Tag Archives: winter

Honey-Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Tarragon

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I know there was never a doubt in your guys’ mind, but it was confirmed this weekend: I’m a huge dork. While millions of people were rightfully excited about the return of Game of Thrones, the epic HBO show that involves giants, dwarves, dragons* and one very gorgeous man, I decided that merely watching the episode was not enough. I had to create a full-on feast inspired by the series, and foist it upon some friends. which is based on a set of novels written by a certified food-lover.

In my defense, George R.R. Martin’s descriptions of medieval feasts are so detailed that there’s an entire GoT cookbook based on the books. And while those passages have been lambasted by those who read the books merely for the political intrigue or intense action (ie. the “interesting” stuff), I find the feast scenes fascinating. Most of what people ate is similar to stuff we eat now — stew, bread, roast meat, etc. But some of the stuff is crazy: pigeon pie and honeyed dormice and spiny grubs and of course, Danaerys and her horse heart.

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Obviously I had no intention of tracking down a friggin’ horse (EWWWWWW.). But I had a CSA chicken in the freezer and lemons in the fridge, and for the first time in a long time, the time and energy to embark on a long cooking project. I cobbled together an easy enough menu: honeyed chicken (which Jon eats during his last meal at Winterfell), mushrooms roasted in garlic butter (which Tyrion eats with Illyrio Mopatis — very in line with the premiere episode!) and lemon cakes, which are Sansa’s favorite. (Yes, I know, I’m a weirdo.)

This was my second attempt at roasting a whole bird, and I used a bunch of my turkey tips here: “air-chilling” the bird so that it dries out completely before roasting, making an herb butter to flavor the meat, roasting the chicken upside down to start and resting the meat after it comes out of the oven. It’s a pretty simple process, and basting the chicken with the honey mixture ensures a shiny, perfectly bronzed final product — at least until you get distracted and leave that bad boy in the oven a few minutes too long …

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Even if you’re not obsessed with Game of Thrones, this chicken is a winner. It’s juicy, the skin gets perfectly crisp and the potatoes underneath are heavenly. And if you are a GoT fan? Your Sundays just got even better. Continue reading

Irish Lamb Stew with Guinness

Whoa guys, it’s been a while. Since we last hung out, I’ve survived a weekend in Atlantic City, started half training in earnest, watched a TON of college basketball, discovered my new fave tapas place in NYC, come in third place at Friends trivia, and prepped for an all-new exciting project at work.

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What I haven’t been doing? Cooking, cleaning, unpacking the many suitcases I’ve used over the past month, folding laundry, catching up on Mad Men ahead of the final season premiere(!!) and just generally being at home for extended periods of time. Which is why this recipe comes to you so late.

Three weeks ago, when “Feels like 17F” was still a thing and “hearty” was the only acceptable kind of meal, this recipe would have been super useful. Now? Oh you know, it’s just a delicious, warming stew that takes your last lingering root vegetables, plus the best of spring’s new produce and meat,* to form a rich meal relatively cheaply. NBD.

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Stews are a staple in Ireland, always served with hearty bread and creamy, dreamy butter. (No seriously, I still dream about that butter.) Made with beef or lamb, with whatever vegetables are around — sturdier root vegetables in the winter, more peas and carrots in warmer weather — it’s the quintessential comfort food. I also had a bottle of Guinness in the fridge, so I threw that in, adding a bit of malty body to the stew.

It was delicious two weeks ago when I made it, but this Irish lamb stew would be just as delicious now, one last hearty meal to usher you into spring.

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*Did you know that meat is seasonal too? Animals have natural growth and slaughter cycles, which is why we associate turkeys with fall (ie. Thanksgiving) and ham or lamb with Easter and spring. Here’s a good explainer from Polyface Farm owner and small-farm advocate Joel Salatin. Continue reading

Fall-toush Salad

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In honor of the sunny skies and almost balmy temperatures (50 degrees! Feels like heaven!), I’m going to keep things short today. After all, there’s outside time to be had, especially now that the sun is still shining at 7 p.m.

