Tyler Florence’s Chicken with Prosciutto, Rosemary and Lemon…Sort of

I love Tyler Florence’s recipes.  They are always delicious.  He’s kind of my culinary hero, of sorts.  Sophisticated comfort food that is just always delicious.  If you follow my posts, you’ll probably see a ton of these.

The only thing is, I am not huge on following recipes.  I LOVE reading recipes and even have a ridiculously large cookbook collection.  I just love them for inspiration and a jumping-off point of flavor profiles.  It’s not an ego thing, by far.  I am not a great chef, or a chef at all for that matter.  I just love the process.  I love experimenting.  I love asking myself “what If I just add this”.  I actually even fully accept failure.  It is a given when you go messing with recipes of all-star chefs.

So, blah blah blah, background story behind me… I decided to see how much I could mess up Tyler’s recipe for Pan-roasted chicken with Prosciutto, Rosemary and Lemon.

I started as planned, pan roasting the thighs, until I realized they just weren’t getting the skin as crispy as I like.  I HATE HATE HATE when chicken skin is rubbery.  That was happening- most likely because of me not having a large enough pan for the amount of chicken thighs.  Cooking is all about improvisation.  That’s what I tell myself.  I abandoned the dutch oven half way through and put them in the broiler.  That was a good move.  The skin was super crispy.  The other alteration I made was to make a white wine and shallot sauce.  I mostly did that because I had the ingredients.  I had the shallots and, frankly, always cook with wine.

Ingredients:

Extra-virgin olive oil
4 ox thinly slice prosciutto, cut into ribbon
Leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary- finely chopped
1 Package of chicken thighs (about 6)
1 shallot, diced
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet or dutch oven on the stove and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add rosemary and prosciutto and cook until prosciutto starts to get crispy.  Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken thighs and start to brown (about 3 minutes per side.) Remove chicken and place on broiler pan.

Broil on low until the skin starts to turn golden brown and get crispy.  Remove from broiler, move to a platter and set aside.

In the skillet or dutch oven, add the shallots and to the remaining oil, rosemary and prosciutto.  Cook until shallots soften.  Add white wine, chicken broth and butter.  Reduce until thickened.  Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Side note:  Great and easy side dish  for this is broccolini with lemon and crushed red pepper.

Ingredients:

1 bunch broccolini
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper

Heat skillet with butter and olive oil.  Add broccolini.  Cook for about 3 minutes, tossing frequently, until green but not soft.  Add lemon and crushed red pepper.  Salt and pepper to taste.


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Filed under Main Courses, Poultry

My Dogs Don’t Appreciate My Cooking

Since moving into the new house, I noticed a strange pattern with one of our dogs, Riley.  Every time I use the oven, he starts trembling, pacing and seeks a “safe place” which is usually outside.  He goes straight for the door and outside keeping a distance of about 25 feet from the house while staring into the sliding glass door to see when it’s over.  (I have to add that I can’t tell you how long it took for him to realize there was glass there.  I had to put up a stop sign so he would know he can’t run through it.  It’s funny and heartbreaking.)

Now, I consider myself to be a pretty good home cook, but I find myself feeling insulted… by my dog.  I start feeling guilty every time I want to cook something that uses the oven.  I didn’t get it.  He had never done this before.

After the second or third time, I realized what it was: the smoke.  The previous residents clearly let something cook over in the oven without cleaning it.  The first time or two I used the oven, it burned sending a cloud of smoke into the kitchen.  So there you have it- my dog is terrified of smoke.

I guess the bright side is, he could be a great firehouse dog.  Maybe those spots are on his ears for a reason.  Looks like I better not burn any meals anytime soon.  No pressure.

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Filed under My Random Food Babble

My First Attempt At Pho

Pho, the tasty Vietnamese noodle soup, is something I am embarrassed to admit I didn’t try until I recently moved to California.  Ok, that’s sort of a lie.  I tried it at a place in Silver Spring but hated it so swore it off for good.  Fast-forward a couple of years on a rainy evening in San Jose and I find myself craving Ramen only to get to the so-called best Ramen place South Bay to find out they don’t allow take out.  I called my dear friend CL to ask where can I get a noodle soup and she suggested this Pho place.  I decided to not use the Silver Spring place as a barometer for all things Pho and give it another shot.  I picked up Pho to go from Pho-Khang and never looked back.

I’ve discovered the secret to this bone-warming soup is in the broth.  It HAS to be right.  I scoured dozens of recipes online- no set standard and, in my usual style, decided to take some elements and wing it.

I bought a package of local oxtail at Lunardi’s, some veggies and star anise and was on my way.  I was going to make the best Pho a girl-on-her-first-time-ever-after-only-eating-it-about-5-times-and-reading-about-it-even-less could make.  (It turns out more promising than it sounds.)

I have to say the broth turned out to be quite fantastic.  Really, it did.  Unfortunately I made the fatal flaw of purchasing the wrong noodles and they soaked 85% of the broth up.  Don’t do that.  Do not use bean thread noodles, it will not work.

So, in actuality I’m giving you a recipe for Pho broth, not the actual completed dish, but if you know anything about Pho you know it’s a self-serving dining experience where you add what you like.  So here it goes…here is the broth, and add what you like.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. oxtail, 2 inch sections

1 large yellow onion, halved

1 large carrot, chopped into 1 inch chunks

1 cinnamon stick

3 whole star anise

2 1/1 inch nub of whole, fresh ginger

4 whole cloves

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

6 cups of water

olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Siracha, to taste

Preheat oven to 450F.  Drizzle about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a dutch oven.  Add the oxtail, onions and olive oil and place in the oven.  Brown, about 20 minutes.  Remove and place the dutch oven on the stove-top.  Add the water and cardamom.  Place the cinnamon, star anise and cloves inside an infuser or cheesecloth and submerge.  Place on stovetop over medium-low heat.  Simmer without boiling over for at least 2 hours.

Remove from heat.  Remove spice pouch and discard.  Remove meat, bones  and vegetables (for future use or discard, but I recommend for future use.)  Strain broth thoroughly.

Add noodles, sprouts, Siracha, salt and pepper to your liking and enjoy!

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Filed under Soups

Welcome to my new food blog!

I finally sat down to get the new blog started!  I loved writing Devouring DC, but unfortunately it doesn’t make much sense if I don’t live in the DC area anymore.  I’ve decided to create a food blog that isn’t quite so geographically focused.  Don’t get me wrong, most of my dining experiences will be in the Bay area now, but I don’t want to limit myself to just that.

My goal for this blog will be to give readers insight into all things food, including restaurant reviews, original recipes, chef interview, markets, tips, tricks, food science-geeky stuff and things that are all around forking good.  I imagine I’ll be making many tweaks and changes along the way, but bear with me, I promise to keep delivering the mouth-watering goods.  Hope you enjoy!

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Filed under My Random Food Babble