Monday, March 20, 2017

One-Skillet Dinner: Chicken With Napa Cabbage and Bacon

This is basically a riff off the Lettuce Chicken recipe with a couple of variations—most salient, the use of—wait for it—Napa cabbage in lieu of lettuce. It is a quick (~30 minutes) one-dish weeknight supper, and while I generally consider “low-carb” to be a pejorative, rather than a positive term, it is that too, if you’re into that sort of thing.

I laid about 7 strips of bacon to cook on medium-low in a large skillet. As it did, I chopped about 1 ½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (slicing through the center to halve the thickness, then once length-wise, then 3-4 times width-wise) into pieces approximately the dimensions of my thumbs (mind you, I am a 5'3" woman, so don’t necessarily base this on your own thumbs—I’d say to think of the orange man with his tiny hands on the button, but you might lose your appetite) and dredged them in flour seasoned with kosher salt, garlic powder, and dried herbs.

I set the bacon on a piece of cardboard (or use a brown paper bag or paper towels) to drain the grease, then poured the bacon grease from the pan, leaving some residue. I turned the heat to low to melt 2 TBSP butter, returned it to medium, and nestled the chicken into the pan piece by piece, shaking off the excess flour. I cooked until golden brown on bottom (meanwhile chopping 1/2 a Napa cabbage head, cored, into roughly chewing-gum-stick-sized strips), then flipped and cooked the other side to match, and then removed the chicken to a plate.

I added another 1 TBSP butter to the pan, tossed in the cabbage, sprinkled with kosher salt, and tossed with tongs; after a few minutes I splashed in a bottlecap full of cider vinegar, tossed again, and covered the pan. I chopped the bacon loosely. After the cabbage had cooked a couple minutes (leafy ends of cabbage should be wilty but not mushy; base ends should have a bit of give but still be crisp), add back the chicken and bacon plus a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves, toss to mix, re-cover, lower heat to medium-low, and cook a couple more minutes.

Serve by itself or with rice (*cough*perhaps of the a-Roni variety*cough*).

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Jalapeno Mashed Potatoes

Obvi, gentle reader, there ain’t nothing wrong with straight-up meat and potatoes. But sometimes you just wanna switch things up a bit. Especially when you’re using a cheapo cut of beef, as I did the other night. I was grilling some none-too-tender, none-too-flavorful “steaks” (this is what I get for cheating on my Key Foods with a slightly closer, vastly inferior market) that had been halfheartedly rubbed in prepared churrasco seasoning, and figured that adding a spicy kick of jalapeno to the mashed potatoes would up the meal’s flavor profile—or simply sear our taste buds so that each gruelingly chewed bite of the meat would seem like a relief and not a letdown. Win-win, amirite?

I used 2 large new (purple) potatoes, peeling just enough to carve out any pockmarks and brown spots but leaving most of the skin on. For expediency and consistency’s sake, I roughly chopped them into cube-ish (not to be confused with Cubist) pieces and added them to a pot of salted water that I brought to a boil, then lowered to a vigorous simmer until the potatoes were fork-tender, maybe 15 minutes. (For mashed potatoes, I would always err on the side of cooking longer; it’s pretty hard to overcook them, but devastating if you undercook them.)

Spinach-Cheese Crepes With Bacon

Gentle reader, remember how I told you that I made spinach-cheese sauce … and that I would tell you what I did with it … and that it would involve bacon? Well, let this post go on the record as proof that I do not lie to you.

This crepe main dish is the latest episode in my ongoing quest to negate any and all health benefits involved in eating green vegetables. Yes, I actually took spinach and mushrooms and made them as cholesterolicious as a croque monsieur. Look, I had some bits of Swiss and some other sharp cheese that was getting crusty around the edges, so what else COULD I do? As the French, who invented crepes and cheesy sauces (I think) would say, je ne regrette rien. (That’s French for “sorry, not sorry.”)

