bit, inspires one to seek out recipes that lend well to quick preparation. Sure, you can always order pizza, but making your own pizza gives you good mom points for preparing real food. With a little forethought, Jim Lahey’s no knead pizza dough recipe is a pretty easy alternative to takeout. Just like his world renown no knead bread recipe, this pizza dough lets time do all the hard work for you. In other words, next time you are wondering, “What should I make for dinner tomorrow night?” get out your flour, active dry yeast, salt and water, and start thinking about homemade pizza.

I will admit, this was a bit of a production for a Monday night with Ed traveling. The smoke alarm went off. My kitchen is covered in flour and sauce. My own pizza burnt just a bit (see picture) but the kids’ turned out perfectly. And we all agreed that this crust is incredibly delicious. I just may save it for a Friday night next time…

 

Making the Dough: (Yields four 12-inch pizza crusts)

  • 500 grams (17 1/2 ounces or about 3 3/4 unsifted cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
  • 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
  • 350 grams (11/2 cups) water
  1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon and/or your hands, mix thoroughly. We find it easiest to start with the spoon, then switch to your hands (see slideshow).
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72°) for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one.
  3. Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them. For each portion, start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center, then do the same with the left, then the top, then the bottom. (The order doesn’t actually matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour.
  4. If you don’t intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed.

Cooking the Pizza:

  1. Put the pizza stone on a rack in a gas oven about 8 inches from the broiler. Preheat the oven on bake at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
  2. Shaping the disk (Method 1): Take one ball of dough and generously flour it, your hands, and the work surface. Gently press down and stretch the ball of dough out to 10-12 inches. Don’t worry if it’s not round. Don’t handle it more than necessary; you want some of the gas bubbles to remain in the dough. It should look slightly blistered. Flour the peel (or an unrimmed baking sheet) and lay the disk onto the center. It is now ready to be topped.
  3. Shaping the disk (Method 2): Take one ball of dough and generously flour it, your hands, and the work surface. Gently press down and stretch the ball of dough out to 6-8 inches. Supporting the disk with your knuckles toward the outer edge and lifting it above the work surface, keep stretching the dough by rotating it with your knuckles, gently pulling it wider until the disk reaches 10-12 inches. Set the disk on a well-floured peel (or unrimmed baking sheet). It is now ready to be topped.
  4. Switch the oven to broil for 10 minutes. With the dough on the peel, spoon the tomato sauce over the surface and spread it evenly, leaving about an inch of the rim untouched.
  5. With quick, jerking motions, slide the pie onto the stone. Broil for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes under gas (somewhat longer with an electric oven), until the top is bubbling and the crust is nicely charred but not burnt.
  6. Using the peel, transfer the pizza to a tray or serving platter. Sprinkle the Parmigiano and salt evenly over the pizza. Distribute the basil on top. Slice and serve immediately.

Happy 100th Birthday, Dear Julia Child

To say Julia Child still inspires me feels as obvious as saying, “Hey, did you know cookies taste good?” Not exactly breaking news. Of course she inspired me, and countless others, in the kitchen and possibly elsewhere. She was the Mister Rogers of cooking — always happy to see you, always believing you could do it, even if it was something difficult and messy. And if your efforts didn’t turn out perfectly? No biggie, you’ll get it next time. She still loves you. Have some wine.

Making Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon remains one of the greatest accomplishments of my culinary life. I can’t wait until the weather cools off a bit so I can make it again soon. This is definitely a recipe to cook while sipping some wine — but not too much for the chef until it’s on the table. As you can see, it requires a bit of attention and a certain degree of sharpness. You will be in the kitchen almost all day, so don’t plan anything else. But it will be worth the effort, I promise you that.

This recipe was posted here on Food.com originally by Chef Kate. As much as I love my readers, I wasn’t going to transcribe the recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking due to its great length and possible copyright infringements. But it is close enough to the original, let me assure you.

