Roasted Chicken — boneless chicken thighs

I am in the habit of occasionally buying boneless chicken breasts for a quick easy dinner. Even better I’m here to say: boneless thighs! Two advantages: (1) thighs offer greater flexibility in timing — they stay moist even if cooked longer than necessary, and (2) these are less hands-on and frankly, easier. You stick ’em in the oven and do something else for 20 minutes, though turning them 1/2 way through is a good idea.

You prepare marinade and stick chicken in and leave on the counter for 1/2 hour + while you empty the dishwasher and/or prepare side dishes.

425 degree oven
Roast 20+ minutes to 165 degrees
Tent and rest 5-10 mins

Marinade:

Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Peanut oil
Mirin
Hoisin
Ginger, grated
Ssam sauce
Black vinegar

Try to marinate for 1/2 hour on counter while you prepare other parts of meal.

Roast in oven 20 minutes, turning 1/2 way through. Take temperature — you want 165 degrees.

Serve with roasted asparagus — pour extra marinade over, and roast 15 mins. (Plan for over 1/2 hour for coming to pressure and letting pressure release naturally.)

Brown rice w/ juice from cooked chicken pan

Inspiration:
https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-boneless-skinless-chicken-thighs-in-the-oven-180140

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Chick pea spinach salad

Preparing for a pot luck, I cooked some chick peas and then while the instant pot was doing its thing, I went outside to do some gardening and planting and cutting lilacs, and playing with the cat, and oh, planting a shrub. I came inside to find that the pot had reached its set 49 minutes oh, 27 minutes ago. Surely overcooked! I released the pressure and found the beans somewhat mushy and was immediately disappointed. Then I found this warm chick pea and spinach recipe that seemed like a good idea.

Then I was hungry and it being lunch time I thought: Hmm, freshly-cooked chick peas, I can serve myself some mushy beans. I went halfway with the ideas in that aforementioned recipe:
Spinach in a bowl sprinkled with olive oil and salt, topped with warm chick peas, to slightly wilt the spinach. Macerated some red onion in lemon juice, went outside and cut some chives; sprinkled beans with smoked paprika and then chives. Added cut up carrot, aforementioned onions, some feta and lots of olive oil and salt. Mmm. IMG_6602

Olive oil, spinach and beans are delicious. The subtle dark tone of smoked paprika sets off the flavor against the bright high-note lemon. I always like two familial flavors such as here red onions and chives. (I think next time I will macerate onions longer, and/or reduce quantity.)

Ingredients:

chickpeas, 1 # cooked with 1 T salt & 1 garlic clove (49 minutes in my Instant Pot)

Spinach
Red onion, cut into pieces, macerated in lemon juice for 2 – 4 minutes.
Smoked paprika (sweet)
Chives
carrots, 2 sliced
Feta

Pasta with asparagus for the Spring

When asparagus is locally-grown and freshly-harvested, there are a myriad of ways to enjoy its fresh flavor. In the winter I prefer a cream-based Parmesan-loaded pasta dish because hey in winter who doesn’t appreciate indulgently fatty comfort foods (isn’t that the definition of comfort food?)

Here is what I came up with last eve when hunger struck and new asparagus was at hand: Pasta sautéed with butter and olive oil with spinach (or arugula), lemon juice and zest, topped by Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan if that’s what’s on hand)

Ingredients:

Bucatini (or spaghetti)
Asparagus, 1/2#, cut into 3/4” lengths
Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
Juice and zest of one lemon
Pecorino Romano, grated
Directions:

Put up big pot of water for pasta. Add kosher salt when it comes to a boil. Add pasta and cook to within one minute of being done. Scoop out some pasta water into glass measuring cup to use for sauce mid-way and when completing dish.

Rinse and cut up 1/2 # asparagus. Mince 3 cloves garlic.
Heat sauté pan and add butter and a bit of olive oil. Add asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes, adding some pasta water to steam. Add garlic, sauté, and then add spinach on top with salt, lemon juice, and more pasta water. Set aside.
When pasta is almost done, drain and add to asparagus in pan, toss with lemon zest and some more pasta water. Season w/ S&P and cheese.

A weirdly interesting, or interestingly weird and delicious broccoli sandwich

Years ago I would visit Manhattan and stay near the No. 6 Sub shop on Broadway around 27th Street, which is about the size of a closet, where Tyler Kord or his staff would sling a dyno-mite roasted broccoli sub. It was delicious. I tried to get there every visit. Addictive, even.

