Neither Michael nor I said the actual words over the course of the last week of 2011, but in retrospect it was pretty clear we were both missing our tiny kitchen after four days of holiday celebrating with not much opportunity to get behind the stove. Day two of our mini-we-miss-New-York-Week (subtitle: the week we bounced back and forth between Tom Colicchio and David Chang’s cookbooks) was another “let’s take on a Serious Project!” day–although while this is a dish that takes some time to make, with a little planning I could see us enjoying this on a random weekday evening. It was also a great opportunity to break in one of our Christmas presents (although that is a very poor choice of words given what it is): Read More
After the escapades of my first foray into adventurous cooking on my own, I resolved to do better; specifically, I resolved to manage my time so that I wouldn’t be eating dinner at 8 once again. So I kept my time out of the apartment to a minimum and got my chicken into its marinade in the middle of the afternoon, because I was really excited about what I was making on Sunday and I really didn’t want to muck it up. This is a recipe that I had in my head for well over a week, and was one of the main impetuses to go to Despana the day before: it called for a cazuela and I love nothing more than a great excuse to hit up my favorite specialty shop in the city.
In any case, this fixation came about because I happened to pay attention to an episode of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef a few weeks ago. She was making this garlicky chicken over an Israeli couscous concoction and it sounded pretty good to me, especially because it called for several vegetables–thereby making it not nearly as “guilty” an indulgence as, say, aglio e olio.
(I know I keep coming back to that particular pasta dish, but really–it is the easiest dish I know how to make and the temptation to break down and make it in the face of more complicated fare was always present in the back of my mind. I even bought a box of angel hair to keep in the pantry for emergencies.) Read More
This week I have all about completely purposing whatever I have on hand after a slew of over-blown saucy outings that I have yet to even write about, let alone commend the leftovers to the deep as they are now weeks beyond prime.
So today, I’m going to do something different. This was a mid-week meal I came up with off the top of my head, made entirely out of nothing more than a fresh protein, a piece of fruit, a root and some stuff out of the pantry. So, a brief bit of free-styling… Read More
It begins with a mea culpa. I thought that preserving Meyer lemons would be foolish. They’re slightly sweet, I thought, they are too floral to be packed in salt and preserved like yellow pickles. The wife disagreed. I told her to find a preparation or commentary about preserving Meyers and within all of five minutes she had found several, including the one we used from The Gourmet Cookbook. The tome claims that the floral delicate nature of the Meyers makes them especially apt for preservation.
Who knew? Read More
[Editors Note: I will admit that I like to bug Michael about what he's making for dinner when I call him from the Westport train station platform, mostly because I like having something to fantasize about during my hour and a half commute (on a good day). Especially with all of the weird smells I encounter on the bus thanks to people bringing their Popeye's chicken and Little Caesar's pizza onto the M60, M100, M101 or Bx15, I like to know that there's something awesome in store for me at home. Onwards after the jump!] Read More
“Since I like cutting things up, I typically opt for whole chickens” -AB
I am partial to the whole bird, as we have seen many times here before. Still, on weeknights there just isn’t enough time, so I opt for the big pack of chicken thighs. Being a self-proclaimed growed-up man, I usually can pack a lot of these away, but I often get self-conscious about the repetitive preparations in front of the Mrs. (we all know that bachelors can eat the same thing almost every night as long as it tastes good). [Ed.--says the man married to the woman who could eat pasta every freaking day.]
Elizabeth’s lovely photo makes my enchiladas look like they are nestling in bed on a lovely Saturday morning. In all seriousness, this was our idea for an enjoyable, simple dinner after travelling home following an Easter weekend with both parents and in-laws like. We got back to NYC around 1 and I had to go right to work, so I needed a meal composed of ingredients that could be delivered from Fresh Direct (more on this later).
Fast forward to enchiladas. I had chicken thighs, and we had leftover grated cheese from our Mexican celebration from the Friday before. The enchiladas were fast and absolutely, completely satisfying. Get pen and paper, recipe follows:
- 1-2 lbs chicken thighs
- One onion, chopped
- 1.5 cups enchilada sauce*
- 6-8 tortillas
- 20 piquillo pepper strips
- Lots of grated cheese (Australian cheddar, California cheddar, ricotta salata)
- Chopped cilantro
Salt the chicken or douse in soy sauce for 30 minutes then cook via grill or pan. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Sweat the onion for 3-5 minutes then add most of the sauce. Bring to a simmer, tear up and throw in the piquillo strips and let cool a bit. Add some saucy onion and chicken to each of the tortillas along with a nice handful of chicken and cheese. Array in a row in the pan and coat with the remaining sauce and save some cheese for the top. Cook at 400 F for 10-14 minutes until the cheese melts and everything looks irresistible.