Boeuf Bourguignon a La Julia Child, adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, By Chef Kate on December 12, 2005, Food.com

Ingredients

For the Stew
6 ounces bacon, solid chunk
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onions, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine ( a full bodied wine like Bordeaux or Burgundy or Chianti)
2 -3 cups beef stock ( Simple Beef stock is posted on the site, unsalted and defatted)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, mashed ( you may choose to add more)
1 sprig thyme ( or 1/2 teaspoon dred thyme)
1 bay leaves, preferably fresh

For the braised onions
18 -24 white pearl onions, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup beef stock
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
2 sprigs parsley

For the Sauteed Mushrooms
1 lb mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

  1. First prepare the bacon: cut off the rind and reserve.
  2. Cut the bacon into lardons about 1/4″ thick and 1 1/2″ long.
  3. Simmer the rind and the lardons for ten minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water.
  4. Drain and dry the lardons and rind and reserve.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
  6. Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large (9″ – 10″ wide, 3″ deep) fireproof casserole and warm over moderate heat.
  7. Saute the lardons for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly.
  8. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
  9. Dry off the pieces of beef and saute them, a few at a time in the hot oil/bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides.
  10. Once browned, remove to the side plate with the bacon.
  11. In the same oil/fat, saute the onion and the carrot until softened.
  12. Pour off the fat and return the lardons and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion.
  13. Toss the contents of the casserole with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour.
  14. Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes.
  15. Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for 4 more minutes.
  16. Now, lower the heat to 325°F and remove the casserole from the oven.
  17. Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered.
  18. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs and the bacon rind.
  19. Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove.
  20. Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for three to four hours.
  21. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
  22. While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms and set them aside till needed.
  23. For the onion, if using frozen, make sure they are defrosted and drained.
  24. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet.
  1. Saute over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart.
  2. Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover.
  3. Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated.
  4. Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.
  5. For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet.
  6. As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes.
  7. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.
  8. To Finish the Stew:.
  9. When the meat is tender, remover the casserole from the oven and empty its contents into a sieve set over a saucepan.
  10. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it (discarding the bits of carrot and onion and herbs which remain in the sieve).
  11. Distribute the mushrooms and onions over the meat.
  12. Skim the fat off the sauce and simmer it for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat which rises to the surface.
  13. You should be left with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
  14. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock.
  15. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency.
  16. Taste for seasoning.
  17. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
  18. If you are serving immediately, place the covered casserole over medium low heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
  19. Serve in the casserole or on a warm platter surrounded by noodles, potatoes or rice and garnished with fresh parsley.
  20. If serving later or the next day, allow the casserole to cool and place cold, covered casserole in the refrigerator.
  21. 20 minutes prior to serving, place over medium low heat and simmer very slowly for ten minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Friend and reader Claire emailed me this lovely Julia Child remix from PBS, and she thought you’d all enjoy it, too. Thanks, Claire.

Happy 100th, dear Julia, and bon appétit! I hope you and Paul are enjoying a good birthday meal tonight.

My Trashiest Recipe Ever: Cap’n Crunch French Toast

First, we need to get a few things off my chest. This was ED’S idea, not mine, as if that wouldn’t go without saying. Secondly, one piece of this french toast is 829 calories. One piece. 829 calories. I will let that sink in for a minute. Finally, writing Cap’n (sic) Crunch would just make me look like a pompous ass, but I briefly considered it. I know how to spell captain and feel no need to abbreviate it, but that’s how the marketers of this fine cereal spell it. Considering the fact that the “junkie” cereal I usually buy for the kids is Honey Nut Cheerios, you can imagine my humiliation from the perceived judgement of my fellow shoppers seeing a gigantic red box of Cap’n Crunch atop my quinoa and organic apples. The only thing missing was a big blue bottle of Hi-C juice drink.

I never make french toast myself, but my Mom is famous around here for her french toast and makes it for the kids for breakfast whenever she visits. They love french toast! Not one to be outdone, Ed heard of this recipe from a coworker and decided it would be fun to try one day. He is Mr. Breakfast most Saturday mornings, a tradition the kids and I love, and as any mom knows, you don’t mess with your husband when he’s making breakfast. If Mr. Breakfast wanted Cap’n Crunch, I would bring him Cap’n Crunch, no questions asked (but maybe a little silent eye rolling).

Turns out Cap’n Crunch French Toast is pretty awesome, even though you need to sweat one hour on the treadmill to work off one measly piece. I would definitely categorize this as a special once or twice a year treat, for obvious reasons. The kids loved it, and I concede the texture and flavor was absolutely (and, okay, surprisingly) perfect. Mr. Breakfast never steers us wrong, even if he’s not a real Cap’n.

