Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Sauce

On January 18, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I love a simple recipe.

By simple I mean two key things, simple ingredients and simple to make. This dish I found on Pinterest on the Pinch of Yum blog met both criteria and is sure to be a go to recipe.

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You could make this dish with your favorite jarred sauce; though, I’d follow the recipe instead since the tomato sauce is easy to prepare and could be used for a lot of other dishes too if you wanted to make a double-batch.

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Checkout the Pinch of Yum blog. Her pictures are waaay better than mine too. Enjoy!

Full recipe: [Pinch of Yum blog, Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Sauce]

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

On September 28, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I want a deep fryer. In fact, I’ve wanted one for a number of years.  Not because I want to fry everything. I don’t.  But when it comes to fries and tempura and some other cooking efforts that work better with food submerged in oil than in a 1-inch puddle of oil, a deep fryer would be very helpful.

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So without a proper deep fryer in the kitchen, I have often skipped making fried chicken.  Oh and the reason there is no deep fryer is because I’m told having one will cause our family to deep fry things and well that’s not a healthy way to cook, so why let that temptation enter the kitchen?  I get it. I really do, so I pick my battles and having a deep fryer isn’t that important.

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Buttermilk fried chicken recipes are some of my favorites and I ran across one from the Jo Cooks website on Pinterest a few weeks back that I wanted to tryout.

I cut the recipe ingredients in half since I was only making two large bone-in chicken breasts.

The batter is simple to make and the process of dredging in flour first and then dipping into the wet mixture and finally dredging in flour again makes for a thick crust.

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The breasts I bought from Whole Foods were Heirloom Organic Mary’s Chicken and were really big.  Too big in my opinion since they took quite a long time to cook the meat through and this caused the batter to get too brown, not burnt, but not as golden as I wanted. So my advice is to make sure you use smaller chicken breasts and also use a paring knife to cup into the breast so it cooks fully through.

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You also want to make sure the pan isn’t crowded like it is in the photo above.

In the end, the recipe made some good pan fried chicken.  I’d like a bit more flavor from the batter so I will likely play around more with this recipe or try another to see what else is possible.  If you have a favorite fried chicken recipe, please feel free to share it in the comments.

For the Recipe: [Jo’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken

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Simple and Lighter Chicken with Biscuits (really)

On September 14, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I love it when I get an email in the middle of my work day saying, “Can you make this?” Stephanie occasionally will find a recipe she would like to try and knows I love a challenge. This recipe wasn’t much of a challenge, though. In fact, it ended up being a pleasantly simple recipe that only took 20 minutes to make.

I used frozen biscuits from Trader Joe’s to accompany the chicken dish; instead, of doing homemade biscuits. Note: you can find the full recipe with homemade biscuits here at Martha Stewart’s website.

Lighter Chicken and Biscuits
Serves 4

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 carrots, thinly sliced
5 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 box (10 ounces) frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

Prepare frozen biscuits according to package instructions or have fresh biscuits ready.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or large heavy pot, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, and onions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

Sprinkle vegetables with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour; stir in the milk, water, and thyme. Simmer until liquid is thickened, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken; simmer until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve chicken stew with biscuits.

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Chicken Tikka Masala Poutine for #SundaySupper

On July 25, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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When I heard what this week’s Sunday Supper theme was I knew exactly what I wanted to make, since I had tried making the dish a month before and knew I was close to getting it right.

The theme this week is Copycats Recipes. Basically, recreate a recipe from a restaurant. Badmaash is an unique take on Indian located in downtown Los Angeles. They call themselves an Indian-Gastropub and that’s exactly what they are. One of the dishes they showcase a lot on their Instagram feed that I follow is a Chicken Tikka Poutine. They use a gravy with curds and add grilled Chicken Tikka to top it off.   Mine is a bit different and instead uses the rich tomato heavy cream sauce of a Tikka Masala in place of gravy.

For those who do not know, poutine is a French Canadian dish with fries, gravy, and cheese curds. There are a lot of variations on the dish with some adding pulled pork, beef and other options to go along with gravy, fries and curds.

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I was lucky this past week at the Studio City Farmer’s Market where I found some organic cheese curds from Spring Hill Jersey Cheese based in Petaluma, California.

While a Canadian friend of mine thinks the Badmaash dish here is blasphemous, I don’t care. It tastes great. Is it “poutine”? No, not by a strict definition, but it does taste amazing and is a great way to mix it up which is why I wanted to share it during this week’s Copycat Recipe for Sunday Supper!