And before you besmirch my good name, I did not come up with this name. “Fall-toush” comes from Smitten Kitchen, whose love of good/bad puns is one reason why I’m convinced we’re culinary kindred spirits. Another reason? Her love of easy salads that take seasonal ingredients, cook them in a very unobtrusive way and add just a little something-something to make the whole thing really pop.

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This is based on fattoush, the Levantine salad made with toasted pita, mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and mint and other herbs. It’s usually full of summery vegetables, but alas, those are nowhere to be found. So Deb took a winter approach to the salad, using Brussels sprouts and squash instead. I had leftover tahini, so I hacked together a quick dressing to bring the whole thing together.

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It’s a supremely simple meal — roasted vegetables with a little dressing — that is so much more than the sum of its humble parts: smoky and spicy and creamy and crunchy and full of flavor, hearty enough for the lingering cold but with a sneaky eye on swimsuit season. It’s so good that it almost makes me forget how tired I am of winter fare … #nomorerootvegetablesplease Continue reading

Slow Cooker Chili

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Generally, the Super Bowl is one of my favorite days of the year. It celebrates two of my favorite things — football and food — and makes it generally acceptable to eat heaps of melty cheese with plenty of meat on the side. Since my team never makes it, I generally concoct some sort of reason to root for one of the teams, adopt that team feverishly for 60 minutes of game time, then go to bed pleasantly full, a wee bit tipsy and not at all ready for a Monday at work.

This year, things are a bit different. I hate both teams (or more accurately, the coaches of both teams): my dislike of the smug gum-chomping Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is topped only by my complete abhorrence of all things Belichick. #Deflategate has only fanned the flames of my hostility (though it is my favorite news story of the past six months because I’m actually a child).

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So, rather than focusing on football, I’m all in on the food. There will be dips, there will be wings, there will be nachos and there will be dessert (though most of it will be from Seamless, since I’ll be traveling on Sunday and won’t get home until just before gametime). Oh sure, the game will be on in the background. But my attention will be firmly on the amount of junk I can stuff down my gullet.

But for those of you who are more interested in what’s happening on the field, there’s this slow cooker chili. If you think I’ve been a little slow cooker-obsessed lately, well … you’re right. I’ve already waxed poetic about the benefits of one, and let’s be real: chili is mad easy, whichever way you make it. Honestly, the biggest plus in using the slow cooker here is that it frees up your stove for other recipes.

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Don’t get me wrong though, this chili is bomb. It’s spicy, smoky, beefy, hearty — basically everything you want from chili. It would be excellent on hot dogs, fries, nachos or tater tots (totchos, anyone?), but is equally delicious in a bowl with a bit of cheese, some sour cream, a few jalapeños and an ice cold beer. Finally, something to look forward to on game day …

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Blizzard-Proof Beef Bourguignon

The blizzard-pocalypse is upon us! On the offhand chance you somehow missed it, a large swath of the Northeast is supposed to get 2-3 feet of snow tonight and tomorrow morning. Thankfully, people are reacting calmly. (Don’t worry, that alert only called the storm “crippling.” Oh and “life-threatening.” God I love weather forecasters.)

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And how is your trusty blogger handling the impending storm? By stocking up on all the essentials: wine, junk food, a new Netflix project and bowls of beef bourguignon.

Beef bourguignon is a traditional recipe from the Burgundy region of France. Beef braises in a mixture of red wine and beef stock, and bacon, butter-sauteed onions and mushrooms are also involved. It’s a bit of a project, but nothing too complicated, and besides, what else are you going to do when you’re snowed in?

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The reward for your efforts is a heavenly stew that warms you right up, even on the coldest, snowiest nights. The smell that emanates from the beef bourguignon during its oven time is unbearably delicious, better than any scented candle or diffuser. But the best part: the pearl onions that are sauteed in butter and then cooked in beef stock with a bit of thyme. It took all of my willpower not to devour them immediately after they were cooked, and I still picked them out of the stew at an alarming rate.

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A hearty, warming stew that guards against the cold, fills your home with fragrant aromas and pairs nicely with a glass bottle of wine? What more could a girl ask for during #Snowmaggedon2015? Continue reading