Here our boys were topped with a lime cabbage salad and the cilantro instead of regular cole slaw. With the hot and crazy summer approaching, taking a few shortcuts is a far better thing than abandoning the kitchen altogether. So stay cool, readers, and until next time, cook on!
*Note, I have made my own enchilada sauce many times in the past, but after the harangue of traveling and having to still make two meetings at work once I got back, I gave myself a pass and reached for the can opener. You can find our green enchilada sauce recipe here.
Pasta three posts in a row? Boo! I feel compelled to step in and break up the monotony. I love to make tacos- they are always so much fun to make and eat. I also am a fan because it’s so easy to change things up each time, and be they subtle or gross, the alterations keep the dishes interesting.
Here, I had grabbed a piece of cave-aged American cheddar from Whole Foods that I was eager to use. I wanted to do something other than standard grilled/sauted chicken, so I bought a jar of Goya pico de gallo on the cheap from the corner store. It’s like salsa but a bit more watery, but that makes it perfect for cooking and reductions. I counter-top grilled some chicken thighs then added them to a skillet with the pico until I had something that mildly resembled some authentic saucy chicken.
Keeping in the spicy vein, I whipped up a bunch of my caramelized onion relish. I like to add jalapeno normally, but they were selling them by the half dozen at the store downstairs, so nuts to that. I just used red pepper flakes instead and it was fine. I have yet to mess with my red slaw, maybe next time. and until then, friends, cook on!
So you may have noticed that we’ve moved (and that, much like our new apartment, things aren’t quite all put together here yet). The reason for our move to New York was simple: Michael is now a post-doc at Columbia. As for the blog…well…there were many, one of the main ones being the fact that we have been removed from a city that we knew up and down and plunked into this surreal, fantastic place. We’ll certainly be still sharing our dinners and recipes, of course, but we’ll also be sharing our food shopping adventures as we try not to eat ourselves out of house and home in one of the most expensive cities in the world, as well as hopefully tempting our friends still living in the Have to hop on the Metro-North and join us for dinner now and again.
Onto this dinner, then. Michael picked up a few essentials at one of the local markets to make this meal, which also included a light arugula salad and a loaf of flatbread, and turned to our reduced liquor selection to find a suitable simmering liquid to pull the dish together. The results were utterly pleasing to dive into after hoofing it uphill from the bus stop, of course, but the truly comforting component to the meal was catching a whiff of it simmering in the hallway leading to our apartment. The moment that aroma touched my nose, the stress, anxiety and general discombobulation that had marked the prior week evaporated–I finally felt like we were home again.
This is a recipe I started messing with when I lived with a pair of fellas after I had first moved to CT. This is one of those great meals that is very simple in its most basic form but can be punched-up on the fly or lovingly embellished depending on how much time/effort/money you care to invest.
The basic enchilada recipe:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 14 oz enchilada sauce (canned or fresh, more on this later)
- 1 cup of cooked chicken (about 4 thighs or 2 breasts or a combination)
- 8 tortillas, warmed in the microwave (check package directions, but usually it’s 10 seconds per tortilla when covered in damp paper towels)
- 1 cup shredded cheese (a mix is usually best)
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Heat the oil over medium heat, then add the onion and pepper with a good pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Next, add enough sauce (if using canned I like Embasa) to just cover the veggies and increase heat, bringing to a bubble, then reduce (medium-low) and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.
Cook the chicken all the way through using a pan, electric grill, grill pan, whatever’s convenient. Cool and chop the chicken into cubes. Add a generous spoonfull of the veggie mix to a tortilla, then one of chicken and finally cover with some cheese and roll the tortilla. It should be full but not overflowing or stuffed. Place it in a foil-lined baking dish (make sure you lube up the foil before inserting the rolled tortillas), repeat until dish is full.
Cover the rolled tortillas with the remainder of the sauce and cheese and bake for 10 minutes.
On this particular day, I had a large container of Romesco Sauce leftover from our ‘Evening in Barcelona‘ and thought, isn’t Red Enchilada sauce very similar to a bell pepper sauce? Isn’t my Romesco mainly roasted red bell peppers? So I covered these particular guys with the Romesco instead of extra canned stuff and it was *amazing*. I will post the Romesco sauce recipe here at a later date. My point is that, as with all things, a little effort one night can turn into effortless creativity the next as long as you keep an open mind and a lot of tupperware on hand.