Friday, January 30, 2009

Roasted Chicken Thighs and New Potatoes

I splurged by making myself a full dinner this evening. The entree was based on a recipe from the Washington Post this week, Mini Roasted Chicken. The recipe was based on a roasted chicken recipe, then adapted to call for a Cornish hen baked in a toaster oven. I re-adapted it for several chicken thighs. Pretty basic, really: marinate the chicken in a paste of parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon zest, etc., then bake, and roast some garlic to go into a sauce. It turned out very well, though - I would definitely make this again.

I ended up using the regular oven instead of the toaster oven since my toaster oven wasn't big enough to hold both the chicken and the Sherry Potatoes I wanted to roast. Basically sliced potatoes with some dry sherry and butter poured over them, but it turned out to be some of those simple but very tasty recipes that are great to have in mind.

I boiled some baby carrots to round out the meal. Strangely enough, I don't think I've ever done that before. Nice to have some bright orange balancing the white, brown, and green on the plate.

The downside of a dinner with an entree and several sides is that there are tons of dishes to do. Eh, they'll wait until the morning.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chickpea Salad and Vegetable Couscous

Two salad-y dishes tonight. The main dish was a hot couscous dish with vegetables, made up thusly:

Saute chopped shallots in olive oil, then stir in a couple canned anchovies until dissolved. Add sliced zucchini, stir occasionally until tender, then add chopped red pepper. Add chicken broth and squeeze in some lemon juice; bring to boil. Add couscous, stir, turn off heat, cover, and wait five minutes for water to absorb. Top with finely chopped parsley.

The other part was a Spicy Chickpea Salad from Gourmet magazine in the early 90s. I found it when searching for a recipe similar to Comet Ping Pong's salad, and made a few tweaks to match what I remember of the restaurant's version - adding green beans and chopped shallots. Tonight I also added a bit of lemon zest since I had it.

I didn't think about how tan the plate would look between the couscous and the chickpeas. Oops. The two parts were each satisfying, though I probably won't pair them in the future.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fettuccine Alfredo, hold the Fettuccine

J. came over tonight on a whim (me: "Hey, are you catching the next bus home?" Her: "Yeah. Hey, want to have a beer?") and then we got hungry, so... after scanning the contents of my fridge, we came up with not-Fettuccine Alfredo. Basic layout:

Fettuccine Alfredo
- fettuccine
+ whole-wheat penne
+ sauteed shallot, mushroom, and grape tomatoes
+ a splash of white wine

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spinach, Mushroom, and Carmelized Onion Frittata

Tonight's dinner featured a frittata, following the general outlines of Simply Recipe's Spinach Frittata. I added mushrooms and some leftover carmelized onions, and used up some ricotta cheese in the egg mixture.
Unfortunately, I added a bit too much frozen spinach, or didn't break up the clumps enough - it overpowered the other ingredients.

I also baked the rest of the dough from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day batch I whipped up a few days ago. Pretty good bread, and it's very nice to be able to have fresh bread without really planning ahead of time to have it that night. I think I'll check the book out of the library and look if there's a variation starring some whole wheat flour.

Yum - now doesn't that look good?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baked Penne

Tonight's dinner (served with a side of Heroes season 1) was baked penne, adapted from a Good Housekeeping recipe for Baked Ziti. Biggest changes: adding mushrooms, a dash of rosemary, and a splash of white wine to the marinara sauce; and adding thawed frozen spinach, freshly ground black pepper, dried basil, and dried thyme to the ricotta mixture.

Overall, not too bad. The Italian cheese blend on top got a little gummy when it started to cool off, and I think it definitely needed the veggie additions that I made. I could have thrown in a few more mushrooms, actually. Ultimately I think I wanted lasagna without quite so much work, and this dish didn't quite rise to that level. Must hold the proposed Lasagna Day with J. and D.

On the upside/downside: I have leftovers for 3 more meals!

Starting simple

I'm starting this blog to track my efforts to feed myself well. First meal to report - grapefruit, cinnamon toast, and coffee (Aeropress, of course.) Perhaps not the most auspicious start to a blog devoted to cooking. But! This isn't just any bread. It's homemade, albeit the apparently-famous-but-I-stumbled-on Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I mostly followed the recipe as shown at Alexandra's Kitchen, but I used the preheated heavy covered pot from Mark Bittman's no-knead variation to try to develop a bit of crust. I think I'll keep the lid on a bit longer next time; 12 minutes wasn't enough.

I also whipped up a fresh batch of cinnamon sugar this morning, if that counts as cooking. I can't believe people actually buy cinnamon sugar when it's about 5¢ worth of sugar and cinnamon, mixed together.