Tag Archives: chicken

Garlicky Ginger Chicken in a Skillet

10 Feb

It’s been a relatively lazy weekend, by which I mean relative to the insanity that is modern American family life: two days of catechism, basketball, LEGO class, church, and a movie. Even a visit to the barber! Plus catching up on laundry, cleaning, and of course, making meals and then washing up after them. (is it any wonder that I slept through a significant portion of the LEGO movie today? At the premium 3-D price, no less.)

Steamy in the skillet

Steamy in the skillet

But nevermind all that; I turned in my latest story for edible Long Island during the week and I don’t have any immediate deadlines for journalism or for my academic life – all grants and travel request forms and registrations and contracts have been taken care of. My grading is up-to-date and my lessons are prepped for the week (fellow educators will immediately understand how nice that feels).

So there was time to read with my son, make hot cocoa, watch some of the Winter Olympics together (the biathlon is so far my favorite), to catch up with some dear friends on the phone late into the night, read a bit for myself, simply stare into space. It was somewhat disconcerting.

A lighter view

A lighter view

None of which has much to do with this easy new dish that I put together this evening. It was a half hour in the making: the chicken and veg were done almost exactly when the rice was ready. It has a bit of Asian seasoning, which is a nice change-up from our mostly Latin and Italian flavors. You can spice it up a bit more; just watch the salt if you are using prepared sauces or don’t have low sodium soy sauce! Continue reading


Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas: The Heat is On!

25 Jan

I first saw this gorgeous chicken recipe recipe in Bon Appetit magazine on an otherwise uneventful doctor’s visit. I considered walking out with the magazine or tearing out the page or even asking one of the attending staff if they would make me a photocopy, but settled on copying down the basics of what I needed to remember.

Browning the drumsticks in a cast iron skillet

Browning the drumsticks in a cast iron skillet

Then I promptly forgot where I had written it down.

But the recipe stayed on my mind — it was a haunting blend of everyday easy, basic ingredients I knew I had around or could get in any supermarket, and a sultry North African vibe. Plus chickpeas. I love chickpeas.

So I hunted the recipe down in a Google search and took the chicken out to thaw.

Golden brown and waiting for the spicy bed

Golden brown and waiting for the spicy bed

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Slow Cooker Caribbean-Style: Chipotle-Lime Jerk Chicken

26 Jul

I acquired a slow cooker with credit card points about a year ago. In my tiny space, it is rather a big deal to bring in a bulky piece of equipment that you have no place for. So you’d think I’d make it work for its slice of my kitchen shelves.

Vinny in the kitchen (this may be him making the ceviche and not the chicken, but nevermind)

Vinny in the kitchen (this may be him making the ceviche and not the chicken, but nevermind)

But perversely enough, no. I’ve been intimidated by it! I love it for softening beans, but have hesitated to truly play with it in that way we hesitate when confronted with a new way to do habitual things. You wouldn’t think, since I do so much cooking and experimenting, but surprise…I too can be loathe to embrace a new (for me) technology when my customary ways have been working out so well!

Remember to put veggies on the bottom, then meat, then sauce

Remember to put veggies on the bottom, then meat, then sauce

So I was very glad to be tossed right into slow cooking by my friends Vinny and Carolyn Macchirole with whom we stayed for several days in Long Island’s North Fork recently (Leandro happily at sweaty, buggy, scrape-y, muddy, swimmy Peconic Dunes summer camp from 9-5, everyday for a week, oh heaven for both of us). We’d been planning a Caribbean Night cooking extravaganza (more recipes to come) and Vinny was in charge of the jerk chicken. He came up with a recipe for slow-cooked chipotle-lime chicken that he felt could be easily altered to our purposes. And he was right,

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Lasagna Latina: Tortillas, Beans, and Shredded Chicken

4 Oct

The start of the semester for me and kindergarten for Leandro has me in a tizzy.