Chicken Tikka Masala Poutine

Serves 2

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in bite-sized chunks
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice from half a small lemon
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon of ghee or butter
½ medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon garma masala
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon paprika
pinch of cayenne powder
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup cheese curds
chopped cilantro for garnish

Bag of frozen French Fries, Alexia is a good choice

Combine yogurt, lemon juice and spices in a bowl. Add the raw chicken and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

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Cook fries per the package instruction if using frozen. You can also make your own using your favorite recipe.

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When chicken is done marinating, heat broiler for 5 minutes moving rack so boiler is about 6-inches from rack. Place chicken evenly on aluminum foil, do not stack chicken pieces on top of each other and spread them out so they are easy to turn. Heat chicken for 4-6 minutes until you see chicken start to blacken, flip chicken using tongs and heat in broiler for another 3-5 minutes until browning occurs. Remove and set aside.

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Heat ghee or butter in pan on medium-high heat. Add the onions and let them cook for 5 minutes until translucent and not brown. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another couple minutes. Then add the tomato paste and stir cooking for a minute. Add the spices and combine finally pour in the can of diced tomatoes with the juice and stir letting it heat up for 4 minutes. Finally add the heavy cream and mix, once combined add the chicken you removed from the broiler. Cook on low heat until your fries are ready.

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When everything is done, place the fries on a dish and then add some of the Chicken Tikka Masala with sauce on top. Add some cheese curds and spoon over some more Chicken Tikka Masala letting the heat from the sauce melt the cheese. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and serve.


 

Everyone has a favorite dish, dessert or drink available at a restaurant. This weekend, the #SundaySupper bloggers share copycat recipes for their favorite dine-out meals. Is your favorite on the list?

Drinks

Appetizers

Condiments

Main Courses

Side Dishes

Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more greatSunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Beer Can Chicken

On July 21, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This is a bit of a lowbrow dish for  a sustainable food blog, but who cares. It’s chicken and beer and that is a fine combination any time for me.  Plus beer can chicken makes for an easy effort dish after work, provided you have enough time to wait for it to finish cooking. Note it takes a good 1 1/2 to 2 hours for the chicken to be ready in 375 degree grill.

I can home the other night ready to make it and realized after dealing with LA traffic and arriving home at 6:30 that I needed a backup plan for that night’s dinner, but I would still make the beer can chicken and chop it up for the following night.  That worked well for me; though, when the chicken came out of the grill just before 9pm (I didn’t get in there until a little after 7pm) I fought not to eat the whole thing.  An internal struggle that wasn’t helped by my vegan meal I served at 7:30 that night.

Here was this perfectly roasted chicken, funny looking as it is standing on its legs, smelling incredible with the beer aroma and bbq spice rub a golden brown. Thankfully, I decided to only try a few bites and save the rest for the next evening.

This is a pretty simple dish any level of cook can accomplish, which is probably why it is so popular.

Beer Can Chicken
Serves 4

4 lb chicken whole fryer
1 can of beer, drink half and reserve the other half for cooking
1/2 cup of your favorite bbq dry rub
2 tablesppons olive oil
salt & pepper

Heat grill.  I have a thermometer on my Weber grill that was heated to 375 degrees when I made this. It took about a hour and 45 minutes to cook. You’ll want to use a meat thermometer and place it in the breast meat. When it reaches between 160-165 degrees it is ready. Grill or oven times may vary which is while you’ll need a meat thermometer.

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Open beer can and drink half of the beer.  Optional: Cut the can in half using kitchen shears this will help get more flavoring during cooking.  Place the beer can inside a chicken roast stand.  I use the following stand, but there are others that are just as good.

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Rub olive oil over chicken and salt and pepper.  Take your favorite chicken bbq spice rub and rub into the chicken, covering the whole chicken. Use more or less rub as you need it.  Place chicken on chicken roast rack with beer can under open main cavity. Put foil around the ends of the chicken legs so they will not burn.

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Place chicken with rack and beer can on grill or in oven and cook until meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees. Remove chicken discarding beer can and remove foil then serve with your favorite sides or pull meat to use in a sandwich.

Enjoy!

 

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My new job is surround by some great food choices including my favorite grocery stores Erewhon and Whole Foods. I stopped by Whole Foods after work and quickly bought a few things including some Mary’s Organic chicken though I accidentally grabbed a package of tenders instead of split boneless chicken breasts.  Of course I didn’t realize the mistake until I arrived home.

