Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What I've Been Cooking Lately

2011 is my year to try new recipes.  The first thing you have to know is that I follow recipes.  I'm not an cook that cooks with instinct.  I can't put my own spin on things.  Husband is more like that than I.  He'll research recipes and then whip up his own creation.  I like a list and instructions.  Anyway, I've tried a handful of new recipes that have worked and hope to keep the trend up.

First, I baked cupcakes for the first time.  OK, they were from a box, but I've never done it before so it counts as something new.  Plus, Little Miss thought I was a superhero practically for making them.

Second, I made Honey-Teriyaki Chicken (photo above) with Snow Peas with Toasted Almonds. I actually made this twice.  It came out different both times.  Basically, the second time, it was less sweet.  Plus, the second time, I burned my almonds and added the lemon juice.  I think I liked it better the first time with no burned almonds and no lemon juice.  Of course, the time I burned the almonds was when I was cooking for a friend and not just myself.

Third, I made Tomatoes Provencal. These were pretty good. The lemon zest was strong, and I didn't even put the whole amount into the dish. Still, it wasn't bad, added a bit of freshness. I made these for friends, and we ate them with steak and potatoes and they were a perfect light side dish. They do not heat up as well unless you rebake, but the tomato moisture gets absorbed into the breadcrumbs. 

Snow Peas with Toasted Almonds
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed
2 teaspoons minced shallot
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and cook until golden and fragrant and butter begins to brown, stirring frequently, about 11/2 minutes. Add snow peas and shallot; sauté until snow peas are crisp-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; add lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and serve.

Honey-Teriyaki Chicken
1/2 cup honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds total)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, mix honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat. Transfer chicken and sauce to baking sheet.

Bake chicken, skin side up, basting occasionally with pan juices, until well browned and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve chicken drizzled with pan juices.

Tomatoes Provencal
1 1/2 cups fresh plain breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
Leaves from a few sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 large tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a 2-quart baking dish. In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups fresh plain breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, leaves from a few sprigs fresh thyme and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

Arrange 4 large tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch slices, in prepared baking dish, overlapping slightly; season with salt and pepper. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until tomatoes are tender and crumbs are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

I will say that I used a 3-quart glass dish and lined with foil.  Also, I baked for the allotted time and then put it under the broiler for a few minutes until browned.  I think I'd rather some more thyme.