One month in, the days seem never-ending and yet never long enough. I am up at 5:30 a.m. every day. Eighteen hours later, I still find myself vertical, eyes open, preparing food, washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom (!), folding clothes, laying out everything for the morning in a semi-headachy fog, wrinkling my nose and wondering, in the words of David Byrne, “How Did I Get Here?”

Scenes from the Farm

So when — oh s**t! — the Restoration Farm End-of-Summer-Potluck came roaring up, I was sort of astonished, and not a little dismayed. Continue reading

Mango-Orange Chicken Thighs

28 Jan

Life in the kitchen has become a lot easier, now that Leandro has graduated to grown-up food.

Until recently, right about 5 p.m. I was getting flustered into throwing something fast and easy (and heavy on the carbs/cheese) in front of my imperious, hungry and persistent child. While he was already eating, I’d throw together a basic and boring salad or just cut a slice of cheese for myself or eat his leftovers and never actually sit. I’d perch on my chair in short spurts, just long enough to tell him to put his butt on the chair, use his fork, don’t wipe your hands on your shirt…blah, blah, blah, nag, nag, nag. Who would want to have dinner with that? Not me. And not him either, really.

So the boy’s new-found love for beef, chicken, and fish means I can spend a bit more time playing around with something we will both eat (and can make enough for next day leftovers.) do a quick veggie side and get to sit together in peace to eat and chat about the day.

Those succcessful family dinners are the moments — fleeting, but fulfilling — that I actually feel like I have a handle on life, the universe and everything, or at least I am not such a mom failure after all!

And this easy and cheap chicken thigh recipe is pretty representative of our new direction in dinner. It’s not much more involved than pan frying a couple of chicken pieces, but the mango-orange juice and sriracha makes it a tiny bit special.

You can leave out the corn starch if you don’t have any, but it does give the surface of the chicken a nice texture, sort of the avian equivalent of pasta al dente. You could also use chicken strips from breast, but thighs are the cheaper parts of the bird, and I find them to be more flavorful!

Mango-Orange Chicken Thighs

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs flour

1.2 tsp cornstarch

¼-1/2 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

1 egg

1.5 lbs boneless chicken thighs

1 medium onion, chopped fine

2 cloves garlic chopped fine

½ Cup mango-orange juice (or orange juice or mango juice)

1-2 Tbs cilantro, chopped

1 tsp sriracha or other hot pepper sauce

Heat olive oil in a pan big enough to hold all at medium until fragrant.

In a bowl, mix, flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper.  In another  bowl, lightly beat egg. Dip thighs in egg, then in flour mixture and coat.

Place chicken in pan and cook five to ten minutes on each side, until cooked through. Remove thighs and set aside.

To the same pan, add onion and stir to coat. Add garlic and stir to coat. Cook for a minute or two to soften, then add mango juice and cook until thickened slightly, about five minutes. Stir in cilantro and sriracha. Salt to taste.

Return chicken to pan, coat in sauce and cook for another five minutes (or until chicken is fully cooked). Cook longer and slower, adding water, for a shredded result.

Serve with rice, noodles, or on top of salad. Or shred for quesadillas.

Juicy Chicken Tenders (simple and versatile)

19 Oct

Took out some frozen organic chicken breasts the other day for a play date that got cancelled and between one thing and another, I hadn’t done a thing with them. And it was time.

So, it’s 9 p.m. and I’ve finally got the kid asleep and some order in the kitchen — indeed, an uncharacteristic bit of sparkle, as I went in with more extreme products than usual — and a small glass of wine waiting for me (which will probably be sitting there tomorrow morning, untouched…) and it’s time to cook.

What To Do? It’s not like I have hunger to inspire me or energy to leaf through books or any exciting new vegetable I want to experiment with. I just want the damn chicken cooked so I can get to bed because 5:30 a.m. will be here before I know it.

So, basic chicken tenders will do. They are simple, but the cheese, garlic and Italian seasonings keep them from being boring. I don’t pound them too much, as I want them juicy and thick.