The sandwich consists of roasted broccoli, pickled lychees, pine nuts, ricotta salt and fried shallots. I just learned the components recently having purchased Kord’s “A Super Upsetting Cookbook about Sandwiches” in which he irreverently describes his food preferences and techniques. Of course I homed in on the broccoli sub and soon got to work crafting my own version.

I was unclear about the lychees and in various stores I checked out canned lychees and found there were all in sugar syrup and thought: Hmm, that can’t be right. Well turns it is right — you make pickles with ‘em if you are fully on the Kord train. Me, here’s what I did for one person at home:

Baguette
Roasted broccoli
Pine nuts, lightly toasted
Mayo mixed with honey and apple cider — sweet and tart, kinda like lychee pickles (!?)
Feta (Kord calls for ricotta salata)
Pickled cherry peppers

Spread mayo on bread, layer on remaining ingredients. Grab a bunch of napkins and chow down!

Kord also calls for fried shallots, which I was going to do as he recommends — double fried slices after dipping in corn starch — but I had enough food prep steps and was hungry.

Oven-Roasted broccoli

Roasted broccoli, y’all!

I have hitched my wagon to this roasted-vegetable train and am on board with most but broccoli just didn’t seem to work for me. It burned and yet did not soften.

Then into my life came wacky Tyler Kord — yes that’s a person’s name — the genius behind the No. 7 Sub shop on Broadway on the east side of Manhattan with the powerhouse deliciousness of the wacky broccoli sub. It has broccoli, lychee nuts and ricotta salata and is a powerhouse of flavor. Craving flavor- level. I still remember it though I have not been staying nearly across the street from the closet of a sub shop for several years. Turns out Kord has a cookbook. And in it he confesses to a wild mad love of broccoli. He has a technique for roasting broccoli, which actually works.

Take out a big stalk of broccoli. Cut off the lower end of the stem (my direction). Peel the stem with a vegetable peeler. Then, started at the bottom of the stem, slice stem into 1/4” slices, all the way up to the florets and into the florets. Cut any florets wider than 2” in half.

Toss broccoli with olive oil, S&P and roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring sometime in the interim. Pretty darn good! And look Ma! No butter!

Served with roasted (marinated) chicken thighs, and roasted garlic potatoes. A low stress, wait-for-you dinner.

Make-ahead broccoli for dinner

I like broccoli cooked but not cooked-the-life-out-of it. That’s tricky when you’re steaming it. It gets cooked and then if you let it hang around while other dishes finish up, the broccoli can quickly zip past the cooked-properly to the overdone zone. And anyway, plain, overcooked broccoli is not a welcome sight on one’s dinner plate.

One solution is to blanch the broccoli, drain and let sit out, and later  re-warm in garlic-infused olive oil with hot pepper flakes and perhaps some shavings of parmesan.

Directions:

Parboil broccoli sections in salted water for about 4 minutes. Drain and set out on sheet pan to sit at room temp while you cook the rest of dinner.

Slice garlic and sauté gently over medium low heat in a good quantity of olive oil with salt until golden or just barely golden. Put all in a small bowl and set aside.

When ready for broccoli, heat the pan, add olive oil, hot pepper flakes, and turn broccoli in oil, adding garlic and garlic-infused oil, and salt.

Put into serving bowl and shave on some parmesan, which will melt from the hot broccoli.

Impromptu soba noodle salad

If you have some leftover flank steak or other yummy protein, try this for lunch:

Soba noodles (buckwheat/wheat), 1/2 package — 4+ oz.  Boil in salted water 6 mins. Then drain, run cold water over, put in bowl, and mix in < 1 T sesame oil

Mushrooms, sliced, about 5 mixture of shiitake and cremini, sautéed in grapeseed oil; add salt
Garlic cloves, 2 minced. Add to mushrooms at end
Red pepper flakes — mix into mushrooms while cooking
Ginger, optional

Prep cool ingredients:
beef, couple slices, cut up
carrot, 1 large grated, some diced
Red pepper, 1/2, small dice
Sesame seeds (optional)
Scallions (optional)

On cooled noodles, mix in some soy sauce and some Bo Ssam sauce or perhaps Chile garlic sauce for spice/vinegar. Mix in mushrooms.

Plate with:
Noodles mixture
Cut-up steak
Grated carrots
Diced peppers
Sesame seeds

On top: squeeze on lime