Cap’n Crunch French Toast by chow n groove, Food.com, printable recipe here

Ingredients

    • 6 large eggs
    • 5 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 (16 ounce) boxes Cap’n Crunch cereal ( don’t use the cheaper brands)
    • 1 loaf Texas toast thick bread

Directions

  1. Pour Cap’n Crunch into a gallon-size ziplock bag and crush to a course meal — make sure there are a few good size pieces in the mix. Pour into a 9×13 pan in order to dredge properly.
  2. Combine eggs, sugar, cream, vanilla, and spices in a large bowl. It will have the consistency of custard.
  3. Soak each slice of Texas Toast in wet ingredients, 30 seconds each side. Be sure the edges are moist, too.
  4. Dredge in Cap’n Crunch, lightly press onto each side, and around the crust. Place on parchment paper until all slices are coated.
  5. Heat 2 tbs. butter in large skillet, then gently place slices in pan; two at a time.
  6. Cook three minutes per side. Place on parchment covered baking pan in a warm oven.

Orzo with Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

It was yet another, “Oh, lord, I have to feed these people AGAIN?” kind of day, and this recipe came across my Facebook feed just in time to save dinner. Thank you, Fine Cooking, for the inspiration. Their original recipe, the foundation for my creation, can be found here.

If you’re not a fan of strong cheese such as Gorgonzola, move along…this recipe will not be for you. And don’t even THINK of substituting it with any other cheese! I highly recommend splurging on some sherry vinegar, which my newly appointed cooking guru David Lebovitz favors over balsamic. But I do think for this recipe, any old red wine vinegar will do if you don’t feel like running out to buy a sherry vinegar, which is not always available in every store. Aside from the dressing and the cheese, this recipe is very open to improvisation. The combination of sweet cherry tomatoes and strong Gorgonzola is just perfect.

Orzo with Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

Kosher salt
2-1/4 cups orzo
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1/3 cup sherry vinegar, more as needed
freshly ground pepper
3 cups halved cherry tomatoes (preferably a mix of colors and shapes)
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1 to 2 cups cooked cubed chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 thick slices of red onion, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
olives (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook per package instructions. Drain the pasta and toss it immediately with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Let the pasta cool completely in the refrigerator.

Put the sherry vinegar in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and additional sherry vinegar or olive oil as needed.

Put the cooked, cooled orzo in a large serving bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes, Gorgonzola, chicken, onions, olives and the vinaigrette and toss. Taste and season as needed with more salt and pepper. Serve within an hour or two of making.

Bob Blumer’s Maple Salmon

Before I set off for Paris, I figured I would return home super excited to cook again after my long break from servitude daily meal prep. However, I am still finding my groove again. As it turns out, dining out in Paris for many days only inspires one to return home and…order pizza? dine out more? serve cereal for dinner? All of the above. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the post-vacation blues, but I’m really not all that into cooking these days.

So, anyway, congratulations Mr. Bob Blumer, you have the honor of having created the recipe which I used for one of the first real post-Paris meals I bothered to cook, and the only one worth publishing. First and foremost, this salmon passed the Andrew Test. Andrew is my picky one who some days likes salmon, some days does not like salmon. He seems to like salmon only when I’ve not bought enough of it and counted on him NOT liking salmon that meal.  We had enough salmon last night, so he was gearing up to not like it, but he was immediately hooked after one bite and declared it his favorite new salmon. I agree with Andrew.

This recipe uses 3/4 cup of real maple syrup, which I realize can be kind of pricey. DO NOT USE FAKE SYRUP, THOUGH. NO MRS. BUTTERWORTH! If you want to use less maple syrup, start with 3 tablespoons of syrup to 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and then increase proportionately until you have enough marinade. Also, please give this at least 24 hours to marinade. It makes a huge difference. I made this once before and only marinaded a few hours, and it wasn’t nearly as good.

This recipe calls for the grill, but I cooked it in the oven at 450 for about three minutes a side.

Bob Blumer’s Maple Salmon from Glutton for Pleasure by Bob Blumer

¾ cup maple syrup
¼ cup soy sauce
4 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin removed
¼ cup coarsely ground black pepper (Grind it yourself, or purchase “cracked” pepper at your grocery store.)

In a small deep bowl, or a resealable plastic bag, mix maple syrup and soy sauce. Add fillets so that marinade completely covers fish. Marinate in the refrigerator for as long as possible (a minimum of 4 hours, but ideally 24 – 48). Turn salmon (or bag) every few hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high direct heat.

Place pepper on a small plate. Remove salmon from marinade and pat top side into cracked pepper to coat.