Tomorrow I can slather them in sauce and cheese, stick them in the oven and call them chicken parmesan if I like, or pack them up for Leandro’s lunch with some ketchup on the side, or roll them up in a wrap or slice them into a salad for myself. There’s not enough to freeze, but they’ll be fine a couple of days in the fridge once they are cooked and they will certainly be handy. They will make two meals each at least for me and the kid.

So, bang-bang, chop-chop, and they are done in no time! Nitey-nite!

Simple and tasty

Simple Juicy Chicken Tenders

Two boneless chicken breasts (about 1lb), pounded to evenness – 1 inch or less

½ cup Italian style bread crumbs or plain breadcrumbs seasoned with a Tbs of Italian herbs

1 Tbs grated grana padano or parmigiano reggiano

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbs vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice chicken breasts into long strips (cutting with the grain).

Place breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic and seasonings in a bag. Pour oil into a bowl. Dip chicken strips into the oil, then place in bag. Seal bag and shake to coat chicken thoroughly. Lay strips on greased baking sheet (or – even better, ridged rack).

Bake for 20 minutes, turning once. For greater crispness, place under the broiler for five minutes.


Tandoori-Style Roasted Chicken (great hot or cold!)

26 Aug

We picked up another pastured bird from our share at Restoration Farm this week, which reminded me how delicious the last one turned out.

While I decide what to do with this one (as Hurricane Irene churns her diabolical way up the Eastern Seaboard in our direction and I am checking batteries, gathering candles and surveying our canned goods), let me share this easy and extremely tasty recipe that tasted great right out of the oven, but also made for an excellent quick-grab out of the fridge in the following days, re-heated as well as cold!

This tandoori-style chicken was a recipe for whole chicken that Leandro picked out from a magazine (EveryDay Food, from Martha Stewart). He thought the picture looked very tasty and we had everything we needed in the house, except maybe the ginger. Since I am encouraging him to start eating chicken off the bone, letting him select the recipe worked out very well. I just tweaked the original to our tastes (more garlic, more spice) and it was smooth sailing!

Tandoori-style oven-roasted chicken

1 whole chicken (4-4.5 lbs), rinsed, patted dry and quartered (skin on)

1 cup plain non- or low-fat yogurt

½ yellow onion, roughly chopped

2-inch piece ginger, peeled (with vegetable peeler) and sliced

3 garlic cloves, peeled

3 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1 tsp ground cumin

1 – 1.5 tsp ground coriander

1 Tbs vegetable oil

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Place chicken pieces in a gallon-size zip-top bag. In a blender or food processor, blend all other ingredients until smooth and pour into bag. Seal and shake and refrigerate (4 hours to overnight).

Preheat oven to 500°F. Place a wire rack in a foil-lined baking sheet with sides. Place chicken parts on rack, skin side down, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Roast until begins to char and flip for a total of about 35 minutes. Reduce heat to 450°F and roast until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 more minutes (insert meat thermometer into thickest part of thigh to check). Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

One Week to Our First Pastured Chicken: Final Selection of Recipe Has Begun!

15 Jun

Leandro's first homegrown peapod

Just before this week’s visit to Restoration Farm, we went out into our yard where Leandro picked the very first pea pod from a plant he himself started from seed! We were very pleased, even though the peas weren’t so tasty raw. This was a random variety from a garden show craft, so we have high hopes for the others we planted – Burpees Garden Sweet (organic). His eyes reflected the magic of a seed transforming into food.

Trish and one of her flock

Then at Restoration Farm, we visited that other transformation into food; Trisha tells us that the pastured chickens are a week away from our cooking pots. They will be seven weeks and one day, and — we hope — about five pounds. She had initially planned to go to eight weeks, but due to the window of opportunity for processing and the fact that they are getting slower and heavier and more prone to disease, she figures next week is it!

Ignorance is bliss


Leandro still finds the chickens stinky (and really, they are pretty pungent at this point) and was more interested in drawing sweet beads of nectar out of the honeysuckle blossoms that are exhaling seductive breaths of fragrance all over the farm these days. He learned the art of drawing out the style from Farmer Steve and then taught me! Delicious.