I premade the sauce by cooking some bacon on medium until tender, not crispy, in a saucepot, and draining off the grease but leaving the wee brown bits. I then added half a stick of butter and once melted and bubbly, stirred in a chopped half shallot and 4 mushrooms sliced thin, with those slices then halved.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts With Roast Brussels-Parsnip Hash

This is a quick and easy weeknight meal that can be cooked all on one foil-lined baking sheet for easy cleanup. Both my man and my 26-year-old adopted son inhaled it in a hush reminiscent of the Silence of the Lamb (well, my adopted son did not have any of the veg, obvi. As I type this, he is balancing out the protein with a bowl of Cookie Crisp).

I took two boneless, skinless chicken breasts and sliced them in half, pounded them thin (you can use the bottom of a frying pan if you don’t have a meat-tenderizing hoocher), and marinated them overnight in a mix of olive oil, salt, thyme, Dijon mustard (I’m really working the packets from the cafeteria, gentle reader), and a bit of dried sage.

The next night, I preheated the oven to 400°, lined aforementioned baking sheet with foil, and wrapped a slice of bacon around each of the four pieces of chicken. Full disclosure: I didn’t have a baking sheet large enough to fit the veg as well, so I popped this into the oven and prepped another foil-lined sheet for the hash.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

One-Pan Pork-Sausage-Cabbage Saute (a.k.a. Pseudo-Choucroute)

This dish, inspired by the fact that I had in the fridge half a cabbage, half a red onion, some Dijon mustard packets from the cafeteria at work (because, gentle reader, I am now gainfully employed!), and three sausages of different types left over from dinner at a German restaurant (where I could afford to eat, because I am now gainfully employed!), is kind of like an Ignorant American Fusion take on choucroute—except that uses sauerkraut, which is a bit much. It’s very easy and quick and takes only, as you may have gathered from the post title, one pan. Even factoring in the time it took to grocery-shop for the pork chops, I had everything ready within about an hour of returning from my place of gainful employment. (Did I mention I am now gainfully employed, gentle reader?)

This would serve 3 or 4 people, but of course I made it for 2. There were leftovers. Lots of leftovers. Sandwiches will be had.

Start by melting 2-3 Tbsp. butter and a splash of olive oil over medium heat in a large wide pan, then adding 3 packets of Dijon mustard, about 1 Tbsp kosher salt, pinches of cumin and paprika, and a very wee pinch of cinnamon (these spices are negotiable).

Drop in 2 to 2 ½ pounds of thin-cut bone in pork chops (about 4 big chops), turn the heat up to medium-high, and brown on both sides.

Turkey-Mozzarella Meatloaf

O hai, gentle reader ... I GOT A JOB!

Let’s forget all those things I said about the C train. I’m not saying they weren’t valid, because they were. But the important thing is that the C stands for Commuting, as in, TO A JOB. THAT I HAVE. I have had it for a few weeks now, which you may have noticed coincides with my abrupt dropoff in posting frequency. PRIORITIES, PEOPLE.

So, I'm still committed to home cooking as often as possible, but now when it comes to preparing meals, I just have to be a little more, well, prepared. My newfound obsession with the slow cooker should serve me well—as should my long-standing propensity for getting dishes ready the night before cooking them.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Blistered Hot Peppers

Gentle reader, a large part of the reason that Brooklyn Girls Cooking exists is that for Brooklyn girls, going out to eat is highly overpriced and annoying.

Every. Single. Restaurant has an appetizer selection that will set you back like $10 for some artisanal pickles or a single deviled egg or blistered shiseido peppers. And don’t get me started on the hour-long wait times, which occur in large part because people have to tweet and Instagram their food before they start eating it. Okay, fine, I do that too, but I do it at home with things I’ve cooked. That was my whole point.

Well, anyway. I was recently gifted with a pack of peppers (which purported, per the package, to be “serruno,” which may or may not have meant “serrano”), and tossed them with kosher salt and olive oil on a foil-lined baking sheet and roasted them at 400° until the skins cracked and got charred in spots. In other words, blistered.