I had some morel mushrooms I bought at the Studio City Farmer’s Market and thought I had some heavy cream to make a rich mushroom cream sauce. Sadly the heavy cream I had expired.  So there I was with tenders and no cream or milk in the kitchen expecting to make chicken breasts with a morel mushroom cream sauce.  My first thought was to bread the tenders and just make some chicken tenders with some homemade bbq I had, but my wife said use the morels and so I started to improve tonight’s dinner.

The final result is the following with some green beans and what I’m calling “smashed potatoes” which is basically boiled potatoes with some olive oil, butter and salt and pepper mashed.

Chicken Tenders with Morel Mushroom Reduction
Serves 4

1 lb chicken tenders
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, white only
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper

8 morel mushrooms, rough chop
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine
4 tablespoons butter

Heat sauté pan on medium-high heat adding the 1 tablespoons of olive oil and butter. Mix the egg white and orange juice together in a shallow bowl to use for dipping chicken tenders in before dredging with bread crumbs.  Take each chicken tender dip in egg white and orange juice mixture and then roll around in bread crumbs to cover and add immediately to sauté pan. Continue until pan is full.  Cook each side for about 3 minutes until golden brown. Place finished pieces on plate and continue to add more tenders to the pan until all are made.

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After the tenders are all cooked, add garlic and morel mushrooms.  Cook for a minute and then add the white wine.  Let the liquid reduce by half in about 1 or 2 minutes then add the butter and turn off medium-high heat letting butter melt to create a sauce.

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Plate the potatoes you made in the center and then place chicken tenders on top and green beans on the side.  Pour some of the morel mushroom sauce over the tenders and potatoes.

Enjoy!

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Why We Don’t Buy From Tyson, Perdue and Others

On May 18, 2015, in Food, by Chris Baccus
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Last night’s HBO Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is a great example why our family moved to a sustainable food solution. If you didn’t see it, John took the chicken industry to task for treating its contract farmers like shit. Like chicken shit to be exact.

Here is the full clip that shows how big food, industrial meat production treats its chicken farmers. It’s not pretty and this doesn’t even get into how cruel factory farming is to the animals.

I came away watching the film Food Inc so many years ago with a similar disgust. Like then, what upset me watching Food Inc and last night’s John Oliver segment is how the meat industry covers up the reality of our food.

It’s dishonest and from an industry I have no desire to support.

In Food Inc, there were two parts that made me dramatically change how I eat and buy products to make at home. The first was with chicken farmers who were not allowed to show their chicken ranches to the filmmakers. The film did eventually find a chicken farmer who didn’t care about retaliation and showed the crew what was happening, not shockingly she lost her contract.

This was very similar to last night’s HBO episode. The whole covering everything up and hiding what is going on or pay the consequences of a big company ending your contract is very real. And you know what fuck them. This is why I don’t buy from Tyson, Perdue or other factory-farming producers. They refuse to be transparent so I take my food dollars to small farms and ranchers who are very open to letting us know what is happening with our food, before it’s food.

The second clip from Food Inc that changed my behavior was from a mother whose child contracted and soon died of E. coli due to a hamburger. The industry threatened her using Veggie Libel Laws that again prevented any truth or transparency to happen. NOTE: This clip is really hard to watch and I get so angry and my eyes water watching it.

The big food companies can keep doing things like removing antibiotics from their products and think they are having an impact on smart consumers who care about where their food comes from. Big flippin’ deal. I don’t care.

What I care about is they move away from hiding their shame and stop threatening farmers and customers from telling the world what is happening. Until that happens and I can see what they are doing to produce the food my family eats, they can count me out as a customer forever.

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Chicken Curry with Sweet Potato and Chickpeas

On May 8, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I haven’t been writing much lately because I have been busy with a new job I started almost three weeks ago. The new job is a bit longer of a commute which led me to look for some slow cooker (crockpot) recipes since I get home a little later than I used to and well I’m still the personal home chef.

One find, I already had on my Pinterest board (you can follow me on Pinterest here), was a chicken curry dish that looked pretty amazing and simple. I really liked the use of sweet potato in this particular recipe.  You can of course substitute carrots, if you don’t have any sweet potatoes around.

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I prepared the dish before leaving this morning and when I walked through the door when I came home tonight, it smelled amazing!  Plus everything was pretty much ready to go after I quickly steamed some rice.

The dish turned out great and it is a bit spicy with the 2 tablespoons of curry powder the recipe calls for. You can add or increase. If you want something a little more mild with a hint of heat, go with 1 tablespoon.  Really hot, I’d use 3 tablespoons.