Grill for approximately 3 minutes per side, starting with pepper side down, or until salmon is just on the verge of turning opaque.

yield 4 servings

Orzo and Roasted Vegetable Salad

This is one of my all-time favorite pasta salads which was introduced to me by one of my favorite hostesses. It’s so simple, healthy, and — dare I say — elegant for a pasta salad. It is also open to improvisation, so feel free to add or subtract vegetables to your liking.

While you can certainly use a store bought basting oil to roast your veggies, I prefer to use my own concoction. Just add one clove of minced garlic and some fresh herbs such as thyme and parsley to about half a cup of olive oil, stir well, and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Plain old olive oil works just fine, too.

Tiffany’s Orzo and Roasted Vegetable Salad

Ingredients:

1 box orzo

asparagus (but I used broccoli rabe because: 1) it’s awesome and 2) no asparagus in the house)

red, yellow, orange peppers

zucchini

red onion

eggplant (I used three different colors since I’m so fancy and kind of a showoff)

olive oil

kosher salt

fresh herbs such as basil, parsley and thyme (dried if you’re lame like me)

feta cheese

black olives

Mix veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or until brown. I like to do the eggplant in one batch and everything else in a second batch. Cool veggies.

Cook orzo according to package directions. Cool orzo.

Mix orzo with veggies, olive oil, salt and pepper, and add feta cheese, fresh basil, sliced cherry or grape tomatoes, and juice from 1/2 a lemon.

Three kinds of eggplant to impress one’s guests.

Veggies awaiting their orzo mating

Ready to party!

Pancake Soufflé Muffins with Strawberry-Maple Syrup

These muffins are perfect for a special Sunday brunch, whether for Easter (like today) or any other “impress your guests” type of occasion. At first I was put off by the confusing aspect of how to eat them (muffin says hands, syrup says fork) but then I realized that essentially it’s a fluffy yet substantial pancake, so of course a fork is the right (only) choice. These had a really lovely texture and paired perfectly with the strawberry-maple syrup.

This is what the batter looked like shortly before scooping it into the muffin pans:

You don’t hear all of the “Oh no! My souffle is falling!” jokes these days like in my childhood (and happy that comedy has progressed beyond failed souffles and the old pie-in-the-face), although I did have a bit of a panic that my souffle muffins would fall/fail. But behold! They are risen! I won’t quite call it a miracle as much as a meticulous following of directions, though.

Aren’t they pretty?

 

Pancake Soufflé Muffins with Strawberry-Maple Syrup by Bill Telepan, Fine Cooking, March 2011, Original Recipe Here

Serves 12, Yields 24 muffins

For the muffins
Nonstick cooking spray
10-1/2 oz. (2-1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
4-1/2 oz. (1 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cake flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
6 T bs. granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3-1/3 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

For the strawberry syrup
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup quartered, hulled ripe strawberries

Make the MuffinsPosition a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Liberally spray two 12-cup muffin pans with the cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large, clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed to firm (but not dry) peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the mixer on medium-high speed until thick, ribbony, and lemon-yellow, about 6 minutes. Add the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla; mix on medium-low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Add one-third of the buttermilk and mix to combine. Alternate adding the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk, ending with the buttermilk and mixing until just combined.

With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter, leaving some streaks.

Scoop about 1/2 cup of the batter into each muffin cup—you can fill the cups to the rims. Bake, rotating the pans after 10 minutes, until browned on top and puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out dry, 20 to 25 minutes total.

Make the syrup While the muffins are baking, bring the maple syrup to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Put the strawberries in a medium serving bowl. Pour the syrup over the berries and set aside in a warm spot.
Serve With an offset spatula, pop the muffins out of the cups and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve with the syrup.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make the batter up to 2 hours ahead through the step of folding in the beaten egg whites. Refrigerate it, covered, in its bowl. Do not portion it into muffin tins until you’re ready to bake.

Fine Cooking Chicken Adobo

I know I was lukewarm about Fine Cooking magazine at first, but I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong! It is officially my new favorite. Please forgive me, Fine Cooking.

Of all the ethnic food I have attempted over the years, I realized this week that I have never once made any Filipino food. Sorry, Filipino friends! Your food is awesome. This recipe was SUCH a huge hit with everyone in our family except for Nate. Usually I have leftovers, but we were fighting for thirds of this dish. The best part about it is you probably already have everything you need right in your pantry. The combination of soy sauce, black pepper, garlic and vinegar (so much vinegar) yields a flavorful, tender chicken. One commenter suggested adding a tablespoon of brown sugar if the vinegar is too much for you, but I thought it tasted perfect exactly as written. Keep that modification in mind, though.