Honeysuckle gives it up for Leandro

So now I am planning what to do with my first bird. As I expect it to be less fatty and moist than a factory bird or even an organic chicken from a large facility, I am thinking about dishes that will help contain the moisture and make the most of the added flavor that a slightly more muscular bird will have. I also want to do something that is already in Leandro’s growing list of delectable foods, so as not to risk some refusal. And then there is the desire to honor my Caribbean forebears who lived off the land (some still do, at least in part).

So… I’ve got two ideal candidates from the criollo* canon: arroz con pollo: chicken and rice,or asopao de pollo: soupy chicken and rice. Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on which one it should be!

*Criollo or Creole refers to the generations of colonialists actually born in the colonized place. In the case of Puerto Rico, the Spanish were the first Europeans to settle. They remained Spaniards, but their offspring born on the island (in many cases, half European and half native) were known as criollos – not quite European, but not quite native, either. Criollo cooking (like Creole in New Orleans, for example), reflects the meeting of different worlds of cooking ingredients and techniques.

Baked Chicken Tenders (with hint of curry option!)

19 May

The best defense is a good offense, even when it comes to protecting your family from encroaching fast-food predilections. So I keep trying to build a better, healthier, more attractive chicken tender that I can freeze and have on hand any time a drive-thru strikes me as a really good idea.

These chicken tenders are a variation on a Rachael Ray recipe — and you thought this was a Rachael-free zone, didn’t you? C’mon, the woman is everywhere! Even here. And certainly on all the search engines!

I like to think my version of chicken tenders has a bit more pizzazz, but we all have our vanities.

Bottom line: these are easy, freezeable and adaptable and they helped carry me through another semester of packed lunches for pre-K. My kid and his grandfather both loved the subtle curry flavor (which bodes well for our next Indian buffet lunch!). You can really season it however you like; the infrastructure of the recipe is very sound.

Baked Chicken Fingers with an optional hint of curry (freezeable!)

2 lbs chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness (do not pound thin, just even them out) and sliced, against the grain, into generous strips

Salt and pepper for seasoning chicken strips

2 cups flour

2-3 cups breadcrumbs, unseasoned

½ -1 tsp salt

2 Tbs dried parsley

2 -3 Tbs curry powder (optional; see herb options, below)

2-3 Tbs your choice dried oregano/basil/Italian herbs/French herbs (if you decide against the curry)

 3 eggs

¼ cup milk

Preheat oven to 375°F. Season the tenders with salt and black pepper. In a shallow dish, season the flour with salt and pepper. In a wide bowl, beat the eggs with the milk. In a third dish (shallow), place the breadcrumbs and season with salt, parsley and either the curry powder or the herb blend. Be generous with the herbs.

Dredge the chicken strips in the flour to coat. Shake off excess flour. Dip the strips in the egg to coat. Then coat with breadcrumbs. Place chicken strips on a baking sheet, or, ideally, a rack that lets them heat all around. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, turning once.

Once cooled, I pop them into freezer bags and take them out as needed for lunches and such, reheating at 325°F for ten minutes.

Abuelita’s Chicken Stew comes through: ¡Pollo Guisado!

17 Dec

(pronounced poh-yo gheesadoh)

We kind of stayed longer than expected at my neighbor’s across the street; it’s what happens when the kids are playing nicely together (meaning: not killing each other yet) and the cup of tea morphs into a glass of wine and the conversation gets spicy and grown-up. Then their pizza delivery arrives and my son of course wants and gets a slice too and her husband is about to get home for dinner and the pizza he is expecting is rapidly disappearing…

Fortunately, I had just made pollo guisado (chicken stew), so I grabbed a plastic thingy from my neighbor and ran across the street to my refrigerator and packed up enough for the two grown-ups, thus alleviating my mortification when the little man demanded – and got – a second slice. This is a no-brainer dish and uses chicken thighs – tasty and cheap! My neighbor specifically requested that I blog the recipe, so here it is.

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