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Have some fun experimenting with this dish. You really can’t mess it up. I’m sure it would be great with lamb instead of chicken.  You could also use cauliflower or potatoes too.  It’s full-proof, so enjoy and play around with this recipe.  I’m sure I will as I continue to bring out my slower cooker more often now that I’m arriving a bit later.

Enjoy!

Full Recipe: [Slow Cooker Chicken Curry]

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Chicken Tinga Tamales

On December 21, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Nothing says Christmas like making Tamales. At least that’s the case for a lot of families, but not ours.  I wasn’t raised in a house that made tamales for the holidays. Nope. Instead we made spritz cookies and as a kid I would sneak into the garage freezer and eat a few just about everyday. Eventually my mom caught on and made an extra batch knowing her oldest son was eating a few as the holidays approached.

Back to the tamales.

This was my first attempt at making tamales.  I have a few places I love to go for them including Evie’s Tamales in Mexican Village in Detroit.  When I worked for DTE Energy we used to go their for lunch and often buy a dozen to take home.  Simple and delicious pork filled tamales are always a favorite.  I do have a place here in South Pasadena, California I go to and order tamales from.  Grass Roots Natural Market sells tamales for the holidays and they also sell mesa for making your own at home.

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I ordered a dozen from Grass Roots for Christmas Eve but also bought some mesa to try it myself.  One of my favorite tacos lately is the chicken tinga taco at Guisados.  I decided to make my own chicken tinga and while I still have a lot of work before I master Guisados’ version, what resulted here was pretty damn good and both my wife and I agreed they were the best tamales we ever had.

So here is my attempt at tamales.  One tip I found out after making them is to make sure you use the smoother side of the corn husk to wrap your masa and filling in.  The ridged side prevents the tamale from easily peeling the husk away.

Chicken Tinga Tamales
Serves 4

Corn huskes, 12-14
Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb bag of mesa, store bought or find a recipe that uses lard
4 oz cotija cheese, crumbled
3 ripe medium sized tomatoes
1 tomatillo, peeled
1 can chipotle peppers, only need 1 pepper and 1 to 2 Tb of sauce from can
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, diced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil in a large pot.  Remove from heat and submerge corn husks into the water and let it them sit for a hour.

First boil some water and poach the chicken breasts in boiling water for 12 minutes.  Remove and shred. You can also buy a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred the meat to use for this dish.

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To make the tinga sauce, bring the tomatoes and tomatillo to a boil in water then reduce to a gentile boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from water and place in a food processor.  Blend until smooth with no chunks.  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic cooking for 3 minutes until translucent. Remove from pan and add into food processor.  Add the chipotle, 1 tablespoon of chipotle sauce, and spices to the food processor and blend until smooth.  Taste and add more chipotle sauce if you feel it is not to your desired heat.

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Put chicken and tinga sauce into a bowl and mix.  In another bowl add your masa and in another bowl add the crumbled cojita cheese.  Now take your corn husks and spread some masa into it then add about 3 tablespoons of the chicken tinga mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and fold the tamale placing it into a steamer.

Finish making the rest of the tamales and steam for 1 hour.  Serve with your favorite side dish.

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Thai Grilled Chicken with Chile Sauce

On December 31, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Thai Grilled Chicken
Serves 4

1 whole chicken, cut and skinned
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon brown rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon tumeric

Chile Sauce

1 cup of dried red chile peppers
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup garlic, chopped
1/4 cup sugar

Cut and skin the chicken pieces, set aside. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.  Add the chicken pieces into the bowl and coat.

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If using a SousVide Supreme, vacuum seal the chicken pieces in two bags. Add to SousVide Supreme at 160 degrees for 4-6 hours.

If not using a SousVide Supreme, add the chicken pieces to a large ziplock bag and let marinate for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.

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While chicken is cooking, make the chile sauce. Cut the dried chile peppers open to remove seeds. Heat chile peppers in a pan with the 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer a cook for 4 minutes. Add chile peppers and water to a blender. Add the fish sauce, garlic and sugar to the blender and then blend to create a course paste. Add the vinegar and process again for a nice sauce. Place in refrigerator for use when chicken is done grilling.

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Once chicken is done cooking, remove the chicken and place on a hot a grill. Cook for 8-10 minutes on each side if not using a SousVide Supreme. If you did use one, then cook for only a couple minutes on each side to get some nice grill marks.

Remove chicken and serve with chile sauce and sides.

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