I also realize I was just saying chicken thighs are far superior in the crock pot to chicken breasts, but I do think in the case of this non-crock pot recipe (which calls for thighs) that boneless breasts would be better. That’s me, ever the contrarian. I have a really hard time properly trimming thigh meat, and as a fat-phobic person, a lot of the chicken goes to waste. Even though the recipe calls for thighs, my instincts are telling me breasts might work better. (And I wonder why I get so many hits for porn on this website?).

It is not a pretty dish (hence the itty bitty picture), but it is simple and delicious. Four out of five of us give it an A++, the definition of a winner around here.

Fine Cooking Chicken Adobo with Rice by Adeena Sussman (original recipe here)

1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch strips
Freshly ground pepper
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
1 dried bay leaf
1 tsp. freshly cracked black peppercorns

Cook rice of your choice. Remove from the heat and set aside with the cover on.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden-brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 more minutes. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaf, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the liquid reduces by about one-quarter, 8 to 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

Just before serving, uncover the rice and fluff it with a fork. Serve the chicken and sauce over the rice.

Cilantro Lime Chicken for the Crock Pot

Sometimes my recipe inspiration comes from unlikely sources. In this case, I first saw this recipe from my friend Samantha (not her real name, but her chosen alias. I’ll give you a second to digest the fact she has a need for an alias). Sam is one of my oldest friends, and once upon a time, she was the Lucy to my Ethel. I could (and probably should) write a whole book devoted to Sam, but today I’ll just share this one story.

Sam’s mother wasn’t much of a cook, so she was not trained in the art of Thanksgiving since childhood. I helped talk her through her first Thanksgiving back in 1993 or 1994. I had thought I covered all of my bases. We went over the recipes and the shopping list and the How To’s, and I believed my little birdie was ready to fly. Then around 5:00 pm, while I was entertaining my own guests, the phone rings.

Sam: I don’t understand! The turkey has been cooking FIVE HOURS and it’s still not done. It’s still pink and bloody and not brown like the pictures.

Me: Wait, FIVE HOURS? I thought you had an eight pound bird. That doesn’t sound right. Maybe your oven is broken. Did you set it for 325 or 350?

Sam: Uhhhh. I thought I was supposed to set the oven for 165 degrees. That’s the number you kept saying. Is that not right?

Me: SAAAAMMMM!!!! 165 is the INTERNAL temperature. Remember? I said you needed a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of 165. The OVEN needs to be at 325. No wonder your turkey is raw. I didn’t even know an oven could be set so low.

Sam: I thought internal meant INSIDE THE OVEN, not INSIDE THE TURKEY.

Me: We will laugh about this one day. Enjoy your Thanksgiving pizza!

Perhaps the above illustrates my surprise and delight that my little Sammy has come so far and is now picking out recipes on Pintrest and posting them on Facebook. Hey, it’s a start.

This recipe has all of my winning elements: crock pot, flavorful, easy. Added bonus: My whole family loved it. The only change I made is that I used boneless chicken thighs, as I absolutely hate boneless breasts done in the crock pot. I firmly believe that if you are crockpotting chicken, you either need to go for bone-in breasts or boneless thighs. Not everyone agrees with me, but I feel compelled to share this opinion with you. I served this over rice with a dollop of sour cream, and it was perfect. The author suggests using it for chicken tacos, and I think that’s a brilliant idea.

Cilantro Lime Chicken for the Crockpot (original recipe by Megan from Pip & Ebby here)

In crock pot, mix together:

One 24-ounce jar medium or mild salsa

Juice from one lime

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

One 1.25-oz. package taco seasoning

2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (optional)

2 to 3 pounds of boneless chicken thighs or 3 – 4 bone-in chicken breasts

Directions:

Mix together first five ingredients in crock pot. Cover chicken with mixture. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Shred chicken with a fork (removing any bones if necessary) and return to the crock pot for at least another 20 minutes. Serve with rice or as a taco filling. Top with more fresh cilantro.

I have a thing for cilantro and try to grow some every year. This should be ready in a few more weeks.

I also have a thing for limes, lemons’ classier green cousins.